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How Do I have a Conversation about Gender and Sexuality?

If you look at many modern college applications, you will see dozens of different options for selecting an individual’s gender. Many social media platforms and employment agencies will even list up to a hundred or more options for identifying your gender. Clearly, there are no shortage of issues that come up concerning gender and human sexuality. In order to help your teenager live faithfully as a follower of Christ, you must be ready to engage questions and issues brought forth regarding LGBTQ individuals in a rapidly changing culture. Teenagers today are hearing conflicting messages about how sexuality is the way we are born while also hearing how gender is a fluid decision that can change throughout a person’s life. We live in a time where any kind of sexual ethic your teenager holds will be seen as strange, oppressive, or even hateful.

With all the turmoil surrounding our families, how can we as parents help our teenager think through matters of gender and sexuality? No doubt this is a complicated issue, but here are three important areas to focus on in our conversations with our teenagers.

Point to the Truth of Scripture – We do not root our views of gender and sexuality based on how things were when we were growing up or some other cultural stereotype. Our authority for all things in life is found in Scripture and we must allow it to carry significant weight in these conversations with our teenager. We must understand that, while Scripture is not the standard for gender and sexual ethics for the culture our families live in, it is our clear standard for all areas of life and must be at the center of these conversations. 

See the Value of God’s Design – Scripture is critical for forming a biblical worldview, but we cannot approach it as an instruction manual we must begrudgingly follow. Instead we need to teach the reality of God’s truth while helping our teenager see the good and beauty of God’s design. God created us male and female for a reason just as He designed marriage to have a purpose. Just as every life is made in the image of God, marriage is to point us to the reality of the gospel represented in Christ and the church. This is not just a design to submit to out of personal preference, but a design we know is truly life giving as God’s best for our lives.

Develop a Posture of Grace and Truth – We want to help our teenagers hold to a biblical view of gender and sexuality, but we must also help them to know how to engage others. We must disciple our teens on how to best speak the truth in love and compassion to those around them who identity as nonstraight or gender nonconforming. There are a number of factors that lead to the choices and positions people will take and we can remain grounded in the truth while showing compassion to the hurts that others bear. You can help your teen know how to love others well and point them to the hope of the gospel by having ongoing conversations and modeling it in how you interact with others who believe differently than you do. 

As the culture continues to shift and move in directions that are counter to God’s will, there will be no end to things that raise questions with your teen. Generally speaking, when they ask a question they are ready for an answer. Because we have God’s word, we can provide them with those right answers. We can also provide them a model of a life that shares the truth and love with Jesus with everyone regardless of their choices. Our sons and daughters will be blessed to embrace their identity as boys and girls, but they will also be blessed by living like all people matter to God and it is His desire that they find their life and identity in Him.