Andy Miller III
Gender Dysphoria: A Pastoral Response with Dr. Janet DeanGender Dysphoria: A Pastoral Response with Dr. Janet Dean

Gender Dysphoria: A Pastoral Response with Dr. Janet Dean

November 17 2022


On this podcast we have talked through the biblical, theological, and cultural implications of the LGBTQ revolution, but on today’s show we think about the practical points of how we engage people who have come out as LGBTQ. Dr. Janet Dean helps us understand how we can live out our calling to be people of grace and truth.

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Transcript

Welcome to the more to this story, Podcast. I am so glad that you have come along. We have a great important show for you today, and if you clicked on to this because you saw the title, I hope that you'll hang around here and listen to the entirety of this interview with Dr. Janetine, as we talk through some of the challenges of our time, particularly as it relates to a pastoral response to those who are dealing with gender dysphoria. But before we do that, I want to make sure you know, this podcast comes to you

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Andy Miller III: because of the ministry of Wesley Biblical Seminary, where we exist to develop trusted leaders for faithful churches, and that happens through a host of programs from our undergraduate degree program and pastoral ministry to a variety of masters degrees to a doctor of ministry program and a couple of lay initiatives that if you're just somebody who wants to teach Sunday School better, we would love to help you become a better leader, a more trusted leader for your congregation. So check us out at Wbs, down

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Andy Miller III: E, D. You, and also i'm thankful to W. Po. Development that is led by Keith Waters. There a group of people who help churches, organizations, schools, develop strategic plans, mission planning studies, and actualized capital campaigns. They've done this successfully for more than two hundred and fifty groups in the United States, so I highly recommend them to you. You can check them out on my show notes to be a link there, or you can just Google Wpo Development. And finally, I have a resource that's available for people who

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Andy Miller III: you join my email list. So you have to join my email list. So you have to join my email list. So you have to join my email list. So you have to join my email list. So you have to join my email list. So you have to join my email list. So you have to join my email list at Andy Miller, the third dot com That's Andy Miller

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Andy Miller III: Iii. Dot Com. Well, I am glad to welcome into a Podcast, my friend, Dr. Janet Dean Janet, Welcome to the podcast. It's good to see you Andy.

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Janet Dean: It's good to see you now. You are on my former podcast, and people can still find that in my archives my Captain's corner podcast, which was just

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Andy Miller III: audio. But now we have it even better. We have video and audio. So i'm really glad to have you. We talked about a paper that you presented, that you, co-written at that. Time, and so I invite people. Go take a look at that. But, Jan, before we get going. Now people already saw the subject. They know what we're going to talk about. But let me tell us a little bit about yourself that gets us into like even how you approach this topic, what you do, what your ministry is at this point

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Janet Dean: right? So I am a licensed psychologist here in the State of Kentucky. I am Professor of Pastoral counseling at Asbury Theological Seminary,

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Janet Dean: and i'm an ordained elder in the church of the Nazarene. So I wear those three hats together, and even though you Haven't taught a class an adjunct professor at Wesley Biblical cemetery. Yes, yes,

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Andy Miller III: definitely. And I'm excited about that. Someday we'll get you in there so so that it should now. And you just made the move actually from Asbury University, Asbury Seminary Is Is that in part related to your calling like you, you mentioned It's it you not? Maybe when people heard that you're a past professor of pastoral counseling. They didn't expect to hear you say i'm a Nazarein minister as well. So Ted, tell me about that shift. What's that been like for you,

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Janet Dean: right? I I think you know. Early on I had a call to ministry on my life that I kind of walked away from, and I.

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Janet Dean: I've been expressing that in psychology and therapy with people

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Janet Dean: and over the years God just keeps calling me back right. The work that we do in psychology is important, but true healing comes through a relationship with Christ, and And so I've just felt myself pulled back toward the church.

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Janet Dean: You know It's not that I was away from the church or away from spiritual things, but I really have shifted my focus to be in this place where i'm. In ministry,

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Janet Dean: as a counselor, as a pastoral counselor, not as a psychologist, even though i'm still a psychologist. Yes, right. You can't just leave that at the door, like. I'm no longer a psychologist. But tell us a little bit. You've done a lot of research and tell us about the areas that you have primarily working, or maybe what's been an emphasis for you the last few years.

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Janet Dean: Right? So for probably almost eighteen years now, I have been doing work around primarily sexual identity and faith

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Janet Dean: in students on Christian colleges or college campuses. We maybe two years ago, three years ago uh transition that to some degree to gender identity, although we still do sexual identity. Uh. So we've done multiple studies over the years looking at

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Janet Dean: how students understand themselves, how they express their sexual identity, what their campus experience has been like, how they fit their sexuality, together with their faith, and what that process, what that developmental process looks like for them.

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Janet Dean: And so that's the work that we're continuing in. More recently we've been talking about.

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Janet Dean: Um! What does a healthy pathway look like for development as people learn to hold these things together. We um just wrote a book on Stewardship of Sexual identity, and that will come out next year. We're currently working. I'm sorry not a book, a chapter in a book we're currently working on another chapter uh helping pastors to minister to families, have children who come out.

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Janet Dean: And so we're really in this space. How do we help the church

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Andy Miller III: to walk with people in this process

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and this and it's built upon the research that you've done.

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Janet Dean: Yes, it's a chapter in Perry Glanser's book.

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Janet Dean: Uh, It's really looking at student affairs. So faith in student affairs on college campuses. But I think that stewardship chapter has the potential to really help people broadly.

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Janet Dean: Um people, particularly people whose faith matters to them as they try to figure out how to make sense of their um sexual and gender identity.

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Andy Miller III: Now you said something as you are talking through what that research is, and particularly these recent studies, you said, holding these things, or maybe I'm. Maybe I have exact or like bringing bringing these things together. These say, what are these things that you're referring to? I think this is like This is the challenge. Okay, You could tend to name what the these things are like. We have tensions that we're holding. And you, as you enter into practice as you interview people as you research, there are things that are held so tell us about like, what what are we?

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Janet Dean: So if I i'm talking about the person who identifies as a sexual or gender minority, and I use that to a minority, not in the political sense, but I use it to um kind of capture. Everyone

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Janet Dean: who would say that they have a you know, a sexual orientation other than heterosexual, or they have a gender identity other than that that matches their biological sex or their sex assigned at birth.

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Janet Dean: And and there are people in the Church who would fit into one of those categories, but they choose not to use the Lgbtq label. And so that's why i'm using that term so for them

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Janet Dean: right for these people who are Christians,

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Janet Dean: but they also find themselves as a sexual or gender. Minority is, how do they hold those two boxes together? So we we use this uh metaphor, if you will, of a college student moving on to campus, and you can imagine that they, you know, when they move in. They have all these boxes

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Janet Dean: and imagine that one box is faith, and one box is sexual or gender identity, and they're trying to carry both boxes up the stairs together. Right. What does that look like? How does that work for them? And um! What we found is that by and large they don't want to set one of those boxes down.

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Janet Dean: And so it's only five. We'll say, you know my faith is a problem for me, so I want to set it down, or my sexual gender identity is a problem for me. I'm going to set it down. Ninety-five of students want to find a way to hold these together,

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Janet Dean: and how they hold it, then to some degree determines their outcome. So that's the students.

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Janet Dean: But I would also using another metaphor, saying that those of us who walk with people that we're in that same place of tension. We have our faith and our theological beliefs on one side,

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Janet Dean: and we have our love for people who are sexual or gender minorities, and I would say on the other side, although I don't think these are as opposite as we tend to think they are. But we do feel this tension in between those.

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Janet Dean: And if you can imagine being on a journey with these folks, and we wouldn't stay on that journey and that highway. Right? I would say it's the highly of grace, if you will,

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Janet Dean: and it's that pathway where they're going to figure out how to um how to live their life in a way that uh is obedient to God with the reality of their sexual and gender identity.

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Janet Dean: To walk with them. We have to stay on the highway, but the highway there's tension, and there's obstacles and it's storming, and there's construction and people are driving crazy, and it's so stressful, and we feel that tension, and we just don't want to live in that tension, and we'll try to get off

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Janet Dean: off the highway as quickly as possible. Find the nearest exit ramp right, and some of us will take it. Exit, ramp off into faith or religion into our theological beliefs,

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Janet Dean: and we almost hide behind those, and that prevents relationship. Others of us will take an off ramp into.

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Janet Dean: I want to say love or affirmation. We just want to care about people, and we do that to the exclusion of theology, right? We might even compromise our theology,

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Janet Dean: but we take an off ramp in either direction to ease our tension. But I think what we need to do when we walk with people is to live there in that tension to help them figure out how they're going to live in that place.

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Andy Miller III: Yeah, this is a really good illustration, and I encourage people who are listed as if to go back a couple of seconds and listen to Jenna unfold this idea of like being on a highway, a highway of grace, where there's the various obstacles and things. And I heard you tell this: that you that illustration a few weeks ago, when you made a presentation that I heard, and I you. We use some hand motions like it kind of like swerving the car, and it impacted me because that is a tendency, and that's what you see. People do Just I don't want to deal with that. Okay,

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Andy Miller III: I'm going to just say it's all send and It's It's awful. I don't want to deal with it, or i'm going to say i'm fully accepting. But you're encouraging people to stay on this highway. You might have to swerve and miss things here and there, and you also. When I heard you and I will encourage people. You might not have time and your schedule. I know You've been speaking a lot lately, but to bring Janet to a conference or church to share. Maybe she can do it just virtually. But um! You shared some statistics that were.

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Andy Miller III: It's hard to hear honestly, Janet, about the nature of how or how many people

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Andy Miller III: in a certain age group are expressing. Now, I actually link back up just a second. I want to hear about the stats, but I appreciate. Some people are critical of the term gender minority, Jeremy. I think sometimes I've heard that, and I like. Let's be be cautious. But I like the fact that you're using it. And you said this is something that's different

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Andy Miller III: If they don't want to express, use the Lgbtq label. So that gender minority just is a way to describe what they're saying. So thank you for giving me that clarity. Do you want to say about that, and then we'll get to the stats

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Janet Dean: of people of the the biggest number of people. And I I think if we use the Lgbtq term. We're really limiting it to the people who are stepping

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Janet Dean: into that identity. They're taking that identity label. And they're saying, this is me. And there are a lot of people on. I'm gonna say on the margins. There are a lot of people of faith, a lot of people in the church who share some things

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Janet Dean: in common with those in the Lgbtq community, but they don't want to take on that label. It doesn't fit for them.

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Andy Miller III: And and so How do we represent them? That's what that We're what that term minority is meant to to do There, Right? It's not meant to give somebody a status, if that is what they are meant to be right in that. Um, Sorry I I I want to even be really careful.

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Andy Miller III: And in this conversation that if I said that in a way that's like overly like Pushy. I want. I want to be cautious, because I know people are probably checking into this podcast, because they are dealing with some. They have a friend or a family member who is working through these issues, and I don't. I don't want that to come off too aggressive like.

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Andy Miller III: Nevertheless, you share the same theological and biblical convictions that I have. But you come at it from a different discipline, and I've always been benefited from here, and you talk through this. Okay, back to the stats. Um. So we are where we are now, and we won't. Be able to go through all the ones you have to bring Janet and Payer.

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Andy Miller III: All the stats are too much. But tell me some of these more more recent ones that are are troubling for us.

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Janet Dean: Right? So I I think probably the ones that are the most troubling come from the Gallup poll that was just done in February of two thousand and twenty-two. So really, just, you know, half a year ago for us where we are now,

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Janet Dean: and you think about the past ten years. So from two thousand and eleven to two thousand and twenty-one

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Janet Dean: right. The number of people who identify is lgbt in our society

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Janet Dean: doubled in that ten years, and it was relatively stable up to about two thousand and fifteen. Then we start to see it in shop, and then, you know, from twenty twenty to twenty, twenty-one. It increased a point and a half percentage and a half.

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Janet Dean: So we're very quickly approaching ten of all adults in the United States, identifying as a sexual or gender minority, one out of ten. If if people think you don't have one of these folks in your church, you do.

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Janet Dean: These are our people, and and they are in the church. But I think out of that study, you know we can think one out of ten. Well, that's a lot of people that doesn't include the other seven who say, Well, i'm not really straight, cisgendered.

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Janet Dean: Um, but i'm not really Lgbt: So there's another seven percent who we would say their other right somehow.

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Janet Dean: But I think the most disturbing thing that came out of this for me is what's happening in our younger people, you know. You look at my generation. Um I'm. Gen. X. It was only about four percent of my generation that would identify as Lgbt.

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Janet Dean: The millennials, where my older son is, is about ten ten and a half. But Gen. Z. So the just the adults, because these these kids are still in high school. So don't think about the high schoolers think about the college age, and beyond Gen's ears right born nineteen ninety-six to two thousand and ten,

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Janet Dean: those kids

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Janet Dean: twenty, One percent identifies as Lgbtq, one out of five.

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Andy Miller III: Wow! So this is, I mean, do we talk about your generation? And i'm somewhere kind of in the middle of millennial. Gen. X. Or I don't know what you call me. Um one thousand nine hundred and eighty. That's my year, so never so So So from our generation to those that generations kids from four to twenty.

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Janet Dean: Yes,

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Andy Miller III: wow, radical radical change that we're seeing

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Andy Miller III: the the broad scope of Lgbt.

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Janet Dean: Yeah. So in the general population, you know, middle aged adults are at about seventy-two percent support same-sex marriage, younger adults, eighty-four percent support same sex marriage. So in Evangelicals, you know, you would expect us to be more conservative and more traditional around marriage.

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Janet Dean: And you do see that so I. This the stat is only from about age eighteen to age forty-nine, so it's most, you know, adults younger in middle aged

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Janet Dean: fifty-one of the evangelical support. Same-sex marriage. You would look at the younger people in college we would probably be up over sixty now, among Evangelicals supporting same sex marriage. So the views are changing, and they're changing quickly.

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Andy Miller III: So this all like people's perception, and all these things impact the way we enter into serving people. If we're like like we said earlier, trying to hold this tension of not taking the off ramps on the highway of grace. Um! Talk to me to like the the the gender dysphoric

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Andy Miller III: issues of our time, Man, i'm not using the right words again. I feel the the concerns we have like of helping people on that highway, that what can you give us some general advice of how we can serve people here like particularly those who would be in that percentage. Who would say No. This isn't God's best for your life.

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Andy Miller III: Um, if somebody's child is um it, maybe they're eighteen. Maybe they're fifteen. Of course, some of this is happening. Okay, I'm: I'm going to drop back another question. I was headed towards another one. But how much of this is like a and and forgive this language? Social contagion like is is, that

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Andy Miller III: is, that in a part of the issue, like similar to anorexia or cutting, particularly young women in uh teenage girls, is that part of What we're dealing with with getting up to at twenty is that it's a peer thing. I think it's a piece of it. I think we need to be really careful not to blame that entirely. Okay. So there was a study that came out in two thousand and eighteen by uh,

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Janet Dean: Lisa Whitman. And uh, she was looking at rapid or sudden onset of gender dysphoria, where people feel that in congruence, and it causes distress for them

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Janet Dean: um

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Janet Dean: among teenage girls, and and she found one. I think it's really

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Janet Dean: almost alarming, finding to me. Teenage girls are showing the fastest increase

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Janet Dean: and occurrence of gender dysphoria than any other group, and to say that from two thousand and seven to two thousand and seventeen it increased four thousand four hundred. That's rapid increase in ten years.

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Janet Dean: And so among these teenage girls what's going on? So in Lipman study she interviewed the parents so she didn't talk to the girl. She talked to the parents, and it was around eighty to eighty-five of those parents said,

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Janet Dean: Well, we noticed a couple of things in our kids before, and our daughters before this happened, and they said either

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Janet Dean: they had in the month prior to coming out, a significant increase in social media use.

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Janet Dean: That's primarily tik tok um, or they belong to a peer group in which someone else in the group came out right before them now and then that that some of the parents said Well, it was both of those things.

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Janet Dean: So it came out as a different gender, not came out as Lesbian or bisexual right, so it's either social media, your peers or both right. It's what parents up upwards of eighty-five. That's what they were seeing,

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Janet Dean: and those peer groups are really interesting. Um! I talking to Brian Hall, who is a Youth Ministry um expert professor at Asbury University. He was explaining to me that um

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Janet Dean: in today's world, young people, They function in these little clicks, and if they're not clicks like you know, older people like me had when we were in school. But these are groups of three to five

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Janet Dean: young people who live life together. They're extremely close. They do everything together. They think the same way. They operate the same way. They have a shared identity almost, and so if one comes out as gender diverse, then the other ones probably will, too,

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Janet Dean: because they do everything together, and that and that's what we're partly what we're seeing here.

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Janet Dean: Uh, Litman went on. She She offered a couple of explanations. Um, mark your house. Offer some ex explanations of this, and social contagion is one of those explanations right that it does seem like somehow

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Janet Dean: we are. Um,

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Janet Dean: if you will,

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Janet Dean: as we watch other people express themselves in these ways, then it becomes more likely that we express ourselves in this way. Um, We also have to think about. Though human experience,

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Janet Dean: human experience is diverse, and our understanding of gender roles tends to be rigid sometimes, particularly in the church, and so we do have people

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Janet Dean: who don't fit well into the way that we think about being men and women just primarily. The other thing that we're seeing is this: um kind of

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Janet Dean: self-awareness where where children and teenagers are able to say, this is how I feel. So this must be true. This must be my reality. Carl Truman, in his book, says: it's the psychological self. Right reality is how I feel on the inside. It's not anything external or physical.

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Janet Dean: It's how I psychologically feel. And so we're seeing that. Um! We also uh

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Janet Dean: your house talks about in one of his books. Um, he refers to Ian Hacking's looping effect where he says, You know, medical professionals, like those of us in psychology will watch. People will see what they're doing. We'll put labels on them, and then people go. Hm:

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Janet Dean: Okay. But that label doesn't exactly fit me. I think that maybe i'm more like this, and they create a new label. And so we pull those together and go. Oh, look! Here are all these labels we. We need to be more diverse in the way we think about this,

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Janet Dean: and then we put those back on people, and then the people say, well wait a second. I don't fit those labels, and so you get this back and forth process where the labels, you know, expand and expand and expand to fit the nuances of everyone's experience. And so that's what they refer to as that kind of looping effect. So all of these things seem to be at play. There's some biology. There's some experience.

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Janet Dean: I I would, I would tell you. We don't know exactly, and in any one person it's some mixture of all of this, and it's

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Andy Miller III: so it's not just the social contagion contagion so like that. That's a helpful to, and it's kind of easy to say it makes sense like there's something socially. It's happening in the system that then catches on with other people. So that's an easy way to think about. I appreciate you nuancing it like that. There's experiences that come into play who knows any host of experiences? And then, of course, biologic biological realities, too. So I think that's really helpful to see of the wide way this is described.

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Andy Miller III: Let's think about the the um young women particularly, who are experiencing this like, let's say this has happened um in like. I don't know if you

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Andy Miller III: like that there's a what. What do you recommend when you're talking to parents who are dealing with a a teenage girl, a fifteen year old girl, who's maybe has a little bit of all of this like It's a it's a social factor connected to social media. But then maybe there's some physical realities. Um, How

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Andy Miller III: how do we start? How do we? Where do we even start, Janet?

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Janet Dean: Okay. Well, I think we we start on the way of grace. We start with love and Biblical truth, right and and but we start with relationship in the midst of that. And so you know, if it If a young girl, if I were, if I had a daughter and she came out to me,

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Janet Dean: I would hope that the first thing that I would do would be to love her and to honor her in, to thank her for trusting me to share her story.

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Janet Dean: And It's a really big deal for kids to come out to their parents, particularly if they know that their parents are, you know, religious, and hold certain faith believes this is It's scary sometimes for kids, and I I want to honor the importance of that disclosure.

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Janet Dean: First and foremost, I I think, there, and and as parents I was. I want to tell them. Remember, your child is on a developmental journey, and not everything has to be decided in one conversation, and not. Everything has to be talked about

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Janet Dean: in one conversation,

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Janet Dean: and so slow down.

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Janet Dean: And let's let's allow our child to tell their story first,

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Janet Dean: and as we walk with them. There will be opportunity to talk about faith and to do discipleship and all of those things. But first listen

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Andy Miller III: here's what happens. Here's what I've seen happen a few times is that people will take that approach,

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Andy Miller III: and then a move to direction, or say

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Andy Miller III: ideologically, philosophically, theologically. Well, that's their truth. And I see parents make the shift with. So i'm not. I'm not resistant to you saying that. But I mean

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Andy Miller III: that's that's why I feel like the not the danger, but that's my concern in the midst. But still this is a trajectory, and so we can still hold this without giving in. I mean is that we have. We have to enter that danger. If we believe this is the truth, we have to be willing to be untrue, I guess.

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Janet Dean: Yeah, Yeah, I I always think about. You know the same Scripture that holds up these theological understandings of sexuality and gender also calls us to radical love. It's the same Scripture, and and that's what we're trying to hold together. Um,

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Janet Dean: I I think we do. You know we do this well in all kinds of other ways. We talk about other things and our child, you know. Maybe

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Janet Dean: you know, doing something that we don't approve of at all,

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Janet Dean: but we learn how to love them, and we learn how to set boundaries, and we learn how to engage that conversation and help them. But there's something about sexuality and gender that it. It makes us so nervous or so afraid that those skills that we have in other parts of our life as a parent,

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Janet Dean: we have a really hard time applying here

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Andy Miller III: right? So if we're if we're on a journey, we want to be able to apply these other skills, which we've already learned as a parent that we're on a journey with them, trying. What

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Andy Miller III: can we? Is it possible to really bring people back to like? So we we're going to affirm it all along the way that we affirm the best life that God has for someone is to live into their biological gender. Um!

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Andy Miller III: What are some steps after we've listened after we are sympathetic and in, and trying to be in a situation where we're here in their story, to try to move them in a place where they live into God's best for their life.

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Janet Dean: So I think the

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Janet Dean: you know, The first thing that comes to my mind is I want to get some mental health or mental health help for my child. I I want to be very careful about who I get. Um.

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Janet Dean: I want someone who is um,

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Janet Dean: I would say, someone who is a Christian who doesn't just say they're Christian therapist, but they actually integrate faith into the work that they're doing um to walk with my child. Um! I want to talk to my child about um kind of what they're experiencing. And then what are the

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Janet Dean: I I I want to say

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Janet Dean: the most minimal ways space that we can give the child to express that right, like if I have a daughter, and she wants to wear hoodies all the time. That's not really worth me arguing about right

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Janet Dean: um, or she wants to cut her hair short. That's not really where we are. So where the line like, What's the the least amount of gender nonconforming behavior that my child needs to to kind of be comfortable with where they're at?

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Janet Dean: And am I? Is that okay with me? Am I willing to do that? Um. And so I think that needs to be negotiated? Some

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Janet Dean: um. You know there are places that I personally would draw the line at, but I know every family is different, and every situation is different, so I don't wanna um dictate for other people how where they would draw their line. Um! But I I think, as i'm thinking about this, I want to help put some boundaries in place

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Janet Dean: that allow my child to kind of figure this out right within boundaries and with help. Um! But also to be in this discipleship process learning who they are in Christ, and how they were created.

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Janet Dean: Um understanding right? The research shows us that almost seventy-five of these young people will. Um I. The language we use is desist that they they will return to a gender identity that matches their biological sex. And so that's true, my my child.

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Janet Dean: There's a

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Janet Dean: a high likelihood that that's going to be their story. You know there's always the likelihood that that's not going to be their story, but And so how do we kind of walk with them during in this process,

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Janet Dean: you know, and

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Janet Dean: in around the gender dysphoria? Um! There does seem to be more psychological distress than we see with other things.

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Janet Dean: And so it does make you wonder how much of that teenage angst

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Janet Dean: um and some of the other things that kids experience are getting directed in this direction, you know. But

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Janet Dean: um! But I just want to go step at a time. I do want to have boundaries in place. I I do want to continue engaging in Christian education and discipleship that includes talking about sexuality and gender. Um. But I always want to be loving and respectful

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Janet Dean: and and moving my child down that journey.

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Andy Miller III: It seems like one of those lines that probably can't shouldn't be crossed in teenage years. And this is why it's such a hot topic is related to surgeries. Right that you know you tend to not do some sort of

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Andy Miller III: work or damage that it can't be um changed. I mean that you could dramatically impact your life like i'm really thankful that some of the things I felt um as a teenager. I like no like If I would have made a decision, for that would to impact my life there. And as dramatically related to my body

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Andy Miller III: that could be really damaging. So um!

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Andy Miller III: I imagine that that's one of the pieces that comes up quickly, but particularly as it relates to somebody who's a teenager,

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Janet Dean: I that one's been um interesting to me. I struggle uh moving in the direction that we would do anything to our physical bodies that might have per permanent effects.

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Janet Dean: Um! And so that's where I i'm gonna it. I would be very slow to endorse something like that, even though my field is like psychology would be pretty quick to endorse something like that, because it puts me a little bit at odds. There. Um, you say slow, I mean, would you ever endorse it?

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Janet Dean: Uh, I don't.

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Janet Dean: I don't know that I would

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Janet Dean: great um when i'm working as a therapist, though it's not about my values. I'm outside of the church working as a therapist. I don't get to make that decision for people

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Janet Dean: that's not my decision to make. But when i'm working as a pastor. This is something that I can more directly speak into. So it depends. Which hat I'm. Wearing at the time

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Janet Dean: which I know it makes it it very difficult. This is a it's a There's so much contention, and we all want what's best for people um the argument that I've heard, though both in the mental health community and in the church about this

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Janet Dean: is, if we don't allow people to take hormones or to have surgery to do these things, to move further in that direction. Then they will die by suicide,

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Janet Dean: you know. And so that's kind of the threat that's been out out there, and I I just heard it yesterday, as a matter of fact,

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Janet Dean: and we have to take

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Janet Dean: the potentiality of suicide very, very seriously.

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Janet Dean: And when we're working with people, I mean, and we know that folks with gender disorder are high risk for this.

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Janet Dean: I need to be doing what I can to make sure that they're safe.

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Janet Dean: I don't know that the only way to make sure that they're safe

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Janet Dean: is to give in to some of the hormonal treatments and some of the other things. So that's where I'm going to push back a little bit.

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Andy Miller III: And you and I have talked about this before in other conversations, and you hinted at here a little bit like some of the things like uh things that you're willing to permit, or or as pretty as a parent um to allow. That might be uncomfortable. You might not support even um theologically,

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Andy Miller III: that are as damaging as like, say, having one an operation, but maybe it's allowing somebody to express themselves um with their clothing in a way that you're not comfortable with. But that's That's the type of thing that, remembering you're on a journey right that we're trying to slowly kind of move people that you might.

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Andy Miller III: I'm sorry i'm trying to avoid saying, put up with. But like you know, like trying to you. You know the words I'm trying to say here, like trying to create space for somebody to have a journey toward healing. Yes, and I think that's what's hard for us, because it's scary.

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Janet Dean: It's scary, and you know. But I also think every generation of parents has had to allow their kids to explore, you know, different hair styles and that sort of thing. So in some ways this isn't new in other ways it is new,

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Janet Dean: and I I I think,

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Janet Dean: when we move to this area of gender and biological sex, we're moving into an area that um is related to our very created nature, and being created in the image of God. So it feels weightier than just. Are they gonna wear a dress or pants, or they gonna you know

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Janet Dean: there's a There's a weight. There's a heaviness. There's a

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Janet Dean: There are significant implications for this

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Janet Dean: that that make our decisions feel much more significant

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Andy Miller III: Now the one that that has come up. That I've had friends expresses to me is related to residential experiences that people have like, let's say, a summer camp environment, and particularly for a group. And you know, Janet, I'm. Connected to the savage army. We have more than thirty camps across the country, and it's not just like um. A church kid can't necessarily trying to go for people to get people in, particularly those who are are struggling with financially. Maybe they come into our programs, not through our church. We may be

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Andy Miller III: through a Christmas giving program.

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Andy Miller III: You know we we could probably account in the Savage army. The most number of conversions happens through our summer camping program. So there's a sense. If you want to be black and white, they come. A lot of people come in centers there right and then they they they leave as Christians.

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Andy Miller III: And so that's the the reason that we have that. So if we're going to be welcoming to people, particularly those who are trying to walk with on this highway of grace.

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Andy Miller III: How how can we deal with these practical dimensions at a summer camp like it? Seems like this is coming head on at us and like It's not easy for us to develop, because we have separate rooms. And then, if you put people, if you have like um

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Janet Dean: like trans room like? Well, what is their actual biological sex? Do we have a train like a trans room for those who are biologically male, identifying as females, I mean, Do have you thought about this much like what what this looks like in the residential environment? I would say just this summer. I started getting that last spring tons of questions about this very thing.

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Janet Dean: But think about this: If one out of five of our young people right. Our Lgbt, if you say, Well, we're just not going to accept any of those folks in camp means twenty percent of kids you're saying we have no space for you.

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Janet Dean: We can. We can't do that. That's just not an option. We need these children to hear about Christ,

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Janet Dean: and and so I think, and and I know that there are some church camps that they're going to say, Really, we're not ready to deal with this, and that's going to be their decision, and and I know that there are reasons to make that decision.

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Janet Dean: But when we take this more evangelistic approach, I want at least I I think we need to think about. How do we get as many people in to hear about Christ as we possibly can?

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Janet Dean: And so then it becomes a matter. Okay, how are we going to do this

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Janet Dean: sleeping arrangements? Matter? And um, you know, maybe it is that you separate out.

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Janet Dean: You know that you've got, you know a room for gender, non-binary or gender queer gender fluid. However, you know, we're trans girls and try to help me with that. I don't understand that language. What is gender? Queer, I mean, I forgive me. I just want to you the person I ask these questions to Yeah, So gender gender, queer gender and non-binary typically mean

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Janet Dean: that someone um

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Janet Dean: either identifies both as male and female, you know. Sometimes they'll say one day I wake up, and I feel this way, and then, you know, another day I wake up, and I feel this way. One day I feel like a woman. In another day I feel like a man, or it means I never really identify with either of those. I feel like i'm somewhere

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Janet Dean: I I and I. Wanna I don't even want to say in between, because sometimes people feel like they're not even on that scale. Right? That that same continuum And so gender queer is just another word for that gender flu. It will kind of capture moving back and forth. So it's just some of the language

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that's a little bit different than kids who would who would identify as transgender

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Janet Dean: those children would say, Well, I mean my my gender identity is opposite of my biological sex. But there's still within that gender Binary:

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Andy Miller III: Okay, this is going to be another elementary type of question. So like Lgbtq generally, that is, is that referring to sexual identification, Then, like the queer queue the queue there is that like a a switching,

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Janet Dean: But the T and the queue generally are about gender, so the t would be transgender. The queue would be queer. The questioning that sort of thing sometimes.

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Janet Dean: The queue is also meant for sexual identity. And so it it really depends who you're talking to. I always ask people if they give me a label for themselves. Tell me what that label means for you.

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Janet Dean: In some ways we're safer when we have bigger sleeping areas where you have more people because less bad things can happen in that way. Um, If children come in with a group of kids, I want to. I really want to try to use naturally existing friendships because

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Janet Dean: their families are probably okay

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Janet Dean: with those kids hanging out with these kids, and I don't have to negotiate that. Um,

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Janet Dean: You know We've I've talked to some groups where they have decided to put on their application form. Are you okay with your child having um a sexual or sexual or gender minority in the room with them.

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Janet Dean: Um, and allowing parents to designate that ahead of time. So you don't have to come back afterwards and say, Hey, someone So is, you know, uh gender, non-binary are you okay? If they're in the room with your child. But you ask ahead of time. Would you be okay if this happened? And then you can start to divide children like that?

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Janet Dean: Um. But

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Janet Dean: so I want to take naturally existing groups. I want to think ahead because I don't want to have to out anybody, if you will. Um, I really like the idea of more open bay barracks. Sort of um that just in a lot of ways, because you have adult presence in those, and it feels a little bit safer.

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Janet Dean: Um bathroom facilities. I might, I might think about shifting bathroom times, you know. So you shift the times in the shower. And so, if you have a child who is Trans.

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Janet Dean: They they take a shower, you know,

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Janet Dean: fifteen minutes after this other group. Do you know what I mean? So you begin to shift um, because obviously it's going to be hard to build new shower um quarters or shower spaces for people.

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Janet Dean: But, um! But if can you manipulate the schedule in such a way that you can create space without it, feeling like people are getting special privileges.

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Andy Miller III: So the the big question for me and I just think I have eleven-year-old daughter. Um, and I I think I have an openness, I think it that just me saying and me asking this question, demonstrates that I don't, I don't know. But

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Andy Miller III: so to to uh creating space like that, I think my tendency would be to say, though if I have no interest, and you talk to my wife about this. She might change my mind, but in a biological mail, being in any room, no matter the age with my with my daughter.

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Andy Miller III: Um, so like I I I could create space if there's a biological female who feels like she is a man in like weindex um

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Andy Miller III: uh dress that way. Take showers at different time. Try to trying to come up with space for that. Um, but that's where I think the tension would be for me. I'm just i'm very caution. Now help me here, Janet, is that is that something that I just need to change. I don't know I, that that's a conviction. I feel like i'd want to hold.

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Janet Dean: I I think part of that conviction right is that we want to protect our kids. And I I would say that a lot of these trans girls, which would be the biological. You who understands himself as a girl

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Janet Dean: Um, are not going to be the type of person who who would

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Janet Dean: hurt another girl. Typically, that's not what we see. Obviously there's always exceptions, and we can never judge when this is the the exception or not, I mean it's hard to to know um, and so I I want to think about creating safety for them,

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Janet Dean: biggest for everybody, so safety for everybody. And so could it be that this Trans. Girl has friends who come with her to camp? She would identify as her. But i'm sorry. This is a biological male.

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Janet Dean: Um A. And maybe there are friends who are already okay with this. They've already had sleepovers, and so those are the kids that you would put in the room with that person. That's what I would look. That's what I would look at, or I would think about If you have, you know, open Bay barracks, and you've got thirty kids in there

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Janet Dean: putting a trans girl in. There is not really a risk

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Janet Dean: to the other girls right.

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Janet Dean: Just find at that point. Um, you know. And the same would be true with a trans. A trans boy, if you put him who's biologically female in a group of you know, boys,

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Janet Dean: this is probably going to be safe, particularly if it's a large group where you have an adult presence in there

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Janet Dean: um, or with people that he hangs out with most of the time. And you'll notice I am trying to use the pronoun that the children would use for themselves. Um! And we can debate that in in some church places we wouldn't do that,

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Janet Dean: and other places we would. I think I make the choice to do that? Because

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Janet Dean: um, if changing my language, that much opens up a relationship for further discipleship, then that's a small. That's a place where i'm willing to compromise, to build a relationship. Um,

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Andy Miller III: but not everybody is, and that's okay, right. So let's just stay on that for second. I want to come back to the dorm room situation, but the so. In in that case, when you're using the the preferred pronoun and i'm with you, I like, I I think, in principle like in the truth, i'm not going to. I'm not going to believe in any way that that person is

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Andy Miller III: the opposite gender. I'm going to hold to that truth. But I don't think it's necessarily a lie for me to call them what they're preferring to be called in that moment. So i'm with you. There it's at the same time, do you? Um,

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Andy Miller III: I know this is probably individual basis, and this is what everybody is dealing with these days. Do you say? I want you to know that this would be? This would be my approach, and this might be wrong. So

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Andy Miller III: I want you to know. I believe that you're

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Andy Miller III: You're if it's a biological male. I'm going to say, I believe you're a male. But I will call you

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Andy Miller III: she, you know, just because that's what you're asking me to do. I want to honor our friendship in that

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Janet Dean: it could take me there. Is that right? Is that right? So I even do that, I would say, when it in the relationship

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Janet Dean: does it become, I would say, natural for you to do that right if I just meet somebody the first day I meet them. I'm going to use their preferred pronouns, but i'm probably not going to say that. But if this is somebody that I've been walking with for a while,

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Janet Dean: and they know that I care about them. Then there's gonna be more space to say that so? For me it really depends on the nature of the relationship that I have with someone. Um. And if I know someone well, and if we're journeying together. There will be those conversations.

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Janet Dean: Um, but they will come when it's when I have permission to have those conversations with you. So you don't start off by saying, like, All right, we just met. And, by the way, since you are this way exactly, I will not refer to you. But let's have a good friendship now, and it's probably not going to happen that way. But you also have to be careful, parents, and if i'm in a church, and they absolutely not. We are not using these other pronouns for my child.

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Janet Dean: Then I am going to respect the parents. Um, but that will probably then be a conversation with the child. Right? I know that these are your preferred pronouns. Your mom and dad have asked us to do this,

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Janet Dean: and so i'm going to honor them. But i'm here. If you ever want to talk right, I I I just want you to know that I see you, and I know your request.

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Andy Miller III: I I probably am. Yeah, Yeah, I That sounds great. Now. Good with the situation. Then. Uh for parents. What? What do you advise, parents? I mean. I know it's based on the relationship. You're entering into a situation where you're engage them, and you want to be on this path.

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Andy Miller III: The trajectory of getting to a place where somebody is connected to their bio like identifies their biological gender. But the a parent who grew up, and they they were the first ones to see. This is a boy, not a girl. Um, I imagine it's It's pretty hard for them to get in that place. What do you advise parents with the pronoun,

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Janet Dean: and I I really am thinking about, as I said earlier,

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Janet Dean: what are the most minimal accommodations we can make to help my child deal with some of the distress that they're feeling, and if this accommodation takes care of a whole lot of that distress,

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Janet Dean: I may try to do it. But I know other parents who say No, i'm not. I'm not gonna do that, you know. We might try another accommodation, You know I don't care. I, My daughter, can just like a boy if she wants I'm still gonna call her she. That may be the way another family does that

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Andy Miller III: so? Right? That's helpful. Um: Okay. So could we go back to the dorm room situation? So I I I really appreciate you giving me space to talk about this.

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Andy Miller III: I in in that case, like the big thing, I can't come to to dressing like I can't help but get beyond on that concern, like the of somebody undressing and being a female, or being a male in a group of women and somebody the opposite gender, help me help me think through that like I I feel like that.

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Janet Dean: Is that where you use those guidelines of doing things a little differently as scheduling. Do you schedule dressing in that situation?

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Janet Dean: Get a privacy

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Janet Dean: for all kids to some extent. Um. And if that's not possible, can we do shift changes, you know, like you've got ten minutes change. You've got. You know You've got thirty kids in a room ten of them you've got,

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Janet Dean: you know, or five of them. You've got five minutes change. Then you're out. The next five go in, because then they can hide in the different places and change privately right. And to just do this quick shift changes to allow that to happen to minimize.

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Janet Dean: Yeah, to minimize exposure to one another. That's what I would do Now, i'm. I'm sure that there are churches out there in camp grounds out there that have figured out other ways to manage this, You know. I hear about that The extra bathroom that some that these kids can use.

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Janet Dean: I hear you know, about a separate shower facility. So it really depends on what's available.

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Andy Miller III: Gotcha.

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Andy Miller III: Wow! This is so heavy it's so important to work through this. We don't have to. I I really wanted to hit like talk about the teenager kid sort of situation. But is there much different than when you're dealing with somebody

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Janet Dean: uh who's an adult? Who's over eighteen or somebody like What difference consideration should we have for adults?

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Janet Dean: I I do think

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Janet Dean: when you have an adult who comes out

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Janet Dean: um, particularly with another gender identity

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Janet Dean: that this

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Janet Dean: changes family dynamics, relational dynamics in a way that might be more significant than a child does;

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Janet Dean: and if i'm a pastor, then I need to think about Not only how do I walk with that person, but how do I walk with this entire family, who it to some degrees just had their world turned upside down as they're trying to figure this out, because what what happens to a marriage.

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Janet Dean: I What do I now call my parents like? What name do I use for them? And so much begins to shift and change, But they're there. They are going to need pastoral support, right? And identifying the losses and grieving those losses and figuring out new ways to live with that change.

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Janet Dean: Um, you know adults, if I have a relationship with them. This is another place we can do to cycle shop, you know. And if this is true about you that you feel this way, that you This is your experience, that there's that you you feel this discordances in congruence significantly enough in your body that

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Janet Dean: you feel like you have to do something about it. Let's talk about

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Janet Dean: how you hold that together with your faith, right? And I think that becomes a question about stewardship at that point.

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Andy Miller III: Yeah. So this is like a stewardship in the sense of like It's a stewardship of a relationship.

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Janet Dean: Is that the idea like how you or what do you mean by stewardship? I know you have a chapter coming out in this, but i'm curious. I think the stewardship of our bodies uh stewardship of our identity, and you know it. Um, my friend Christopher Ewen, he he has this line. He says,

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Janet Dean: Um, this is how you are in the world, but it's not who you are, and both of those are realities Who we are is who we are in Christ, but how we are in the world is about gender and sexuality and race and ethnicity, and you know,

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Janet Dean: uh professional identity and all those other things, and they matter.

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Janet Dean: But

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Janet Dean: they and they do matter, and they shape who we are and they shape our faith. But they're not who we are, and so helping someone to kind of figure that out to kind of. What does this mean for me? This is how I am in the world right. But this is who I am in Christ. How, then, do I live

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Andy Miller III: so? Could you? What resources? I? We don't, I I have about fifteen more questions, and we're out of time. But where, where can people go? Can you recommend some uh websites or books that people could read?

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Janet Dean: Yeah, the the gender dysphoria, or the gender identities? Um. I would tell you, my colleague, Mark, your house probably has the best books yet. I think one of the earliest Christian books on Gender dysphoria. So I would start there, but he also has um

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Janet Dean: a new book on emerging gender identities, and I think there's an uh gender identity and faith that would be great for people to look at. He also um related to the chapter that we're working on right now.

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Janet Dean: Um! He has a book that that just came out like. I don't even know if you can get it yet. I have a copy, but I don't even know if it's available to the general public. It might still be a pre order, but it's um when children come out right, and it's really how do you help? How do parents

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Janet Dean: um come alongside their kids and help them in this process. And it's that I think that book would be a tremendous resource for parents, and and that's not so. So mark your household, you know, hold a Biblical world view, and isn't um that's not like just research. This is that

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Janet Dean: is that book. The ideas like it's like a a guide, so to speak, for helping people. Or is it more just an analytical? This is what he's. He's a psychologist? He holds an orthodox view of gender and sexuality. It is written from a faith perspective.

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Janet Dean: Uh it. He probably is going to be a little bit more uh it depends on the situation and on the people's particular values. Then perhaps we might. You know we might be in the church, you know. Um, but I think he

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Janet Dean: he he would help lay the foundation that someone could say. Okay, this is how i'm going to walk within within uh my faith framework.

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Andy Miller III: I I think he would his work would help you to do that, Gotcha. That's great. Thank you. I I just. I recognize the enormity of this conversation that I really appreciate you taking time, Janet, to come on, and dealing with my kind of fumbling around uh with even the words I use. But I think it's important for us to have these conversations, and for people to find

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Andy Miller III: helpful resources like you, and like the research that you offer in them, the ones that you've mentioned as well

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Andy Miller III: changing gears entirely. You know my podcast is called more to the story, and as often because there's a one side of theological side that there's more than just being forgiven to the Christian life. I think there's a journey in experience of sanctification, but at the same time I know there's often more to the story of people that they don't often get to tell on a podcast interview like like. Maybe they like to scuba dive, or there's something else that's an interesting in their life. So is there more to the story of Jen Dean.

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Janet Dean: Wow, I i'm sure there is I. I am a huge college football fan. So you're a big fan of Michigan, right? I think. Michigan. Oh, it's a bad word. I couldn't help myself.

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Janet Dean: I also um am an am an amateur, very amateur photographer. And so I I love just being out in nature and capturing just glimpses of the glory of God's creative nature. Um, particularly the mountains. I love the mountains,

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Janet Dean: and so but other than that, um,

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Janet Dean: you know. What is there to know about me? You know i'm i'm here. Um

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Janet Dean: I we could say a first generation college student, let alone other things. Um coming out of the background. That um I really shouldn't be here except for the grace of God, and I i'm just amazed every single day at what he has done in my life,

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Janet Dean: and what he's called me to do. And um, I I don't understand it. I kind of feel like Moses, you know. Who am I or Jeremiah saying, but i'm so young I don't know how to speak, and yet

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Janet Dean: being able to participate in partner with God in a way where you see them constantly showing up there, there's just nothing like it,

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Andy Miller III: Janet. Thank you so much, and I'm just so thankful for the research that you've done in the academic work and the clinical work you've done has made you somebody who is so ready to help people like me and people all of the churches we're dealing with the a sexual revolution in its impact on society in the church. So thank you for coming on the podcast. It means so much to me to have you on here.

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Janet Dean: It's always good to be with you, Andy.

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