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Gender and Sexuality News Roundup (01/16/20)

January 16, 2020
By CBMW
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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

AIDS, the Catholic Church and LGBT issues today, America Magazine (Mike O’Loughlin)

“In the series finale of ‘Plague,’ Mike looks at what’s happening in the church in HIV and AIDS care today and then reflects on comments and questions from listeners about the ongoing debates over LGBT issues in the Catholic Church.”

Second Expelled Student Sues Fuller for LGBT Discrimination, Christianity Today (Liam Adams)

“Another former Fuller Theological Seminary student who says he was expelled because of his same-sex marriage has joined a lawsuit alleging the nation’s largest interdenominational seminary violated anti-discrimination laws…The suit is believed to be the first of its kind, and its outcome could have wider implications for Christian colleges and universities who receive government funding. Title IX bars federally funded educational programs from discrimination based on sex, though dozens of Christian schools have received exemptions.”

A Call to Arms, First Things (Matthew Schmitz)

“But in today’s Church, any clear affirmation of orthodoxy is interpreted as a challenge to the authority of Pope Francis. This is a sobering fact, of which Benedict and Sarah are well aware. ‘We want to remain aloof from everything that could harm the unity of the Church,’ they write in the introduction to From the Depths of Our Hearts: Priesthood, Celibacy and the Crisis in the Catholic Church..’Personal quarrels, political maneuvering, power plays, ideological manipulations and critiques full of bitterness play the game of the devil—the divider, the father of lies.'”

The Nondiscrimination Dance, First Things (Patrick J. Reilly)

“A religious school should display its compassion and support for all children of God, including those who struggle with their identity as male and female. But this compassion must not undermine the school’s religious identity. In today’s environment, a religious school that voluntarily publishes a nondiscrimination statement including words like ‘orientation,’ ‘gender,’ and ‘expression’ will have unwittingly undermined its religious mission by opening the door to secular interpretations of those words.”

French bishops’ council OKs removing gender IDs on baptism certificates, National Catholic Reporter (Jonathan Luxmoore)

“The French bishops’ permanent council has approved a recommendation to remove gender references for parents on baptismal certificates. Bishop Joseph de Metz-Noblat of Langres, president of the French bishops’ Council for Canonical Questions, said the changes were made to bring baptismal practices into line with new gender-equality laws.”

Why schism? United Methodist leaders explain proposal to split the denomination, Religion News Service (Emily McFarlan Miller)

“The 16 United Methodist bishops and advocacy group leaders who negotiated a recent proposal to split the denomination explained their reasoning at an event held Monday (Jan. 13) that was streamed live by United Methodist News Service. They also forecast dire consequences if the proposal, officially called ‘A Protocol of Reconciliation and Grace Through Separation,’ isn’t approved this May by the denomination’s global decision-making body.”

 

Secular Trends on Gender and Sexuality

If new bill approved by DC Council, gender-neutral terminology will become law in District government, Fox 5 DC (Tom Fitzgerald)

“‘The Gendered Terms Modernization Amendment Act of 2020’ would, for example, replace ‘he’ and ‘she’ pronouns with the gender-neutral ‘they.’ For example, any reference in the D.C. code to ‘brother’ or ‘sister’ would be replaced by a gender-neutral term: ‘sibling;’ The legislation would also strip male-oriented or patriarchal terms, such as ‘chairman,’ ‘manhole,’ ‘manpower’ from the code and replace them with terms like ‘Chairperson’, ‘Maintenance hole’ or ‘Staff power'”

Why do we gender AI? Voice tech firms move to be more inclusive, The Guardian (Kieran Yates)

“Products such as Alexa and Siri have faced mounting criticism that the technology behind them disproportionately misunderstands women, ethnic minorities and those with accents not represented in datasets that have historically favoured white and Chinese male voices. In response, a wave of new projects aims to redress the balance and make the growing voice tech industry more inclusive.”

NJ schools get early start on LGBTQ history lessons, soon to be required by law, northjersey.com (Hannan Adley)

“Twelve New Jersey schools will begin piloting a new LGBTQ-focused curriculum this month, the first wave of a new requirement that will soon be mandated across the state, bringing another front in the culture wars straight into Garden State classrooms. The pilot sites to be announced by the state Tuesday — including schools in Hackensack, Morristown, Newark and Asbury Park — are intended to be proving grounds for new lessons in history, economics and even grammar designed to improve awareness of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender contributions and issues. The instruction, approved by the state last year, will be a requirement for all of New Jersey’s public schools starting in the fall. “

LDS Church issues new statement on feminism, The Salt Lake Tribune (Peggy Fletcher Stack)

“In 1993, the late apostle Boyd K. Packer identified the ‘feminist movement’ as one of three ‘dangers’ to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, reflecting the rough ride self-described Mormon feminists have endured through the decades. Even today, many activists, though devout in their faith, shy away from using the term for fear of turning off fellow believers. Now, more than a quarter century after Packer’s declaration, the Utah-based church has issued a more nuanced, but still cautionary, position on ‘feminism’ — one that is neither an endorsement nor a denunciation.”

Co-Parenting Sites Skip Love and Marriage, Go Right to the Baby Carriage, The Wall Street Journal (Julie Jargon)

“Using technology to find a platonic parenting partner comes at a time when it seems harder than ever to meet anyone the old-fashioned way. As people spend more time building their careers, it can be difficult to forge relationships outside the office, where romance has become verboten. And as the cost of living has increased, it has become harder for many people to consider marriage or children until later in life—all factors that have resulted in a declining fertility rate in the U.S.”

 

Gender and Sexuality Miscellany

Little Women Goes to War, City Journal (Kay S. Hymowitz)

“Even before it opened, the film adaptation of Louisa May Alcott’s classic novel had taken on heavy sociological and political significance. Amy Pascal, the movie’s producer, had tweeted that men were not attending screenings of the Greta Gerwig–directed movie due to ‘unconscious bias’ against women. Another Hollywood feminist VIP, Melissa Silverstein, jumped in: ‘I think it’s total, fully conscious sexism and shameful. The female story is just as universal as the male story.’ The media were off and running: ‘Little Women has a Little Man problem,’ Vanity Fair announced. ‘Men Are Dismissing Little Women: What a Surprise,’ was the snarky title of a New York Times column.”

State of Contradiction: Progressive Family Culture, Traditional Family Structure in California, Institute for Family Studies (Wendy Wang and W. Bradford Wilcox)

“It is striking, then, that a new Institute for Family Studies (IFS) report finds that California—despite being a global force for cultural liberalism—actually has a higher share of stable, married families than the nation as a whole. About 67% of California parents are in intact marriages, compared to 63% of American parents, according to an IFS analysis of the Census data. Likewise, 65% of children ages 0-17 in California reside with their married, biological parents, compared to 62% of children in the United States. In other words, family life in the Golden State is more stable than in the country as a whole.”

A Ridiculously Optimistic History of the Next Decade, The New York Times (David Brooks)

“A fantasy of what could come true…The churches were liturgically highly charismatic (Bethel music) and highly universalistic and intellectual (Richard Rohr). Their politics were an odd mix — pro-L.G.B.T.Q., pro-life, active on climate change, pro-animal rights (one of the signature moral causes of the decade). The religious left gained on the religious right.”

The Pediatric Endocrine Society’s Statement on Puberty Blockers Isn’t Just Deceptive. It’s Dangerous, Public Discourse (Michael K. Laidlaw)

“The Pediatric Endocrine Society recently issued a statement claiming that the effects of puberty-blocking medications on normal puberty are reversible. Has the FDA determined that there is scientific evidence to validate this claim? Have there been any rigorous long-term studies addressing this question? Is social transition truly harmless? Is it ethical to continue this experiment on children? The answer to all of those questions is no.”

Weak Data, Small Samples, and Politicized Conclusions on LGBT Discrimination, Public Discourse (Mark Regnerus)

“The measurement, analytic, and interpretive decision-making displayed in much (though certainly not all) of the LGBT discrimination and well-being literature is troubling, indicative of a lack of standards, poorly defined concepts, impressionistic conclusions derived from small numbers of interviews, the politicization of results, and the overall novelty of the field.”

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