In 2007, Beck Laxton, a self-professed “radical feminist” gave birth to a baby named Sasha. And for five years, Laxton and her partner worked to keep the sex of their baby a secret, in the hopes of making a statement against gender stereotypes.
“All I want to do is make people think a bit. I just want Sasha to fulfill his potential, and I wouldn’t push him in any direction … As long as he has good relationships and good friends, then nothing else matters, does it? What’s more important than being happy, and making other people happy? It’s all that matters.”
Since that time, Canadians Kathy Witterick and husband David Stocker have made a similar decision regarding their child, Storm. When Storm was born in May of 2011, they sent out an email to their close friends and family in which they said:
“We’ve decided not to share Storm’s sex for now — a tribute to freedom and choice in place of limitation, a stand up to what the world could become in Storm’s lifetime (a more progressive place?).”
Although decisions like these are still clearly outside of the cultural norm, they are not entirely unheard of. Take, for instance, Shiloh Pitt-Jolie, the four-year old daughter of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. In recent months, Shiloh has drawn attention to herself by her unique sense of fashion. And in an August interview with Vanity Fair, Shiloh’s mother, Angelina, had this to say:
“She wants to be a boy. So we had to cut her hair. She likes to wear boys’ everything. She thinks she’s one of the brothers. She dresses like a little dude. It’s how people dress there (in Montenegro). She likes tracksuits, she likes [regular] suits.”
Clearly, “gender creativity” is on the rise in society. And while it is far from the norm for parents to make decisions as radical as these, there is no denying the fact that greater and greater freedom of choice is being given to individuals in the construction of their sexual identity. But on a cultural level, this is quite confusing and even somewhat contradictory.
On the one hand, many who self-identify as being part of the “far left” want to deny the differences that gender should be allowed to play in the socialization of an individual. They want to suggest that society should treat all people, regardless of gender, as equals, both in societal status and in access to power. In the most extreme cases, you have parents who choose to maximize “gender creativity,” in the hopes of creating a world where sexual identity does not play a role in an individual’s ability to either succeed or be accepted.
But on the other hand, another segment of the cultural left wants to argue that the LGBTQ community is entirely defined by its sexual identity, marking it out as a marginalized population. For members of this community, matters of sexual preference are often seen as being deeply rooted in biology, and thus they serve as a defining characteristic of the individual, and one that shouldn’t, under any circumstance, be minimized or ignored.
This creates a rather interesting cultural dilemma. If we want to suggest that socialization should not be determined by the biological sex of an individual, than how can we, at the same time, argue that biological predispositions towards certain sexual preferences form the core of an individual’s identity? It seems to me that you can’t have it both ways. Either sexuality should play a significant role in how people perceive us and interact with us or it should not.
If you tend to think that our biological sex should define how society perceives and interacts with us, how do you think we, as a culture, should go about deciding what are and are not appropriate gender roles? What’s off limits to boys? What’s off limits to girls? And who decides?
If, on the other hand, you think that biological construction should not define us, then how can we, as a society, give any credence to notion that the LGBTQ community is a marginalized group of people?
Whether we like it or not, these are the questions that we are facing as a society; and how we answer them, as Christians, will go a long way towards our ability to interact with those that see human sexuality in a different way than many within conservative evangelical circles tend to see it.
 LGBTQ is the shorthand acronym for the lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgender, and queer community.