What Do We Really Know About Gender Identification or “Normal” Sexual Orientation?

 

One of the difficulties of all people is distinguishing “what is” from “what is not.”  Our expectations of others are often determined by our assumptions about them or their situation.  Sexuality and issues of gender are so personal to each of us that our judgments of others in such matters are often more reflective of our own sense of security or insecurity about who we are and confusion about what is our business and what is not.

In 2009, the gold medal won by Caster Semenya in the women’s 800 meter race in Berlin was challenged on the basis of what others claimed was her “intersex conditions:”  that she was not a woman, and therefore had an unfair advantage in obtaining her gold medal.  See http://sports.yahoo.com/olympics/blog/fourth_place_medal/post/Semenya-withdraws-from-race-amidst-gender-questi?urn=oly-188930

For an engaging discussion of the common view that gender is easily identified, see http://www.spectacle.org/1209/swazo.html . Dr. Swazo wryly notes the circumstantial nature of the inquiry: “The medical subjectivation of Semenya itself unavoidably and irrevocably introduces her to a prospect of sustained gender dysphoria, when otherwise Semenya would be quite “herself” as before the ruckus elicited from Berlin.”  In that commentary, he  addresses whether intersex conditions, from a competitive posture, makes that competition with other “normal” women  unfair.  He notes the unfair treatment of Caster Semenya and concludes, “There is no injustice done when nature itself makes Semenya a woman manly, though nurture makes her a woman pure and simple.”

As an introduction to a study of what the Bible and other Christian “authorities” have said about sexual orientation and gender, I ask, “What do we really know about another’s gender, sexual orientation or what is “normal” in their unknown special circumstances?

If we are going to make judgments that are fair and appropriate, I suggest that we assure at least two conditions: (1) fair knowledge of the conditions and circumstance of the act or thing that is being judged, and (2) the right to judge that circumstance (i.e. it is a matter that directly effects us or that we have a social duty or right to judge).

Perhaps to illustrate this, let me suggest, as I had previously in a post in my initial blog, Heal Our Church:

A person who is blessed by God to be a hermaphrodite (both male and female physical characteristics), or has a genetic makeup of an extra X chromosome as in XXY or XXXY, or is XY male but is androgen insensitive and therefore has the default physical appearance of a female, doesn’t fit our common assignments of what is gender or what is the normal relationship between male and female. (Now within the last observation lies an interesting question for me: if the XY male who is androgen insensitive and therefore has a female body falls in love with a woman who has XX genetics, are they homosexuals or heterosexuals?) If it is confusing for you, imagine what it is like for the GLBT individual. Who are we to judge another person for the way they relate sexually with others just because it is different for them than for us and we can’t pinpoint a physical explanation of the difference. We would do well to recognize that we are the only one who can determine what God’s gift of gender and sexuality is for us.

Discussion:

What are your reactions to the story of Caster?

What can we expect of its impact on Caster?

Imagine you were Caster’s parents at her birth.

Whose business is it to determine her sex?  Parents at birth?  Child when an adult?

“Discuss:

Former IAAF medical commission chairman Arne Ljungqvist cautioned that a person’s gender is not always easy to define.”

“’There is no simple, single lab test that can tell if you are a man or a woman. It is not black and white,’” Ljungqvist told The Associated Press.

What about her later photoshoot to demonstrate that she is in fact a beautiful woman?  If she is genetically a male despite all physical appearances, what does that make her in this photo shoot?

The IAAF will make its determination for purposes of international sports competition.  How fair would it be for society to use that decision as a basis for its social determination?

Let us Open our Hearts, Minds and Doors to our community, and be enriched by its diverse experience of the divine.

Robert Wheeler

A Study of GLBT Issues, Religious and Scientific, Religious Pro and Con

TABLE OF CONTENTS

This Marvelous Creation                               https://wordpress.com/post/lovejudgenot.wordpress.com/28

Catholic Judgment on Homosexuality               https://wordpress.com/post/lovejudgenot.wordpress.com/33

A Fundamentalist Protestants Condemnation of Homosexual Christians               https://wordpress.com/post/lovejudgenot.wordpress.com/37

Dr. Dobson’s Position on Homosexuality                 https://wordpress.com/post/lovejudgenot.wordpress.com/39

Hate the Sin, but Love the Sinner Position               https://wordpress.com/post/lovejudgenot.wordpress.com/41

A Gay Man’s Scriptural Defense of Homosexuality               https://wordpress.com/post/lovejudgenot.wordpress.com/46

The Wesleyan  Quadrilateral         https://wordpress.com/post/lovejudgenot.wordpress.com/52

Scripture Accounts of How God Has Been Heard to Speak               https://wordpress.com/post/lovejudgenot.wordpress.com/55

Detestable or Abominable Things               https://wordpress.com/post/lovejudgenot.wordpress.com/59

Thou Shalt Not Kill, but…               https://wordpress.com/post/lovejudgenot.wordpress.com/65

Offenses Punishable by Death      https://wordpress.com/post/lovejudgenot.wordpress.com/68

Scriptures on GLBT Subjects          https://wordpress.com/post/lovejudgenot.wordpress.com/70

Love and Mercy                               https://wordpress.com/post/lovejudgenot.wordpress.com/79

Spiritual Gifts and Love                  https://wordpress.com/post/lovejudgenot.wordpress.com/81

Gays – – – No Easy Answers; a Christian Response               https://wordpress.com/post/lovejudgenot.wordpress.com/84

Publications concerning Hate Crimes Relating to Sexual Orientation               https://wordpress.com/post/lovejudgenot.wordpress.com/88

Psychiatric Association: Homosexuality Is Not a Pathology               https://wordpress.com/post/lovejudgenot.wordpress.com/92

Is There a Gay Gene? What If…?                 https://wordpress.com/post/lovejudgenot.wordpress.com/95

Two Evangelicals on Gay Marriage               https://wordpress.com/post/lovejudgenot.wordpress.com/99

Beyond Homosexuality: What Is Transsexual               https://wordpress.com/post/lovejudgenot.wordpress.com/101

United Methodist Groups and Positions on Homosexuality               https://wordpress.com/post/lovejudgenot.wordpress.com/103

Cry, “Justice!”    https://wordpress.com/post/lovejudgenot.wordpress.com/124

“It’s a Matter of Choice”               https://wordpress.com/post/lovejudgenot.wordpress.com/141

“Clergy Call for Justice and the Quality” by Bishop Minerva C, Carconia               https://wordpress.com/post/lovejudgenot.wordpress.com/151

Rev. Amy Delong: God Bless You!               https://wordpress.com/post/lovejudgenot.wordpress.com/154

“Spiritual Violence”          https://wordpress.com/post/lovejudgenot.wordpress.com/187

We Understand and Mean the Lyrics That We Sing?               https://wordpress.com/post/lovejudgenot.wordpress.com/173

Fight for Justice                https://wordpress.com/post/lovejudgenot.wordpress.com/202

“Fundamental” Problems              https://wordpress.com/post/lovejudgenot.wordpress.com/204

Memorial to the Norwegian Victims of Judgment, Hate, and Fear               https://wordpress.com/post/lovejudgenot.wordpress.com/211

Rev. Gilbert H Caldwell Speaks for Inclusiveness                   https://wordpress.com/post/lovejudgenot.wordpress.com/225

Bishop Hagya Courageously Speaks Out                  https://wordpress.com/post/lovejudgenot.wordpress.com/231

Love of God and Neighbor Letter               https://wordpress.com/post/lovejudgenot.wordpress.com/238

What about Maladapted or Stressed Children of the GLBT Couple?               https://wordpress.com/post/lovejudgenot.wordpress.com/243

Bob and Betty Dorrs Story             https://wordpress.com/post/lovejudgenot.wordpress.com/302

12 Discussion Strings concerning the Bible and GLBT Issues               https://wordpress.com/post/lovejudgenot.wordpress.com/304

2 New Year’s Greeting of 2009    https://wordpress.com/post/lovejudgenot.wordpress.com/309

3 Stuart’s Reply                 https://wordpress.com/post/lovejudgenot.wordpress.com/315

4 Georges Reply https://wordpress.com/post/lovejudgenot.wordpress.com/317

5 My Response to Georges Reply               https://wordpress.com/post/lovejudgenot.wordpress.com/319

6 Joanne’s Reply               https://wordpress.com/post/lovejudgenot.wordpress.com/321

7 My Response to Joanne’s Reply               https://wordpress.com/post/lovejudgenot.wordpress.com/324

8 Joanne’s Reply               https://wordpress.com/post/lovejudgenot.wordpress.com/330

9 William Wheeler’s Reply to Me https://wordpress.com/post/lovejudgenot.wordpress.com/340

10 a My Scriptural Response to William Wheeler                  https://wordpress.com/post/lovejudgenot.wordpress.com/342

10 b My Second Response to William Wheeler: the Impact of “the Fall” on Our Different Views               https://wordpress.com/post/lovejudgenot.wordpress.com/345

11 William Wheeler Scriptural Reply to Me                https://wordpress.com/post/lovejudgenot.wordpress.com/348

12 My Response to William Wheeler               https://wordpress.com/post/lovejudgenot.wordpress.com/351

13 William Wheeler’s Response to Me               https://wordpress.com/post/lovejudgenot.wordpress.com/362

14 My Response to William Wheeler               https://wordpress.com/post/lovejudgenot.wordpress.com/364

15 Brief, Punctuated Exchange between Rob and William Wheeler               https://wordpress.com/post/lovejudgenot.wordpress.com/366

16 My Response to William Weeler               https://wordpress.com/post/lovejudgenot.wordpress.com/368

17 William Wheeler’s Reply to Me               https://wordpress.com/post/lovejudgenot.wordpress.com/370

18 My Response to William Wheeler               https://wordpress.com/post/lovejudgenot.wordpress.com/372

19 Concluding Response to Georgia               https://wordpress.com/post/lovejudgenot.wordpress.com/374

Discussion of GLBT Issues

1 On Gay Marriage: Love and Do Not Judge               https://wordpress.com/post/lovejudgenot.wordpress.com/488

2 On Compassion and Forgiveness               https://wordpress.com/post/lovejudgenot.wordpress.com/493

3 Compassion, Accountability, and Forgiveness               https://wordpress.com/post/lovejudgenot.wordpress.com/498

4 On Adam Hamilton: Seeing Gray in a World of Black and White                  https://wordpress.com/post/lovejudgenot.wordpress.com/500

5 On Frank Turk                 https://wordpress.com/post/lovejudgenot.wordpress.com/502

6 On Implications of a Dualistic World                     https://wordpress.com/post/lovejudgenot.wordpress.com/505

7 The Gospel Message That I Hear               https://wordpress.com/post/lovejudgenot.wordpress.com/507

His Spirit Is Crying out and Yearning               https://wordpress.com/post/lovejudgenot.wordpress.com/580

Niebuhrs’ Moral Man and Immoral Society               https://wordpress.com/post/lovejudgenot.wordpress.com/587

Foreword to Stories of Sacred Worth               https://wordpress.com/post/lovejudgenot.wordpress.com/596

Coming out and Signs of Hope in Our Lives               https://wordpress.com/post/lovejudgenot.wordpress.com/600

Anonymous 1’s Story       https://wordpress.com/post/lovejudgenot.wordpress.com/603

Abby’s Story        https://wordpress.com/post/lovejudgenot.wordpress.com/606

Allen’s Story        https://wordpress.com/post/lovejudgenot.wordpress.com/611

Liz Bady:: Advocate for Reconciliation               https://wordpress.com/post/lovejudgenot.wordpress.com/614

Rev. Don Marsh: Haven’t We Come a Long Way?!               https://wordpress.com/post/lovejudgenot.wordpress.com/617

Kathy England: A Mother’s Story https://wordpress.com/post/lovejudgenot.wordpress.com/620

Nan and Peggy’s Story    https://wordpress.com/post/lovejudgenot.wordpress.com/623

Nameless                           https://wordpress.com/post/lovejudgenot.wordpress.com/656

 

Next blog post: This Marvelous Creation                                https://wordpress.com/post/lovejudgenot.wordpress.com/28

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What Do We Really Know About Gender Identification or “Normal” Sexual Orientation?

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