There is currently a raging debate about gender in the world. Some psychologists and social scientists have been pushing the idea that gender is a mental construct and not a physiological, biological thing. Women are being told that they can do whatever a man can do and men are being told the same thing. The term “gender neutral” is bandied about with the idea being: you do not have to be male or female despite the body you have. This idea has gained traction, and in many parts of the world people are being bullied into accepting this as a fact or face economic, political or social sanctions. In a world that touts tolerance, it seems that anyone who does not agree with or even champion this idea is ostracized, criticized, marginalized and excoriated as being out of touch with reality.
I am frankly amazed that we could have gotten to this point. And as much as I try to understand what such ideologues were talking about, the stark realities of life have inhibited my understanding and prevented my acceptance of such propositions. Frankly, I cannot understand what in the world they are talking about. I understand that some people are confused about their reality and have a mental condition that suggests to them that they are something other than what they appear to be, but I cannot understand how you can make something a fact that is visually and physiologically not a fact. The big problem is that the differences are obvious and undeniable.
A man and a woman are very different and, therefore, limited in what they can do physically. A man cannot have a baby; a woman cannot generate sperm. Despite modifications and surgeries, someone who is intrinsically one thing or the other cannot ever become what they are not. They can have modifications that allow them to function as something they are not but they will never become what they are not born with intrinsically. A popular female athlete recently lamented that women have to make a choice athletically that men do not have to make. If they want to pursue their career in sports, they have to sacrifice motherhood. In other words, they have to make a choice because they are different from men. There are differences, and those differences influence or dictate our behavior. A man cannot produce breast milk because he is physiologically different from a female; females naturally produce breast milk. What is wrong with acknowledging our differences, respecting our differences, and each living within their design and purpose?
We should acknowledge and celebrate our differences because recognizing our differences helps us to become better at who we are and how we function. A woman shaving her head and acting like a male does not make her a male. If she acknowledges that psychologically she identifies with males, then we understand that there is a psychological dissonance with physical reality, and we can acknowledge that there are people who share this dissonance and we do not have to be angry at them. We can acknowledge their situation and respect them as human beings. On the other hand, we should not be pressured into accepting something that is obviously not a reality. The young lady is not a man and never will be from a physiological and biological perspective. This is just honest truth. The psychological issues can be addressed as a separate issue.
We acknowledge differences every day, but somehow the physical differences between male and female are being questioned. When an obvious male is entered into a competition with females, we are pretending that there is no difference because visually the differences are obvious. And in my mind, it is an insult to our intelligence to suggest otherwise. The recent swimming competition where a biological man stood next to women and was able to enter and win a women’s competition is most disturbing to me because we are ignoring obvious differences. He/she was obviously different from the other females. He may be a transgender woman, meaning, he was physically altered to resemble a woman, was injected with hormones and had his genitalia modified. But what could not be erased is the fact that his frame, structure and appearance made it clear to all that he was different from the other intrinsic women in the competition. He who was converted into a she should be in a competition with similar persons who have gone through the same process rather than in competition with others who were born with everything female in place.
I am afraid that if we continue on this path of denying reality, we may one day have people who are born white surgically modified to appear Black and claim that they are Black. There are many other scenarios to think of if this path of denial of differences continues. We should be able to respect our differences and treat each other with respect without trying to force the world into capitulation of something that is not scientific (observable and tested as a fact) but rather ideological. It is time we acknowledge our differences.
• Pastor Dave Burrows is senior pastor at Bahamas Faith Ministries International. Feel free to email comments, whether you agree or disagree, to firstname.lastname@example.org. I appreciate your input and dialogue. We become better when we discuss, examine and exchange.