Our view of human beings matters. Many of the culture wars being fought today are the result of two very different understandings of what it means to be human. Were we created by God, or did we evolve? Is human nature fixed or malleable? Is there a purpose for our bodies that we need to conform ourselves to, or are we free to form ourselves according to our own purposes? Do we have intrinsic value, or do we earn our value by possessing particular characteristics (race, size, ability, etc.)? These questions are relevant to abortion, physician-assisted suicide, homosexuality, marriage, and transgenderism—today’s most divisive topics. They’re divisive precisely because our culture is deeply divided on a much more basic question: What is a human being?
Worldviews don’t exist as mere abstractions. They shape and direct real people’s lives, creating real-world consequences. I came across this article and short documentary about a man who underwent $70,000 worth of surgeries—castration, horns implanted, ears and some teeth removed, nose altered, tongue forked—to transform himself into the “Dragon Lady,” Eva Tiamat Medusa, and I thought the passage below was the clearest expression of self-autonomy and self-creation (as opposed to submitting to a Creator) that I’ve seen in a while.
Tiamat has endured discrimination, abuse, and sexual violence—a lifetime of injustice committed against her at the hands of men. So, over time, she stopped identifying with our species….
Tiamat doesn’t seem like a human. She seems like a dragon, a mythical entity that has, through a series of ritualistic procedures, managed to escape the confines of the human body. As a trans woman, that is something I implicitly understand. In fact, I don’t think there’s much difference between us. When I grew breasts, when I had surgery to carry my body across physical sex, I felt a sense of freedom from manhood much in the way that Tiamat says she feels free from being human….
I believe that body modification is a core aspect of what it means to be human. Everything that we do to our bodies, whether we are exercising, dieting, having plastic surgery, dying our hair, changing our sex, or transitioning into otherworldly beings, represents a negotiation between our will and the forms we were born into. We make decisions every day to manifest our mind’s desires materially, and have since the eras of our earliest civilizations. Tiamat’s method is merely different than most others’.
It’s easy to look at this situation and critique the worldview promoted above, but let’s not forget to also apply the Christian worldview to this story. When we do that, here’s what we see: Tiamat is an immeasurably valuable person who was made in the image of God, who was egregiously sinned against by other human beings, who has clearly gone through a lot of pain, and who would find great joy in knowing and being reconciled to our Creator. Did you feel scorn when you read about the “Dragon Lady’s” surgeries, or did you feel compassion? Were you moved to laugh or pray? Did Tiamat seem less valuable than other people to you? In short, did you see Tiamat through eyes shaped by the Christian worldview?
Like I said at the beginning, our view of human beings matters.