The push to transform our society’s fundamental understanding of human sexuality has now hit Alaska’s public schools with full force. Federal, state and local authorities call this a delicate process of reeducation, mostly for adults — meaning parents. The problem, however, is that measured conversation and thoughtful dialogue have little place in a conversation that flows decidedly in only one direction. We are being told to accept an unprecedented interpretation of sexual identity or else be prepared to lose jobs, pay fines and suffer social and political punishment for nonconformity.
The rising surge of recent public policy changes and mandates can be difficult to keep up with.
Last year the Anchorage School District — Alaska’s largest — imposed a new policy requiring students, teachers and staff who internally identify with the opposite sex to be able to dress as the gender they identify with, regardless of their biological sex, and have access to respective restrooms and locker rooms. Additionally the district policy mandates that students be permitted to participate on sports teams that accord with their chosen sexual identity.
Then last month, the Alaska School Activities Association, which governs all statewide championships and interscholastic activities, imposed a new policy allowing students to play on either the boys or girls teams depending on whichever gender they identify with, again, regardless of biological sex.
And coming this fall, the Juneau School District has plans to craft and implement its own transgender policy with regards to bathrooms, locker rooms and sports teams. Other school districts will likely wade into this conflict as well, especially since the Obama administration’s May 13 letter strongly suggesting to states that federal funds may be withheld if they fail to allow students of one biological sex to use locker rooms, restrooms and field trip hotel rooms as members of the opposite sex.
The justification for these mandates lies in the notion that society is morally bound to support the decision of people who wish to publicly identify as a sex that differs from the one they were born with. Implied in all this is that what biological science and previous generations have held to be true is unjust and even harmful.
To disagree with or fail to affirm a person’s chosen sexual identity, when it contradicts their biological sex, is now seen as tantamount to racism or sexism.
While this charge may score quick political points, it is a poor comparison. Racism rejects the human dignity and fundamental goodness of a person’s given biological race. Sexism rejects or belittles the dignity of a person’s given biological sex. To disagree with transgender ideology, however, is merely to uphold and affirm the dignity of our given biological sex — to uphold the fundamental goodness of the body. It means rejecting only the notion that the body must be overcome — even hormonally and surgically manipulated.
Those who experience dissonance with their biological bodies suffer in ways most will never know. It is not our place to judge them for this suffering, but neither is it merciful or loving to affirm what, in fact, is scientifically false: That a male is a female, or a female a male. No matter which pronouns we use, no matter the surgeries or changes in dress, there are certain given truths about a person. We are created and formed male and female.
As people of faith, we are called to unconditionally love those who suffer from a sexual identity crisis, listen to their struggle and lighten their burden however we can. Where friendship, prayer and counsel are needed we must step up. Christ would have no less.
The problem today, however, is that the Christian response to these issues is rarely given a fair hearing. We no longer live in a time when people of differing views can calmly debate issues with an aim of going where the truth leads. Now, there must be immediate and total conformity. With regards to human sexuality we are told that the wisdom of the ages and biological science have no place if they run counter to someone’s choice of sexual identity.
In the months ahead Alaskans will have ample opportunity to speak to school board members, city council members and legislators. We must be prepared to answer those who would have us deny fundamental realities in order to coexist.