A few weeks ago I met a nice group of four middle schoolers of mixed genders. And by that I mean three of them said their own gender was mixed.
They talked about who they had crushes on and educated me on what it was to be demisexual, pansexual, and a couple of other terms.
They were sweet and I consider them my new young friends.
But I think about how unfamiliar and mysterious it was for people in my high school to even be around the one person who was openly gay.
As a culture we’re moving really fast in this direction but at the same time it's a direction that is still mysterious.
I know there are new degrees in gender studies and a lot of information is coming out of it. I even have a friend who is doing research on it at the CDC. But I wonder if things with this much mystery shouldn’t be played with so loosely? I mean, I didn’t even know how to do my laundry in middle school.
Even though many folks think gender bending and untraditional-sexuality is not the ideal, it is a reality. I interviewed a transgender friend this weekend for a future book and she talked about how naturally and intimately it was built into her from when she was young. Whether by genetics or surroundings, it is inextricably woven into our culture, it touches many of us, and it seems to only be growing.
I think we must recognize it and do the best we can with where our culture is at. It may be a broken world, but it IS a broken world; we have to adjust and act with the best we got. Shooting for what we think would be ideal may not achieve what is best. At the very least we Christians are required to figure out how to just love, love, love the heck out of all folks, even the ones we aren’t used to.
But I wonder how deep we would need to go to fully understand the mystery of gender and sexuality. And I don’t know where it crosses over into sin? I assume heterosexual static-gender-ish folks can sin just as easily with their sexuality but the Bible says sexual sins are the only ones that effect the inside of a person. And if I understand right the two main things that would take away the purity that was needed to enter the Old Testament temple were touching a dead person, or things related to the sexual body systems. It seems sexuality is a serious matter.
A little while ago I heard on the radio that many of the scientists of the world had gathered to talk about the human genome. Apparently we now have tools so powerful that we can significantly manipulate the human genome. Well, because we just don’t know the downstream effects it would have on people, the scientists decided to put strict regulations on how much it should be manipulated. The genome is just mysterious enough to be scared of.
We also have a lot of evolving tools to manipulate gender and sexuality. Hormones, surgery, and media are just a few. And I can’t help but wonder if the downstream effects of manipulating gender and sexuality will surprise us.
I hope it surprises us in a good way. But I feel like maybe our culture should approach it with a little more trepidation than empowering 14 year olds to try all these concepts on, as easily as they do hairstyles. Or to throw gender identities around as irreverently as they do Angry Birds.
I mean we don’t let kids drive a car until they’re 16, and for good reason; a car has a lot of power for good or for harm. And for some, that’s probably still too soon.
Thanks for the awesome conversations, my young friends. You guys rock and have so much potential inside of you!