NT Wright on Transgenderism in The Times

NT Wright wrote a letter to The Times two days ago on the transgender debate. It is heartening to see such comment in a mainline paper and such a clear statement that the approach is as ancient as the heresy of Gnosticism:


The articles by Clare Foges (“Gender-fluid world is muddling young minds”, July 27) and Hugo Rifkind (“Social media is making gender meaningless”, Aug 1), and the letters about children wanting to be pandas (July 29), dogs or mermaids (Aug 1), show that the confusion about gender identity is a modern, and now internet-fuelled, form of the ancient philosophy of Gnosticism. The Gnostic, one who “knows”, has discovered the secret of “who I really am”, behind the deceptive outward appearance (in Rifkind’s apt phrase, the “ungainly, boring, fleshly one”). This involves denying the goodness, or even the ultimate reality, of the natural world. Nature, however, tends to strike back, with the likely victims in this case being vulnerable and impressionable youngsters who, as confused adults, will pay the price for their elders’ fashionable fantasies.



  1. For such a learned individual (and he’s not the only one) Wright seems perfectly comfortable traveling in the paths of ignorance when it confirms his biases. I could take on his case point by point as it is amazingly superficial but one should suffice:

    if these “vulnerable and impressionable youngsters” are victims, somehow, of the brainwashing of their elders (nevermind how VERY often a trans child appears in a family that is not supportive of any trans-accepting sort of thinking) then from whence, pray tell, arise hose of us who are in our 40’s, 50’s, and older who fought tooth and nail against accepting our condition from our childhood – for decades? If it isn’t self evident let me just assure you that there was no one in Mississippi in the 1960’s who was selling me on a “fashionable fantasy.”

    It is perhaps the most remarkable illustration of the flaws of human religious thinking that the church (not specifically the RCC, but the body of those who claim to follow Christ in an organized religion) still hasn’t shaken it’s compulsion to repeat the error of trying to read a human tradition into their doctrine and pretend it reflects the views of God. As little as half a century ago many among us were absolutely certain that segregation was a perfectly Biblical thing and opposing it was opposing God’s will for humanity. And one could list many many other previous examples….when will we learn from our errors?

  2. As a mother and one-time child, I clearly remember that Peter PAN was more to my liking than Christ. I was a normal little girl, active in our church, and I do not think it an aberration for a child to cope with life by desiring to be a mermaid, panda, or a boy. I turned out being heterosexual, but not everyone is made the way I am…it felt to me, that the very question of one being outside the norm is as troubling to the author as is a Gnostic Christian questioning their faith and tenets accepted by the many.

    LAURIE Johnson

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