Christian Sexuality Focus: “Hi, I’m Sarah, and I’m intersex”

First published on Christian Sexuality Focus

This is an important issue and it is one that I believe the Church as a whole has yet to come to grips with in terms of an appropriate response to people who are intersex.

However, it is important to note that the tacking of the letter I onto LGBT, auch as LGBTI, is highly controversial and not accepted universally by the intersex community.  It is quite possible to be intersex, and be opposed to LGBT activism in the Church, for example. This is because intersex is quite a different issue altogether fromn LGBT, although persons who are intersex may struggle with gender identity issues not unlike those who identify as transgender.

The main question for the Church at large is not that people are intersex (or for that matter, people identify with LGBT); it is simply what is an appropriate set of lifestyle choices for people who identify with any of these communities and who also belong to a church. The evangelical approach to this is largely conditioned by the type of genitals that a person possesses on the assumption that the role model for sexual intercourse is predicated on the marriage of two persons who possess opposite genital types. It follows from that that any believer who is sexually attracted to someone with the same type of genitals is expected to live a celibate life.

Intersex however is complicated by the fact that some individuals had their genitals surgically altered from one type to the other in childhood without their consent, and may wish to reverse the surgical changes in adulthood. This is somewhat different from those who are transgender seeking reassignment surgery, but a complex question where intersex individuals do not have a chromosomal or hormonal disorder that alters their gender specific characteristics.

The question for any individual Christian believer is ultimately one that can really only be settled with personal prayer and seeking after God’s will for one’s life. Here at CSW, we have a deep interest in the approach to LGBTI issues that is appropriate for the Church as a whole and for individual cases, and our expected future ministry of healing counsel and prayer will be expanded to include these areas.