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Gender and Sexuality News Roundup (10/09/19)

October 8, 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

Judge: U of Iowa Officials Have to Pay for Repeated Discrimination Against Christian Groups, Christianity Today (Megan Fowler)

“For the second time this year, an Iowa federal judge has ruled that the University of Iowa violated students’ First Amendment rights when various religious student groups lost their official status…Last Friday, federal judge Stephanie M. Rose determined that the university inconsistently applied its Human Rights Policy by exempting campus groups like fraternities, sororities, and some affirming faith-based groups while penalizing certain religious groups—including InterVarsity—that require its leaders to agree to its statement of faith.”

SBC President: We Failed to Heed Victims’ Voices, Christianity Today (Abby Perry)

“Southern Baptist Convention President J. D. Greear acknowledged that while sexual abuse survivors have pleaded with leaders for years, the denomination had failed to act on their claims and in some cases, sidelined them as attacks. “It is wrong to characterize someone as ‘just bitter’ because they raised their voice when their warnings were not heeded,” Greear told the crowd at the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC)’s Caring Well conference last weekend.”

Is Egalitarianism within the Pale of Southern Baptist Cooperation?, (Denny Burk)

“That is why I’m happy to acknowledge that some egalitarians will affirm inerrancy. I’m actually grateful that they do. But I do not acknowledge this claim as consistent with their egalitarian reading of scripture. In my view, it is misleading to defend egalitarianism as if it were consistent with belief in inerrancy. It’s not. Nor is it helpful to give the impression to Southern Baptists that egalitarianism ought to be treated as within the pale of our cooperation. It shouldn’t be.”


Secular Trends on Gender and Sexuality

Polish election: Leader targets gay rights as threat to society, BBC News (Adam Easton)

“LGBT+ rights have become the single biggest cultural issue in Poland’s election campaign ahead of Sunday’s vote. In the eyes of Jaroslaw Kaczynski’s national-conservative party and the Catholic Church, those rights are a threat to traditional Polish families and values…’Christianity is part of our national identity, the [Catholic] Church was and is the preacher and holder of the only commonly held system of values in Poland,’he said. ‘Outside of it… we have only nihilism.'”

Old Vic goes gender neutral, dropping women and men’s loos for pictures of cubicle and urinal, The Daily Telegraph (Hannah Furness)

“The Old Vic, the 201-year-old London theatre, has made lavatories gender neutral by replacing signs for men and women with pictures as part of its major refurbishment. The theatre, which is aiming to become an “artistic powerhouse and a vital civic resource” has doubled the number of lavatories inside in an attempt to combat one of the industry’s perennial problems: the queue for the ladies. The new rooms will be marked not with signs but with pictures of a cubicle or a urinal, “allowing people to make their own decision about which loo is suitable for them”.”

Transgender parents can choose to be treated on male or female wards, new NHS [England] guidance says, The Daily Telegraph (Gabriella Swerling and Joani Walsh)

“Transgender patients can choose whether they want to be treated on male or female wards, new NHS guidance stipulates. NHS England says patients should be accommodated “according to their presentation”, noting the “way they dress, and the name and pronouns they currently use”. The announcement follows a Telegraph investigation which revealed that despite official guidance from the Department of Health designed to eliminate mixed sex wards, hospitals were routinely allowing male patients to share female wards if they self-identify as women and without them having to transition. “

He Opposed Using Transgender Clients’ Pronouns. It Became a Legal Battle., New York Times (Iliana Magra)

“Christianity is protected under the act, but the panel found that Dr. Mackereth’s specific beliefs were not. It ruled that “belief in Genesis 1:27, lack of belief in transgenderism and conscientious objection to transgenderism in our judgment are incompatible with human dignity and conflict with the fundamental rights of others, specifically here, transgender individuals.””

Three LGBTQ Cases Are Set to Put the Supreme Court’s Conservative Principles on Trial, Newsweek (Roger Parloff)

“On October 8, just day two of the new term, the Court will hear arguments questioning if the federal law that prohibits workplace discrimination “because of…sex”—Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964—applies to discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. Millions of Americans’ rights are at stake. About 4.5 percent of the adult U.S. population identify as gay or lesbian—about 11.3 million people—according to a recent Gallup poll. Another 1.6 million are transgender, estimates a friend-of-the-court brief submitted by 82 scholars who study that population.”

Hundreds of young trans people seeking help to return to original sex, Sky News (Sally Lockwood)

““I’m in communication with 19 and 20-year-olds who have had full gender reassignment surgery who wish they hadn’t, and their dysphoria hasn’t been relieved, they don’t feel better for it.””

Pupils switching gender just to cause a stir, says former head of St Paul’s School for Girls, The Times (David Sanderson)

“Schools are facing a “transtrender problem”, with some pupils declaring that they want to change or modify their gender identity in order to “cause a little bit of turbulence in school”, the former head teacher of one of the country’s leading schools has said. Clarissa Farr, who was high mistress of St Paul’s School for Girls until 2017, told the Henley Literary Festival that it was important to distinguish between those who were genuine in their feelings about their own gender and those who just enjoyed being linked with “radical” causes.”

Too strong trans players in women’s rugby are driving referees away, The Times (Nicholas Hellen)

“Rugby referees are quitting the women’s amateur game because they fear rules allowing transgender women to play will lead to serious injuries. Referees say they have been warned not to challenge bearded or heavily muscled players appearing for women’s teams. Under the England Rugby rules, transgender women must take a blood test to show that their testosterone has been below a set level (five nanomoles per litre) for 12 months before applying to play. That is half the level set by the International Olympic Committee. But referees say they have to take it on trust rather than check whether a player has been cleared by the Rugby Football Union (RFU).”

Supreme Court term to begin with blockbuster question: Is it legal to fire someone for being gay or transgender?, Washington Post (Robert Barnes)

“The three present the Supreme Court with a blockbuster question at the start of its new term: Is it legal to fire someone for being gay or transgender?[Supreme Court to decide limits of federal law prohibiting sex discrimination]The cases will be argued Tuesday.Gerald Bostock, who says he lost his job because he is gay, stands outside his home in Atlanta last month. (Lawrence Hurley/Reuters)This is one of the most consequential issues of the term, with more than 70 friend-of-the-court briefs dividing states, religious orders and members of Congress. More than 200 of the nation’s largest employers are supporting the workers.”


Gender and Sexuality Miscellany

Book Review: Beyond Authority and Submission by Rachel Green Miller, Mere Orthodoxy (Mark Jones)

“Given the plethora of warm endorsements from well-respected people in broadly Reformed circles, the book has a lot to live up to. Sadly, the arguments, research, and methodology not only fail to live up to the hype, but the book actually harms our critique of unbiblical views of male-female relationships. The idea of the book has some merit, but Miller has not proven her case well.”

What to Expect When You’re Expecting Gender-Reveal Backlash, The Atlantic (Olga Khazan)

“Gender reveals can offer some parents a way to “re-enchant pregnancy,” Guignard told me. Most importantly, she writes, they fulfill the ‘‘very American cultural imperative of fun.” (This is perhaps why academics don’t get invited to many parties.) It makes sense that a new ritual devised for pregnancy would be full of balloons and cake, rather than prayers and blessings. That’s in keeping with the trajectory of modern American society, in which atheists are one of the fastest-growing religious groups. “As society becomes more secular, we do turn to more nonreligious rituals,” says Dimitris Xygalatas, an anthropologist and cognitive scientist at the University of Connecticut.”

Sex and the Single Evangelical, Institute for Family Studies (David Ayers)

“Although we must be careful about making any kind of causal claims from data such as this, given all we know about the impact of commitment and social support, teaching young people to prioritize church attendance and to keep religion central in their daily lives will most likely help them to be more faithful to their churches’ sexual teachings. It is certainly hard for religious leaders to effectively instruct their members on these matters if most are not present in church or committed to applying their faith. This is especially true in a culture where classical Christian teaching on sex is increasingly rejected. Casual, lax Christianity is not going to encourage young people to swim against the currents of their time and the influence of their peers.”

British Tribunal: Belief in Genesis Incompatible with Human Dignity, CBMW (Colin Smothers)

“Christians, we’ve been put on notice. According to the reasoning of this court decision in Britain — which you better believe will not stay in Britain — belief in Genesis 1:27 is now a public enemy of human rights and dignity. The irony of a Western democracy citing human rights and dignity to censure Genesis 1 wasn’t lost on CBMW Council Member Dr. Katie McCoy, who responded to the decision on Twitter: “There is no basis for absolute human dignity without Genesis 1-2. The West owes its value of an individual to the influence of Christianity. Divorce human dignity from the image of God, and a person’s worth becomes relative to one’s usefulness.” Dr. McCoy is absolutely right. Without Genesis 1 and 2, there is no human rights or dignity.”

There is no such thing as ‘binary sexuality’ says Dame Helen Mirren, The Daily Telegraph (Jessica Carpani)

“The Academy Award-winning actress said: “I came to the conclusion an awfully long time ago that there is black and there is white, and we’re all somewhere in the middle in a wonderful mix of male and female. The 74-year-old went on to say: “I think I was very lucky to be in my world, the world of acting and drama, because I think an awful lot of actors have male and female in them. “A lot of great actors, great, masculine actors, are actually very feminine…“A lot of very strong female actors, have a very strong male side to them.””

Porn Culture and Political Courage, First Things (Terry Schilling)

“The increased exposure brought to the issue of pornography is a welcome development. The proliferation of sexually abusive imagery, especially child pornography, has reached crisis levels in recent years, demanding a robust response from our political leaders. The Times report suggests that we must address the shortage of resources available to law enforcement. However, while certainly a crucial part of any response, this would only scratch the surface of the real problem. The uncomfortable truth is that the rapid growth in child pornography is connected to the cultural normalization of online pornography as a whole.”

My son knew from age three he was born the wrong gender’: Transgender 13-year-old has been waiting three years for help, iNews (Claudia Tanner)

“James used to love going to Centre Parcs with us as a family. But now he won’t go near a swimming pool. He also used to really enjoy playing football with his friends, but he doesn’t want to take part anymore. He wears a chest binder – a compression undergarment to flatten the appearance of his developing breasts – which makes sporting activities very uncomfortable and is potentially dangerous to his health. He has already socially transitioned, having asked me and his father to call him by a male name when he was around seven.”

The Internet Is Overrun With Images of Child Sexual Abuse. What Went Wrong?, New York Times (Michael Keller and Gabriel J.X. Dance)

“But the problem of child sexual abuse imagery faces a particular hurdle: It gets scant attention because few people want to confront the enormity and horror of the content, or they wrongly dismiss it as primarily teenagers sending inappropriate selfies. Some state lawmakers, judges and members of Congress have refused to discuss the problem in detail, or have avoided attending meetings and hearings when it was on the agenda, according to interviews with law enforcement officials and victims.”

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