When a Small White Man Says He’s a Tall Asian Woman, Listen

I’m a strong advocate of good, respectful conversations, and I think those conversations start by listening before discerning. Christians get too worked up about correcting people. We fear we’ve compromised our testimony if we don’t qualify and clarify our love for those who differ from us. We’re afraid we failed as a Christian if someone comes out as gay or trans or feminist or atheist and we don’t say something about how we disagree with them or worry for them. We judge and we speak…but the doubt comes when we’re lying in bed feeling guilty: “Maybe I wasn’t loving enough?”

We should listen first, and when we speak, ask questions. It’s okay to sit in silence. It’s okay to say, “Thank you for sharing your viewpoint with me, I appreciate it” — and nothing else. It’s okay to conclude a conversation with a handshake and a smile, having corrected nothing.

With that in mind, I wrote this response to the Family Policy Institute of Washington’s video, “College Kids Say the Darndest Things: On Identity” — “Being ‘Right’ About a Person’s Identity.” Let me know your thoughts on the video!

3 thoughts on “When a Small White Man Says He’s a Tall Asian Woman, Listen

  1. Daniel Abbott

    I read your article. And I asked myself some questions:

    Who identifies people as “rude?” Does anybody identify themselves as “rude?” Why is it alright for an “advocate” of good, respectful conversation to label other people as “rude?”

    Is dysphoria a serious mental issue? Is it okay to label people with dysphoria “bad,” “poor,” or “disrespectful” conversationalists? or correct them? Will this not cause them great mental harm, considering they are probably strangers to the author? Do dysphoric people tell others they are disphoric? or is it a guessing game?

    If it is not okay, then who was the target audience? Was it to people who label people that claim people’s self proclaimed identities are invalid as “rude?”

    Is the purpose of this article to establish a social stigma for people with whom the author disagrees?

    My conclusion is that we, as a society, will always validate and invalidate individual society members’ personal identities. It is not a question of whether society should validate or invalidate personal identities, but only what personal identities should society invalidate.

    The questions are questions I asked myself. You can view them as rhetorical, or you can try to answer them in a plethora of ways, as I did. Though I am still uncertain how those questions led to that conclusion. I know those questions did. I just don’t know how?


  2. Mama Bergmann

    I agree with you wholeheartedly that we should spend more time listening and trying to understand before speaking our mind. In the video scenario, there’s only so much that a brief encounter with a stranger can accomplish. Of all the responses, the one who said something like, “How did you come to believe that?” was the most appropriate one.

    However, for those friends, family members, co-workers, teachers, counselors, etc. who have opportunity and responsibility to be in a deeper relationship with a person who identifies in a way that clearly differs from reality, would it really be “loving our neighbor as ourselves” if we didn’t kindly guide him back to the reality of the situation? NOT speaking out could be an unloving thing to do. I realize that the cases of “I am a tall Asian woman” or “I am Napoleon” are clearer cut and less complex than those of gender identity, but the application still fits.

    In regard specifically to the gender identity issue, I heard a Dr. Joe Dallas speak on the Janet Parshall radio program the other day, and I really liked how he approached the issue. Here is part of a quote from his 5-part series on the transgender issue (joedallas.com).:

    “Yet neither our appreciation for someone’s struggle, nor our call to treat our neighbor with love and respect, compels us to join in that neighbor’s delusion, nor to conform our lives to it. If my neighbor, friend, or loved one attempts to change sex, that person can count on my care, my fair treatment, and even my affection as a fellow human.

    But should he or she demand I go along with what is at least irrational and, at worst, an immoral rejection of what God intended, I must fall back on Churchill’s blunt assessment of what reality is versus what we wish it to be:

    ‘The truth is incontrovertible. Malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end, there it is. ‘ “


    • Bailey Steger

      I agree! My article was just focused on the limited stranger reaction. In a situation where you are close to the person and are a part of their trustworthy people group, it would be imperative to speak out for the best interests of your friend.


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