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Gender and Sexuality News Roundup (9/24/19)

September 24, 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

Human chain rings German cathedral to demand gender equality, Associated Press

“About 800 people have protested gender inequality in the Catholic Church by forming a human chain around Germany’s Cologne Cathedral…The group is pushing for the Catholic Church in Germany to allow women to have leadership roles within the church hierarchy. The protesters outside the cathedral on Sunday also demanded more transparent handling of child sex abuse cases involving clergy.”

Dallas Megachurch Puts on Mass Wedding for Dozens of Cohabiting Couples, Christianity Today (Maria Baer)

“Earlier this month, 24 couples from Concord Church in Dallas got married. On the same day. At the same time. And on the same altar. September 8 marked the fourth ‘Grand Wedding’ at the Texas megachurch, the conclusion of Pastor Bryan Carter’s Cohabitation Challenge. For the past decade, Carter has stressed God-honoring relationships among his 9,000-member congregation and sought to resist the cultural forces making living together an acceptable substitute for walking down the aisle.”

Nun pitches gender-neutral robot priests to solve problems in Catholic Church, Premier (Cara Bentley)

“A robot has been introduced as a priest in a Buddhist temple in Japan, with one Catholic theologian suggesting they could work in churches too. The robot Mindar can recite a pre-programmed sermon but does not have artificial intelligence yet. Catholic theologian and nun, Sister Ilia Delio, told the Vox website she might be open to having robotic priests because of the sexual abuse crisis in the Church. She said: ‘Take the Catholic Church. It’s very male, very patriarchal, and we have this whole sexual abuse crisis. So would I want a robot priest? Maybe! A robot can be gender-neutral. It might be able to transcend some of those divides and be able to enhance community in a way that’s more liberating.'”

Are Religious Californians Really Harming the Mental Health of People Who Identify as LGBTQ?, Public Discourse (Laura Haynes)

“Politicians are saying Californians of many religions are causing people who identify as LGBTQ to exhibit mental health disparities. The research does not support this claim.”


Secular Trends on Gender and Sexuality

Faithful Chick-fil-A Fans Sue San Antonio Over Airport Ban, Christianity Today (David Roach)

“Less than a week after Texas enacted the so-called Save Chick-fil-A bill—which prohibits government entities from taking adverse action against a person based on their support of religious organizations—five San Antonio Christians sued the city over its decision to exclude Chick-fil-A from its airport due to the chain’s donations to evangelical charities.”

For Democrats, the Future is Female, The New York Times (Lisa Lerer)

“Gender isn’t a subtext in this election: It’s woven into the fabric of this race. The gender gap between the parties in Congress is one of the biggest on record, as Republicans try to boost the number of women in their ranks. A historic number of Democratic women are running for president. And any Democrat — man or woman — who wins the party’s nomination will be forced to grapple with President Trump’s denigration of women.”

When Dictionaries Wade Into the Gender (Non) Binary, The New York Times (Jacey Fortin)

“The dictionary, after all, is more of a rearview mirror than a vanguard of change, said Peter Sokolowski, an editor and lexicographer with Merriam-Webster. ‘If we see that a term is used frequently, then it’s going to get into the dictionary,’ Mr. Sokolowski said. ‘We wouldn’t be doing our jobs if it weren’t reflecting the truth of the way language is used.’ Still, a major dictionary can add credibility to an existing term or definition, said Laura A. Jacobs, a therapist in New York who focuses on L.G.B.T.Q. clients and whose preferred pronouns include she, he and they — or none at all. ‘I think this is a sign of the times,’ Mx. Jacobs said. ‘They’re acknowledging that this is a term that is in widespread use, and it’s a term that’s important to many people.'”

Does ‘Conversion Therapy’ Hurt People Who Identify as Transgender? The New JAMA Psychiatry Study Cannot Tell Us, Public Discourse (Mark Regnerus)

“A new study purports to prove the harms of ‘conversion therapy’ for those who identify as transgender. But there are at least four good reasons for being leery of the results appearing therein.”

The key to White Claw’s surging popularity: Marketing to a post-gender world, The Washington Post (Emily Heil)

“Hard seltzer is an entire category born catering to the millennial sensibility. ‘Beer marketers have been trying to crack the code of being gender-neutral after years of ignoring half the population,’ says Harry Schuhmacher, editor and publisher of Beer Business Daily. ‘Big brewers haven’t really been able to do it, but then White Claw came in, and it’s always been a gender-neutral thing.'”


Gender and Sexuality Miscellany

Why Simone de Beauvoir didn’t believe in being ‘a strong woman’, Aeon (Kate Kirkpatrick)

“In the 70 years since the publication of The Second Sex, more women have entered work, and feminists have coined new terminology to name the kinds of weight today’s ‘strong women’ are expected to carry – the mental load, the double burden, the third shift. But on this subject, Beauvoir’s voice is still worth hearing. Her point was not that the work that is needed to maintain life doesn’t matter, nor that economically productive or creative labour is inherently more valuable than care. On her view, fiscal work is no guarantee of women’s freedom, caring for and being cared for by others is a central part of what makes us human, and without care and caring human beings struggle to thrive.”

When the Culture War Comes for the Kids, The Atlantic (George Parker)

“The school didn’t inform parents of this sudden end to an age-old custom, as if there were nothing to discuss. Parents only heard about it when children started arriving home desperate to get to the bathroom after holding it in all day. Girls told their parents mortifying stories of having a boy kick open their stall door. Boys described being afraid to use the urinals. Our son reported that his classmates, without any collective decision, had simply gone back to the old system, regardless of the new signage: Boys were using the former boys’ rooms, girls the former girls’ rooms. This return to the familiar was what politicians call a “commonsense solution.” It was also kind of heartbreaking. As children, they didn’t think to challenge the new adult rules, the new adult ideas of justice. Instead, they found a way around this difficulty that the grown-ups had introduced into their lives. It was a quiet plea to be left alone.”

Democratic Candidates Are Out of Touch on Gender, National Review (Madeleine Kearns)

“Last week’s Democratic debate was nearly three hours long, and candidates answered questions on a range of topics including health care, gun control, civil rights, and education. They did not discuss LGBT issues — which is probably just as well. So far, not a single Democratic presidential candidate has demonstrated an understanding of two basic facts. First: that each letter of ‘LGBT,’ etc., and the interest group it claims to represent, is distinct. Second: that today’s tirade of alphabet activism is far removed from the historic gay-rights movement which fought for sexual minorities to have access to basic health care, the right to privacy, and equality under the law.”

The Life of a Jacked Guy in 2019, The Atlantic (Oliver Bateman)

“This societal shift away from unchecked power and aggression has put the pursuit of strength—and me—in an uncomfortable place. Even the gentlest, kindest male bodybuilders and powerlifters have bodies that now might make many people uneasy. While strength certainly continues to be idolized in some circles, growing public scrutiny nags at a question that’s hard for any culturally sensitive swole dude to simply ignore: Why get jacked in the first place?”

The Altar’s Tears, First Things (Cole S. Aronson)

“Marriage cannot begin with a look over the shoulder, half mournful, half resentful. Partners who can never take their eyes or their minds off eachother (from adoration or suspicion) are not really building a life together. Even mutual eros is no substitute for joint agape. Husband and wife must first love each other absolutely, face to face, but then move outward together to serve family, community, nation, world, God.”

Millenials are fine with being vague about gender, and that’s no bad thing, New Statesman America (Carrie Jenkins)

“Ultimately, the millennial conception of gender and romantic fluidity is the true descendant of the challenge that second-wave feminists posed to fixed gender roles. It is disappointing that anything resembling the old conception of static binary sex is still with us at all, given how long it has spent under explicit and widespread scrutiny as a damaging and contingent construct.”

On the Waves of Feminism with Mona Charen, Public Discourse (Ana Samuel and Mona Charen)

“One of the unfortunate poisons that feminism leached into the culture is hostility between the sexes. We need to rescue feminism from that. We need to stress the importance of raising boys and girls who are open-hearted, respectful, and comfortable with themselves and each other. Adapted from an interview with Mona Charen conducted by Ana Samuel during The CanaVox state leaders meeting.”

In the debate on gender and the brain, sorting evidence from errors, The Washington Post (Karen Sandstrom)

“‘Pinkification’ is but one of the intrigues that British neuroscientist Gina Rippon examines in ‘Gender and Our Brains.’ Dense with research and point of view, the book argues that science has for too long followed erroneous logic to support the notion that men and women have different brains. At best, these errors prove unhelpful; at worst, they do harm. Science might help us understand why little girls seem drawn to princesses and little boys to trucks, Rippon argues, but first we have to ask the right questions.”

It’s not about sex: Teaching young children where babies come from (and other stuff), The Washington Post (Lillian Mongeau)

“Kids who are taught about sexual health early are better prepared for the related challenges they’ll face as teens and young adults, sexual health educators say. Boys who understand that everyone is in charge of their own bodies could be less likely to confuse drunkenness for consent. LGBTQ teens who know there are others like them living healthy and productive lives could be less likely to consider suicide. And children who have been educated about their bodies and who can touch them — research proves this one — are more likely to speak out about sexual abuse.”

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