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Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Sam-Amber, the WELS Trained Trans-Gender Martin Luther College Graduate


Sam Birner, aka Amber Noel Birner,
Martin Luther College, WELS, graduate,
had a boyfriend and gender modification going before graduation.

WELS Discussions
I'm going to post my response to Daniel Baker in a new thread because I'm lazy and don't want to go find the other thread tongue emoticon
Here was his comment
"Studies have shown (and cases been made in court!) that certain addictions or behaviors are predisposed due to anomalous brain structures. For example, it has been demonstrated that sufferers of sociopathy have different brain structures and functions than non-sufferers. But no one (I hope) would argue that this gives sociopaths a right to act with complete disregard for others, even though that's exactly what their brains are structured to do.
At the same time, we know that neuroplasticity can occur due to changes in environment or injury. A man's brain actually changes when he becomes a father! There is so much about the brain that we don't fully understand yet.
As far as the Biblical perspective goes, we know God created them male and female. Scripture doesn't qualify being male or female with brain structure. Male and female is first and foremost an anatomical consideration, particularly since in Christ there "is no male or female" from the perspective of the basic worth of the individual. But the body isn't disposable. In fact, the very notion that the body is wrong but the "mind" is right smacks of gnosticism and ultimately seems a bit arbitrary.
All of this is to say that supporting body alterations on a neurological basis seems tenuous at best. It seems more reasonable to assert that the problems with the brain should be treated, rather than altering a perfectly normal body to function like something it genetically isn't. Science has shown that the brain can change. As of yet, the anatomical fact that we're male or female can not, even though we can make it look to the contrary. In the end, it seems more logical to treat the issue where there is room for meaningful change (the brain) than to "treat" the body in a way that is little more than a facade."
I thank you for being patient (I hope) and waiting out a response. I did not want to be hasty and wanted time to reflect on certain things as well as discuss with others before making a response. I understand it seemed long, but I have had much going on, as well as the sensitivity of this topic to me. (There are certainly times where I did not work on a response simply because I did not feel in an emotional state to deal with the topic.) Also was spending Valentine's day with my boyfriend, so happy Valentine's Day heart emoticon Anywho
On your first point you bring up anomalous brain structure in cases like sociopathy. However, this does not follow for the same discussion for multiple reasons.
The first is that sociopathy is a tendency especially with actions. In fact, you mention their actions specifically. This is very different from a discussion that has much more to do with a person’s identity, not necessarily their actions, as actions may be linked, but are still a separate issue.
The second is the word “anomalous.” This word is troublesome because of what we know about the issue. For instance, if scientists that did not know the patients and only saw their brains and they saw the brain of a female, and the brain of someone who is male-to-female transgender, they would not say either is anomalous but rather that both are female brains, as they would have no reason to believe any anomaly was present. (I will post sources for the brain structure issues at the end)
The next is the changing of neuroplasticity. While this is true, research has shown that such is not the case. In the studies I will link they took into account people who did or did not transition, and people who were and were not on hormones. In these studies they found that both were entirely irrelevant and did not effect the outcome.
As well, in the tragic story of David Reimer, John Money tried to force this change by having David’s parents raise him as female. Despite not knowing what happened at his birth and having an entire environment telling him he was female, he still insisted he was male. There are many other cases I unfortunately do not have the citation for, but the citation *is* in the book Far From The Tree (Which I don’t have on hand so I can’t grab the citation) but a study was done in which this was done to multiple children, with a consistent response that it had no effect on their gender identity. Combine this with our knowledge that gender identity is learned at a very early age, and that transgender children have this identity *consistently* without changing even when pushed down. (Citation at the end)
Of course, regardless of those points, in this discussion, Biblical perspective is the most salient issue. Now it is true that God does not qualify male or female with brain structure, but nor does he qualify it with body structure or even ability to reproduce (As we would not say someone that was born intersex is not male or female and we would not say someone who is sterile is not *really* male/female)
Now, in this discussion I would not say that the body is disposable or unimportant, far from it! However, your use of the word “mind” confuses the issue more because I am not discussing mind per se (Though that is very important as we wouldn’t know there was the issue without cognitive function!) but I am pointing to concrete parts of the brain that are physically and physiologically different from the rest of the body. (I will however admit I did tread too far into the idea of the mind and body being separate, and will concede that point as gnostic heresy)
Now, with what we know of sexually dimorphic parts of the brain, by forcing someone to go against their identity would be forcing their brain to function in a way that is not genetically correct (As we know the genetic topics on sexually dimorphic parts of the brain.)
But let’s discuss for a moment if you are right. Let us say that it is best to treat the brain. Now we have a very difficult dilemma to deal with, as we have no good way of doing so. “Reparative therapy” has been shown to not only be ineffective, but even damaging. Transgender individuals attempt suicide at a rate of about 41% and this risk develops even more if their gender identity is rejected by family and friends. So tragically, such has very strong issues we must face. Now, research *does* point to support, acceptance, and transition as being the most consistently positive treatments, but this has no bearing on Biblical perspective of course.
However, the problems with attempting to treat the brain as the problem cannot be ignored. The phrase “meaningful change” is strange though. In what way would treating the brain instead of the body be more meaningful. While we can’t change either genetically (As stated before, the sexual dimorphic parts of the brain as also genetic components), the body is the only one we can change physically and physiologically.
So if we are going to discuss which is *logical* to treat, that would point towards the body as we have knowledge to change it, ability to change it, it is the most successful treatment, and research supports it the most. So, the argument of which is more logical does not support a stance against. However again, this is about the Biblical issue, not which seems most logical. So we should visit back to the “male and female” paragraph.
To discuss Biblical qualification, it must be acknowledge that genitals, chromosomes, and ability to reproduce cannot be qualifiers, even if we use all 3 at once, because we will then end up being forced to admit that some individuals are neither male nor female, or even some as both! So now this returns to the fundamental question of by what Biblical authority do we go with genitals/chromosomes/etc. over the brain, or if we go by genitals, chromosomes, and/or ability to reproduce, what do we do with individuals that do not fit *any* of those? And whatever decision is made on that, why can it not be extended beyond such a group? While we can say it’s “logical” not to extend it to other groups, we run into the problem of logic brought up earlier, and if we say it is “easier” that has no bearing on the truth of a matter, and while we can say Occam’s Razor, that is used merely as a thinking tool for *potential* answers, but not for the truthfulness of an answer, in addition to Occam’s Razor becoming difficult in reliability with all of our knowledge on the topic.
Now then, below I will give the links to the studies I cite as well as any other information importantly mentioned. (Also, there will be a link to huffington post, which I understand has a liberal bias, but I post it because it has links to the research, not because of HP itself.)
Surgical Treatment of Gender Dysphoria in Adults and Adolescents: Recent Developments, Effectiveness, and Challenges. Annual Review of Sex Research 18 (178–224). (I do not have a link to this, but this discusses transition as the most consistently positive form of treatment)
The following studies are the studies on sexually dimorphic parts of the brain
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11826131
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24275005
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12211624
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18980961
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2754583/
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16870186
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10843193
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7477289
http://endtransdiscrimination.org/PDFs/NTDS_Report.pdf (This link contains information on discrimination and the suicide rate)
Far from the tree: Parents, children, and the search for identity For anyone curious about the citation I mention here. Also, information about John Money and David Reimer can be found easily through google search.athy have different brain structures and functions than non-sufferers. But no one (I hope) would argue that this gives ...
Continue Reading
The Michigan Lutheran Seminary cheerleadering squad
is looking for a few good men, Amber.

J Neurosci. 2002 Feb 1;22(3):1027-33. Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
NCBI.NLM.NIH.GOV|BY CHUNG WC , ET AL.
Like · 
  • Dawn Marie This program could not be more appropriate and helpful for this discussion. A good listen for all concerned. Excellent podcast that directly addresses this as sin and how we deal with this in the church. We do not love our neighbor by endorsing, affirming or supporting sin, no matter whose sin or what sin. Well worth listening to!! http://issuesetc.org/tag/transgendered/
    Podcast 1. A Recent PBS Religion and Ethics Newsweekly Story on “Transgendered People and...
    ISSUESETC.ORG
    11 hrs · Edited · Like
  • Daniel Baker What Sherrie Rardin says is correct. Whether or not it is genetic is irrelevant, so there's no sense in arguing about it, which only serves to put off people who are struggling with these issues. What's important is the Divine will concerning gender, sex, and marriage. Not the specifics about how our sinful bodies are defective.
    11 hrs · Like · 3
  • Sherrie Rardin As someone married to a man who struggles every single day, despite medication, with major depressive disorder, I can assure you that there is also comfort in knowing that there simply is NO personal understanding of some struggles. That does not mean we are not compassionate and uplift our struggling brothers and sisters in Christ. But, if I do not say "that's wrong" then I compound his struggle. We all feel "broken" - some feel it every day. But that is why we need to stay steadfast in the Word and knowledge that it was precisely for us our loving Savior bore our burdens and gives us rest.
    11 hrs · Like · 4
---

These guys will straighten you out, Amber.


  • Amber Noel Birner " the transgender agenda "

    I don't understand this terminology. Why is it an agenda? What agenda?


    Also, I won't get into whether or not it's right, but the idea that a student would lie about it is silly.
    For one, that would require coming out to everyone, which can be an incredibly stressful and even sometimes traumatic experience.
    It would require a diagnosis which includes *consistent* long term expression of the feelings (It usually requires at least 3 months of therapy to get a diagnosis)
    And also trans individuals face overwhelming discrimination, high rates of suicide, high rates of unemployment, and many social issues.
    And hormones would almost undoubtedly then need to be involved.

    Like I said, I won't get into whether or not it's right, but the idea that students would fake it is downright ridiculous. It'd be a lot to deal with emotionally and psychologically just to play on a sports team. It just doesn't work like that.
  • Joe Jewell Your next post needs to address Daniel Baker's lengthy, well-thought-out piece, and should be made on that thread.
  • Amber Noel Birner A long response warrants a long response. I'm working on a response over time as I am taking time to think on certain aspects and how to respond.

    I would appreciate it if I could comment on other things in the group and contribute without being berated each time about a different thread.
  • Joe Jewell Look, I will be quite frank: your views on most of the issues you've chosen to comment on are either quite outside anything resembling Confessional Lutheran orthodoxy or passive-aggressively in support of the same. I don't begrudge you your views, to b...See More
  • Jeffery Clark I agree with Joe, Sam. Use that MLC degree of yours and compose a response, it doesn't take days to write up a little Facebook response.
  • Amber Noel Birner I am however providing another view on topics, and for instance all of the things I stated in my comment here are not specifically WELS or anti-WELS but they are still pertinent to the topic at hand.

    If I seem passive aggressive I apologize, but other
     things may catch my eye that I can conjure up a quick response to, especially a topic like this where knowledge of the issue is key, whether or not the person with that knowledge agrees with the position, because without knowledge it makes one side seem far more foolish than they are.

    You are right, I have had time, in terms of time between then and now. However, I do have many other things going that have been taking up my time and leading to either lack of time at some points, and disinterest at others. 

    I would rather take my time with a response than rush anything because of impatience.

    And Jeff, that's simply a rude and uncalled for comment. I'm trying to write out a well thought-out response, and the comment of "using my MLC degree" is certainly not in the right heart.

    I will write the response in my time with my schedule and prioritizing my life.
Don't scratch "WELS Pastor" off your career goals list, Amber.