Sign of the times alert. Here’s the opening paragraph from a recent news report:
Woman charged in transgender beating at McDonald’s
ROSEDALE, Md.Â â€” An 18-year-old woman has been charged in an attack on a transgender woman over using a McDonald’s restroom in a Baltimore suburb â€”an incident captured on video by a McDonald’s employee.
This is a sad story, and we should be outraged at the crime reported here. Nevertheless, the events in the report aren’t what I want to focus on. Instead, I want to highlight a subtlety in how the story is written that may go unnoticed. Notice that the victim is designated as a “transgender woman,” and the rest of the report refers to this person with the feminine pronoun “she.”
Why am I nit-picking this detail? Because there is a worldview embedded in the gender language of this report that we would do well to be aware of. Perhaps a bit of explanation would help.
A transgender person is someone who identifies psychologically with a gender that is opposite of his biological gender. The whole category of transgender assumes that gender is a social construct. This view treats gender not as something that you are born with (vis a vis biology) but as a set of stereotypes and preferences that one learns from his culture. On the nature-vs.-nurture spectrum, gender is all nurture and no nature. Gender is something that you learn, not something that you are.
Thus in contemporary gender theory, one’s gender is not biologically determined. It is set by whatever a person feels themselves to be. If a person that is biologically male feels like he should be a female, then we should call him a “she.” Because maleness and femaleness is a social construct, one need not be biologically male to in fact be a female.
As you can see, this point of view differs radically from the biblical worldview which sees maleness and femaleness as distinctions that God Himself has embedded in the order of creation. In the Christian worldview, maleness and femaleness originate with the creative intention of God, not with a social construct we learn from human culture. In the beginning God differentiates humankind as male and female, and God unambiguously calls this differentiation “good” (Genesis 1:27, 31).
Back to the news report. Does this report take sides on the underlying worldview question? Yes, it does. Does it side with contemporary gender theory against a biblical worldview on gender? Yes, it does. Instead of identifying the victim as a “man posing as a woman,” it identifies the man simply as a “woman” trying to make use of a public bathroom.
Be a discerning reader. Even in popular writing like this news report, you are constantly being asked to take on assumptions that cut directly against biblical revelation. The passive reader will eventually accept these assumptions uncritically until they become a part of his own worldview. So be an active, wise reader. And know the biblical worldview so that you can take every thought captive in order to make it obedient to Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5).
[Postscript: There is human tragedy in this report at a number of levels, and I think we would do well to pray for both the victim and the victimizers.]