How to respond in love to a friend who thinks they may be trans

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

In the 2021 census about 1% of 16-24 year olds stated that their gender identity was different to the sex they were registered with at birth (biological sex) and the NHS gender identity development service has seen a massive rise in the number of children being referred with gender dysphoria (in 2021 there were 5000 referrals compared to 500 referrals in 2013).

It’s very likely then that you will have a friend or know someone who is questioning their gender or identifying as transgender and you may be thinking how can we as Christians best love and support them? So often we are told that the loving thing to do is to affirm and celebrate a person’s chosen identity but is that really the most loving thing to do?

In this article we will look at some principles that might help you to discern the most godly and loving ways to engage with individuals in a variety of situations. Exactly what you do and say (as well as how you say it) will depend on the specific situation including whether or not the person involved is a Christian.

Background knowledge/understanding

You may already have some knowledge about the topic or you may feel that you know very little. It’s not always easy to know what is true and what isn’t and many people rely on personal stories on YouTube or other social media that only give one perspective. It’s important that you have a good factual understanding of the medical/biological facts as well as understanding what the Bible says.

You may need to read further on the topic – some suggested articles to begin with can be found below.

For a more in-depth understanding The Gender Revolution by Patricia Weerakoon or Embodied by Preston Sprinkle may be helpful.

Listen and be interested

With the foundations of biological and biblical truth clearly in place you are in a good place to listen and to seek to understand your friend. Let them talk about how they feel and what they think without interrupting or giving counter arguments. Make sure they know that you are genuinely interested and really want to understand.

Ask questions

This is not about asking questions that you know they won’t be able to answer or deliberately asking questions that uncover inconsistencies or untruths in what they think. This is about continuing to show genuine interest and allowing them to expand on their thoughts and feelings. So pick up on things they have said and ask more – for example if someone says “I don’t feel female, I feel male” ask them more about this to understand what they mean by it and perhaps where their difficulties with gender may have come from. If there are things they say that you genuinely don’t understand or you feel are not true it may be appropriate to ask for some clarification at this point or it may be better to go away and do some research yourself. A useful place to look for reliable statistics and research is:

Love and Support

As you have got to know this person better and maybe understood more of what is going on for them you should be in a better position to consider how you might be able to support them. There are many practical ways you can love and support any person who is struggling and so showing the same love and support to a friend identifying as transgender will communicate your love and care to them without you having to affirm and agree with their gender identity. Be willing to walk alongside them over an extended period of time.


From this position of loving and supporting them you may be able to begin to gently challenge them as you spend more time with them. Exactly how you do this and how much you challenge will very much depend on the exact situation but some possible suggestions of things you might be able to do:

  • Explain your own thoughts on gender identity
  • Explain why you find it difficult to use pronouns that don’t correspond to biological sex
  • Discuss the concept of identity with them and share your thoughts on our God-given identity
  • Encourage the person to read or watch things that might give them a different perspective
  • Challenge stats or research/personal stories they have quoted with alternatives.
  • Ask them about how they feel transitioning has helped or not helped them


Pray for yourself for wisdom and opportunities to show love and to challenge. Pray for your friend to know and understand truth but trust in God’s timing and be patient.

Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervour, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.”

Romans 12v 9-13