The dissolution of gender
Sexuality | Gender ideology seeped into law, education, medicine, and the military in 2017
by Kiley Crossland
Posted 12/29/17, 09:54 am
Gender dominated the news about marriage, family, and sexuality this year. The fight revealed a paradox: Activists battled states, schools, and institutions for the right of transgender individuals to transition their gender and access everything available to the other gender, while at the same time pushing for no gender distinctions at all. Gender became preeminent and at the same time insignificant. And as always, children felt the brunt of the fallout. Amidst the confusion, 2017 also offered clarity about why God’s design for marriage and family is good. Here are five of this year’s top stories.
Activists gained ground this year in efforts to normalize and enshrine transgender rights. In August, two U.S. schools sued by transgender students for discrimination agreed to payout settlements and policy changes. Other suits are pending, and many schools and states are preemptively conceding. Amid business pressure, Texas failed to pass a bill requiring transgender individuals to use the restrooms, showers, and locker rooms corresponding to their biological sex. The coming year likely will see efforts in other states. In November, the Pentagon paid for a “medically necessary” sex change surgery for a military member, and the military will start accepting transgender recruits Jan. 1. The California legislature heralded transgender rights in a package of bills passed this session, including mandatory gender identity training for businesses, the criminalization of “misgendering” nursing home residents, and bills to make it easier for California residents and prisoners to change their legal gender.
A dangerous experiment
Transgender treatments—counseling, hormone therapy, and surgery—skyrocketed this year. Activists ignored strong warnings from doctors and psychologists, or silenced them. In May, the American Society of Plastic Surgeons announced the demand for sex change surgery rose nearly 20 percent from 2015 to 2016. A similar surge seems likely when the group announces new numbers in 2018. The government of Ontario approved more than seven times the number of publicly-funded sex-change surgeries from 2016 to 2017. In October, parents in Britain sounded the alarm about the jump in youth patients at Britain’s gender clinic: from 100 in 2009 to more than 2,000 in 2016. But we saw some positive signs as well: In June, a trio of experts released a report with a strong warning against puberty blockers and other hormone treatments for children, calling them experimental, harmful, and often not fully reversible, leaving some children sterile for the rest of their lives. In October one of the world’s leading genital reconstruction surgeons spoke out about the high rates of regret in sex-change surgery patients. A British graduate student who wanted to study those rates couldn’t get the project approved because the university feared backlash. Last month, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation decided to pull a documentary about the possible harms of mainstream gender dysphoria treatment on children. And one brave Australian transgender teen in September announced he wanted to stop hormone therapy and transition back to his birth gender.
A third gender, or no gender at all
Alongside a push for the rights of some to strictly identify as a gender other than their biological sex, this year also saw a push for no gender distinctions at all. In June, Oregon became the first state in the United States to offer a third gender option—“X”—for state identification cards. In October, California followed suit. In August, Canada joined eight other countries in legalizing a third gender category. And in November, Germany’s highest court ruled the government must create a third gender option, or do away with legal gender. Gender neutral language became a craze: Transport for London (TfL) and the New York City’s MTA both nixed “Ladies and Gentlemen” in public announcements, Britain starting talking about “pregnant people,” the Swedish Church decided to neuter God, Teen Vogue distinguished between “prostate-owners” and “non-prostate owners,” the Boy Scouts said it was for girls, too, and Girlguiding said it was for boys, too (but only boys who identify as girls, for now).
Taking the brunt
In the wake of so much gender wrangling, many children were left to navigate the confusing world of gender and sex without any clear direction. In July, Planned Parenthood released new guidance recommending parents teach their preschoolers that “your genitals don’t make you a boy or a girl,” and affirm their preschoolers’ personal gender identity. A California charter school last spring guided kindergarteners through a student’s in-class gender transition without notifying parents, and then rejected a proposed policy to allow parents to be notified, or opt-out their child, for lessons on gender identity. Young children were also turned into gender rights campaigners, including a 3-year-old boy who wanted to go to Disney princess camp, a girl who asked to wear a suit for her first communion, and a baby born in Canada who was given the legal gender designation “U.”
God knows best
Amidst all this deviation, we also saw social science revealing basic, Biblical truths and affirming God’s good design for marriage, sex, and family. Studies released this year concluded men were designed to adapt to fatherhood; divorce is bad for kids’ long-term health; people who stay married through difficulty are happy they did; involved dads mean daughters have less sex; the loss of a father affects children, especially sons, on a cellular level; marriage is good for your heart; dads provide infants something mom can’t give; and the sexual revolution—supposedly intended to free society from the shackles of sexual restrictions—actually hurts us.
Kiley is a WORLD Digital assistant editor and reports on marriage, family, and sexuality.