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Gender and Sexuality News Roundup (01/23/20)

January 22, 2020

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

Rainbow Cake Girl: The True Story, The American Conservative (Rod Dreher)

“Again, it is perfectly fair to write a story about how a private Christian school dismisses a student because of her active lesbianism. But those aren’t the stories that have been written. What we have seen so far is a narrative in which an innocent child has been unjustly identified by school authorities as gay because of the coincidence of her rainbow birthday cake. In fact, that kid has been promoting herself and her lesbianism for some time on Instagram, despite being warned by the school that doing so was incompatible with her status as a student in that school.”

Louisville Christian school expelled student over a rainbow cake, family says, Louisville Courier Journal (Billy Kobin)

“Kimberly Alford told The Courier Journal that until Jan. 6, her 15-year-old daughter had been a freshman at Whitefield Academy, a private school at 7711 Fegenbush Lane that serves students in preschool through 12th grade. That’s when Alford said she received an email from Whitefield Academy’s head of school, Bruce Jacobson, explaining how her daughter was being expelled ‘immediately due to a post on social media.’ Alford had recently posted a photo on her Facebook page showing her daughter celebrating her birthday in late December at a Texas Roadhouse restaurant. In the photo, the girl is wearing a sweater featuring a rainbow design and sitting by a colorful, rainbow-themed cake.”

Sex, Celibacy, and the Latest Curiosity from Rome, First Things (Francis X. Maier)

“In the end, both Benedict and Sarah see priestly celibacy, and the sacrifices (but also the joy—the tangible joy) it entails, as vital to the life of the Church. Efforts to diminish or abolish it are, in effect, a surrender to a confused and hypersexualized wider culture. Matters sacramental and supernatural cannot be reduced to the pragmatic, the functional, and the utility-driven. But, as the authors forcefully show, critics of priestly celibacy—however good their intentions—inevitably do exactly that, to the detriment of the believing community they seek to serve. “

Pence attends homophobic semon streamed on White House YouTube channel, NBC News (Liam Knox)

“Vice President Mike Pence spoke at a church service Sunday in which religious leaders said, among other things, that homosexuality is caused by ‘the devil.’ The White House streamed the service live, and it’s still available on the official White House YouTube page. Minutes after Pence promised congregants at the Holy City Church of God in Christ in Memphis, Tennessee, that he would ‘stand strong for the values that you hold dear,’ Bishop Jerry Wayne Taylor launched into a diatribe about the ‘demonic’ nature of homosexuality.”


Secular Trends on Gender and Sexuality

The Billionaires Behind the LGBT Movement, First Things (Jennifer Bilek)

“Today’s movement, however, looks nothing like that band of persecuted outcasts. The LGBT rights agenda—note the addition of ‘T’—has become a powerful, aggressive force in American society. Its advocates stand at the top of media, academia, the professions, and, most important, Big Business and Big Philanthropy.”

KY lawmakers seek to ban ‘conversion therapy’ for gay youths, citing health risks, Lexington Herald-Leader (John Cheves)

“‘Conversion therapy,’ a discredited practice by which gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender individuals are counseled in order to change their sexual orientation, would be banned for state-licensed mental health professionals treating Kentucky children under bills sponsored by a bipartisan group of lawmakers. Critics of the practice say it can lead to withdrawal, anxiety, depression and suicide among youths. It is uniformly opposed by the nation’s leading medical organizations, including the American Medical Association, the American Psychiatric Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics.”

BYU will allow same-sex couples to ballroom dance, The Salt Lake Tribune (Courtney Tanner)

“For the private school, that was a major concession. The change goes against its strict Honor Code forbidding gay relationships, as well as ‘all forms of physical intimacy that give expression to homosexual feelings.’ Even in its own classes, BYU — one of the most renowned schools in the country for ballroom dance — doesn’t allow two men to dance together for practice.”

A pair of Tennessee bills seek to limit student sports participation based on gender, Nashville Tennessean (Jason Gonzales)

“A pair of Tennessee lawmakers have filed separate bills that would limit the athletic participation of students based on their gender at birth with one measure already propelling the Volunteer State into the national spotlight….Under the proposal, public schools would be required to verify the gender of students and limit participation in single-sex athletics for grades 5-12. It would allow for the student to participate in a single-sex sport if they provide an ‘unaltered’ birth certificate or through verification of their gender through a DNA test conducted by a licensed health care practitioner.”

Virginia becomes 38th state to pass ERA for women, likely setting up issue for courts, USA Today (Maureen Groppe and Ledyard King)

“Virginia on Wednesday became the 38th – and potentially pivotal – state to pass the Equal Rights Amendment, setting up an expected legal battle over what happens next. If codified into the Constitution, the change would explicitly declare that women have equal rights under the law. Supporters say it’s a long-needed protection for women who continue to face discrimination in the workplace and struggle against domestic violence and sexual harassment. Opponents argue it’s an unnecessary amendment that could enshrine in the Constitution protections for abortion.”

LGBT bills clear Virginia Senate and head to a friendly House of Delegates, The Washington Post (Laura Vozzella)

“The Virginia Senate on Tuesday passed a host of LGBT rights bills as Democrats continued to flex their new power in the Capitol. The Senate voted to ban conversion therapy on children, repeal the state’s now-defunct ban on same-sex marriage and establish statewide policies for the treatment of transgender students. The chamber also voted to replace ‘husband and wife’ with gender-neutral ‘parties to the marriage’ language in divorce law and make it easier for transgender people to change how their sex is listed on their birth certificates.”


Gender and Sexuality Miscellany

Engaging Critical Theory & The Social Justice Movement, Ratio Christi (Neil Shenvi and Pat Sawyer)

“If Christians want to engage people with the message of the gospel, we need to understand the ideas and worldviews our culture is embracing and show where they are inadequate, so that we can point people to the truth found in Jesus.”

Cultural Marxism’s Liturgical Language, The American Conservative (Rod Dreher)

“I would doubt that any journalism school graduate could get a journalism job if he or she did not adopt the liturgical language of gender theory… Unless he or she was willing to be in some sense a propagandist, and participate in the lie.”

When a Promotion Leads to Divorce, The Atlantic (Derek Thompson)

“When women establish a professional career of their own, particularly one that eclipses that of their husband, their success seems to threaten the implicit contract of the marriage and cause acrimony. Divorce was especially likely when the recently promoted wife was at least four years younger than the husband and when she had taken the great majority of parental leave time. In select interviews, the researchers heard from some men that their newly successful wives ‘didn’t care about him or the household anymore,’ as they put it in an email to me. ‘The man did not take pride in her promotion but rather thought that she didn’t care about him as much as she used to.'”

Why Questions on Women Candidates Strike a Nerve, The New York Times (Michelle Cottle)

“In a race such as this one, in which electability looms as a central requirement, perceptions of other people’s biases matter all the more. This less-than-inspiring data — along with from-the-trail anecdotes about the gender-based voter anxiety that Ms. Warren and Ms. Klobuchar have been facing — help explain why Mr. Sanders’s alleged remarks struck such a nerve. Women candidates and their supporters aren’t simply outraged that he could be so wrong. They’re worried that he might be right.”

The route to true gender equality? Fix the system, not the women, World Economic Forum (Carolyn Tastad and Deanna Bass)

“It’s time to acknowledge that gender inequality must be fixed – but women don’t need to be. As counterintuitive as it may seem, taking the focus off women allows us to search more broadly for solutions and take a holistic approach. When we eliminate our blind spots, a bigger picture comes into view – of the systems, norms, cultures and biases that must be addressed before our workplaces and world can see equal.”

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