". . . and having done all . . . stand firm." Eph. 6:13

Commentary

As Trans Identity Grows Among the Young, So Do Opportunities for Witness

June 11, 2022

A new survey from Pew Research Center found 5.1% of Americans aged 18-30 identify as transgender or non-binary, a markedly higher percentage than in other age groups. Only 1.6% of all adults identify as transgender or non-binary, and only 0.3% of adults over 50 do so. Among adults 18-30, 2.0% identify as transgender and 3.0% identify as non-binary (the difference in totals is due to rounding).

The survey also found that the number of U.S. adults who personally know someone who identifies as transgender or non-binary is 44%, an increase from 42% in 2021 and 37% in 2017. Democrats (48%) were slightly more likely to know someone who identifies as transgender or non-binary than Republicans (42%), but the difference was much smaller than in previous years.

Pew Research Center surveyed 10,188 U.S. adults between May 16-22, selecting respondents through “an online survey panel that is recruited through national, random sampling of residential addresses.” They weighted the survey “to be representative of the U.S. adult population by gender, race, ethnicity, partisan affiliation, education, and other categories.”

While individuals who identify as transgender (both males who identify as female and females who identify as male) are represented by the “T” in the shorthand term “LGBT,” individuals who identify as nonbinary have no letter unless a “+” sign or more letters are added. “Nonbinary just refers to a person who doesn’t identify as male or female,” Jennifer Bauwens, Family Research Council’s director of the Center for Family Studies told The Washington Stand in a phone interview. These people “might use pronouns like ‘they’ or ‘them’” to refer to themselves.

Dr. Bauwens has extensively researched psychological trauma in clinical settings, with a particular focus on children. She has also taught on psychological trauma and research methods in several graduate programs, including Rutgers University and Princeton Seminary.

“What’s causing this increase is large institutions pushing the transgender agenda,” said Bauwens. Young people are increasingly told that sex is neither fixed nor binary by entertainment, schools, social media, and even therapy, she explained. “This generation is the least religious or Christian. Their notion of truth is whatever makes you happy or whatever you think it is.” There’s “no rudder for identity, and when you have no rudder, you’re easily controlled.”

The rising number of people identifying as transgender or nonbinary is a warning sign that has gone unnoticed for too long, explained Bauwens. “No one is making the connection,” between these identities and the “increase in mental health issues, the increase in suicides.” Because of the widespread promotion of the transgender ideology, more people are turning to gender transition as a means of dealing with mental health issues. It has the attraction of both novelty and social affirmation, but “it doesn’t take care of the issues and pain that led to transition,” Bauwens warned. “It’s going to take time for that placebo effect to wear off.”

Bauwens predicts the transgender fad can’t last long. “Eventually, this will collapse. It can’t continue. There’s too much pain attached. This ideology can’t reach the pain that’s deep in their hearts,” she said. “What we’re seeing is evidence of people who detransition. That alone indicates this is not permanent. Most kids, if left alone, grow out of gender dysphoria.”

That doesn’t mean the road to recovery is easy. “For some people who do go through the transition process and decide to detransition, the recovery process involves getting back to the root issue that actually brought on gender dysphoria,” said Bauwens.

Bauwens doesn’t believe government officials have responded to this issue correctly. “Government is supposed to protect people, especially the most vulnerable people, children … from being carved up,” she said. “When government doesn’t fulfill that basic function, it has failed.” Depending on the state, there are some protections from transgender ideology, she added, but “there is a lot of work still to do getting states to act.”

But Bauwens argued churches have a larger role to play helping people who seek to escape a transgender or nonbinary lifestyle. “Get ready for our churches to be a little messy,” she said. If the church welcomes in these hurting individuals, “things may not be as proper as we’ve had in the past.” She quoted Proverbs 14:4, “Where there are no oxen, the manger is clean, but abundant crops come by the strength of the ox,” adding “we want the stall to be full of the harvest.”

Her remark echoed Jesus’s words in Matthew 9:36-38, “When He saw the crowds, He had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then He said to his disciples, ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.’” Bauwens said Christians can take practical steps to “prepare ourselves to gather in the harvest” by learning what is motivating these young people, and how the church can help.

“This poll is just another indication of where to target our prayers,” concluded Bauwens. “Always, our first line of defense is praying.” She added, “There is a real attempt to wipe out or destroy this generation. That means God has something great in store for them, because the enemy is doing his best to wipe them out.”

Joshua Arnold is a staff writer at The Washington Stand.