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Gender and Sexuality News Roundup (9/10/19)

September 10, 2019

One mission of CBMW is to help Christians think through secular and ecclesial trends on gender and sexuality. Through this work, we pore over a lot of different 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

Can a religious school fire a gay teacher? It’s complicated., NBC News (Julie Moreau)

“The Supreme Court will hear three cases in October that are expected to have a considerable impact on LGBTQ workers’ rights. Two of the cases deal with sexual orientation, the other with gender identity. In the meantime, the Department of Justice made clear in briefs filed this month that LGBTQ workers should not be covered by Title VII protections. In doing so, the DOJ puts itself at odds with the EEOC and the majority of Americans. Democrats in Congress have responded by reintroducing the Equality Act, a piece of federal legislation that would add sexual orientation and gender identity to the list of classes protected against discrimination by the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and does not allow religious exemptions to civil rights law under Religious Freedom Restoration Act.”

Theodore McCarrick Still Won’t Confess, Slate (Ruth Graham)

“Banished in the dead of night to a mistrustful Kansas town after sexual abuse allegations, the defrocked archbishop of D.C. speaks publicly for the first time since his fall from grace.”

Drew Brees ‘sets the record straight,’ says he’s not anti-gay, NBC News (Brooke Sopelsa)

“After being criticized for appearing in a video linked to an anti-LGBTQ religious group, New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees sought to ‘set the record straight.’ ‘I do not support any groups that discriminate or that have their own agendas that are trying to promote inequality,’Brees said in a video posted to Twitter Thursday that had amassed over a million views as of Friday morning. The criticism stemmed from a video Brees appeared in for ‘Bring Your Bible to School Day,’ an initiative of Focus on the Family, an anti-LGBTQ evangelical group with a history of opposing gay and transgender rights.”

Can a State Rewrite a Movie Script?, The Wall Street Journal (Jeremy Tedesco)

“You’ve heard about state officials who try to compel florists or bakers to violate their religious beliefs and participate in same-sex weddings. In Minnesota the state claims the authority to do the same to filmmakers. Last month the Eighth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rightly rejected this view.”

LGBT Advocates Warn Australia’s Religious Freedom Bill ‘Hands a Sword to People of Faith’, Newsweek (Taameen Mohammad)

“‘This draft bill released today extends those protections to provide protection for people against discrimination on the basis of their religion or religious belief, or lack thereof.’ Porter said, claiming it would provide an ‘extra protection’ for an employee faced with a situation similar to Folau’s. But critics argue that it’s much broader than anti-discrimination laws protecting race, sex, disability and age. It would also supersede Tasmania’s current anti-discrimination law, which prohibits conduct that ‘offends, humiliates, intimidates, insults or ridicules’ others. LGBT advocates warn that the proposal would grant ‘religious exceptionalism.'”

Finnish politician under ‘hate crime investigation’ for sharing Bible verse on Facebook, Fox News (Caleb Parke)

“Police are investigating a Christian politician in Finland for an alleged ‘hate crime’ because she shared a Bible verse on Facebook to criticize a national church that participated in LGBT Pride festivities. In the post, congresswoman Päivi Räsänen, a Christian Democrat, criticized the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland for participating in the Helsinki LGBT Pride events in June. Her criticism was alongside a picture of Romans 1:24-27 that describes same-sex relationships as ‘shameful.'”

Ethiopian church-affiliated group urges action against gays, The Washington Post (Elias Meseret)

“A group affiliated with Ethiopia’s Orthodox Church is condemning what it calls the government’s silence on homosexuality in the country. Speaking at a conference Sunday in Addis Ababa, the capital, Dereje Negash of the Orthodox Church group dedicated to an Ethiopian saint, said the government’s indifference on the issue is helping the LGBT movement in the East African country. ‘We are witnessing foreign elements that are trying to spread homosexuality in Ethiopia using aid, politics and technology. To this end, they are spending millions of dollars,’ Dereje said in his presentation to hundreds of people inside a conference hall. ‘People of same sexes are secretly marrying here in Ethiopia. This should stop, and stop now.'”


Secular Trends on Gender and Sexuality

From Sussex, England, to New England, Gender Activists Are Losing, National Review (Madeleine Kearns)

“Interestingly, this kind of teenage activism appears to be on the rise. The same goes in the United States. National Review readers who follow my reporting on gender extremism will be familiar with Selina Soule, the brave young athlete from Connecticut who, along with two other girls, has filed a Title IX complaint with the Education Department, which is now investigating the state’s policy allowing boys to thrash them in sports. Interestingly, this kind of teenage activism appears to be on the rise. The same goes in the United States..”

Why Doesn’t Anyone Want to Live in This Perfect Place?, The New York Times (Rina Raphael)

“Womyn’s lands, established in the 1960s as lesbian utopias, have failed to attract a new generation of members. Should they be saved?”

In an All-Gender Cabin, Summer Campers ‘Don’t Have to Hide’, The New York Times (Dan Levin)

“Over the two-and-a-half-week camp, residents of AG-6 splashed one another in the swimming pool, sang songs around campfires and slathered themselves in mud and paint before jumping in the lake. For many of them, Camp Tawonga was a rare respite from the outside world where bullying, social media and the feeling of not fitting in can make growing up so hard, especially for those whose sexual orientation or gender identity challenges societal norms. ‘Here I don’t have to hide who I am,’ said Jonathan Brunn, a nonbinary 11-year-old from San Francisco who stayed in AG-6 this summer. ‘I can play soccer and braid my hair and nobody judges me.'”

Lara Soencer apologizes for ‘insensitive’ remark on Prince George’s ballet lessons, The Guardian (Guardian staff and agencies)

“The Good Morning America host Lara Spencer has apologized for an ‘insensitive’ comment about Prince George taking ballet lessons. Spencer was heavily criticized for her reaction on air last week, when she heard the oldest son of Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge loved ballet, laughed and said: ‘We’ll see how long that lasts.’ Spencer issued a statement of apology on Saturday. On air on Monday, she discussed the backlash against her comment, saying she had learned the ‘bravery it takes for a young boy to pursue a career in dance.'”

Bosnians march in first Gay Pride under tight police protection, Reuters (Daria Sito-Sucic)

“Several thousand people marched in Bosnia’s first Gay Pride on Sunday, protected by a major security operation including anti-sniper units after some conservative Muslim groups organized counter-rallies…Bosnia is the last Balkan country to hold a Pride parade, seen as a test of tolerance of minority rights as it seeks to join the European Union. EU diplomats and the U.S Ambassador to Bosnia, who is gay, joined the march in support of LGBT people.”

Recently married Thai king presents new consort to the world, The Sydney Morning Herald

“Thailand’s palace website crashed after it released unprecedented pictures of the king’s new official consort in a fighter jet, wearing a crop top and dressed in combat fatigues with him and the royal poodle. The unusually candid pictures of King Maha Vajiralongkorn’s chief concubine, 34-year-old Major-General Sineenat Wongvajirapakdi, were released along with her official biography on Monday.”

Same-sex penguin couples keep adopting eggs, and the Berlin Zoo is celebrating, The Washington Post (Rick Noack and Luisa Beck)

“Berlin has become the latest city to host a pair of ‘gay’ penguins after Skipper and Ping showed an attraction to each other and a desire to become parents. Both unsuccessfully tried to hatch a stone for some time. Then zookeepers allowed them to adopt an abandoned egg. ‘They look beautiful together,’ said Youssef Rashed, a 23-year-old originally from Syria who was watching them from a visitor platform on Tuesday. Rashed, who is gay, came to Germany four years ago and found a haven. ‘I feel the same way they feel,’ he said, gazing at Skipper and Ping.”


Gender and Sexuality Miscellany

Are federally supported relationship education programs for lower-income individuals and couples working? A review of evaluation research., American Enterprise Institute (Alan J. Hawkins)

“From the beginning of the federal Healthy Marriage and Relationships Education (HMRE) policy initiative, there has been an impressive body of serious evaluation work on the effectiveness of relationship education programs designed to help lower-income couples form and sustain healthy relationships and marriages. Large-scale, rigorous, randomized controlled trial evaluation studies reveal promising successes, disappointing failures, and nuanced findings. Critics’ claims that the HMRE initiative has been a failure are challenged by a thorough investigation of this area’s research. Still, federal policy needs to support more innovative approaches and strategies to increase the reach of relationship education services and improve their effectiveness. The initiative needs to move beyond a focus on program success to population impact.”

Dear Therapist: I Divorced My Dying Wife Once She Was No Longer Lucid, The Atlantic (Lori Gottlieb)

“I was married to my wife for 30 years. In 2012 she was diagnosed with Huntington’s disease. It’s a hereditary fatal brain disorder with no cure or treatments. It slowly took her away mentally and physically. She was 47 at the time. For five years I was her sole caregiver, washing her, dressing her, feeding her, etc. In 2017, I could go on no longer and had to place her in a long-term care facility. I was burnt out. Shortly after, I filed for divorce because the cost of her care was bankrupting me. If she was single her care was covered. I had no choice…Did I do right by moving on?”

The First Sexual Revolution: The Triumph of Christian Morality in the Roman Empire, The Gospel Coalition (Kevin DeYoung)

“Kyle Harper’s From Shame to Sin: The Christian Transformation of Sexual Morality in Late Antiquity (Harvard, 2013) is an impressively learned and important book. Still a youngish man (which means younger than me), Harper is already a professor of classics and letters and senior vice president and provost at the University of Oklahoma. As an expert in the history of the late Roman world, Harper explores in this volume how the Christian sexual ethic, so despised and seemingly inconsequential in the first century, came to be codified in law by the sixth century.”

Underwear Ads Lose the Macho: How Marketing Has Embraced Real Men, The New York Times (Tiffany Hsu)

“Are you a man who plays dress-up with your daughter? Do you enjoy bowling, and are you terrible at it? Do you have hopes and dreams and insecurities and flaws and a belly that looks more like baked alaska than Hawaiian rolls? You, sir, could be an underwear model. A number of ads for briefs, boxers and other products aimed at men have lately turned away from old notions of square-jawed masculinity.”

If You Don’t Find Your Identity in a Family, You’ll Look For It in the Primal Screams of Identity Politics, Public Discourse (Luma Simms)

“In her new book, Mary Eberstadt argues that today’s identity politics arose from the deep anthropological wound slit open by the sexual revolution. The ascent of identity politics reveals that people are having an identity crisis, and they are having an identity crisis because the sexual revolution resulted in family—and, by extension, individual—breakdown.”

Stigmatizing and Prosecuting Pornography, Public Discourse (Gerard V. Bradley)

“Unless adults are willing to make dramatic changes to their own moral and legal rules about pornography, we shall keep playing what amounts to a game of Russian roulette with the formation of our children when it comes to one of the most precious parts of their lives.”

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