It seems to me that the same people who take the stance that the Bible has a plain meaning in all cases also seem to assume that human sexuality is a pretty simple manner.
- There are men and there are women.
- Men are attracted to women and women are attracted to men.
- Any variance from that is an abnormality.
Watch the video below the jump, then let’s talk…
My immediate reaction, I must admit, upon seeing Caster Semenya was that she does indeed present as relatively “masculine.” But then I had to check myself. How one presents and what one’s genetics say about one’s gender do not necessary match up. And further, very many of the impressions about what is “masculine” and what is “feminine” are socially constructed. I’m not saying that’s bad — social constructions are what they are, and I neither want to extricate myself from them, nor do I even thinks that’s possible.
But what is society to do with those whose sexuality is not so straightforward as male or female? And, to the point of this blog, what is the church to do? As I wrote last month, I have a new friend who is a hermaphrodite, and this friend has challenged my assumptions about gender. For I thought that a person, genetically tested, would know conclusively their genetic gender, regardless of their genitalia. But, in fact, my friend just received genetic test results, and they showed XYXY, which means something other than genetically male or genetically female. Testing levels of testosterone and estrogen have also been part of my friend’s journey, but they, too, are ambivalent.
So, we’re left with yet another modern conundrum that Jesus and Paul (and the other authoritative voices in our tradition(s)) didn’t ever address, and we don’t know if they ever even knew about (being that they were both, presumably, celibate, unmarried men).
Not everyone is unequivocally male or female. We must deal with that.