By: Jared Dobbs
Creation rhymes. More specifically, the created order has a discernable pattern that is manifest in ourselves, our neighbors, and the world around us. According to the opening chapter of Genesis, God lovingly created the natural world in complementary pairs: light and darkness; land and sea; sun and moon.
Man and woman also form a complementary pair in marriage, working together in different roles, making use of each other’s strengths, and trustfully leaning on the other where one is weak. We are either male or female; our complementarity is most clearly seen in reproduction, where husband and wife work together to form new life.
But ever since Eden, men and women have been aware when they are naked, and from that day, clothes have been essential to avoid the shame of being naked to the opposite sex. Upon the Fall of Man recounted in Genesis 3, Adam experiences the shame of nakedness, and he hides from God. In his mercy, God provides clothes for Adam and Eve. So do we, too, wear clothing to protect ourselves.
Since we no longer live in idyllic paradise, relations between the sexes are strained in our world of distrust, sexual lust, and mutual insecurity and shame. A wise culture recognizes these universal experiences and in turn provides legal protections for privacy where it really matters, such as sex-specific facilities—locker rooms, showers, and overnight accommodations for schoolchildren—to accomplish this purpose. But gender theorists undermine this purpose by re-interpreting the human person and the law.
What Does the Body Tell Us?
Gender identity theorists assert that one’s maleness or femaleness (or other gender—consult the list) is not objectively established by means one’s reproductive anatomy or chromosomal makeup. Gender identity is instead an inner sense or desire. These theorists also deny male/female complementarity: reproductive roles are wholly divorced from their concept of gender, which arranges “male and female” among myriad options on the gender spectrum.
We at ADF, along with the entire human race before the late twentieth century, hold otherwise. Absent the rarest of cases, the body—anatomy and chromosomes—definitively reveals one’s maleness or femaleness. Our bodies also orient us towards the other sex in procreation, which is a principal way that a man and a woman manifest their complementarity in marriage. You might say that our sex is for, among other things, sex!
It is also true that wigs, surgeries, and skirts don’t make a woman. According to the traditional view, this is because none of those things can overcome the truth of identity embedded in the human body, while the revisionists think that human feeling and desire alone determine whether one is (what they would call) a “woman.”
The Consequences of Denying Maleness and Femaleness
Gender identity ideology thus presents a social conundrum: How can we guarantee privacy in our sex-specific facilities when an individual’s feeling or desire determine which facilities people he or she uses? That inevitably leads to intermingling the sexes and puts the privacy of all at risk. But if the human body is the standard, then there is a defining marker to distinguish maleness from femaleness. Privacy for all is consistently protected when real sex differences are acknowledged and respected.
Indeed, with the current eruption of long-concealed male-on-female sex harassment playing out daily in America’s headlines, this is no time to undercut the respect for privacy—especially in respect to women. Replacing sex with gender identity confounds and debilitates women’s protection for their privacy. If a male enters a female facility, we must presume he has a gender identity that authorizes his access. In locker rooms and showers, abstract gender theory creates a concrete problem:
Unclothed biological males violate the privacy of women in changing areas (and vice versa).
No one should have to change in front of an unclothed individual of the opposite sex.
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