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Gender Politics

BE ALERT! DON’T EXPERIMENT WITH CHILDREN’S LIVES!

Photo by Tim Mossholder from Pexels.

**This is a personal website and reflects my thoughts and convictions. It does not represent any official position held by Youth With A Mission.**

 

I did not see this coming!  Just a few years ago I had never heard the term “gender dysphoria” and I would have never guessed that it would be politically weaponised.

But now, Sky News reports:

The Tavistock and Portman NHS Trust (UK) offers gender identity services for children under 18, with some patients as young as three or four years old.

They now have a record number of referrals and see 3,200% more patients than they did 10 years ago – with the increase for girls up by 5,337%.

(Please note that this article is not about our attitudes towards people with sexual identity issues; it does not offer pastoral or counselling advice.  That is another very important topic that is beyond the scope of this article.)

The numbers of children and young adults requesting sex change procedures is still relatively small, but the extraordinary growth patterns point to an epidemic.  What impact is it likely to make over the next decade or two?  Some people who transitioned years ago have begun to speak up:

Ruby is now 21 but first began identifying as male at 13.  After taking testosterone her voice got a lot deeper, she grew facial hair and her body changed.  She had been planning to have surgery to remove her breasts this summer.

However, in May, Ruby voiced the growing doubts she had been harbouring and made the decision to come off testosterone and detransition to identify as female.

“I didn’t think any change was going to be enough in the end and I thought it was better to work on changing how I felt about myself, than changing my body,” says Ruby. 

Charlie Evans, 28, was born female but identified as male for nearly 10 years before detransitioning.

The number of young people seeking gender transition is at an all-time high, but we hear very little, if anything, about those who may come to regret their decision.  There is currently no data to reflect the number who may be unhappy in their new gender or who may opt to detransition to their biological sex.

Charlie detransitioned and went public with her story last year – and said she was stunned by the number of people she discovered in a similar position.

“I’m in communication with 19 and 20-year-olds who have had full gender reassignment surgery who wish they hadn’t, and their dysphoria hasn’t been relieved, they don’t feel better for it,” she says.

If you would like to read more, quotes from the Sky News article are taken from:

https://news.sky.com/story/hundreds-of-young-trans-people-seeking-help-to-return-to-original-sex-11827740

Considering the growing number of people wanting to detransition, or at least wishing they hadn’t started the process, surprisingly, few of the proponents of gender transition have not suggested caution, or that more research should be done.  They claim that even talking about detransition is transphobic.  To me, that suggests that this is not primarily about helping people, but it must be part of some strange, possessing ideology.  Gender identity has been made a political weapon.

There is so much publicity on this subject that you might think it is very common for babies to be born with unclear sex identity, so I looked it up.  Some say that as many as one in 2,500 children cannot be identified at birth as either male or female, but others say it is not that high, but closer to one in 5,000.  This has become a major social issue, not because it is a biological reality, but because it is a consequence of a political philosophy.

Different shades of that political philosophy dominate the liberal arts courses of our universities and have done so for a generation.  Now they are being worked out in everyday social mores and in law.

In 2007, Christopher Dummitt was one of the first academic authors to make the case that gender is not primarily a biological issue, but that it is socially constructed.  He recently wrote a humble confession in Quillette magazine where he admitted that, “The problem was, and is, that I was making it all up.”

His article is important and revealing, so I am quoting it at length:

When the American Historical Association surveyed the trends among major fields of specialization in 2007, and then again in 2015, the single largest field was women’s and gender history. This was right up there with social history, cultural history, and the history of race and sexuality. Each of these fields shared the same worldview as I did—that just about every identity was a social construction. And, that identity was all about power. (My added emphasis.)

Back then, quite a few people disagreed with me. Almost nobody who hadn’t been exposed to such theories at a university could bring themselves to believe that sex was wholly a social construct, because such beliefs went against common sense. That’s what makes it so amazing that the cultural turnaround on this issue has happened so quickly. Reasonable people might readily admit that some—and maybe a lot—of gender identity is socially constructed, but did this really mean that sex doesn’t matter at all? Was gender solely based on culture? Yes, I would insist. And then I would insist some more. There’s nothing so certain as a graduate student armed with precious little life experience and a big idea.

And now my big idea is everywhere. It shows up especially in the talking points about trans rights, and policy regarding trans athletes in sports. It is being written into laws that essentially threaten repercussions for anyone who suggests that sex might be a biological reality. Such a statement, for many activists, is tantamount to hate speech. If you take the position that many of my ’90s-era debating opponents took—that gender is at least partly based on sex, and that there really are two sexes (male and female), as biologists have known since the dawn of their science—uber-progressives will claim you are denying a trans person’s identity, which is to say, wishing ontological harm upon another human being.

But what I can offer is a mea culpa for my own role in all of this, and a detailed critique about why I was wrong then, and why the radical social constructionists are wrong now. I once made the same arguments that they now make, and so I know how they are mistaken.

If you would like to read the rest of that confession, it is available online:

https://quillette.com/2019/09/17/i-basically-just-made-it-up-confessions-of-a-social-constructionist/

(A book by Stephen Hicks, Explaining Postmodernism, helped me understand the ideology/philosophy behind this thinking.  Another very good source of context is a 43-minute video by Jordan Peterson:

A friend and I did a long, high altitude hike this past summer in my home state of Colorado and we finished our week in a beautiful resort town.  As we trudged the final mile up the main street, which was busy with tourists, I saw a young boy wearing lipstick and eye-shadow; then I saw another a bit farther on, and then another. I was full of questions I couldn’t ask of the boys or their parents:

Why?  When did it start?  Was there a triggering event? Does he wear make-up every day?  Is he receiving therapy and puberty blockers?  What was your response initially?  Before he started trying to look more like a girl, did he have a friend or friends who had led the way?  Was he bullied by peers, or rejected by an adult?

As the book and lectures I have cited explain, this ideology is a re-packaging of Marxism and an all-out attack on the nations that have produced the greatest individual freedom, opportunities and prosperity in human history.

As we resist this toxic ideology, we must also treat each person with empathy and respect.  So, let me be very clear: this article does not aim to provide any guidance for the pastoral care of someone experiencing uncertainty, or dissatisfaction with their sexual identity.

What I have aimed to do is to convey an important message:  BE ALERT!  DON’T EXPERIMENT WITH CHILDREN’S LIVES!

We are allowing an ideology that destroyed millions of lives in the 20th century to resurrect itself and don new clothing.  Now we are experimenting with the lives of millions of children.  If the influence of the ideology continues to grow, the chances of this turning out well are nil.

Lynn Green.

Lynn Green and his wife Marti first came to England and began the work of Youth With A Mission here in 1971. From 2004-2011 Lynn was YWAM’s International Chairman. He continues to convene YWAM’s global leadership meetings, and focuses much of his energy on international leadership development.

14 comments on “Gender Politics

  1. Katherine Hackett

    Thank you Lynn, this is very sobering indeed. Come Holy Spirit, bring clarity where there is confusion.

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  2. A very significant article. Thank you Lynn. This is indeed a matter for much concern and prayer.

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  3. Ashley Gates

    Please delete this comment if this is not the right place to post this. I just don’t know where else to contact you. I have heard that a YWAM ministry is running some online seminars which include someone who is pro-gay. Does YWAM allow this? Our family and church supports YWAM but I am not sure if I can continue if this is the case. The program is called an LTN, I think.

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    • Thanks, Ashley. I don’t mind you asking that question on this website. What follows are my thoughts and words, but to the best of my ability, they do reflect positions we have taken in YWAM after much prayer, consultation and listening to those who are struggling with sexual temptation.

      No, we don’t approve of teaching that encourages or promotes homosexual acts of any sort. We teach that the family, as God designed it, is centered around a life-time covenant commitment between a biological man and biological woman. That is what the scriptures clearly teach and reason confirms that this is the design of a loving God. This good and loving plan for human beings means that sexual intimacy outside God’s design is both wrong and damaging. If anyone in YWAM is known to be planning any event that teaches otherwise, I would make it clear that, in so doing, they will be making a major step towards leaving YWAM.

      With that clear position established, we also promote an empathetic and sensitive approach to those who are struggling with any of the many forms of sexual temptation–whether that means temptation to adultery or fornication or same-sex activity or other departures from God’s best. We understand that few people who are same-sex attracted have made a conscious decision to have those attractions and so that calls for compassionate and relational responses to those struggling in this way. However, the compassion and empathy has to be expressed within the the bounds of what God has designed for human sexuality. That is the only loving thing to do.

      I hope that is clear.

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      • Lynn, is someone who hold an affirming theology absolutely forbidden from teaching in YWAM at all, even if just to tell their story? I know the seminar series in question and that teaching is just called “Listening At The Margins: Faith & LGBTQ+ Sexuality”. Can you bring some clarity? Thanks!

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      • YWAM is not rule driven, it is value, or principle, oriented. We teach that our sexuality is Providentially designed for expression between a man and woman in the context of marriage, by which we mean a life-long covenant. We then trust YWAMers everywhere to act in a manner that is consistent with that truth.

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      • Sounds like someone isn’t taking your threats seriously. Great to hear someone is teaching truth about the beauty of LGBTQ+ people. You’re all talk, Lynn. No action. Sure, you won’t let this comment be posted but you won’t do anything about this teaching that has already happened by the sounds of it. Good for them!

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      • Well, here it is, Emily. No threats, just standing where Biblical Christians have stood for 2000 years. Your accusative tone does not help your position.

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      • Emily, my name is Jamie Arpin-Ricci. I was the one who taught in the seminar you are referring to. I want to make it abundantly clear that the organizers communicated YWAM’s values on the topic of gender and sexuality. They were not defying any authority or breaking any rules.

        Further, while I appreciate your heart of support for people like me- LGBTQ+ Christians- just know that antagonizing a leader in an organization can, at times, actually cause more harm than good for those you are trying to support. I am only commenting here because I don’t want to see this situation unduly inflamed.

        Thanks.

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      • Thanks, Jamie. You are right; the angry accusative comments don’t usually do any good. However, they do make open conversation more difficult.

        We do want all YWAMers to learn to be understanding of the complex issues, culturally, pastorally and Biblically and want to have open discussion, but without promoting sexual experimentation or sexual intimacy outside marriage between a man and a woman. We do not want anyone to feel rejected and judged because of sexual identity confusion or sexual attraction they did not choose.

        Our stance has been taken after much discussion, study, listening to advocates of the various stances taken on this subject and a prayerful approach over the best part of a decade. Because we did not announce that we were looking into these issues many years ago, some have accused us of being reactionary, but that is certainly not the case.

        The platform speakers at the conference in question have all been advocates of, or accepting of, sexual practices outside of covenant marriage between a man and a woman. The event would not have been understood to be advocating the historical and YWAM position on the subject. That is why we said it could not be hosted in the name of YWAM. (Here, you will understand, I am referring to the event that would have taken place in June, but was cancelled at the request of the Founders Circle and conveyed by me and would have been cancelled in any case because of Covid-19.) It was hard for us to do that, and very hard on the ones who had planned it, but in the wider context of YWAM globally and the Body of Christ, it was necessary.

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      • Lynn, I’m not sure which event you are speaking about but the one being mentioned here was not cancelled but was held last week. What other event was cancelled?

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  4. adam stearns

    Hi Lynn, I noticed in your comments you mentioned that you are ‘standing where Biblical Christians have stood for 2000 years’ – I wanted to ask you a couple of questions specifically in regards to what this means. As I am sure you are aware the bible has been translated on multiple occasions throughout history, into many different languages, sometimes I may add, rather poorly. I think, therefore, if one is to truly follow the bible to its fullest, one should be critical of the way that words have been translated over time. This is especially crucial when these words define what is supposedly “right” or “wrong” according to the bible.

    I am writing specifically concerning your stance on homosexuality as you have defined it biblically. The original Greek word “arsenokoitai” was translated to homosexuality for the first time in 1946(RSV) by an American translator. This word appears in the passages which are often quoted as being against homosexuality – Leviticus 18:22, Leviticus 20:13, 1 Corinthians. However, throughout the history of European translations this word refers specifically to pederasty – which is something entirely different from a loving relationship between two people of the same sex. I think if you are relying on biblical verses to advocate your views, it is worth understanding that for the majority of the 2000 years in which the bible has circulated homosexuality was not in actual fact in the bible.

    Translation is a very difficult thing to accomplish correctly – it is an art form in itself. Since most people haven’t studied Greek or Hebrew, they have no concept of challenging a translation, and any potential errors that may have occurred during translation. Therefore, many people are unable to consider the implications of the text beyond the English translation in front of them. And what pain has been caused by such a bad translation?!

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    • Yes, I am quite familiar with that line of thinking, having read it several times and then gone to meet with one of the authors whom I have known for many years and worked closely with. That effort does not hold up under scrutiny. A sensitive, very-well informed and scholarly approach to the subject, and other issues of sexuality and Biblical and historical Christianity, can be found in a podcast by Jon Tyson, when he spoke at Bridgetown Church in Portland Oregon. https://bridgetown.church/teaching/god-sexuality/jesus-the-gay-community/

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  5. Hi Adam, As you anticipated, I have decided not to post your latest comment on my website. There are a couple of reasons for that: First, my time for studying the subject has now passed. I read a lot, listened to a lot and renewed friendships with people who were/are advocating the position you seem to hold. I was not convinced. I cannot prioritize more study on the subject and I think I have heard nearly all of the arguments you have posited. Secondly, you have asked why we focus so much on sexuality. Speaking for myself and my YWAM context, we don’t! We simply hold to a straightforward reading of scripture on the subject, but in the current cultural environment where sexual adventure is a common idol, those who disagree with the scriptures, or engage in semantical/cultural acrobatics to make them fit presupposed outcomes do tend to keep trying to draw us into arguments. I can’t do that now. So this is the end of our public conversation.

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