I just read last night on a recent suicide by a transgendered teenager in Fallbrook, CA. The teenager named Taylor Alesena confessed in a YouTube video that he did not have any friends at school, ate alone, and was ridiculed often after becoming a girl.
I find this sad on so many levels. Sad for the teenager for clearly struggling with gender identity issues. Sad for the family who lost their child. Sad for the world who hurt this child. And sad that an opportunity was lost to have prevented the tragedy and saved a lost soul.
I’m hoping this blog will help motivate us all to take get out there and be a light to the lost.
The Question of Why
Why the teen committed suicide is most likely multi-faceted. We have a teenager so struggling with his gender identity that he decides to change his name and essentially become a girl in order to become himself (or herself, as he would believe). This is a paraphrase of something he told other transgendered kids on YouTube).
One might think that becoming oneself would lead to joy and peace in this world. But becoming “herself” apparently was not enough for him. He killed himself last week.
He said he lost a lot of friends through it all. No doubt, the change made many people feel uncomfortable. No matter what the media and activist groups like to say–many people do not feel transgenderism is normal, natural, or healthy. Teenagers in their immaturity do not know how to handle uncomfortable situations or people who they don’t feel are normal, natural, or healthy. They often do not relate to people they perceive as strange in a way that feels loving or caring.
We certainly have those in the world who are straight out mean– the kind this person complained about, but then the other element are those who act indifferent. They are not mean. They just don’t make eye contact with the person, don’t say hello, and treat them like they don’t exist. I doubt there were many true Jesus loving Christians being straight out mean. That is a lie that the media loves to paint of Christians. Yet it is an exception rather than the rule. But indifferent? I might suspect that there were some indifferent Christians along with other indifferent non-Christians. Which one is worse? Hate or indifference? I think its up for debate. Either way, to be a victim of either can be a very lonely existence. This teenager suffered from both.
My question is–Where were the Christians in this Tragedy?
I know there must be Christian students in Fallbrook. I know there must be Christian teachers. Maybe there were some who tried to help him and no one is talking about it. I know that is possible. But given the kid said he ate alone at lunch, that he wore headphones in between classes so he didn’t have to hear the ridicule–I am left to assume, because none were by his side, that there were indeed none.
I do know this kid complained he was ridiculed and ignored by the general community–a community I know comes from mixed beliefs and backgrounds. I don’t know the details. Maybe the kids ignored him or gave him dirty looks because he was just angry and mean. Maybe it had nothing to do with him looking strange or being transgender. Maybe not. I don’t know him or the specifics of his life enough. All I have is what he has expressed on YouTube.
And so from this I wonder, where are the Christians?
Are not Christians supposed to be a shining light of love in this dark and cruel world? Even if you don’t agree with transgenderism and feel it is sinful, doesn’t a christian recognize that and recall that Christ came for the weak and weary, the sick and the oppressed? Didn’t he come for the angry and mean?
You do not have to agree with a person’s lifestyle in order to be kind to them and treat them as human. You don’t have to feel like it is your obligation to change their gender even. It is our job to be loving and to share the love of Jesus. That alone can transform a person from the inside out. That alone can heal sickness. That alone can give meaning and purpose to someones’ life. That alone could have saved this teenager from the loneliness and anger that lead him to his suicide. I hope that after this, we can start taking more opportunities to be the light we are called to be. Myself included.
Why Christians Are Not Stepping Up
I understand the Christian struggle today. I have experienced those moments of fear when feeling called to step out and feed God’s sheep. It can be challenging and nerve-racking.
Christians are afraid no doubt. Christians are often the victims of oppression themselves in the public school community and other public sectors. Teachers are not allowed to evangelize. Teenagers who share their faith are falsely labeled as bigots and idiots by many non-Christians. No doubt many Christian students did not step up and say hello to this lonely young man because they felt uncomfortable, were immature in how to handle that, and were afraid to share their faith.
What Christians Need To Rethink
What we need to realize is that we don’t have to just walk up to someone and give them the gospel. We certainly can do it that way. But it is not the only way. We can also just be kind and take interest in the person, build a relationship with him or her until it becomes safe enough for both people in the relationship for the gospel to be shared and not be taken offensively or given with some sort of attempt to judge that person as a sinner specifically because of a sexual or gender struggle. Mankind struggles with all sorts of sin. Each and every one.
I know that if this transgendered teen was my student, I hope that I would have made a special effort to get to know him. I would have made a special effort to show him kindness and love. At least as of now, I know for sure I will. Does that mean I need to call him a hero for stepping out in his desire to be a girl? Does it mean I have to pretend or claim that transgenderism is normal, natural, or healthy? No. It means that no matter what, this student is a human being, a creation of God, deserving of love and of meaning and purpose in his life. And transgendered or not, without Jesus, this boy is lost in his sins and the sins of this world. This boy will not have the beauty and freedom that I have come to know through my relationship with the creator of the Universe.
I really hope that this story, this tragedy helps motivate all Christians to stop being afraid of oppression and of persecution and step out in faith.
We are not called out of this world but to be in this world for a reason–to be salt and light.
When we allow our fears and selfish desire to not feel uncomfortable control us, we act no different from the rest of the world by showing indifference to a lost and sad teenager at lunch or in the classroom and this is in direct defiance to what God has called us to do. Do not believe the lies whispered in your ears. Fear is not from the Lord.
Remember, if God is for us, who can be against us? Those people should have no affect on us. In the perspective of eternity– is judgment from some pimple-faced atheist or a liberal school administrator worth a lost opportunity to share love and the gospel with a lonely teenager and possibly win his own opportunity to live in peace in heaven where Jesus could wipe every tear from his eyes as well? Is he not deserving of the same love and salvation as others who do not struggle with identity issues?
This poor student was lied to. He was told by the world that all he had to do was embrace his gender struggle and transform himself into a woman in order to be joyous and peaceful. Then that same world rejected him when he did.
And the Christians who knew this worldly lie was not true did not step in to help him because they have been told by this same world to be silent and keep their faith to themselves. On top of that, the state of California has made it illegal for church programs to exist that help transgendered and gay people overcome their sexual or gender struggle based on the belief that it is harmful to them.
In the end, what this student really needed was to be transformed by the Holy Spirit from the inside out in order to find joy and peace. To know that he was created for a purpose by a loving God who died and rose again to save him.
And yet all that opportunity was lost.
It didn’t have to be.
So What Do We Do Now?–How to Use this for Good
I know my audience is not teens. It is moms–parents of teenagers who need to be trained and lead by our example and prompting. I hope tonight you hold on to your babies and tell them how much God loves them. To tell them to not be afraid.I know I will. I couldn’t imagine how sad I would be if I were the parents of Taylor.
I encourage you parents to talk to your kids. Have them think of one loner on their campus that they could befriend–straight, gay, transgendered, pimple-faced, or just strange…it doesn’t matter. Build them up with the truth of the word to not allow fear to stop them. God is for them. God will use it for good somewhere and somehow in time.
If we all start doing this today, we may see less of these stories in tomorrow’s headlines.
I linked this up at–http://www.christianmommyblogger.com