This article from the New York Times reports on the growing gender confusion in the younger generation. To summarize L.G.B.T (Lesbian, Gay, Bi-Sexual, Transgender) is not broad enough to express people’s sexual proclivities. At a student meeting at one college someone stood up to express their (you’re not allowed to say ‘his’ or ‘her’ anymore) frustrations.
Santiago, a curly-haired freshman from Colombia, stood before the crowd. He and a friend had been pondering the limits of what he calls “L.G.B.T.Q. plus.”
“Why do only certain letters get to be in the full acronym?” he asked.
Then he rattled off a list of gender identities, many culled from Wikipedia. “We have our lesbians, our gays,” he said, before adding, “bisexual, transsexual, queer, homosexual, asexual.” He took a breath and continued. “Pansexual. Omnisexual. Trisexual. Agender. Bi-gender. Third gender. Transgender. Transvestite. Intersexual. Two-spirit. Hijra. Polyamorous.”
By now, the list had turned into free verse. He ended: “Undecided. Questioning. Other. Human.”
The room burst into applause.
Well, call me old fashioned, but remember Humanae Vitae? The underlying teaching was a defense of the essentials of human sexuality. Basically “sex is for babies” and if you separate sex from babies all sorts of monstrous things will come about.
When sex becomes more about recreation than pro creation people become confused about what sex is for, and if they’re confused about what sex is for, then they soon become confused about what their sexual organs are for, and if they are confused about what their sexual organs are for they become confused about whether they are male or female.
The confusion is exacerbated by the breakdown of the family–which is where strong sexual identities are formed, and the breakdown of conventional marriage–where strong sexual identities are consolidated.
It is no wonder then, after fifty years of family and marriage breakdown–divorce, porn, promiscuity and all the rest–that many in a new generation of young people don’t know who they are or what they are.
This confusion is expressed very clearly by the young people in the article.
Britt Gilbert — a punky-looking freshman with a blond bob, chunky glasses and a rock band T-shirt — took the stage. She wanted to talk about the concept of “bi-gender.” “Does anyone want to share what they think it is?” Silence. She explained that being bi-gender is like manifesting both masculine and feminine personas, almost as if one had a “detachable penis.” “Some days I wake up and think, ‘Why am I in this body?’ ” she said. “Most days I wake up and think, ‘What was I thinking yesterday?’ ”
A professor at University of Southern California explains
“There’s a very different generation of people coming of age, with completely different conceptions of gender and sexuality,” said Jack Halberstam (formerly Judith), a transgender professor at the University of Southern California and the author, most recently, of “Gaga Feminism: Sex, Gender, and the End of Normal.” “When you see terms like L.G.B.T.Q.I.A.,” Professor Halberstam added, “it’s because people are seeing all the things that fall out of the binary, and demanding that a name come into being.” And with a plethora of ever-expanding categories like “genderqueer” and “androgyne” to choose from, each with an online subculture, piecing together a gender identity can be as D.I.Y. as making a Pinterest board.
What’s to be done? Cling to the wreckage. The Catholic Church offers two radical ways forward. One is to re-affirm and continue to strengthen traditional marriage and sexuality. We do this not by condemnations of everyone else who is different, but by carefully and intentionally building our own solid, secure and radiantly happy Christ-centered homes. Catholicism is for true love and the abundant life. We are for the precious, delicate sacrament of marriage. Now and in the future this will seem increasingly radical. The other radical option is celibacy. The example of celibacy cuts right across all the hyped up sexuality and gender confusion. The well adjusted and mature celibate says, “You know what folks? There’s something other than genital gratification in life. It’s possible to live a fully alive, fully human life without all the obsession with sex. Whatever is between your legs is there for certain biological functions. No need to be obsessed with it. You are more than your sexual desires. Keep your pants on and get over it. Live life. Love Life. Be free.”