It would seem that in today’s modern US society there are pundits who wish to make gender something that is fluid. Something that can change on a whim, if one wills it. On November 3, the voters of the city of Houston decided on whether to keep their local Equal Rights Ordinance. While on the surface, this sort of legislative initiative seems just since no one is in favor of unjust discrimination, this ordinance posed several problems with its language. The City Council of Dallas, Texas, is another locality that recently passed an ordinance identical to that of Houston’s, and it too may end up on the local ballot to see if the citizens want to keep it. While many are familiar with the recent decision of the US Supreme Court’s decision to mandate that all states recognize the so-called right to same-sex “marriage”, it seems that something much more nefarious is afoot when it comes to the subject of gender. As of late, there have been multiple attacks on the institution of marriage and these particular ordinances are among them.
Many who opposed this type of legislation make the argument that it would legally allow a man who claims to be a woman to go into a woman’s public restroom. However, the problem extends beyond the issue of a man using the opposite gender’s public facility. The Houston Equal Rights Ordinance is a clear indication of what modern day proponents of the Sexual Revolution are moving towards. This is seen when one reads the definition of “gender identity” within the ordinance itself; it reads as “an individual’s innate identification, appearance, expression, or behavior as either male or female, although the same may not correspond to the individual’s body or gender as assigned at birth” (see City of Houston Ordinances, Chapter 17, Section 2). In essence, a man may merely will himself to be a “woman” and vice versa. Basically, instead of having the law recognize the uniqueness of each gender and how each gender reflects the image of God in its own way, these individuals wish to twist the civil law in order to reflect the idea that gender is legally meaningless. Biology is merely ignored.
This is not an easy thing to read for some people since they truly believe in a utilitarian ethic. As Jeremy Bentham was quoted in a previous article regarding his utilitarianism, “Nature has placed mankind under the governance of two sovereign masters, pain and pleasure. It is for them alone to point out what we ought to do…” (See An Introduction to the Principle of Morals and Legislation). Utilitarians believe bodily pleasure of any sort is “good” and, therefore, one should seek that pleasure. If acting and behaving like a “woman” brings a man pleasure, then according to the utilitarian, it ought to be sought.
But a question may arise for the average Christian, why is this contrary to the will of God? First, one must look to Scripture, particularly in the words of the Book of Genesis, “God created mankind in his image; in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them” (see New American Bible, Genesis 1: 27). One must recognize that while both genders are created with the image of God in them, they are still different from one another. God does not create one gender, but two.
Of course, this begs another question, why? Jesus, in many ways, provides the answer within the New Testament, “He said in reply, “Have you not read that from the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female’ and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, no human being must separate” (Matthew 19: 4-6). Men and women were meant for one another biologically speaking as Stephanie Pacheco states so well in her article, “Biological Reality Matters in the Gay Marriage Debate”. Pope Francis helps plumb the meaning of this as well in his encyclical, Laudato Si, “The acceptance of our bodies as God’s gift is vital for welcoming and accepting the entire world as a gift from the Father and our common home, whereas thinking that we enjoy absolute power over our own bodies turns, often subtly, into thinking that we enjoy absolute power over creation” (see no. 155). Pope Francis continues, “Learning to accept our body, to care for it and to respect its fullest meaning, is an essential element of any genuine human ecology. Also, valuing one’s own body in its femininity or masculinity is necessary if I am going to be able to recognize myself in an encounter with someone who is different” (no. 155).
It is at this point where it becomes quite clear that ordinances such as the ones proposed in Dallas and Houston are contrary to the plan of God. God calls each person to accept his or her body as it is. God did not plan for gender to be a fluid thing, but rather concrete. As Aquinas states, “nature tends to one thing only” (Summa Theologica, I-II, Q. 1, A. 5). For a person to say he or she is a different gender than their body is to not only deny what their nature is, but to also deny what God has intended them to be. As Pope Francis eloquently states in his April 15, 2015 General Audience,
Modern contemporary culture has opened new spaces, new forms of freedom and new depths in order to enrich the understanding of this difference. But it has also introduced many doubts and much skepticism. For example, I ask myself, if the so-called gender theory is not, at the same time, an expression of frustration and resignation, which seeks to cancel out sexual difference because it no longer knows how to confront it. Yes, we risk taking a step backwards. The removal of difference in fact creates a problem, not a solution.”
Opponents of the Dallas and Houston ordinances are correct in their legal assessments. But, the problem goes even deeper. Legislation, such as this, if enacted, will only lead to a society of individuals who will not only become gender confused, but also gender meaningless. In many ways, if this is achieved, then the Sexual Revolution will have accomplished the diabolical task of mocking the creation of God. It is wise to remember the words of Genesis, “male and female He created them. And at the end of the sixth day God looked upon his creation, man and woman, and said it was “very good!”