The viral image catches in my Facebook feed like a chicken bone in my throat. I can’t help but stop and clench. A forlorn human, nameless, androgynous, casts weary eyes at the camera, begging me to take seriously the words on the sign she holds: “MY GENITALS DO NOT DEFINE MY GENDER.”
I almost laugh when I see it. This sincere but misbegotten crime against language is its own best parody. Attempts to mock it with a rejoinder such as “my years of existence do not define my age” seem tame by comparison. Surely, my inner voice assures me, anyone who has ever watched a nature documentary, taken health class or spoken the English language knows that genitals are pretty much the centerpiece of what is meant by male and female.
Or at least, everyone knew this fact until last Tuesday at tea with Alice and the Mad Hatter, when the fickle zeitgeist of the 21st century suddenly and explosively shed objective gender. While the candles of our happy unbirthdays burned, our ruling class tore down the wall between the men’s room and women’s room and decreed that the privacy we had assumed was civilization’s sacred duty to the fairer sex was now an act of rebellion. What was once just the plain simple view of things has been discarded with a slur: binary-gendered. And those who were once just men and women have been given a pejorative—cisgendered—on par with the shame-inducing labels “white privilege” and “man’s world.”
This is why I almost laugh, but don’t.
You see, while American school children are divining which bathrooms to use, and while families are making headlines for encouraging their offspring to determine their own genders, I have a daughter who is just months away from tumbling out of her mother’s womb and landing in this topsy-turvy Wonderland.
I want to break her fall. My paternal instinct compels me to catch her delicate petals before they tear on the jagged shards of our collapsing western world. But there’s a problem.
Under the revised rules of the never-ending and chronically dissatisfied Sexual Revolution, I am a bigot for having just told you that the lifeform who received my X chromosome is a daughter and not also potentially a son. Under the new rules, her sonogram has revealed no relevant data about her gender, and the “it’s a girl” balloons are at best gibberish, at worst a violation of my child’s human rights. As a modern father, I now have a duty to treat her as a blank slate and to shower her with gender-neutral clothes and gender-neutral toys until she requests otherwise. And when she enters the public square, I am to be regarded as a hate-mongering Nazi Neanderthal (with apologies to actual Neanderthals) if I do not enthusiastically send her into bathrooms with boys and into changing rooms with men.
The Charlotte Observer, which won’t be winning the Prince Charming Award this year, has championed this new paradigm with chilling directness. “The thought of male genitalia in girls’ locker rooms might be distressing to some,” a recent editorial admitted. “But the battle for equality has always been about overcoming discomfort.” In other words, when my daughter is stricken with fear at the sight of a man dropping his shorts in her safe space, society must liken her to a racial segregationist, shame for her discriminatory squeamishness, and force to endure the stranger’s indecent gaze. Such is the power of the LGBTQ movement—a power so absolute that even “culture of rape” feminists are willing to bow their knees and serve up its pipe and slippers. We now see that while our attention was focused on cat videos and reality TV, this alphabet soup sideshow act of sex-themed parades and aberrant indulgence infiltrated every level of American infrastructure and became an alphabet mafia.
In light of this newfound power, the viral photograph of the gender-confused protestor changes from tragi-comic oddity to existential threat.
To dismiss the image as a mere semantic blunder we can laugh away is a fatal misreading. The young woman (or man) knows very well what “man” means and what “woman” means. And when she fills out her customs and immigration form to spend spring break in Dubai, she knows which sex to check. She understands the categories. She just doesn’t agree with them. So she co-ops our words, our patterns of vowels and consonants, to mean something else.
I cannot put words in the mouth of a lone, nameless protestor as to what that “something else” is, but I can say what such slogans are beginning to represent in light of the new directive from the White House regarding public bathroom privileges. Taken to the new extreme, gender divorced from genitals means this: Yes, we can have our “men’s” room, and yes, we can have our “women’s” room, but those terms can no longer mean what we think they mean. Our supreme overlords have decreed that for the sake of a few men who feel like women, and a few women who feel like men, those terms have been emptied of all objective content.
Remember that the context of the White House directive is America’s public schools—those institutions you’ve entrusted to raise, mold, shape, discipline and protect your children five days a week, nine months of the year. In this context (and soon-to-be every public and commercial context if this philosophy prevails), “boys” are simply people who self-identify as boys, and “girls” are simple people who self-identify as girls. A more concrete definition would, the state argues, violate federal regulation and threaten gender equality.
As a father, what I fear is that it won’t just be the Bruce Jenners of the world who get to sneak a peek at my daughter. It will be every Dick and Peter who “feels” that the chain of vowels and consonants spelling “woman” is the proper symbol for his sex. Which is to say, sex has been abolished. We are now a race of “its.” “Gender equality” is in actuality “genderless equality.”
Don’t misunderstand. I’m not just inferring a logical conclusion based on the esoteric legal language of the Department of Justice’s recent letter to U.S. school districts. This isn’t courtroom parsing. This is a father choking back vomit at the actual stated goals of today’s sexual revolutionaries.
In a 2014 New Statesman article titled, “We shouldn’t fight for ‘gender equality.’ We should fight to abolish gender,’ George Gillett declared in no uncertain terms, “Gender is flawed – no set of social scripts will ever represent the wonderful diversity and intricacy of human behavior.” In 2011, a Ms. Magazine blog post suggested, “Imagine There’s No Gender: It’s Not Easy, But We Can Try.” Today’s sociological high priests have even coined a name for the people who want to do this—“postgenderists.” (Isn’t it interesting how the quest to erase categories has created more categories of people than have ever before existed in human history?) Writing in a tone that exudes the minty freshness of a robot overlord council in some dystopian future technocracy, the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies explained: “Postgenderists contend that dyadic gender roles and sexual dimorphisms are generally to the detriment of individuals and society. Assisted reproduction will make it possible for individuals of any sex to reproduce in any combinations they choose, with or without ‘mothers’ and ‘fathers,’ and artificial wombs will make biological wombs unnecessary for reproduction.”
Try saying that with a Hallmark card.
So then, the future that ethicists dream of while holding their teddy bears tight is one in which we don’t need wombs, we don’t need fathers or mothers, and we don’t need men or women. Surrender your identity. Surrender your moral compass. Surrender your daughter’s privacy. Resistance is futile.
How did this happen? How did the human race reach the point where abolishing a fundamental aspect of ourselves became a viable option? Are we so obsessed with breaking down barriers and refusing to be labeled that we assume every label is a mere linguistic fiction to advance an agenda? And if so, what might we sacrifice next? Will we banish family lineage? Ethnicity? Nationality? Personhood itself? Will we demote ourselves to nondescript organisms, indistinguishable from field mice or the mold in grandmother’s basement?
To be sure, many labels are disposable constructs. But as any parent who has raised flesh-and-blood children knows, gender is not one of them. Mankind did not invent gender. Gender imposed itself on mankind. My sons’ bloody noses, skinned knees and grass-stained pants are not a sociological artifice. Rather, these marks are the natural expressions of their God-given boyishness. And while I can’t say for sure whether my daughter will display a strictly feminine personality, I can guarantee that her developing body and brain are conforming the basic template of humanity’s “XX” model. Whether we like it or not, the Male/female “binary” is the design for the human race and for the continuation of biological life. Our DNA depends on it.
Maybe the problem is that as we are increasingly cocooned within the works of our own hands—our cities, our technology, our screens within screens—we are forgetting what it means to be human. We delude ourselves into thinking we can recreate ourselves in our own image, as if existing in a moral and ontological vacuum. But against this new sexual confusion, against this increasingly complex web of shame-fueled social etiquette, against this neurotic fear of labels and the accompanying obsession with micro- upon micro-categories for every sexual outlier, the words of Genesis 1:27 offer elegance and freedom:
So God created mankind in his own image,
In the image of God he created them;
Male and female he created them.
Whatever you think of religion, whatever you think of ancient stories, there is more humanity in the first three chapters of the Bible than in all the psychobabble of our gender-confused generation. We are men. We are women. We are boys. We are girls. The Creator, not the creation, chose the categories. Now it is up to us to embrace who we were meant to be, and to stand between the vulnerable and those who would do violence to their bodies, minds and souls.