Male and Female: Why It Matters in the Culture and Public Policy

Rally for Marriage

Remember the “good ol’ days” when you filled out a form and there were two choices for your sex: Male or Female?

Incoming freshman at the University of California (UC) system – with 233,000 students enrolled at 10 campuses — now get to choose between six options for their “gender”:

How do you describe yourself? (Mark one answer):

  1. Male

  2. Female

  3. Trans Male/Trans Man

  4. Trans Female/Trans Woman

  5. Gender Queer/Gender Non-Conforming

  6. Different Identity

The application also asks, “What sex were you assigned at birth, such as on the original birth certificate?” and the two choices are: male or female. For UC officials, and for others who buy into this gender ideology, sex isn’t seen and recognized at birth, it’s assigned. The implication is such an assignment could be random, haphazard or just plain wrong.

Science recognizes the objective reality that humans are “sexually dimorphic” — coming in two forms, male and female.We understand that there is a small percentage of the population – about 0.018% – with intersex conditions, typically genetic or hormonal anomalies. But these are simply some variation from male or female, not a third sex. We write more about this here. The existence of such conditions does not require the re-defining of humanity to have “an infinite number of genders,” just as the existence of people with one or no or unusable legs would not cause us to revise a definition that states that “humans are characterized by bi-pedal locomotion” (walking on two legs). The modern gender ideology, such as that used by the University of California system, is based on a completely subjective system where people define themselves however they wish — a definition that could change by the minute if someone wanted.

How did we get here?

Sex and Gender

Up until the 1950s, people used the word “sex” most often as a noun, referring to men or women. And, as everybody recognized, there were two human sexes: male and female. Dr. John Money borrowed the term “gender” from linguistics, where it had been used to describe nouns in languages that classified words as masculine, feminine or neuter. In those languages, other words might change their form to agree with the noun. So an adjective or verb would change to show the same “gender” as the noun.

However, Money took the term and also applied it to people, writing about how people identified internally as male or female, creating the term “gender identity.” Others picked up the term and wrote about “gender roles” and “gender expression.” During the same time period, feminists and other academics downplayed differences between the sexes. They theorized and taught there was no real difference between men and women — except for a few, incidental hormonal or reproductive distinctions. They also began teaching, along with Money, that gender was “socially constructed,” as if arbitrarily made up by societies.

These ideas began spreading at about the same time the “sexual liberation” movement was growing, which was followed quickly by the gay activist movement, and fomenting a great deal of sexual confusion and brokenness. Gender theorists and transgender activists then joined in, bringing us to where we are today. Transgender activists and their allies believe gender is fluid and changeable; they believe there are an infinite variety of genders; and gender exists on a spectrum. One group, which advocates for “freedom of gender,” says:

Gender encompasses a spectrum from male to female with some people preferring to identify as genderqueer (either not caring to identify as one of the two sexes or preferring to encompass both genders) or gender non-conforming instead of being constraint [sic] by gender stereotyping.http://www.equalitygiving.org/Freedom-of-Gender-and-Genderqueer, (08 October 2015).

Culture and Public Policy Impact

Ideas have consequences, especially when they are adopted and acted upon. The shift in thinking — from two sexes to a multitude of genders — has affected all areas of American culture and politics: from the church to the classroom, and from businesses to bathrooms. Here are just a few of the recent news stories about gender:

  • School districts and state legislatures across the U. S. are facing conflict over who can use public restrooms and changing rooms, impacting both schools and businesses.
  • Newspaper articles about 2016 fashions for men announced “The end of gender is near” and “The Great Gender Blur” with lacy shirts and floral-print suits for men.
  • U.S. Chief Data Scientist DJ Patil launched an initiative “to understand how the federal government can better serve the transgender community.”
  • Actor Jeffrey Tambor won a Best Actor Emmy for playing the role of a father of three who transitions into a woman, “Maura,” in the television series, “Transparent.”
  • Target stores removed “gender-based labeling” in toy aisles, because of the “social media backlash over separate aisles for ‘boys’ and ‘girls’ building sets.”
  • Magnum ice cream created an ad — garnering over 3 million views on YouTube — featuring drag queens.
  • The New York Times ran an article applauding the increased number of books for “transgender” children and teens.

A Christian Worldview

Given the way our culture and public policy have shifted on these issues, it’s more important than ever for Christians to maintain a biblical worldview, pass these truths on to our children and grandchildren, and advocate for ideas and policies that reflect these truth — rather than subjective thinking. The next few articles in this series explore what we learn from the Bible about being created male and female, what science says about male-female differences, and how our masculinity and femininity reflect the image of God.

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