A Lutheran pastor and father of a male child who has undergone an experimental medical sex change recently declared that transphobia is a sin and that trans people are divine.
Rev. Christopher Bruesehoff, of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, took part in the #TransphobiaIsASin social media campaign on Jan 15. The campaign asked that people share a photograph of themselves holding a sign bearing the message “transphobia is a sin” along with the hashtag.
The pastor’s wife, Jamie Bruesehoff, shared the photograph of her husband’s message on her Facebook account, with a statement declaring that “not only is transphobia a sin, but transgender people are whole and holy.”
“Transphobia is a sin. Trans people are divine. Trans people exist because their ancestors existed,” the statement continued, followed by a call to “denounce the sin of transphobia in our communities and institutions and loudly, boldly and joyfully proclaim that trans people are created in God's image to be their extraordinary selves.”
The Bruesehoffs have three children, one of whom identifies as a member of the opposite sex. Both parents have become fierce advocates for the right of children to access experimental sex change drugs and surgeries and spaces reserved for those of the opposite sex.
The family tell their story in an episode of My Trans Life. Their child, Rebekah, describes being extremely gender-nonconforming in early childhood, and then discovering the term transgender at age 8.
“I felt like I was a girl because I liked the color pink, and I liked girl clothes and how they wear their hair and stuff,” Rebekah explained. “I’m a girl in my head and my heart.”
Later in the documentary, Rebekah’s mother Jamie describes how then 10-year-old Rebekah doesn’t like to think about the medical side of being transgender, but goes on to state that they will be undertaken anyway, and the first steps will be puberty blockers to prevent male puberty from starting, followed by cross-sex hormones.
Jamie said that the family had received enormous backlash after going public about their child’s transition, but stated that they feel pretty confident that they’ve supported their child in the best way they can because every major medical organization and every medical professional they have consulted supports their decision.
However, the episode was filmed five years ago, and since its release there has been much debate about how best to treat children who believe themselves to be transgender. Sweden and Finland have already abandoned the treatment protocol that the Bruesehoffs embarked upon for their child after independent reviews found there to be no evidence to support it. England is expected to follow suit later this year after an independent review of its pediatric gender service found clinicians were too quick to affirm and medicalise children.
Rev. Bruesehoff was a signatory of an amicus brief supporting trans-activist Gavin Grimm’s Supreme Court bid to allow schools to perform gender transitions without parental consent or knowledge and have school facilities segregated by gender identity rather than biological sex.
In a Medium article written at the time, Jamie said the family was proud to be a part of the historic case, explaining that it was about dignity and compassion for transgender people.
“We may not entirely understand the science around why people are born transgender or even what it all means for our daughter’s future, but we know that God created each and every one of us in God’s own image. God does not love our daughter in spite of her gender identity. God did not put her in the wrong body. This is who she has always been, who God created her to be, and like I’ve heard from so many who want to dispute transgender identities, God doesn’t make mistakes,” the pastor’s wife said.
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