I have written often about two of the crises afflicting our world. The first is anthropology: the meaning of being human, and within this, being male and female. The second is epistemology: the nature of knowing and the search for truth. We are in a moment where elites are demanding new definitions of humanness and upending any objective assessments of biological sex.
As a historian, I teach my students that many challenges and trends we think are new are really old ideas and practices dressed up in new clothing. Sexual license, sex role reversals in pagan worship and parties, and questioning moral traditions are all found in a variety of ancient civilizations.
But today’s gender anarchy is unprecedented in a couple of ways. One, we are living in the first moment of global history where relationships that do not produce the next generation are given equal standing in law and society. Homosexual behaviors and relationships are not new; however, the notion that they are equal to marriage is brand new. I am not advocating for intolerance or “going back to the good old days.” Permitting adults to organize their lives in a variety of ways is part of a pluralistic world. But toleration is not celebration and deeply held moral and religious convictions must not be ignored. Two, the metastasizing of genders is brand new and the idea that one can simply change their gender and/or sex is subverting biological reality, social convention, and the created order.
It is interesting that those who reject their biological sex and affirm one of a hundred new identities are called, “courageous” while those that leave the anarchy for their biological identity and choose heterosexual normativity are called, “brainwashed.”
What lies beneath this inverted and perverted thinking is a narcissistic and solipsistic ideology that makes each individual their own deity. Ironically, the young people “rebelling” against “cisgender normativity” are in fact conformists to social media contagion. Objective truth is thrown out the window. Centuries of evolutionary biology and scientific research are tossed aside and obscure studies from academic echo chambers are cited as evidence of a gender or sexual spectrum.
When I was pursuing my education (at two centers of radical thinking: the University of California at Santa Cruz and the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, CA), “gender as a social construction” meant that we should not stereotype boys and girls, women and men, and make sure that all people have access and opportunity. Questioning traditional roles of men and women in society was NOT repudiating biological sex or promoting mutilation of minors. The most radical gay activists (with a few exceptions) of the 1970s-2000s did not deny their maleness or femaleness…they argued for the right to follow their attractions. For decades I have worked with all people of conscience to make a way for women and men of all cultures, classes, and lifestyles to have equal opportunities.
All this progress is being subverted by gender anarchists bent on destroying any objective truth about the human condition. Thoughtful people must NOT be insensitive to true body dysphoria and the deep emotional needs of emerging adults. There is no place for bullying and being unkind to anyone. We must, however, truly follow the science, the wisdom of the ages, and common sense and reaffirm that:
- Most people are biologically male or biologically female.
- Men and women have more in common that what is disparate, so there is a spectrum of personalities and proclivities, while each person remains male or female.
- We must not allow any medical procedures on minors that alter chemistry or permanently destroy healthy body parts.
- We must expand and improve psychiatric care for those struggling in their bodies.
- We must reaffirm the parental authority vis a vis the educational systems, social media, and other pressures calling for children to reject their essential identity.
- Adults have the right to order their lives and relationships in a variety of ways free from fear.
- Disagreement on ideas and moral choices is not intolerance, and the deeply held ethical and religious beliefs of billions of people must be considered as we aim for a free and virtuous society.
Let’s walk in kindness, love, and the pursuit of truth in the company of friends