A 2022 Gallup poll found that 21% of “Gen Z” (people born between 1997 and 2003) identify themselves as LGBTQ. That’s almost ten times the rate for Baby Boomers. How do we explain such an astonishing jump?
Dr. Lisa Littman offers a partial explanation. Dr. Littman is a physician and researcher in the area of gender dysphoria, and she is the person who coined the term “rapid onset gender dysphoria”. That refers to people who make a relatively sudden switch to an LGBTQ+ identity. In October 2016 one of her studies appeared in the October 2016 edition of Journal of Adolescent Health. She notes:
“Parents report their children experiencing a rapid onset of gender dysphoria. They described this development occurring in the context
of being part of a peer group where one, multiple, or even all friends
have developed gender dysphoria and come out as transgender
during the same time.”
Dr. Littman uses non-judgmental wording, but what she is implying is that teens’ decision to identify as a sexual minority is often peer-driven.
Anyone who has worked with teens will not be shocked to learn that peer opinion is a major factor in a teen’s thoughts and actions. Case in point: there was a brief period in my teen years when streaking – running naked through a public area – was a cool and edgy thing to do. (No, I did not streak. But my brother did and was suspended from school for a week). Some teens are willing to take risks like that to stand out and get attention.
Dr. Littman is not saying that all people who become trans do so as a result of peer opinion. But it’s easy to see how many do.
Katie McCoy, Director of Woman’ Ministry at Texas Baptist Seminary, has diagnosed the reason why some people choose a status as a sexual minority. Said she: [trans identity] “is a way to identify with what frankly is the currency of social value in our day today: being a victim. It is a search for meaning and worth and significance and value…. b/c you identify with a culturally recognized oppressed group.”
In other words, it’s cool to have rage because you’re a minority.
If a person genuinely struggles with their sexuality – and most of us do at times – I want to give that person space to struggle while being supported. But I would never take away the moral guard rails that keep a person from driving off a cliff as they journey down the road to sexual wholeness and love. Our foolish American culture has done just that.
Sexuality has become so riddled with anxiety these days. But I think that’s what happens when you take something that is meant to be a gift from God… and expect it to be god itself. A Christian fellowship is a place where moral guard rails are lovingly and confidently maintained – because it’s members know that true love can indeed be found.