I can still remember the excitement I had as a father-to-be. I sat next to my wife during one of her pre-natal visits and our baby was finally far enough along for us to get our first glimpse of our bundle of joy. At last, with the help of ultrasound technology, we could decide whether to paint the room pink or blue and we could eliminate at least 50 percent of the names we were considering. Or could we?
How could we be sure that our baby’s assigned gender at birth wasn’t more than just a shot in the dark? Maybe our boy would not be a “cis-boy” (a male whose assigned male gender is more or less consistent with their personal sense of self). After all, we have been told “gender cannot be defined by anyone other than the individual” and furthermore “gender roles are socially constructed” and “gender is not a very clearly-defined concept.”
And to make matters even more complicated, why would we limit our child’s choice to just male and female?
“Facebook made it official last February when it told the world that limiting binary-gendered options is a thing of the past and added a third option to its standard male and female ones: custom. From a drop-down menu, users can select from 58 different identities, including agender, androgyne, gender fluid, trans female, trans male, trans person, cisgender, and two-spirit. (Each term refers to a subtle variation of gender and sexual identity and expression.) For users who don’t fit into the 58 pre-populated list of gender identities, Facebook offers a 59th option: “fill in the blank.” New letters to keep up with are emerging every day from the alphabet soup (…LGBTQ…).
While the mainstream culture is still busy trying to figure out what to do with Bruce Jenner’s transition to Caitlyn, gender-fluidity and gender-neutrality are the newest trails that are being blazed by our young people.
Trans-gender is yesterday’s news.
“among many young people, there is a much bigger conversation going on about gender. The whole notion of “binary” — female and male — gender norms is being seen as limiting, and unnecessary.”
“What is happening today is a profound change in society, both for individual and group understanding, and a recognition of a persistent element of the human condition.” (fortune.com article)
I would agree that there is a “a persistent element of the human condition”. It’s called sin and at its root, it refuses to be governed or ruled or constrained, even if that constraint is a biological one.
As Jesse pointed out in an earlier post “People hate gender because they hate God.” The distinction between male and female exists because God made that distinction. In Jesus’ words “God made them male and female” (Matthew 19:4). He did not leave it up to us to choose to be whatever we wanted to be. Our eraser will be rubbed down to the metal before we will remove the lines God has drawn between male and female.
But just in case you thought the Bible was unclear about what was meant by male and female, I’d like to share a biblical insight that I thought was certainly insignificant when I first came across it in Bible College. It seemed like a minor detail that wouldn’t be useful for much more than Bible Trivia. But perhaps in God’ wisdom, this is just the kind of detail some of our young people need today.
In 2 Kings 9:8 judgment is prophesied against the house of Ahab. He led the nation of Israel into disobedience and idolatry. This was the word of the Lord against him…
“The whole house of Ahab shall perish, and I will cut off from Ahab every male person both bond and free in Israel”
This is exactly what God meant but some of what was said is lost in translation. The word “male” is actually a euphemism for what was a bit more detailed in the original language.
The King James Version picks up on this when it translates this verse in the following way…
“For the whole house of Ahab shall perish; and I will cut off from Ahab him that pisseth against the wall”
Now, before you post a response, let me remind you, those are God’s words not mine. It was just a fact that one of the ways males were distinguished from females was by the way they urinated. No commentary needed.
This same phrase is found at least five other places in Scripture (1 Sam 25:22, 25:34; 1 Kings 14:10; 16:11; 21:21).
What does this mean for a young father-to-be? It meant that I didn’t have to wonder whether or not my son’s assigned gender was consistent with his personal sense of self. I didn’t have to ask my doctor if his gender was a clearly defined concept. When he was finally born I was not in any consternation about whether to fill in the blank with an M or an F. It was much simpler than that. To put it bluntly and biblically, the only thing I had to determine was “will he be able to use a urinal or not?”