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Wednesday, January 09, 2019

Assigned Gender

A few years back Slate warned that new parents shouldn't "let your doctor do this to your newborn." What horror was doctors perpetrating on these newborns? "The doctor holds your child up to the harsh light of the delivery room, looks between its legs, and declares his opinion: It's a boy or a girl, based on nothing more than a cursory assessment of your offspring's genitals." Damnable binary gender.

We know better now. New York is coming out with a gender-neutral option for a baby's birth certificate. "Let the child decide. Don't assign gender." That's the term you will frequently find -- "assigned gender."

I used to despise that term. Look, no doctor looks at a baby and arbitrarily says, "This is a goose!" Nor do they simply decide, randomly, to give you the gender. They do it scientifically. They can look at the chromosomes -- the DNA -- or the genitals or the bone structure or ... lots of things. They don't pull out a blank baby, make a couple of adjustments based on what they decide, and tell you what it is. They tell you what it is based on what is before them. "Assigned"?

I've since decided I like it much better than I thought.
God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. (Gen 1:27)
If you want to talk about gender assignment, that is it. "Male and female He created them." Not a spectrum. Not a social construct. Binary gender. Assigned by God.

I want to point out that there is a particularly important point embedded here that our world has jettisoned and a lot of Christians seem to miss. Included in this concept of God assigning gender (binary) is the concept of being created in the image of God. It is this singular concept that gives us value that no other created thing has. It is this singular notion on which we oppose killing babies and adults and anyone else. It is this one idea on which we base our idea of human rights. Throw that out? Throw out all that other stuff, too. Throw out "male and female"? You can forget about "in the image of God," too.

Is gender "assigned"? Yes, it is. By God. We can play with it, deny it, waffle about, but it is assigned by the Maker. Anything else is a denial ... of reality.

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