Tag: gender

The Trans Movement – Another Form of Patriarchy

Over at Crux, I have a new piece exploring the patriarchal effects of the trans movement. Until lately, if someone had mentioned patriarchy in the developed world, I would’ve thought…

Image from Bing images. Licensed for public domain.

Image from Bing images. Licensed for public domain.

Over at Crux, I have a new piece exploring the patriarchal effects of the trans movement.

Until lately, if someone had mentioned patriarchy in the developed world, I would’ve thought we were about to embark on a somewhat archaic conversation. But recent events, crystallized by Target’s decision to open its sex-differentiated bathrooms and fitting rooms to the personal narrative of its customers, have me thinking that patriarchy is alive and well.

Hear me out.

Throughout history, women have been denigrated and oppressed by men. While I don’t always agree with some feminist activists, I certainly acknowledge that I would not have had the opportunities that I have without feminist efforts to right so many wrongs.

Despite these advances, today’s “trans movement” (particularly the transwoman sector) inadvertently takes us back to a time when women were valued based on their appearance, and whether they fit someone else’s preconceived notion of femininity. In essence, all it takes to be a woman today are [fake] breasts and good hair.

Read more here.

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Fifty Shades of Gender

It’s old news that Facebook now offers 54 new gender options for users to describe themselves. 54. Who knew?  Last week, I commented on the gender agenda in Poland and…

It’s old news that Facebook now offers 54 new gender options for users to describe themselves. 54. Who knew? 

Last week, I commented on the gender agenda in Poland and the criticism of the Catholic Church’s opposition to it. In the gender discussions that will no doubt continue, I want to continue to emphasize two points:

  1. Gender is a fluid concept. Sex is not. The sex of an individual is determined at conception. Either the human person is born with two X chromosomes or an X and Y chromosome. That fixed combination determines one’s sex. Obviously, it does not determine how one uses, expresses, or lives one’s sexuality. But it is a scientific fact, not something determined by popes, bishops, or any other type of religious authority. We don’t believe it. We know it. It’s basic science and it’s really, really significant, which bring me to my next point.
  2. We are engaged in what may very likely be the biggest social experiment in the history of humanity. Can we at least have a conversation about it, what it means, its implications, etc? I don’t deny that people experience their sexuality in very different ways. I’m just asking, can we have a calm and rational conversation before we dismiss the essential significance of a scientific reality?

I was interviewed for a National Catholic Register article about the FaceBook changes.

Pia de Solenni, a Catholic theologian living in Seattle, argues that these values are finding traction in social media for practical rather than philosophical reasons.

“It’s part of the business model,” she said. “Social media needs to constantly generate attention; otherwise, it can’t function as a connecting medium. Shock value is an easy way to get attention.”

De Solenni says Facebook’s move demonstrates that social “progressives” tend to be “much savvier about communicating their values and their vision” using newer mediums used by a younger audience, but she says Catholics can fight back by learning the tools of the trade.

“There’s a great opportunity here for people of traditional values to be reaching out to the younger generation to offer something different than what they’ve experienced all of their short lives,” she said.

Register journalist Jonathan Liedl was kind enough to follow my comments immediately with the following:

Some are saying that’s what Comedy Central personality Stephen Colbert did on his Feb. 18 episode. Colbert, a Catholic who was the keynote speaker at last fall’s Al Smith Dinner in New York City, often mocks socially conservative talking points, but in this instance, he directed his humor at progressive values, joking that Facebook’s plethora of new gender options “make [my] brain broke” and weren’t inclusive enough because they didn’t include “pirate.”

The Catholic comedian also took direct aim at one of Facebook’s most ill-defined gender choices, which is listed as “Trans*” on its “Diversity” page. Quipped Colbert, “I believe that’s when you’re born an asterisk but deep inside you believe you’re an ampersand.”

Colbert’s performance was called “nasty” by John Aravosis, a LGBT activist, but it had the audience in stitches.

It’s basic. We all need to engage in society and in civil discourse. Advocates of gender theories have been very active in engaging the culture (though not always civilly). For those  who see things differently, speak up. If you don’t speak up, you allow others to speak for you regardless of whether you agree with their thoughts.
Here’s an example of one man who engaged society with careful thinking, particularly in this Christmas Address from 2012, which may very well be one of the most significant public addresses he ever gave. (Hint – he was likened to a rottweiler, he wears white, and still lives in Vatican City State. He was recently seen greeting Pope Francis.)
The Chief Rabbi of France, Gilles Bernheim, has shown in a very detailed and profoundly moving study that the attack we are currently experiencing on the true structure of the family, made up of father, mother, and child, goes much deeper. While up to now we regarded a false understanding of the nature of human freedom as one cause of the crisis of the family, it is now becoming clear that the very notion of being – of what being human really means – is being called into question. He quotes the famous saying of Simone de Beauvoir: “one is not born a woman, one becomes so” (on ne naît pas femme, on le devient). These words lay the foundation for what is put forward today under the term “gender” as a new philosophy of sexuality. According to this philosophy, sex is no longer a given element of nature, that man has to accept and personally make sense of: it is a social role that we choose for ourselves, while in the past it was chosen for us by society. The profound falsehood of this theory and of the anthropological revolution contained within it is obvious. People dispute the idea that they have a nature, given by their bodily identity, that serves as a defining element of the human being. They deny their nature and decide that it is not something previously given to them, but that they make it for themselves. According to the biblical creation account, being created by God as male and female pertains to the essence of the human creature. This duality is an essential aspect of what being human is all about, as ordained by God. This very duality as something previously given is what is now disputed. The words of the creation account: “male and female he created them” (Gen 1:27) no longer apply. No, what applies now is this: it was not God who created them male and female – hitherto society did this, now we decide for ourselves. Man and woman as created realities, as the nature of the human being, no longer exist. Man calls his nature into question. From now on he is merely spirit and will. The manipulation of nature, which we deplore today where our environment is concerned, now becomes man’s fundamental choice where he himself is concerned. From now on there is only the abstract human being, who chooses for himself what his nature is to be. Man and woman in their created state as complementary versions of what it means to be human are disputed. But if there is no pre-ordained duality of man and woman in creation, then neither is the family any longer a reality established by creation. Likewise, the child has lost the place he had occupied hitherto and the dignity pertaining to him. Bernheim shows that now, perforce, from being a subject of rights, the child has become an object to which people have a right and which they have a right to obtain. When the freedom to be creative becomes the freedom to create oneself, then necessarily the Maker himself is denied and ultimately man too is stripped of his dignity as a creature of God, as the image of God at the core of his being. The defence of the family is about man himself. And it becomes clear that when God is denied, human dignity also disappears. Whoever defends God is defending man. [emphasis mine]

Agree or disagree, but I think we have to have a substantive conversation about the implications of choices we make now, even something as simple as selecting an identifying option on Facebook.

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No Discussion, Please. We Want Diversity.

Oh that ignorant Catholic Church. Once again, it has a different view from those who preach “diversity.” The Catholic Church in Poland has come under attack for apparently challenging “gender…

Oh that ignorant Catholic Church. Once again, it has a different view from those who preach “diversity.”

The Catholic Church in Poland has come under attack for apparently challenging “gender workshops,” a type of sex-ed class in the schools that present children with “alternatives” to permanent monogamous heterosexual relations. According to an article in Our Sunday Visitor, the circumstances are not quite clear. Nevertheless, in a column for the theguardian.com, Agata Pyzik attacks the Church in a way that makes it seem that she, the Church, and other critics of the Church are at least agreed upon the subject of the dispute, namely the “gender workshops” and accompanying topics like abortion and contraception.

Think about it. The gender agenda, inclusive of same-sex marriage, is probably the largest social experiment in the history of humanity. And it’s being driven by anything but science. Gender is a fluid notion despite the scientific fact that the human person’s sex is determined at conception.

It’s interesting that at the same time that most European countries won’t stand for altering the integrity of food produce with genetically modified organisms [GMOs], the integrity of the human person is discounted insofar as one’s sex is considered to be arbitrary, changeable, even mistaken, not an integral and essential part of who we are even though…again…it’s determined at conception. That’s pure science. Not religion, not the Bishops, not the Pope. There is no human being created who is not male or female and yet the significance of that seems to count for very little in some circles.

Obviously people are going to have different thoughts and feelings about policies impacting society in such a profound way. At the very least, differing view points ought to be discussed, pondered, and explored. Instead, any suggestion that perhaps this experiment needs some rethinking or perhaps children  should not be the guinea pigs of a vast social experiment (an EXPERIMENT!), results in an attempt to shut down the dissenting voice[s]. Then again, this is Poland we’re talking about. Perhaps the decades of Communism have left a deeper impact than we thought, namely that a voice that challenges a questionable and potentially harmful idea should be shut down, especially if it’s the Catholic Church. After all, a 2,000 year-old institution has no experience to draw upon…

Pyzik discusses the issue assaults the Church for its actions to stop the “gender workshops.”[A quick internet search turned up this bio which describes her as a writer whose primary interest is “(post) Communist Eastern Europe.”] She refers to a recent comment by actress Meryl Streep to Polish politicians:

“I thought that after years of communism you’d caught up with the west in a social-cultural sense.”

Pyzik notes, however,

“… it was during the People’s Republic when women in Poland enjoyed civil and reproductive rights.

“Enjoyed”? Last I checked, the flow of traffic, had the borders been open, would have been out of Communist countries, not into them, precisely because human rights were not acknowledged and supported by law. The rates of abortion in Communist countries have been notoriously high, due to factors like population control, economic conditions, and a basic lack of hope for the future.

Let’s talk about contraception for a moment. Back in 2005, the World Health Organization repeated its 1999 finding that hormonal contraception is a Group 1 carcinogen for humans, in other words hormonal contraception creates a serious cancer risk for women who use it. Yet, Pyzik is not alone in mistakenly seeing it as a part of women’s “rights” or “health.” The current HHS mandate in the U.S. makes the same assertion, apparently without any thought to women’s health.

Given that we’re talking about a very serious drug with dangerous side effects, shouldn’t doctors and pharmacists be able to make the decision to refuse to expose a patient to the danger of a particular treatment? It’s not as if a patient has a right to any medication that she deems necessary. That’s left to the doctor’s discretion. Ethical doctors don’t automatically write prescriptions without first diagnosing the patient and then considering the effects (good and bad) of the treatment. Doctors who are driven by an agenda rather than the health of the patient, well they’re unethical.

But this abortion+contraception = women’s rights formula is all part of a tired, albeit all too successful trope. If something is repeated often enough, it seems true no matter how dubious it might actually be.

I’ve listened to women who have had abortions. Many women. I’ve only had one tell me years after that it was a good choice for her. I’ve met with and researched doctors who work in the developing countries who would like to provide safe maternal care. Instead they are provided with contraceptives…even though their patients want safe deliveries and healthy babies.

With regard to the gender issues, Pyzik complains:

Even scientists speak in one voice with the church: the Polish Academy of Sciences published a letter in which they called the gender workshops an attempt at “unseating children from their own sex”.

I dunno. When I question a scientist, it’s about methodology, not whether or not the scientist agrees with the Catholic Church.

How about measuring progress in terms other than abortion, contraception, and how one chooses to use one’s genitalia? And while we’re at it, it wouldn’t hurt to have an open discussion about a major, major, major social EXPERIMENT.

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