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Gender and Sexuality News Roundup (10/16/18)

October 16, 2018

One mission we have at CBMW is to help Christians think through secular and ecclesial trends on gender and sexuality. Through this work, we pore over a lot of news reports and articles as we attempt to wade through the ceaseless flow of information on the web. In our weekly Gender and Sexuality News Roundups, we aim to distill some of the more pertinent information for you.

The articles below are from a wide variety of sectors and publications, organized generally into three categories. They are presented in aggregate, not necessarily endorsed.

If you see an article that you think should be featured in future CBMW News Roundups, you can send it to [email protected] with the subject “News Roundup.”


Ecclesial Trends on Gender and Sexuality

Reproductive Injustice, First Things (Charles Camosy)

“These women are invisible in Peters’s analysis. When Peters says “trust women,” she apparently means “trust women who have abortions.” Her book never engages with pro-life feminism—even though she must be aware of how dramatically the Women’s March (which she attended) led to the spotlighting of pro-life feminism in major media outlets. I knew something was amiss when I flipped to the index and didn’t see Sidney Callahan’s name. In many ways the grandmother of contemporary pro-life feminism, Callahan consistently argues that abortion on demand relies on male assumptions about sex and bodily normativity, and primarily supports the sexual interests of men. It heaps hopeless burdens on women, including a society that assumes women should have abortions rather than keep their babies and expect to receive social support.”

Pressure building on Vatican to give women vote at synod, Seattle Times (Nicole Winfield)

“The issue of women’s participation in the Catholic Church’s decision-making has been one of the major themes of the Oct. 3-28 bishops synod, which is focusing on how the church can better minister to today’s youth. Many young people have told the Vatican they want women to have greater roles in the church. Sister Sally Hodgdon, the superior general of the Sisters of St. John of Chambery and the No. 2 at the main association of women religious orders worldwide, said Monday she expects women to eventually get the right to vote on the final documents that are approved at future synods.  Currently, only “synod fathers” can vote on the text, which is then sent to the pope to either approve as an official document of the church or take under consideration for a future teaching document of his own.”

Reflections on Two L.G.B.T. Questions at the Synod, America Magazine (James Martin)

“Moreover, increasing numbers of Catholics worldwide identify as L.G.B.T. As a result, a few questions about L.G.B.T. people face the delegates at the synod. According to participants, discussions so far have centered on two questions, both about nomenclature: First, can the synod use the term ‘L.G.B.T.’ in its documents? Second, can the synod acknowledge that gay couples can form a ‘Family’? How might we approach those questions—while not challenging the church’s teaching on homosexuality or its opposition to same-sex marriage?”

Do Calvinists Believe Myths That Justify Domestic Violence?, The Gospel Coalition (Joe Carter)

“When I first heard about (and read) the study, I didn’t give it much thought. It’s the type of social science research that uses biased assumptions and flawed “tools” to generate unsupportable conclusions that can clear the low threshold necessary for publication in a middle-tier academic journal. In the publish-or-perish world of academia, this type of low-quality, never-to-be-replicated work is often the norm.

“But then I saw that some well-meaning people, such as the respected scholar Scot McKnight, were citing the study favorably, and even as important finding. I’m not sure if those, like McKnight, who agree with the study are also embracing radical feminist theory, whether they didn’t read the study all that closely, or whether they simply don’t understand the theory behind the claims of the study. For whatever reason, I figured that if reasonable Christians were falling for the spurious conclusions of the study then it might be worth addressing in detail.”


Secular Trends on Gender and Sexuality

Belfast Bakery Was Free to Refuse Gay-Marriage Cake, Court Rules, New York Times (Ed O’Loughlin)

“Britain’s Supreme Court supported on Wednesday the right of a Belfast bakery to refuse to bake a cake with a message supporting same-sex marriage, finding that its Christian owners could not be compelled to reproduce a message contrary to their beliefs. Although the person who requested the cake was gay, a five-judge panel found that the bakery owners’ refusal was based not on his sexual orientation, but on their Protestant faith’s opposition to gay marriage.”

The Audacity of Gender-Reveal Parties: Another Step Towards Cultural Insanity, (Albert Mohler)

“The questioner, filled with indignation, lashes out at a set of parents who had the audacity to throw a gender-reveal party—a party that apparently does nothing more than perpetuate binary stereotypes. Indeed, according to this article in the New York Times Magazine, gender-reveal parties could damage relationships between parents and their transgender children who find out that mom and dad threw a party which revealed an “incorrect gender.” This argument asks the reader to make incredible leaps in logic and to possess an imaginative framework which obfuscates all reality.”

John Carroll University student column argues against drag show, incites free speech debate, (Emily Bamforth)

“Members of the school’s LGBTQ community, already feeling isolated on campus, feel the column contained threatening and hostile language. Some critics are labeling the column hate speech. The fury is emblematic of debates on many college campuses: Where does free speech cross into hate speech? And should universities — and student newspapers — ban incendiary or hurtful expressions or view points? The university’s center for diversity and inclusion posted a list of resources on its website to help students understand free and hate speech.”

BBC staff told to use non‑binary pronouns, The Times (Matthew Moore)

“BBC staff have been told to use non- binary pronouns when addressing gender-fluid or transgender employees to ensure that the corporation does not develop a ‘heteronormative culture’. The policy means that BBC workers will be encouraged to refer to non-binary colleagues as ‘they’ or ‘them’, rather than ‘he’ or ‘she’. The broadcaster will also review its ‘systems and practices’ to ensure that they are inclusive of non-binary genders, and will train managers on how to support transgender staff, especially when they are transitioning. In addition, heterosexual BBC staff will be asked to wear badges identifying themselves as “straight allies” to help their LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) colleagues.”

Women Don’t Think Alike. Why Do We Think They Do?, The New York Times (Susan Chira)

“But women don’t automatically ally with other women, as Senator Susan Collins’s vote to confirm Brett M. Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court demonstrated. Sisterhood doesn’t override partisanship or deeply held moral views. Victims of sexual harassment didn’t all believe Christine Blasey Ford. Women don’t act as one.”

Institutionalizing The Trans Revolution, The American Conservative (Rod Dreher)

“Giselle and Beth shared a love of national security, wine, gender fluidity and BDSM. They soon began dating, and last year they were married. Those close to them who missed this time in their lives will soon be able to see it up close and personal. For about two and a half years, a film crew followed them and documented their relationship, along with Giselle’s gender journey.”

Abrams makes historic appearance at Atlanta LGBT parade, ABC News (The Associated Press)

“Stacey Abrams has become the first major-party nominee for the Georgia governorship to participate in the Atlanta Pride Parade, one of the largest LGBT parades in the Southeast. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that the Democrat rode atop a white Jeep on Sunday afternoon during the annual celebration as supporters chanted her name.”

Biological Male Wins World Championship Event in Women’s Cycling, The Daily Signal (Peter Hasson)

“In January, USA Today quoted McKinnon as arguing against requiring biological males to suppress testosterone as a requirement for competing against women. ‘We cannot have a woman legally recognized as a trans woman in society, and not be recognized that way in sports,’ McKinnon told the newspaper, adding: Focusing on performance advantage is largely irrelevant because this is a rights issue. We shouldn’t be worried about trans people taking over the Olympics. We should be worried about their fairness and human rights instead.McKinnon compared restrictions on inclusion of biological males in women’s sports events to racial segregation. ‘This is bigger than sports and it’s about human rights,’ McKinnon told USA Today.”

Scott Morrison will change the law to ban religious schools expelling gay students, The Guardian (Paul Karp)

“Scott Morrison has promised discrimination law amendments to make clear no student at a private or religious school (in Australia) should be expelled on the basis of their sexuality. In a statement following Labor’s offer of bipartisan support to fix the law Morrison revealed attorney general Christian Porter will draft amendments for legislation to close existing religious exemptions within weeks.”

Pastor Andrew Brunson’s Release Sheds Light on Trump’s Religious-Freedom Priorities, New York Magazine (Sarah Jones)

“Other members of the administration, like Pompeo and Mike Pence, are true believers, and the proof is in the White House’s policies. The Trump administration’s definition of religious freedom consistently prioritizes Christianity. That emphasis is visible domestically, as Jeff Sessions aligns the Justice Department firmly with plaintiffs like Jack Phillips, the Colorado cake-baker who has repeatedly demanded religious exemptions from anti-discrimination laws that protect LGBT customers. The same emphasis is visible in the State Department, too.”

AI Is The New Face Of Systemic (And Automated) Inequality, Forbes (Erik Sherman)

“Then came the warning signs in research that AI-driven systems were maybe not as free of bias as their creators thought. And now this: Amazon dropped recruiting software that used AI because it preferred to hire men over women, as Reuters reported. Amazon had been working on this system since 2014. The software reviewed electronic versions of resumes. Management’s intent was to be incredibly efficient and have computers rate candidates with a one-to-five-star rank. Hiring managers were supposed to get the top five to consider.”


Gender and Sexuality Miscellany

Sex Change: Physically Impossible, Psychosocially Unhelpful, and Philosophically Misguided, The Public Discourse (Ryan Anderson)

“Sadly, just as ‘sex reassignment’ fails to reassign sex biologically, it also fails to bring wholeness socially and psychologically. As I demonstrate in When Harry Became Sally, the medical evidence suggests that it does not adequately address the psychosocial difficulties faced by people who identify as transgender. Even when the procedures are successful technically and cosmetically, and even in cultures that are relatively ‘trans-friendly,’ transitioners still face poor outcomes. Dr. McHugh points to the reality that because sex change is physically impossible, it frequently does not provide the long-term wholeness and happiness that people seek. Indeed, the best scientific research supports McHugh’s caution and concern.”

For Most Couples Who Stay the Course, Marriage Gets Better With Time, Institute for Family Studies (Alysse ElHage)

“Marital quality actually improves over the years for couples who don’t split up. Specifically, although marital happiness declined slightly in the early years of marriage, it improved after about 20 years for most longtime married couples, while discord improved continuously over time. Shared activities—like recreation, eating dinner, or visiting friends together—also improved after about 20 years, despite a drop in the early years. The authors note that “about half of all marriages last a lifetime, and the long-term outlook for most of these marriages is upbeat, with happiness and interaction remaining high and discord declining.”

A Marriage Made in Hell How Satan Counsels Christian Couples, Desiring God (Greg Morse)

“Tell him, if there is blood to be shed, it should be spilled evenly. Let marriage serve what they call “equality” — for no marriage can have two masters. Unmake him. Dignify (or at least excuse) that passivity which opens the back door to those sins that daily slaughter aimless men. Make him passionate about sports, not souls. If a man, then a mannequin.”

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