MYRNA BROWN, HOST: It’s the 24th day of March 2023.
Glad to have you along for today’s edition of The World and Everything in It. Good morning, I’m Myrna Brown.
NICK EICHER, HOST: And I'm Nick Eicher. It's Culture Friday!
Joining us now is Katie McCoy. She’s director of women’s ministry at Texas Baptists. She holds a PhD in Systematic Theology from Southwestern Seminary, and she’s author of the forthcoming book To Be a Woman: The Confusion Over Female Identity and How Christians Can Respond.
It’ll be about three months before the book’s out, but we couldn’t wait to talk to her, given the sad, shocking events this week.
Katie, thank you for being here.
KATIE MCCOY, GUEST: Great to be with you all on really, though, such a heavy week.
EICHER: Katie, I know you’ve been following reports out of Nashville. There’s still a lot we do not know.
But what we want to talk about with you today is what we do know, which is we had another mass shooting this week, tragically, six lives taken. The killer came armed for confrontation with police that she fully expected, and she died in that confrontation.
One thing especially unusual here: Mass shootings are almost always committed by men. Since 1982, 96 percent of these attacks had male attackers. This was a female attacker, a young woman, 28 years old, who identified as a transgender male.
That’s well founded, even though in the early going, it was not.
Before Monday, she was completely unknown to police. She had no criminal record. She was an illustrator and graphic designer, she attended an art college.
Quoting from the chief of police: “We have a manifesto. We have some writings that we’re going over, that pertained to this date, the actual incident. We have a map drawn out of how this was all going to take place. There’s right now a theory that we may be able to talk about later, but it’s not confirmed. And so we’ll put that out as soon as we can.”
We would also later find out that the shooter had been under a doctor’s care for an emotional disorder. We also found out that her parents did not think she should have a weapon, that the one they believed she had, they believed she’d sold it.
So we know the killer was a woman, that she identified as a transgender male, that she lived with her parents, that this was a premeditated, targeted attack on a site she knew (because she had been a student there in the distant past). We’ve seen a photograph police provided of a smiling, petite young lady, and we’ve seen a social media picture which is a good bit different.
The subtitle on your book is The Confusion Over Female Identity, so from established facts we have here, isn’t that what we have here?
MCCOY: Absolutely. Case in point, how long did it take before we really knew the identity of the shooter? It was reported that this was a young girl or then it was a woman and then it was a male, it was a trans—it was so confusing, to understand what had even occurred. And in part because we live in a society right now that disconnects biology from gender, to the point that one's physical, biological sex has no bearing on one's identity. And that is part of why in the aftermath, the immediate aftermath, it was so confusing. And once I heard the confirmation that this was indeed a biological female who identified as trans, it brings up a host of questions. Among them were, as you mentioned, that emotional disorder. That is so very common among transgender persons. In fact, most of the time, when people are seeking a gender transition, it is to alleviate things like anxiety, depression, and other mental distress or emotional issues. And also, part of the reason why we see such a flood of detransitioners, is that they go through the hormonal, perhaps the surgical procedures and find that their anxiety and depression is still around, that all of the transition did not help their mental and emotional issues. And clearly, this woman had much more going on than just gender dysphoria and just an emotional disorder.
BROWN: Well, Katie, let me just say too, thanks for the preview copy of the book, Katie. It’s fascinating. But in it, you describe how women in the LGBTQ community are “pulled between a belief system anchoring sex and gender identity in a Creator and a cultural riptide sweeping them into confusion and, in many cases, irreparable harm.”
I wonder if the church sometimes adds to that confusion by adding a third wheel per se, and that third wheel would be the notion that God is ok with a woman choosing to identify as a man or vice-versa. Are you seeing the church being helpful or just muddying the waters?
MCCOY: The short answer is, yes, some churches are helpful, some churches are harmful. And that pull, that tug of war, happens in part because 80% of the LGBTQ community comes from a Christian or religious background. That means that they are in our churches or youth groups, our homeschool coops our Christian schools. And really, if you have teenagers and young adults with access to social media, even if they have Christian friends who all believe the same way that you do, that you perhaps have raised your son or daughter to believe, they're being introduced to these ideas. So one of the most confusing and harmful things, it's really just an extension of what we see from the last 10-15 years about confusion over what Scripture says over a biblical sexual ethic. And we have some people claiming to speak for God, who say that it is entirely possible to maintain a Christian faith, your Christian discipleship, and a transgender identity. Now, let me hasten to say, we're not talking about people who are Christians, and suffer from gender dysphoria. Gender dysphoria is a very complex condition. It is an acute mental and emotional distress. Someone can still struggle with feeling out of sync between their mind and body, but live according to God's design. Part of the confusion that we're seeing, it goes down to a doctrine of humanity that is woefully deficient. And what did it mean to be created in the image of God? Is it only that we were made souls? Well, if it's not including something about the significance of our bodies, then why did Jesus come in human form? Why was he physically put to death, resurrected, physically ascended, and he is going to physically return? I think, God gives greater priority to the body than our culture does. And one of the things that we're seeing has infiltrated the church, sometimes it is out of deep concern for someone with gender dysphoria, but it is a blurring of these cultural beliefs, as though your Christian discipleship has no bearing on the body, has nothing to do with how you live in the physical world. And so we have some people in ministry in different churches, who are saying that you can be whatever you want to be. And so one of the things that we must reclaim is a full picture of what God says it means to be human, and how that affects our own Theology of the Body.
BROWN: Nick mentioned earlier the manifesto, and I do want to see that, and I agree it may shed some light. But we may never really know what was going through her mind when she pulled the trigger and changed so many lives, and stole so many.
Katie, there’s a chapter in your book that might give us some insight, and it startled me when I read it! You write about rapid onset gender dysphoria and how “the majority of adolescent girls who suddenly come out as trans are white and middle class.” You also write, “in a culture where your credibility is linked to your victim status, being a white, middle-class girl isn’t special.”
Now, imagine my surprise at reading that! But I do get it today.
So, lacking victim status, does that mean some people seek to become victims, and transgenderism is the perfect ticket to victim status?
And what’s going on in the trans community, these days of vengeance we hear about, that on the one hand you seek victimhood, but then you may say, I’m sick of being a victim, so I’ll lash out, and I’ll lash out violently. I hate to speculate, but is that beyond reasonable in this worldview?
MCCOY: To answer that, I think we have to look at the 40,000 foot view of our sociological moment. So, one of the things that we have in our culture today, we're very influenced by this idea of intersectionality. Now, intersectionality can be used in two ways. One way is descriptive, you're seeing how different categories of a person's being can make them more disadvantaged than someone who has a different set of categories. But the prescriptive way is what you're talking about. When someone has multiple statuses of a minority, intersectionality would say that they have a more pure perspective of what is true, and we are obligated to listen to them. And because, at the core of it, the problem of the human condition is power. Now, certainly we can see all throughout history, how power is corrupting. But we would also recognize that power itself is corrupting because of the corruption of the human heart. The problem that we have in our society today, among many other things, is that it views the majority as intrinsically oppressive of the minority. Translate that to what you're describing with our transgender moment that we're in right now, when you have young people who are growing up with this mindset, and you have cisgender, white, middle class, Christian teenagers, their only access to a minority status is the one that they can choose. And that is a gender minority. And what Lisa Littman, the researcher found, who coined that term, rapid onset gender dysphoria, she found that there were teen girls, who, once they inhabited this trans identity almost overnight, they became like a co-belligerent against other types of injustice. So it was a way to identify with what, frankly, is the currency of social value in our day today. It is what minority status Do you have? How can your voice be worthy of elevation? And really, what that would reflect is? How can you sort of etch out your own value in society today? It is a search for worth and meaning and significance and value, not because of the substance of what you're saying, but because you inhabit or identify with a culturally recognized oppressed group. So yes, what we're seeing this horrific headline about a day of vengeance, it's that this culmination of both minority status and anger at the majority. Now we would never be for someone to be bullied or mistreated, that should go without saying, but when I hear the trans community demand equality, I have to ask, what is this equality that they're looking for? We all have the equal right to be treated as human. But we do not have the equal right to define who we are separate from our biology and then demand that all of society conform to our self perception, that the difference that is is particularly pernicious among this transgender ideology. It not only has serious issues for one's belief about humanity, but it demands and punishes people who do not conform to their self perception and what they want the world to be and operate like.
EICHER: Katie McCoy is director of women’s ministry at Texas Baptists. She holds a PhD in Systematic Theology from Southwestern Seminary, and she’s author of a book due out in June: To Be a Woman: The Confusion Over Female Identity and How Christians Can Respond. I’m grateful that you could be with us and bear with us on these difficult questions and take your time and answer them with such care. Katie, thank you so much. We appreciate it and we will talk to you again soon.
MCCOY: Always great to be with you.
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