Sex vs. Gender: Observations of a Catholic Parent

This week, apparently, is “trans awareness week.” In other words, throughout the week we will be bombarded by propaganda about so-called transgenderism. This is an attack on our fundamental beliefs as Christians, couched in a language of compassion and care. We need to understand it for what it is without succumbing to the intimidation of being labeled something-phobic and intolerant.

So God created mankind in his own image,
in the image of God he created them;
male and female he created them. (Genesis 1:27)

We believe that God has created us in His image and that our sex is part of His design. It is not ours to choose; it has been determined by our Creator. There has been a growing trend over several decades now to change our understanding of sexuality, to unhinge it from reality and to confuse it with gender. There are two sexes, period. There are an undetermined number of “genders” and so we have seen a shift in language from sex to gender in order to accommodate the LGBTQ agenda and obfuscate what was once obvious.

That being said, there is considerable confusion about sexuality in our society today. When individuals struggle with their “sexual identity”, it is not easy and we should always respond to them with love. If they live in ways that we do not agree with, they still deserve our respect. If we are uncomfortable, we have to learn to look past what causes discomfort and see Christ in every person. That is always the challenge. Sometimes the poor are starving people in Calcutta; and sometimes they are drag queens in a Pride parade. They are both quite far removed from our everyday lives, usually, but they are all equally deserving of our prayers and our brotherly love.

In the weekend paper, there was a lengthy article about what to do with very young children who express a desire to be the opposite sex. It was hard to read. Toddlers with gender confusion are being “socially transitioned” into living as the opposite sex while still in day care. Attempts to correct the confusion and redirect the child’s interests and behaviors are frowned upon by professionals. They have successfully separated the sex a person is “assigned” at birth from the gender the person chooses for oneself.

What at birth defines our gender? It’s not our “externals,” says Dr. Norman Spack, co-director of the Gender Management Service program at Boston Children’s Hospital.

Gender is different from anatomic sex, and from sexual orientation. It describes our self-concept, Spack said in a 2014 TED talk, “Do you see yourself as male or female or somewhere in the spectrum in between?”

This ideology is also working its way into our school systems. Pope Francis remarked on this last summer:

And one of these — I will call it clearly by its name — is [the ideology of] ‘gender.’ Today children — children! — are taught in school that everyone can choose his or her sex. Why are they teaching this? Because the books are provided by the persons and institutions that give … money. These forms of ideological colonization are also supported by influential countries. And this is terrible!

Remarking on a conversation held with Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, Pope Francis recalled the retired pontiff quipping, “[T]his is the age of sin against God the Creator.”

This is a subject well beyond the scope of a short blog post, and one I’m sure we will return to in the future. My hope is that readers will question the mainstream take on transgenderism and consider what harm is being done to our children under the guise of compassion. Please be on guard for ideological influences on your children that are contrary to our fundamental Catholic beliefs. Again, I stress that we must respond with kindness and love but we must not let that excuse us from adhering to what is true.

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