Photo by Michael Swan

Sex-gender can’t be put asunder

  • September 21, 2023

Gender is a nothingburger. I don’t mean that gender is irrelevant, but that “gender” doesn’t have a life of its own. It’s virtually synonymous with “sex.” Because of this fact, I shall from now on render gender as “sex-gender.” Hyphens are fantastic. They keep things together that go together — especially those in danger of separation: “What God has joined together, let no man tear asunder.”

Gender used to be grammar. That’s it. English teachers used to say: “Nouns have gender, people have sex” — but there has always been a dribble-over when “gender” is used interchangeably with “sex,” that is, until gender theory developed gender into something apart from human sexuality. Why was this done?

One reason is because those uncomfortable with and in their sex-gender, those experiencing same-sex attraction, those with body dysmorphia or gender dysphoria (which used to be called “sexual dysphoria”) were seeking a rationale for what they were feeling, and a justification of how they were responding to these disorders, without perhaps looking deeply enough at and dealing with root causes. (“Disorder” is not a judgment. It’s an objective statement that something is not in harmony with the order of nature and the divine order. We all have various disorders in the physical, spiritual, emotional and other human realms. Creation after the Fall is rife with anomalies.)

Fetishists and sexual deviants — opportunists that they often are — jumped on the gender band wagon to normalize their proclivities as “their truth,” “diversity,” “inclusivity,” “anti-bigotry,” “freedom,” “part of the sexual spectrum,” “anti-oppression” and “born-that-way-orientations” such as MAPS: minor-attracted-persons (aka pedophiles). But all is not peaceful under the big gender tent. Gay dads are showing up at school board meetings demanding: “Don’t talk to my child about sex at all. LGBTQ+ is not about identity. It’s about sexual activity.”

There are drag queen wars where some want access to children at story hours and others are adamant it’s adult-only entertainment. The latter state emphatically to “open-minded” parents: “Stop bringing your kids to our gay clubs. They’re not for children. You should want to keep your children as innocent for as long as you possibly can.”

Of course, anyone claiming the 2SLGBTQI+ nomenclature today also has non-2SLGBTQI+ “allies” who support and further gender theory/gender ideology, but its roots are firmly with figures who “always knew they were different” themselves. French philosopher Michel Foucault asked “What’s normal and who gets to determine what’s normal?” and began the questioning of the very foundations of society (for him, prisons are places for those who have a different moral system; mental asylums are for those who simply think and see the world outside the norm).

Gender theory was galvanized by third wave feminism in 1990s academia when Judith Butler released her seminal Gender Trouble text that became a manual for so-called “Gender Studies.” For much darker beginnings and intentions towards children, look no further than the notoriously influential Alfred Kinsey and Gayle Rubin.

“Sex education” and gender ideology in schools involves incessantly talking to kids about sex-gender and can frequently fit the definition of grooming. Here are some tenets of classic grooming that law enforcement and other professionals are trained to look for in child predator cases: showing excessive interest in a child beyond an official capacity,  isolating from parents to gain trust, encouraging a child to keep secrets from parents or guardians, engaging in inappropriate conversations/breaking down kids’ sense of boundaries, privacy and modesty with sexually graphic media.

Young people don’t realize they are claiming the impossible when they “identify” as non-binary, or a host of other invented labels. Their natural stages of development have been carefully studied and weaponized against them. Yes, it’s the task of youth to individuate, to want to develop a distinct identity. But sex-gender is a given and can’t be altered. If you think about the repurposed word “identify,” it gives the lie to what follows.

If I have to “identify” as something, it means I’m not actually that. Why not simply say: “I am this or I am that”? I even heard a young woman say a few months ago, nowhere near Halloween: “I identify as a ghost.” Why not steer this young woman towards something real, the unique self she already is, rather than…a nothingburger?

(Sr. Helena Raphael Burns, fsp, is a Daughter of St. Paul. She holds a Masters in Media Literacy Education and studied screenwriting at UCLA.  Twitter: @srhelenaburns #medianuns)

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