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Gender and Sexuality News Roundup (10/15/19)

October 15, 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

Supreme Court decision on L.G.B.T. discrimination sets up religious liberty clash, America Magazine (Michael J. O’Loughlin)

“How faith-based employers could be affected by a ruling in favor of L.G.B.T. employees remains to be seen. More than 20 states and Washington, D.C., have passed job protections for L.G.B.T. people. During oral arguments, Chief Justice John Roberts noted that many of these provisions “include an exemption for religious organizations.” He wondered if the court would be extending similar protections if it ruled in favor of the plaintiffs. David Cole, a lawyer for the American Civil Liberties Union, maintained during oral arguments that existing protections would remain intact.”

Teacher’s Lawsuit Reflects Evangelical Educators’ Dilemma Over Transgender Pronouns, Christianity Today (David Roach)

“When Virginia public school teacher Peter Vlaming cited his Christian faith as the reason he declined to reference a transgender student with new pronouns, a school administrator replied that his “personal religious beliefs end at the school door,” according to a lawsuit filed last week. Now a state court will decide whether that’s true as it adjudicates the dispute over Vlaming’s termination, and evangelical educators across the country—who face similar dilemmas in their own classrooms and hallways—will be watching for the outcome.”

Presidential candidate promises draconian crackdown on religious liberty, (Denny Burk)

“Beto says in no uncertain terms that Christian churches should, in fact, lose their tax-exempt status unless they endorse gay marriage. This draconian assault on the first amendment is now the mainstream view within the Democratic party. This is draconian because it could bankrupt many churches and religious institutions by dissuading contributions. Many churches would lose their property as a result of being unable to pay property taxes–especially in big cities. This is truly draconian and unconstitutional. It means that we have an entire political party that is directly arrayed against Christian churches that remain faithful to Christ… for now. I do not foreclose the possibility that the other party could eventually go the same route.”

Beto’s Woke Integralism, First Things (Ed Condon)

“Our government is out and proud. Gay marriage is not an option-by-right but a moral good that must be affirmed. The flying of rainbow flags from public buildings is a settled part of our civic landscape. More and more, citizens are being catechized in the new liberal magisterium: Public schools in Illinois, Colorado, New Jersey, and California are now required by law to teach “LGBT history.” Of course, a magisterium cannot, by its nature, be a “take it or leave it” proposition; dissenters from orthodoxy must be disciplined, lest their errors spread. But how?”

Beto O’Rourke’s ‘church tax’ idea plays into conservative paranoia about same-sex marriage, Los Angeles Times (Michael McGough)

“On Thursday night’s CNN Equality Town Hall, moderator Don Lemon asked the former Texas congressman: “Do you think religious institutions like colleges, churches, charities — should they lose their tax-exempt status if they oppose same-sex marriage?” O’Rourke answered “Yes.” He added: “There can be no reward, no benefit, no tax break for anyone or any institution, any organization in America that denies the full human rights and the full civil rights of every single one of us. So as president, we’re going to make that a priority and we are going to stop those who are infringing upon the human rights of our fellow Americans.””

At Amazon synod, UN expert says Catholic Church still behind on gender equality, Religion News Service (Claire Giangravé)

“Victoria Lucia Tauli-Corpuz, the U.N. special rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, criticized the lack of female representation at the synod, which began Sunday at the Vatican and continues through Oct. 27…“I think it’s a problem,” she said. “The church really needs to realize the importance of equality between genders, in the church and outside the church.””

Buttigieg, Warren reject O’Rourke plan to link church tax status, LGBT policy, Religion News Service (Jack Jenkins)

“A comment last week by candidate Beto O’Rourke that churches and faith-based institutions should lose their tax-exempt status if they don’t support same-sex marriage has brought criticism from two of his rivals for the Democratic presidential nomination. At least two other Democratic White House hopefuls have rejected the former Texas congressman’s proposal, arguing that houses of worship should retain their status regardless of their beliefs on the matter.”

Gender reassignment: I’m man enough to admit that it was a mistake, The Times of London (Nicholas Hellen)

“Peter Benjamin knows more than most about the realities of transgender life. For several years, he tried living as a woman. Then he had sex-reassignment surgery, realized he had made a mistake and reverted to being a man. The market researcher, 60, who has a grown-up daughter and son, says living as a woman was “making me ill”. He is speaking about his experience out of concern for people who, like him, change gender, only to find their lives as isolated and challenging as they were before.”


Secular Trends on Gender and Sexuality

The LGBTQ-Rights Movement Is Changing, and So Is the Supreme Court, The Atlantic (Emma Green)

“The Supreme Court that will hear LGBTQ discrimination cases this week is radically different from the Court that legalized same-sex marriage four years ago.”

The Poland Model—Promoting ‘Family Values With Cash Handouts, The Atlantic (Anna Louis Sussman)

“The country’s governing party, which just won another election, has married right-wing social policy with left-wing economic policy.”

Transgender youth: Navigating gender identity in adolescence, CBS News (Sari Aviv)

“Biologically a male, Zoey never felt like one. In 2014 she said, “I like the color pink. I scream like a girl. I act like a girl. I breathe like a girl. I’m not a boy. Like, I would just be very defensive about it.”…Life has been something of a rollercoaster for Zoey. She happily celebrated her quinceañera, a traditional 15th birthday celebration for Latina girls, which was featured in an HBO special. And she has just been cast in a major film. Zoey is now engaged to her boyfriend of two years, who is also transgender. But she is estranged from her family, and has been coping with some other difficult issues.”

Historic Supreme Court arguments Tuesday in LGBTQ workplace rights dispute, CNN (Ariane de Vogue)

“The Supreme Court grappled at times on Tuesday with historic cases that could impact millions of LGBTQ Americans. At the end of two hours of lively arguments, it seemed clear that the four liberals on the bench believed that federal employment law that bars discrimination based on sex includes claims of sexual orientation and gender identity. Two separate cases were argued on Tuesday. One concerning whether the law encompasses claims of sexual orientation brought by Gerald Bostock, and the estate of Donald Zarda. The other concerned a transgender woman, Aimee Stephens, marking the first time the court heard arguments regarding the civil rights of a transgender individual.”

Air Canada staff will no longer greet ‘ladies and gentlemen’onboard planes, CTV News Montreal (Daniel J. Rowe)

“Flight staff will no longer use gender terms in boarding announcements as the company will be replacing scripted greetings with neutral words like “everybody” or “tout le monde”. “We will be amending our onboard announcements to modernize them and remove specific references to gender,” a media spokesperson for the company said in an email. “We work hard to make sure all employees feel like valued members of the Air Canada family, while ensuring our customers are comfortable and respected when they choose to travel with us.””

Will the Supreme Court stand up for reality?, New York Post (Ryan Anderson)

“Does a 50-year-old law banning discrimination based on sex mean employers must treat biological men who identify as women as if they are women? That’s the question the Supreme Court will consider Tuesday when it hears arguments in Harris Funeral Homes v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The Supremes’ answer could have enormous implications for women’s rights.”


Gender and Sexuality Miscellany

Ways of Being, The Atlantic (Stephanie Burt)

“Am I a real woman? Was Sullivan a real man? Why do I care how other people answer that question? But I do care. So does Dunham, and so—I think—does Chu, and so did Sullivan, who made himself, even while dying, into the Bay Area’s proud transmasculine historian. “I can never be a man,” he wrote, “until my body is whole and I can use it freely and without shame.” Such a goal might be the kind you never quite reach. Still, so many of us try to get there, whether the effort looks like one great change or a string of smaller moments. We share our stories, and we make new ones if those we find don’t fit; and then we send the new stories out into the world to see whether what resonates for us, what might save us, could help others too.”

Adultery or Rape? What happened between Davide and Bathsheba?, (Denny Burk)

“My aim in this post is simply to pass something along to you. I’ve been looking at a number of different scholarly works on this question over the last few days, and I have found a great deal of help in an article written by Alexander Abasili titled “Was It Rape?: The David and Bathsheba Pericope Re-Examined.”

Why Tech’s Approach to Fixing Its Gender Inequality Isn’t Working, Harvard Business Review (Alison Wynn)

“My work suggests that if tech companies want to attract and retain women, they can’t place the blame on individuals — they need to recognize the role their policies and culture play in causing inequality, and they need to pursue organizational change. Implementing broader recruiting strategies, specific and measurable performance evaluation criteria, and transparent procedures for assigning compensation will go a long way toward reducing gender inequality in tech.”

The Road to Infidelity Passes Through Multiple Sexual Partners, Institute for Family Studies (James L. McQuivey)

“It is advice that appears to apply to people who want to engage in—or prevent—marital infidelity. People who are sexually unfaithful to their marriage partners “practice” behaviors going back to their very first sexual experiences that increase the likelihood that they will be unfaithful. Conversely, by avoiding those same behaviors, those who wish to remain faithful to their marriage partners can reduce the likelihood that they’ll be the source of marital infidelity”

What if the Supreme Court Had an L.G.B.T. Justice?, The New York Times (Jesse Wegman)

“I couldn’t help noticing what was missing: the voice, and the perspective, of an openly L.G.B.T. justice. Instead, nine straight people were deciding whether to afford some of the most basic measures of equality to people who identify as gay or transgender and who make up roughly 5 percent of the United States population, according to a Gallup estimate…Every judge brings his or her own life experiences to the bench, and the Constitution’s language is vague enough to permit a range of interpretations that draw from those experiences. The justices themselves have acknowledged this.”

Girls Just Want to Be Born, Public Discourse (Marie Smith)

“The global pro-life movement will continue to speak out and defend the girl child. We must work to oppose all acts of gender based violence, protect women’s and girls’ lives, and seek consistent non-discriminatory life-affirming laws and policies.”

Conservatives say ‘I do.’ Liberals say ‘Why bother?’ And that’s a problem., The Washington Post (Megan McArdle)

“There are plenty of differences between a liberal and a conservative — one lives primarily in coastal cities and university towns, the other in rural and exurban areas; one is likely to be older, white and middle income; the other, more likely to be younger, a member of a sexual or ethnic minority, and either quite affluent or quite poor; one is a customer of Chick-fil-A and Spice House, while the other goes to Popeyes and Penzeys Spices. But here’s one difference you may not have thought about: The conservative is more likely to be married.”

The unfinished business of achieving gender parity in U.S. politics, The Washington Post (Kelly Dittmar)

“But, even amid the “surge” of women running and winning, women were less than 25 percent of all candidates in 2018 and are less than one-third of officeholders from the state legislative level upward in 2019. Moreover, while Democratic women made representational gains in 2018, the number of Republican female officeholders dropped at every level of elected office. These data are reminders of the work that is left to do — in 2020 and beyond — to achieve greater and more comprehensive gender parity in U.S. politics. Women make up nearly 51 percent of the U.S. population.”

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