Posted by: Beverly Dale | December 8, 2009

God and Gender: who cares?

Being a female has always been a trial for me as I grappled with the pain and struggles brought on by the ways I have been trivialized due to my gender. And, not surprisingly, I have been (perhaps still am!) far too critical of men as representative of the MAN who has been responsible for much of my suffering. Yet, as I was coming to grips with this and deciding that perhaps gender really didn’t matter since it was what was on the inside that counted, a trans friend very strongly opposed such a dismissal. Feeling physically trapped as male and now identifying herself as female she very much needed to be Female, to be noticed and known as Female. This was no small matter for her.

It was with great interest then when I read that in so many high schools, gender has become , as on psychologist put it, gender is  “a creative playing field.” According to the New York Times article there is considerable ambiguity around gender and gender roles and this becomes a way students can either rebel or simply try on different ways of being, much to the consternation of high school officials charged with maintaining dress codes and parents who are trying to do the best job they can!

But if Paul is correct that Jesus breaks down the barriers that we use to separate ourselves from one another such as nationality and ethnicity, gender or class (see Galatians 3:28), then why should it matter what gender we are, whether our gender is fluid, or a strongly defended gender as my trans friend needs it to be? It does matter to each one of us, after all we ultimately have to each name ourselves, but after that the rest of us should take our cues from those who name themselves. Isn’t that the respectful (and most loving) thing to do?

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