Who Is Declaring This “War On Gender?”

What’s with this trend on the right of fighting against the wars we’re supposedly waging on the left? Every year, the viewers of Fox News are treated to Bill O’Reilly’s insane antics over his made up “war on Christmas.” Those of us who want equal protection under the law are constantly accused of waging a “war on religious freedom.” Now, in the midst of the raging debate over Trans people using the washroom, a bunch of very vocal people are fear-mongering over a supposed “war on gender.” A war on gender? What?

It’s pretty easy to tell who knows what they are talking about and who doesn’t when it comes to gender issues. For example, if you think we are all born as one gender or another, you are confused about the difference and relationship between gender and sex. If you think that all Trans people identify as the gender opposite their assigned sex and seek physical transition, you have obviously never bothered to learn anything about Trans identity; and if you think there is a war on gender, you have failed to listen to those of us who have been trying to explain this to you ad nauseum.

I’m going to take a different approach to this today, by saying that the acceptance of Trans identities, and the openness with which we listen and understand, reveals a beautiful truth about humanity. What the right has failed to realize, perhaps what many of us on the left don’t even realize, is that our movement is changing conventional wisdom on the human condition. What we have always thought, or known, about ourselves is not diminished by this, rather it is enhanced by the realization that we are much more complex than we ever imagined. As LGBTQ+ people become more emboldened, more confident in coming out and living their authentic selves, we learn more about our species. The movement sweeping our world is not a war on gender, it’s a revolution of discovery!

The bible, used by the right to justify opposition to progress, is not a textbook. It does not speak truth to the human condition, and the view(s) of humanity contained within its pages is simple and rudimentary, with little nuance. We are more complicated than that, and to embrace humanity is to try to understand that complexity. Passing judgment is something we do naturally, but when we depend on an ancient text to pass judgment in the ‘now,’ we do ourselves, and those we are judging, a terrible disservice. To insist upon this method, and to ‘double down’ on what we know, or even suspect, to be insufficient, is the very embodiment of willful ignorance. This is the problem in the church today. Too many people just don’t care enough. Too many people prefer to cast aspersions instead of seeking truth, because seeking truth, and attempting to understand it, is hard. It’s much easier to take what they have believed for so long and cling to that as infallible. What a horrible injustice it is to reject the fulfillment of discovering more about the world around us.

So I ask those who say we have declared war on gender: who is declaring this war on gender? I am what many of you would mistakenly call a “gay activist,” am I declaring war on gender? The only war on gender is the one you have made up. Just like Bill O’Reilly and his war on Christmas, you are fighting a figment of your imagination. There is no war on gender, we are merely learning. We are embracing new knowledge, preferring not to sit stagnant with ancient beliefs. Refusing to accept the ever-expanding library of knowledge about who and what we are, in favour of a belief that diminishes our complexity is, quite frankly, insulting. Why are you so threatened by the rejection of gender roles? Why are you so threatened by the notion that a person can be born in the wrong body? Why are you so threatened by a person who is biologically one sex, but whose brain is organized as both male and female? Why do you refuse to even try to learn about the reality of a gender identity that doesn’t fit the male-female binary at all?

Do you know how much we suffer? We live on edge, constantly having to check our words for fear of what we might let slip, and to whom. At 34 years old, nobody should be afraid to come out to their parents … but I was. Do you know how demeaning it is, how utterly dehumanizing, to be afraid to show your true colours, to be afraid of physical attack that too often ends in the deaths of our peers, and do you know that the suffering we endure is entirely your fault? Ideas based on religious beliefs and convictions, picked like low-hanging fruit from the pages of scripture, have been applied to social conventions with devastating effects. Those who hold these are to blame for the pain we endure. If those ideas were not pushed and insisted upon, if everybody embraced the beautiful diversity of the human condition, we wouldn’t have these problems. The issues we face are not internal, they are brought about by the exclusionary and restrictive norms and practices of tradition. My struggle, for example, is not with myself; it’s with the consequences of living openly as myself.

Think about that last statement for a minute. If you still can’t imagine any reality other than the make-believe one where me and my cohorts have declared war on gender, you’re not worth wasting any more time on.


A Coffee Cup, And A Nation Falling Apart?

The war for equality rages on, the right-wingers get louder and more angry, and by now you have all heard about the latest controversy in America. In an unprecedented move, Starbucks has launched an all-out attack on Christianity. That’s right, they took the holiday imagery off of their coffee cups in an effort to be more *gasp* inclusive. No more snowflakes, no more snowmen (which we all know are both Christian symbols in the first place, right?), just plain red cups. People across America are freaking out. Donald Trump has boldly declared that Starbucks will be boycotted and thrown out of Trump Tower, and that if he’s elected President, all of America will once again be saying “Merry Christmas;” presumably instead of the dreadful anti-Christian “Happy Holiday.” Of course, this is just the latest scandal in our leftist agenda, one that further moves America down the path to moral bankruptcy, and ultimately destruction. Next, cue the evangelicals. Somehow, this will have something to do with the “gay agenda,” it always does. After all, we “gay activists” are responsible for all the bad that goes on, aren’t we? From floods, to earthquakes, to more gay people, everything is our fault. People repent! Shun the gays and take back the Christmas Cup! The day of reckoning is nigh!

Okay, enough fooling around. Is anybody actually taking this seriously? I have asked, on more than one occasion, why anti-equality activists persist and do what they do, but if you think Starbucks taking the snowflakes off of your coffee cup is an attack on your faith, question answered. There is something seriously wrong with people who think this way. It’s not a state of mind problem, either. This is a deeper psychological issue, and it’s happening on a mass scale. This could be, I believe, just the next outrage along the path to a terrifying inevitability.

Most violent groups – Al Qaeda, Boko Haram, ISIS – rise up in reaction to something. They take action when they have been pushed to their breaking point. In the western world, we don’t have many of the problems faced elsewhere. We have it easy in comparison, and reasons to rise up are few. Frustrations, however, are boiling over, and I believe we are close to the tipping point; where the perception of Christian persecution will drive groups to form and act, with more than the hateful words we have grown accustomed to. It’s fun to laugh and poke a little fun at those who have over-the-top reactions to seemingly trivial things, but we must not lose sight of the fact that their numbers are large enough to cause some real damage. Still, as I believe we should take the possibility of a future evangelical militia seriously, I often wonder if America will be taken seriously in the decades to follow?

My neighbours to the south, what is going on down there? Republicans are embarrassing themselves daily, the Democrats aren’t much better, your politics and your religion are mashed together, and it’s all become one big mess. From the outside, it looks like a nation unravelling, and all over the inability of grown adults to cooperate and focus on the actual issues. You have homelessness growing as more and more LGBTQ+ youth are forced out of their homes, and the response is to argue over whether homosexuality is protected under the Constitution; not to mention whether or not it’s a sin. You have a seemingly growing number of police officers who are so stressed over the threat of violence that they shoot first and ask questions later, and you choose to talk about bad parenting and disrespectful children. You have people calling for the separation of church and state, something that is irrefutably protected under your Constitution, and instead of dealing with the actual issue, people take the Fox News bait and start fighting over the supposed “War on Christmas.” This is madness.

I am not an American, but I care deeply about what goes on in America. I care because (A) I care about people, and (B) I live next door. I chose to write this today because I want Americans to know that we are watching. What you do still matters, many of us still care, and we want to see you do well. The whole world is not against you, some of us care very much, and watching you falling apart like this is disheartening; to say the least. I sincerely hope I am wrong. I hope that evangelicals don’t take up arms. I hope that the calls to do so fall on deaf ears, and that peace can somehow be reached. I wish Fox News would stop fear mongering every holiday season, creating rifts between you. I wish presidential hopefuls would start to actually read and think, before doing the same. As for this coffee cup issue … come on. Is this really what you want to spend your time on? Are there not more pressing issues to confront than the appearance of the cup from which you drink your spiced mocha latte? If the colour of an overpriced cup of coffee at Starbucks is that big a concern for you, you are very privileged indeed.


The Gay Agenda

At first I thought it was just a fear-mongering ploy, a phrase designed to mobilize legions of evangelical Christians against the equality sought by the secular left (which it is). I thought that this phrase without any factual basis would eventually go away, naively ignoring the fact that upholding perception over truth is routine for the religious right. They fear a monster that doesn’t exist, the “gay agenda” in which LGBTQ+ people and allies are out to recruit their children and lead society down a path of depravity. Every day I read, hear, and watch news about this invention of the religious right … the “Gay Agenda.”

Here’s something you might not expect me to say. There IS an agenda at play. It’s not what the folks at the Family Research Council or Fox News think it is, mind you, but there IS an agenda and it can be summed up in one word – EQUALITY. The supposed “gay agenda” is 100% false. There is no concerted effort to recruit children into the “gay lifestyle” (whatever that means), there is no plan to create a new world order (as Bryan Fischer thinks), there is no sinister plot to achieve special status (like the status enjoyed by the religious right). This is about humanity, and it’s a goal that should be shared by every empathic person on the planet; regardless of religious affiliation. It’s the same agenda the suffragettes had, and the civil rights activists, and the anti-apartheid activists, and so on. It’s an agenda shared by every movement that springs up in opposition to oppression … the agenda is equality.

Nobody is coming for your kids, and nobody wants to deny you your rights. We do want to remove your ability to hide behind religious belief to justify persecution, sure, but that’s not a right; it’s an undeserved entitlement. With power comes privilege, and Christian privilege has brought us slavery, apartheid, colonialism, war, and continuing persecution and oppression (to name a few things), all while convincing us that it’s a religion of love and acceptance. This ability to get away with horrible things and have people turn a blind eye is what privilege looks like. Equality removes that privilege. Rather than denying rights, it denies entitlements. Equality evens the playing field, it gives everyone the same dignity. It condemns only that which causes harm. Instead of condemning difference, equality has us condemn that which stands in the way of togetherness and acceptance. Our “agenda” is about people, and everyone should be on board with that.