Myth 1: Claiming to be transgender is: a fad, a choice, a phase, caused by peer pressure, a form of rebellion.
Reality: This is their true understanding of themselves. Transition is not an impulse or an easy change, but an effort to resolve a strong dissonance in their life and live their personal gender identity.
“Transgender people risk social stigma, discrimination, and harassment when they tell other people who they really are. Parents, friends, coworkers, classmates, and neighbors may be accepting—but they also might not be, and many transgender people fear that they will not be accepted by their loved ones and others in their life. Despite those risks, being open about one’s gender identity, and living a life that feels truly authentic, can be a life-affirming and even life-saving decision.”
Myth 2: Children can’t be transgender. It only happens at puberty.
Reality: People can realize they are transgender at any age. Much like knowing if you are right-handed or left-handed, it’s hard to explain but it feels natural.
“People can realize that they’re transgender at any age. Some people can trace their awareness back to their earlier memories – they just knew. Others may need more time to realize that they are transgender. Some people may spend years feeling like they don’t fit in without really understanding why, or may try to avoid thinking or talking about their gender out of fear, shame, or confusion. Trying to repress or change one’s gender identity doesn’t work; in fact, it can be very painful and damaging to one’s emotional and mental health. As transgender people become more visible in the media and in community life across the country, more transgender people are able to name and understand their own experiences and may feel safer and more comfortable sharing it with others.” 2
Myth 3: All transgender people want hormone therapy and extensive surgery.
Reality: Transgender people choose to transition in many ways.
Transgender people seek transitions that make them comfortable with the way they identify. This could be clothing, grooming, mannerisms, activities, name change or many other actions that align with their view. Hormone therapy and/or surgery are sought by some but by no means all transgender individuals.
Myth 4: Transgender people hate their bodies.
Reality: Gender (body) dysphoria is not a sign of transgender identity or common to all transgender people.
“For some transgender people, the difference between the gender they are thought to be at birth and the gender they know themselves to be can lead to serious emotional distress that affects their health and everyday lives if not addressed. Gender dysphoria is a medical diagnosis for someone who experiences this distress.
Not all transgender people have gender dysphoria. On its own, being transgender is not considered a medical condition. Many transgender people do not experience serious anxiety or stress associated with the difference between their gender identity and their gender of birth, and so may not have gender dysphoria.” 2
Myth 5: The parents did something wrong.
Reality: Nothing parents did caused a child to be transgender. However, the way parents respond will have a huge impact on a child’s well-being.
Self-blame is often the initial response of parents who learn that their child is transgender. This is not true. A child’s gender identity is not learned from anyone, including parents. Just as a parent cannot cause a child to be heterosexual/straight/cisgender, a parent cannot cause a child to be transgender.
“At some point, nearly all children will engage in behavior associated with different genders – girls will play with trucks, boys will play with dolls, girls will hate wearing dresses and boys will insist on wearing them – and gender-nonconforming behavior does not necessarily mean that a child is transgender. That said, sometimes these behaviors can clue us in to what a child may be feeling about their gender – with some children identifying as another gender than the one they were assigned as early as toddlerhood.
The general rule for determining whether a child is transgender or non-binary … is if the child is consistent, insistent, and persistent about their transgender identity. In other words, if your 4-year-old son wants to wear a dress or says he wants to be a girl once or twice, he probably is not transgender; but if your child who was assigned male at birth repeatedly insists over the course of several months–or years– that she is a girl, then she is probably transgender. Children…may not have the words at a very young age to capture that feeling, but over time it may become more clear to them, and ultimately to you, that they are…a trans girl or a trans boy.” 3
Myth 6: Someone taught my child to be transgender - OR - My child might turn other children in the family or community to be transgender.
Reality: Gender identity is not learned from peers or others.
Although children and adolescents may imitate or influence each other, gender identity is not something that is learned from peers. It is a deeply personal view of oneself rather than taking on views from someone else. Others might come out as transgender and/or LGBTQ to your child, not because they are “recruited,” but because they recognize a common bond or shared experience of being outside social or cultural norms.
Myth 7: Transgender athletes have an advantage and should be banned from playing sports outside their gender assigned at birth.
Reality: Tens of thousands of transgender and non-binary students have been playing sports for years without any unfair advantages or
“Legislation designed to exclude transgender people, particularly women and girls, from participating in athletics has been rejected by educators, athletes, NCAA-trained facilitators, coaches, advocates for women and girls, and medical professionals. In fact, the Associated Press asked lawmakers who were seeking to pass these discriminatory bills to cite problem cases in their states and not a single lawmaker could identify a case.”
“The reality is that all female athletes — transgender and non-transgender — have different shapes and sizes, have different strengths and weaknesses. The research shows there’s no scientific reason to exclude transgender young people. Doing so can lead to immense harm in overall well-being by interrupting an activity crucial to identity and development.”
Myth 8: Transgender individuals could prey on women and children in public bathrooms.
Reality: Transgender people are not new and they have been using facilities as restrooms and locker rooms consistent with their gender identity for decades without issue.
“Laws in 21 states and more than 170 cities and counties prohibit discrimination on the basis of gender identity in employment, housing, and public accommodations such as restaurants, retail establishments, and hotels. There is no evidence that these laws lead to violence or undermine safety. That is why more than 300 domestic violence and sexual assault prevention organizations support full and equal inclusion of transgender people in facilities consistent with their gender identity…Opponents of LGBTQ+ equality have admitted that their bathroom safety argument was contrived and not a real concern based on habits of actual predators.”
Myth 9: The Bible says God created man and woman only.
Reality: The Bible is most concerned about proper treatment of others and opposes cruelty, exploitation, and abuse among all people.
Jesus was silent on the subject of sexual orientation or gender identity. In fact, His ministry was one of welcome and acceptance to many considered outcasts or misfits, not condemnation. In addition, many Christians hold the Great Commandment in Mt. 22:36-40 as their overarching guide: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” and “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
For a more detailed discussion on scripture and transgender issues, please see “What Does the Bible Say About Transgender People”