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Transgender Student: Heartfelt Thoughts From a Youth Pastor

transgender student

If a transgender student attends your youth group or a nearby school, what will you say? Consider this approach, in one youth minister’s letter to a transgender student.

A Letter to a Transgender Student

Dear friend,

I’m so thankful I know you. It’s an honor that you’d share this struggle with me. I know it wasn’t easy, nor does sharing resolve everything. As you shared, I realized how deeply I desire to be truly known. God designed us for this—to know Him and be known by Him. God not only made us for Himself. He also made us for community—to know others and be known by them.

My heart groans with yours to be truly known as God intended from the beginning. But my heart also groans because I know the church hasn’t always felt like a place you could talk about your struggle with identifying as a transgender teenager.

As a result, you have felt disconnected and not truly known yourself. Along the way, the actions and words of Christians have disappointed, hurt and isolated you. I grieve over the pain and loneliness you have experienced.

Dear Transgender Student: I Love You

First, I want you to know I’m here for you and I love you. I’ll admit I haven’t always been careful in speaking about transgender issues. I have too easily settled for a shallow understanding of the issues. Please forgive me if I’ve ever done this in our conversations. I want you to know that your willingness to share has driven me to learn more and seek God’s wisdom.

I can’t pretend to know all the answers. Nor do I share any of this from a position of moral superiority. As you shared what it’s like to feel transgender, I heard you saying things just don’t seem as they should be. That you were born one way but feel the exact opposite. That your gender expression seems disconnected from your physical body.

You might wonder: Did God make a mistake? Why do I feel this way? Does God want me to embrace these feelings? No one should dismiss your questions. They need to be patiently and prayerfully answered. I cannot do that fully in a letter. But I hope we can continue getting together to talk through these things.

Dear Transgender Student: God Holds a Better Promise

In the meantime, I want to share a few things with you. Our world promotes a story of expressive individualism. Self-expression and self-identification are its supreme virtues. But God tells a different story. He tells a better story and holds out a better promise.