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Reflecting on a woeful childhood

August 2014 | by Carl Trueman

I reflected on a newspaper report (30 May 2014) from San Diego, California, about a girl who became a boy, at the age of five, when, ‘Jeff and Hillary Whittington shared the emotional story of little Ryland’s decision and gender transition as they accepted the Inspiration Award at the 6th annual Harvey Milk Diversity Breakfast’ (

I resisted the temptation to rearrange the words ‘lunatics’, ‘asylum’ and ‘have taken over’ to make a well known phrase or saying, and instead spent a moment or two reflecting on my own childhood.

I well remember one afternoon, at the age of three, deciding that I was not a human being, but actually a monkey — to be precise, a common marmoset. Consistent with my identity, I ran round the house making monkey noises and climbing on the furniture.

I subsequently refused to eat chicken nuggets, preferring fruit and raw nuts. Tragically, my parents were a pair of reactionary bigots. Rather than facilitate my self-realisation by handing me over to the zoo, or taking me to a rain forest in order to release me into the wild, I seem to remember my mother physically and verbally abused me (by clipping me round the ear and telling me not to clamber all over her nice furniture).

I know, I know; it sends shivers down the spine to imagine the psychological damage wreaked upon me by the imposition of what Insider Movement advocates would no doubt call the Greco-Latin-European concept of ‘human nature’, on a common marmoset trapped inside a three-year-old human body.

But those were dark, ill-informed times. It is good that we now live in a more enlightened age, is it not?

Carl R. Trueman


The author is Professor of Historical Theology and Church History and holds the Paul Woolley Chair of Church History at Westminster Theological Seminary, USA (


This article is by kind permission of the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals (

Editor’s note: See August ET article ‘Adam under pressure’, on page 13.







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