Sunday, 4 January 2015

The problem with gender

Elsewhere a thoughtful blogger has posted a piece about the unfortunate story of a soul who committed suicide and who was "transgender". Here are my thoughts:

Firstly I do believe that often the thought of suicide and its ultimate execution stem from a blinding illogical logic that says suicide really is the only solution to a "problem".  Often it is the feeding and manipulation of the "problem" until it grows into something with a life of its own that can be at the root of this.  And then the problem dictates that the solution comes from you ceasing to exist as you are the irreconcilable anomaly in the whole sorry mess, and absolutely everything would be better off without you.  Yes, there is often abuse and genuine victimisation, always there is hurt and a feeling of being unloved, but these exist to a greater or lesser degree in most of us and yet suicide, thankfully is rare.  I am sure that suicidal tendencies lie in the creation of this monster "problem" that exists outside of the person themselves, and that the feelings of the person themselves simply colour their own self-disgust and loathing making everything so much worse.  A person who is not in a good mental state really does believe in the clarity of their own thoughts, really believes that they are right, and that is the tragedy of mental illness.  It is very hard for anyone, no matter how loving, to break through this barrier.

Secondly here are my thoughts about gender and how I believe we are creating and feeding a problem that we may cease to have any control over.  "Male and Female, God created them", sexual reproduction is good, it gives God's creation a share in His creative genius.  The condescension of God, how He still (post-Fall) desires our free consent and cooperation, and us pathetic, flawed, stubborn creatures!  So gender is biological and for the reproduction of the species.  Nobody would argue with that.  There is also a complementarity between the sexes that has nothing to do with biological reproduction and has to do with the way this chaste complementarity, when focused entirely on God, makes Christ and His works manifest.  There is a genuine "spiritual fecundity" and indeed most faithful loving married couples spend far more of their lives in this state than they do in the biologically fertile state. That is really all there is to gender and notice that it has nothing to do with person-centred feelings.

The problem we are creating is to link gender to the way we feel and the feelings we have.  It links everything to the human, it makes gender a burden that the person has to carry. This burden can at first be pleasurable and therefore can be fed and nurtured to suit our needs, until it takes over, as burdens always do.  Or this burden can be intolerable, an irreconcilable set of feelings that create conflict in our hearts and minds and cause upset, misunderstanding and tragedy.  Yet society says we should feed our feelings of gender and explore them.  Society says this is good and wholesome.  And when a buffoon of a cleric says words to the effect of "go watch Brokeback Mountain and feel the love", there is a real danger that the Church is walking into the trap of defining gender by the feelings we have.  We also have a touchy-feely mood to the current Papacy and there is an inherent danger in this if we elevate our feelings or if we take offence at such touchyfeelyness.  Taking offence is dangerous, very dangerous... think about it.... it is nothing but pride......

One of the things we have lost by sin is our "original nakedness" (I think this is St JPII's idea in his Theology of the Body, but I only skim read an idiot's guide to this work, so am no expert).  Original nakedness is surely the ability to be unaware of our gender, yet to know our loving complementarity. In the occasional chats I have with other unmarried chaste women, we all seem to have a desire to find the man who could look on us naked without lust.  That is the man we could love, that is the man we could trust, that is the man we would surrender ourselves to.  (We long for that unveiling, to be looked on for what we are, and yet it seems like a dream too big, so we remain single...... and we know that ultimately it is Christ who will unveil us all.)

What we have lost by sin we can regain through Christ in the Sacraments, through God in His ineffable love for us all.  This should be our focus; the rediscovery of "original nakedness".  The more we cave in to the victimhoood of the LGBT polemic (as well meaning and as heartfelt as it is) the more the penis and the vagina will become intolerable burdens, false gods, and gods that are hungry and need feeding, sacrifices and martyrs.

As an aside, modern living is certainly putting more oestrogen mimickers into our water supply (most notoriously through use of the contraceptive pill), gender will become fuzzier and less well defined and this is a problem of our own making and not a gift from God.

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