Wednesday, November 23, 2016

It's Official....We Have Lost Our Collective Minds

Let me start off by introducing you to the author of this New York Times article about what is actually taking place on college campuses across the country....and just see if you can figure out where this article is going...

Elizabeth Reis, a professor of gender studies at the City University of New York’s Macaulay Honors College, is the author, most recently, of “Bodies in Doubt: An American History of Intersex.”

Yep!  We are going to all take time out of our lives to figure out HOW college kids introduce themselves to their profs and fellow students on the first day of class.  I had no idea that if I were in college I would stand and say, "Dennis, he/his/him".  This is to inform all my campus associates that I identify as male....even if I am dressed in a dress, high heals and wearing a bra.

My fall classes started recently, and I had to face the pronoun question. It’s simple for me: My appearance matches my preferred pronoun, so I don’t worry about anyone misstating it. But some of my students are transgender or gender nonconforming, and they want to announce how others should refer to them. Or do they?

At some colleges and universities, it’s common for students to introduce themselves, whether in class or in student group meetings, by name, followed by a string of pronouns. “I’m Lizzie; she/her/hers,” for example. I find the exercise discomfiting, but not because I don’t want to know the students’ pronouns. It’s because this ice-breaking ritual, in my experience, is easy only for those for whom the answer is obvious. It can “out” or isolate others, particularly those who are still considering their gender or who have just begun to transition.

When we go around the room in class, students visibly react when they hear that someone they thought looked male goes by female pronouns or vice versa. This happened in my class a few years back. All eyes fell upon this person as if to ask, “If you identify as female, why don’t you try to look the part?” My heart went out to this student, who later told me that she was just beginning to think about her transition and hadn’t yet started to publicly change anything about herself, other than her name. She looked like any other guy in the class, except she had adopted a traditionally female name and used female pronouns on this day when asked.

This is the kind of student for whom we might think the pronoun exercise would be perfect. Once she identified herself, no one would accidentally mis-gender her in class. But in fact, as the student explained to me later, having to say her pronouns in a room full of strangers terrified her. She would have preferred to state her female name and leave it at that. If we had done traditional introductions, some of the students would have put two and two together and assumed she was transitioning; others might have thought she had an unusual name for a guy; some might have thought she was gender queer and comfortable with a male appearance and a female name; and yet others would have shrugged their shoulders and thought, “Whatever.”

With this experience in mind, I decided to adopt a compromise solution for this semester: I explained my concerns and said that students should list their pronouns along with their names only if they were so inclined. I also said that as a class we will refer to one another by our first names (community building) or the pronoun “they” (grammar evolves!). This strategy seemed to work. Half of the students disclosed their pronouns and the other half just introduced themselves in the standard way. No one became the object of scrutiny.

Divulging one’s gender through an announcement of pronouns at best contradicts the reality that our gender may be ambiguous, and at worst forces students to reveal a potentially vulnerable part of themselves. There are other ways to get to know one another as the semester unfolds.


In the beginning God created them MALE and FEMALE...MALE AND FEMALE He created them.

All of this cross-dressing, panty-wearing, penis-dismembering, breast-implanting, hormone therapy is simply more indication of how far we have fallen since the first humans.  There is no doubt that some women are more masculine and some men are more feminine.  You may even struggle with same-sex attraction but as Children of the heavenly Father we simply do NOT have to follow through on every single desire that we were born with.

Of course this doesn't mean as Christians that we tease, ridicule or hate our neighbor who tells us they are queer or gender-confused.  On the contrary!  Form a relationship based on love and share the Gospel of Jesus Christ.....then if they repent and accept Christ's salvation....let the Holy Spirit do the changing in their lives.  People seldom change people...but the Creator of the Universe can heal us from all kinds of perverse thoughts and deeds.

But please don't believe the lie that Jesus never wants us to change.  Of course He does!  That is a huge part of the Gospel message!


Blogger Dave Gust said...

She looked like any other guy in the class, except she had adopted a traditionally female name and used female pronouns on this day when asked.

She looked like any other guy? Excuse me? “She” is a guy. We are told in the previous sentence that this student had only just begun to think about his transition away from maleness. That the only thing he had done was to “change” his name. We don’t even know if the name change was official/legal or if it was just a whim of the day thing like the pronoun use (“used female pronouns on this day when asked.”)

We cannot continue down this road. If you must change how you address me based on my feelings at any given moment and not on some obvious and heretofore patently understood nonchanging metric we will spend all our time trying to figure out how to communicate with one another rather than actually communicating.

It’s cute and all, this talk about gender not being a binary choice, but aside from a very small number of people who may be diagnosed with Klinefelter Syndrome (1 in a 1000, and many of them never realize it) or something similar, we all are either an XX or an XY. We ought not up end thousands of years of societal norms to meet the desires (not needs, pronoun assignment is not a need like food and water) of such a small number of people.

November 28, 2016 at 5:27 PM  

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