I had one of those “duh!” moments recently. How many years have I been teaching and writing about sex and gender issues and never made this specific connection!?
What connection, you ask? The connection between gender, generation, and genitals. Let me explain.
Gender, actually, has been a word I’ve shied away from using very often because of the way the modern world has morphed gender into a “social construct.” As I recently reported in my Video Journal, Facebook now lists multiple “gender options.” That compels me to want to reclaim the word “gender” from the insanity of a world untethered from reality.
So, I looked up the etymology of the word.
Gender shares the same root as the words generation, generous, genre, and – how ‘bout it – genitals. The origin of the word can be taken to mean: “the manner in which we generate” or “with what genitals we generate.” Even more literally, we determine our “gender” by asking with what genre of genitals we generate.
It’s so simple and obvious. Why hadn’t I seen that before? Contrary to those who want to make gender a malleable social construct, gender is, and always has been, determined by our genitals.
Surely some will raise a flag here and say, “Well, there are cases of people with ambiguous genitalia. What about them?” True. I’m sure this anomaly is a source of great suffering for all involved. But an anomaly is just that: a deviation from the norm. Anomalies should be acknowledged, of course, but they shouldn’t shift our entire sense of reality.
Jesus cuts through today’s rampant gender confusion with a sharp knife when he asks: “Haven’t you read that in the beginning God made them male and female?” (Mt 19:4).
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