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Carl R. Trueman: LGB at odds with T

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WORLD Radio - Carl R. Trueman: LGB at odds with T

Transgender activists in the U.K. oppose an LGB group’s bid for charitable status, exposing cracks in the LGBTQ alliance


A demonstrator detained during the No Ban Without Trans protest opposite Downing Street in London, England, April, 2022. Hollie Adams/Getty Images

NICK EICHER, HOST: Today is Tuesday, July 25th. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Nick Eicher.

MARY REICHARD, HOST: And I’m Mary Reichard. Up next: the hidden fault line among LGBT activists.

A court ruling in the U.K. illustrates this well, as WORLD Opinions writer Carl Trueman explains.

CARL TRUEMAN, COMMENTATOR: The recent legal victory in the United Kingdom for the LGB Alliance is most interesting, both from a general political perspective and a more narrow Christian viewpoint. The case was instigated by Mermaids, a British organization committed to promoting transgender children’s rights. Mermaid’s objection to the LGB Alliance was that the Alliance rejects the ideology of gender that underlies the transgender movement, including treatments for children. Mermaids was therefore challenging the action of the U.K. government in granting the LGB Alliance charitable status, similar to tax-exempt status for non-profits in the USA.

The court’s ruling against Mermaids is one more sign that transgender power in British culture may now be in decline. Only time will tell on that, but the ruling gives some ground for hope.

The case dramatizes what has been clear for some time about the LGBTQ scene: the T and the Q are at obvious odds with the LGB, at least as traditionally understood. That’s because those who are transgender or queer often act as if biological sex differences don’t matter, while those who are lesbian, gay, or bisexual assume biological sex is fundamental. Gay men are not sexually attracted to women pretending to be men, nor lesbians to men pretending to be women. This fault line was hidden for the longest time, given the need for a united front against a society perceived to be dominated by white male heterosexuality.

But the trans issue is now dividing the LGBTQ alliance. In many places this year, Pride Month was a little more muted, and some members of the gay community have blamed the trans issue, with its implications for children and parental rights. As gay journalist Andrew Sullivan explained in the UK’s Spectator, “The core reason for the backlash is pretty simple: The attempt to indoctrinate children in gender ideology and to trans them on the verge of puberty has changed the debate.”

Yes, the ambitions of the transgender movement are deeply problematic for LGBTQ groups as a public relations issue. An alliance built on little more than the belief that “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” is beginning to show obvious signs of weakness.

And yet, while the ruling for the LGB Alliance is welcome, a case can be made that the trans-rejecting L, G, and B are themselves caught on the horns of a very real dilemma. This is because they simultaneously assert and deny the importance of biological sex. After all, once one decides that the sexed nature of the body is critical to who one is and who one desires and yet has no relevance to what one wills to do sexually, then one is ironically opening the way for the transgender ideologues who grant no significance to biology.

It is not enough for the LGB community to distance itself from the T and the Q. It has to disband itself if it is to be consistent on this. Biological sex is either significant or it isn’t. It really is that simple. There is no third way. And trans-rejecting gays and lesbians need to decide one way or the other.

I’m Carl Trueman.


WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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