“Talking with Members about Gender,” Counseling Resources (2023)
“Talking about Gender,” Counseling Resources
Sometimes members have questions related to their feelings about gender. They might have family members or friends who are facing such questions. Or they might wonder about messages they’ve heard in the world regarding gender.
If members come to you seeking counsel about matters related to gender, prayerfully seek the guidance of the Spirit. Help them consider their questions from the perspective of the eternal truths of Heavenly Father’s plan for His children. Listening with love and compassion, help them rely on the Savior for understanding and spiritual strength.
As you seek to understand and help these individuals, be mindful of the need to support the family and use resources that are available. See “Transgender: Supporting Others” in Life Help in the Gospel Library.
We lived with God before we were born. As His children, we have the potential to become like Him.
Our identity as a child of God is our highest priority.
The differences between Heavenly Father’s daughters and His sons are important in His eternal plan. Those differences allow us to create life, as well as happy, eternal families. For this reason, He commands that we treat our bodies and the power of procreation as sacred gifts by obeying the law of chastity.
“Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose” (“The Family: A Proclamation to the World”).
The meaning of the word gender in the family proclamation is “biological sex at birth.”
Some people feel that their gender identity (how they feel inside) and their biological sex do not match. Such feelings are not sinful, though they can be distressing to those who experience them.
President Dallin H. Oaks taught that confusion about gender identity “can assume different forms at different times in a person’s life.” Those with questions should “take the long view and seek to rely and act on eternal principles” (“Stand for Truth” [worldwide devotional for young adults, May 21, 2023], newsroom.ChurchofJesusChrist.org). They should not allow Satan to use confusion about gender to draw them away from the Savior or to undermine their faith in Heavenly Father’s plan for their eternal happiness.
Peace of mind, spiritual strength, and an eternal perspective can be found in Jesus Christ, His gospel, and His Church, even if some questions cannot be answered fully in this life.
“If you, a family member, or a friend is struggling with these issues of confusion of identity, I urge you to apply both the law of the gospel and the love and mercy of our Savior and Redeemer, who will help and guide you, if you patiently walk in His paths. Jesus Christ … teaches us the path we need to follow to realize our Heavenly Father’s choicest blessings. … He loves us and will guide us as we seek to follow where He leads us” (Dallin H. Oaks, “Stand for Truth”).
People who have questions about their feelings related to gender often wonder about their relationship with the Lord or their place in His Church. Even though we “do not know the meaning of all things,” we can trust God and “know that he loveth his children” (1 Nephi 11:17).
All are welcome at church. Regardless of our feelings about gender, we all need good friends who are examples of Christlike love. We have been taught the following about loving all of God’s children:
“Anyone who does not treat individuals who face gender identity challenges with love and dignity is not aligned with the teachings of the first and second great commandments. Thus, on the subject of God’s law, we need to remember that God has revealed again and again that He created male and female. And on the subject of our duty to love our neighbor, we need to remember that God has commanded us to love even those who do not keep all of the commandments. …
“… Remember that whatever our own variations in the diversity of our Father in Heaven’s creations, He loves all of us, and His perfect plan of happiness has a place for all. We show our love for Him by keeping His commandments, including love for His children” (Dallin H. Oaks, “Stand for Truth”).