Engendering Controversy

The campaigning group Fair Play for Women has written to Twitter board member Martha Lane Fox claiming that the company is allowing “a concerted attack on women’s free speech” by banning people for stating “basic, incontrovertible biological facts” such as saying men are not women. They give examples such as “men are male” and “women give birth” which they say are biologically and legally correct and yet have led to accounts being closed by Twitter. No doubt there is more to the story, and perhaps there are examples where the language some people used was aggressive or offensive but, on the face of it, this would seem to be a very sinister attempt to close down reasonable debate. After all, who defines what is offensive? Is truth that hurts against the law?

Another group called Man Friday argues that allowing people to self-identify as a particular gender “removes any gatekeeping to women’s identity and protected spaces” and allows men “to appropriate women’s spaces, services and positions”. For example, they say, it is not reasonable or safe for a man self-identifying as women to have free access to women’s changing rooms.

We stand against any form of bullying, ridicule or insensitive language, especially towards those who feel marginalised or looked down on for whatever reason. Jesus is our model in this. We must show compassion and sympathy to those who have arrived at a place where they are uncertain about their gender. We want to speak gentle words of love and acceptance and not simply shout slogans at them. But the truth is that the best way to love people is to help them be the person God has made them to be – and that includes the gender he assigned to them. So, society will be safer and happier when these gender differences are recognised, respected and celebrated.

God created man and woman as something precious, something noble, something that is of the very essence of humanity. It is a terrible thing when men and women rebel against that image and deliberately seek to deface it.

This is what is happening when people say that they are free to define their own gender. The “transgender community” rejects what is called the “binary” nature of male and female. This is a casting aside of a most fundamental aspect of human nature.

Added to this, the issue is not even being properly debated or researched; we are not having open conversations about the long-term physical and emotional effects of allowing anyone, but especially children, to follow a path of identifying themselves as a different gender.

Salvation does not come through “following our dreams” or pursuing the lifestyle we want. Salvation comes when we recognise that we all bear an image of our Creator that is defaced and spoiled, but that in Christ he is remaking us into the perfect image of his son.

Graham Nicholls, Affinity Director


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