But today, she said, a pervasive social message has become: “If you want to stay at home, work in the kitchen, and be feminine, have children, then you must be a woman. And therefore, if you don't want to do any combination of these things, you must not be a woman.”
Fain also said that from her perspective, some communities with rigid gender roles also speak about homosexuality in particularly negative or disparaging ways. That can lead children in these communities who experience same-sex attractions to believe they were born in the wrong body, Fain believes.
She added that she has friends from such communities who, upon experiencing same-sex attractions, choose to identify as transgender or non-binary (neither male nor female), rather than face the stigma of identifying as gay or lesbian.
“We're seeing this new ‘trans-the-gay-away’ movement happening, and people think that it's progressive, when in reality this is happening in some of the most conservative areas across the globe,” Fain said.
“It's happening in Iran where the government outlaws homosexuality on pain of death, but they're paying for homosexual people to transition in order to no longer be gay. Then we see it in the United States, where the most red states are where you have the highest rates of transgenderism, and it's no wonder that this is deeply linked to homophobia,” Fain said.
But Hasson cautioned against the assertion that homophobia in Christian and conservative churches is a significant contributor to the rise in transgenderism in youth. She said the assumption that most Christian churches with a biblical view of homosexuality are homophobic is unfair.
“I can’t speak to the views of ‘conservative’ or 'evangelical’ churches as such. But I can say that those who adhere to biblical morality, like Catholics who adhere to Catholic teaching, are frequently charged with being ‘homophobic’ because they believe that homosexual sexual activity is wrong, or that the homosexual inclination is not what God intended, because sexual desire should be ‘ordered’ rightly towards the opposite sex,” Hasson said.
“So there’s an unfortunate tendency for those who identify as gay or lesbian to cry ‘homophobia’ when a Church teaches against same-sex sexual relationships or behavior,” she noted.
Hasson said most churches today that teach a biblical view of sexuality do so with the distinction of the action and the person. - the Church’s rejection of homosexual acts is not a rejection of the person, but of the act of sexual relations outside of marriage, which the Church holds is only possible between a man and a woman.
“But there are a significant number, including Catholic churches, that rightly reject the expression of sexuality towards a same-sex partner (which is always outside of marriage, as understood by the Church). We need to push back on the left's talking point that Catholic teaching is by definition ‘homophobic.’”
Furthermore, Hasson said, she doubts the assertion because Christian parents by and large would not prefer that their children be transgender instead of homosexual, as both transgenderism and homosexuality go against God’s plan for human sexuality.
“...conservative churches and evangelicals who are against homosexual behavior are generally not going to accept assertions of a trans-identity,” Hasson said.
(Story continues below)
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“They both involve deviations from God’s explicit design, plus no parent would prefer a trans-identity over a same-sex attraction issue with a child, given the chemical castration and surgical interventions that are becoming commonplace ‘treatments’ for identity confusion.”
Hasson acknowledged that there are some fringe Christian communities that could be perpetuating truly homophobic attitudes. She also added that she is aware of a small subculture of Catholics who hold overly-rigid gender roles, such as that women shouldn’t wear pants and are not capable or fit to hold jobs outside the home.
“I think it's not healthy when someone does that and that strain of Catholicism is nothing new,” Hasson said, though she added that the sliver of truth there is that there is a different between men and women, and there are certain social cues used to distinguish between men and women that vary from culture to culture.
“Within that narrow slice, my sense is that someone who's growing up and feels constrained, if they feel some sort of weight of conscience like - ‘Oh, my gosh. I'm being a terrible woman,’ - they're also going to be getting a message that there are men or women,” Hasson said.
She said she didn’t necessarily see how someone who failed to fit into rigid gender stereotypes would then assume that they were actually a different biological sex.
“The most fundamental thing is whether you are a female, and that just doesn't change,” she said.