The Suicide of Reason in a Transgender Teen

by | 23 Mar, 2018 | 2 comments

Eric Verbeeck, 17, took his own life this week.

Tragic. Unfortunately explainable, understandable even, able to be accounted for. And just as tragic, soon to be forgotten by all but those who knew and loved him most.

The news report is telling, Orwellian in its doublespeak,

“Eric Peter Verbeeck was only 17 when she died on March 6. The smiling, bespectacled boy who grew up in Key Biscayne was a month shy of her 18th birthday, which would have been April 14.”

Eric Verbeeck was a transgender teen.

The Root of Affliction

The folly of men is evident in their self-destruction.

The folly of men exists in their denial of God, whom they know in their heart exists. (Psalm 14:1, Romans 1:19)

As men suppress and deny the Life-giver Jesus Christ, the people perish. (Proverbs 29:18) Few people intentionally live wrongly. Most sane people live in a way that seems right…to them. But the way that seems right to a man leads to death. (Proverbs 14:12)

There are exactly two ways to live, God’s way and man’s way though man’s way takes innumerable forms, exists as countless aberrations, all equally destructive.

Affliction Personified

I can scarcely consider the struggle of a young man such as Eric, the confusion.

Your biology, your DNA, your literal cellular structure, the General Revelation of creation, the bulk of society screams truth, competing with the increasingly strident cries of affirmation from progressive society, your family and loved ones, those who would seek to exploit you to further an agenda, together in a demonic and harmonic chorus.

The cacophony must deafen, eventually madden. Your brain rages against your soul, to the death.

Satan himself could not have crafted a more effective ploy. Imprison a young man in his mind. Convince him of an impossibility upon which his very being relies. Enslave a society and an entire family to affirm the impossibility which confronts him every single time he looks in the mirror. No matter how hard he tries to be what he cannot, no matter to what lengths he goes, the absurdity confronts him. Hopelessness looms.

“Dear Mommy, I am so sorry to do this but I have killed myself.”

Rejecting a Narrative

Eric was not bullied.

Eric was not discriminated against.

Eric was never physically abused.

Eric maintained the support of his family and friends. He and his mother were busy working with a local team of surgeons and doctors to plan the next steps of his transition. His mother had stopped using male pronouns. They were busy visiting colleges and planning for the future. They had bought a new house in South Carolina where Eric was busy designing his new bedroom.

Eric destroys a certain narrative, that culture is to blame for the alarming suicide rate among the transgender community.

Consider that 4 in 10 (40%!) of transgender people have attempted suicide, an alarming figure.

The narrative would tell us that an antiquated and religious society is to blame, that unsupportive and condemning family are to blame, that bullying and discrimination are to blame. Yet consider black people, historically the most discriminated against people group in America. Their suicide rates have remained consistently low, the lowest of all ethnic groups. White people commit suicide at a much greater rate.

Consider that transgender suicide rates in progressive European countries remain consistent. Acceptance and affirmation do not lower the rate.

Eric was ill, deathly ill.

Dr. Paul R. McHugh, the former psychiatrist-in-chief for Johns Hopkins Hospital and its current Distinguished Service Professor of Psychiatry, confirms that which everyone already knows. Transgenderism is a “mental disorder” that merits treatment. Sex change is a biological impossibility. Those who promote sexual reassignment surgery collaborate with and promote a mental disorder, never a wise thing to do.

This is the way of men. What greater way to reject the way of God, the created order, than to reject male and female, that which He created. (Genesis 1:27)

And Eric’s life and sadly, his death, perfectly illustrates the fruit of rejecting God’s way.

The name he chose resonates with irony…Hope.

A Christian Response

We ought to mourn.

Jesus surveyed Jerusalem that was still to betray Him and He wept at their impending treachery and subsequent judgment. (Luke 19) Our tears ought to mingle with Christ’s at the present collective rebellion of men and the rejection of His righteousness.

We ought to see young men such as Eric Verbeek as they are, the Image of God, afflicted and tormented, desperately needing the good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

You see, a further folly of men exists in our refusal to see others correctly. We see the outworking of sin, frequently considering another’s struggle as baser than our own. We see a struggle such as Eric’s that is visible and somehow more reprehensible. My sin I can quietly tuck away and those I know are none the wiser.

We ought to see those locked at the horns in such a struggle for who they are, as those being taken away to death, perhaps stumbling to the slaughter, and we ought to have compassion, we ought to love, we ought to rescue. (Proverbs 24:11) Our hearts ought never be glad when they stumble. (Proverbs 24:17)

Perhaps Eric never knew a fundamental truth, you are who God has created you to be. No one ever impressed this upon him and the enemy exploited that gap in his heart to his destruction.










  1. Patricia M Verbeeck

    I am Hope/Eric’s mom. How sad that your “version of religion” is so narrow, so confined in its definitions, and so exclusionary. My vision, and version, of religion, faith, and belief is encompassing, loving, sympathetic, empathetic and from my readings of the life of Jesus, I think Jesus was all encompassing. No one exemplified more than Hope/Eric all of those characteristics that we like to assign to “good Christians.” She would give away anything to anyone in need. Countless times I would fine that something was gone from toys, clothing, etc. that she would have given away. Hugging, sharing, and total warmth and joy surrounded her relationships with others. I remember as a very young child her gathering up all of her pennies, piggybank money and allowance money totally on her own and walking it down the aisle at church to give away. This struggle actually had been going on from a very young age, but at the time I did not know enough to see it as what it was. I sensed and knew that there was a struggle, but let her come out to me at her own time. This was not a fad, or just a phase, the struggle was real and painful. It is simply too hard to do this, if physically changing is entered, to “just try it out.” AS I had said, open up your heart and soul to those who are “different”, I think that God, the holy spirit and Jesus all accept any of us, no matter what our earthly identities, of whatever sort, are.

    • Bradford Smith

      Ma’am, I truly mourn your loss. As a father myself, I cannot fathom the loss of one of my children in this manner so please accept my humble condolences. Hope/Eric sounds like a wonderful and caring person and again, I can scarcely consider the depths of your loss and grief.


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Bradford Smith

Bradford Smith

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Soldier, Pastor, Author – Bradford stays busy, with his wife Ami, raising their 9 children, serving the nation, pastoring, preaching, and writing books (#3 is due out October ’17).


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