A Woman’s Perspective on Mainstreaming a Gender Perspective By Dale O’Leary May 2011
We are in the midst of a great culture war where among other things, two very different visions of progress for women compete. Both sides support equal rights, equal opportunity, equal education, and equal protection under the law.
On one side we have what I call the Sexual Left, a coalition of radical feminists, gay and transgender activists, advocates for population control and sexual liberation. The Sexual Left is united in the belief that there are too many babies and not enough sex. Now it is obvious that if you increase the amount of sex, you risk increasing the number of babies and also spreading sexually transmitted diseases. Therefore, the Sexual Left demands easily available legal abortion, contraception, and condoms, absolute sexual freedom, and sex education for all children without parental permission.
Their kind of universal sex education is designed to overcome modesty, ignore parental concerns, ridicule religious prohibitions, pander to adolescent rebellion, encourage immediate pleasure seeking, discourage consideration of long-term consequences, and instruct students as to how to obtain contraception, condoms, and abortion. In spite of lofty goals, such programs inevitably increase unmarried pregnancy and the spread of sexually transmitted diseases. The Sexual Left is not deterred by their failure. Instead they use the disaster they have created to call for more funding for even more comprehensive sex education. And it is women who bare the burden of their failures: women who are more likely to be rendered sterile by sexually transmitted diseases, women who are traumatized by abortion, women who become single mothers. One would think that those who call themselves feminists would reject the anti-woman agenda of the Sexual Left, but the feminist movement has been co-opted by the radical feminists who whole heartedly embraced it. In addition rather than delighting in what is uniquely womanly, the radical feminists demean motherhood as a vocation for women and demand that all societal recognition of sex difference be eliminated. They promote ‘mainstreaming a Gender Perspective.’
Those who oppose the Sexual Left, support a woman's perspective, founded on the truth about and unity of the human person. Such a perspective safeguards the welfare of women, children, the family, and society.
The redefinition of gender
In order to understand the goals of those who want to ‘mainstream a gender perspective,’ one must understand how the word ‘gender’ has been redefined. In the past 'sex' referred to the totality of what it means to be a man or a woman, and 'gender' was a grammatical term. words have gender;
masculine, feminine or neuter, each language designating gender in its own unique way.
However, in the 1950's John Money, a psychiatrist at Johns Hopkins, came up with a new use for the word 'gender'. He broke down the elements which make up one's sexual identity --internal and external organs, genes, hormones, how one internalized one's sense of one’s own sex (which he called gender identity), and how one's culture designates sexual identity (which he called gender role). On the surface there is nothing wrong with noting the various elements which make up our sexual identity, but Money argued that it is possible for one's gender identity to be different from one's biological sex. In other words, a man could have a male sex, but a female gender identity. Money's ideas about gender were influenced his commitment absolute sexual liberation including a more tolerant attitude toward intergenerational sex and paraphilias, his advocacy so-called "sex change" operations, and his work with persons with disorders of sexual development --persons who are sometimes incorrectly referred to as intersexed or hermaphrodites. Money was particularly concerned about baby boys born with severely deformed genitals. He supported a treatment protocol that called for the boy with such problems to be castrated, surgically altered to create the outward appearance of a female, raised as a girl, and given female hormones in adolescence.
Money regarded having sex as essential to the development of one's personality. He believed that growing up without a penis would be traumatic. Such a boy could never have sex as a male, but under the protocol he would be able to have sex as a female. Money was convinced that a child's ‘gender identity” was socially constructed and if everyone treated this genetically male, but surgically altered child as a female, he would grow up into a she and never know the difference.
As fate would have it, the perfect case to test this theory fell into his lap in 1967 --the John/Joan case. One of a pair of identical twin boys was critically injured during his circumcision. His penis was destroyed. His parents desperate for a solution saw Money on TV and were convinced by his confident manner that he had the answer. Money took the case and instructed the parents to have the injured twin castrated, and to raise him as a girl. Money wrote up the case and referred to it frequently as proof that gender identity was a social construction and that a genetically normal male baby could be successfully raised as a girl.1
The John/Joan case had a profound affect on the feminist movement. In the 1960's there was widespread acceptance of the importance of women's rights. Once its initial successes were achieved, the women's movement broke into two factions: mainstream feminists who supported equal treatment of women and were anxious to use their new freedoms to enter the workforce and Marxist-influenced radical feminists who were concentrated in academia and government agencies. These radical feminists disdained the capitalist ambition of their mainstream sisters. They were working for a sex class revolution. Sexual and reproductive rights --including abortion on demand and lesbianism --were at the top of their agenda. The radical feminists embraced Money's gender ideology, because it fitted their belief that the differences between men and women were not natural, but oppressive social constructs.
The first time someone mentioned this Marxist connection to me, I was skeptical, but as I read the radical feminists I noticed the frequent references to prominent Marxists. Of course, they twisted Marx into something he would not recognize. For radical feminists, like Shulamith Firestone, author of The Dialectic of Sex, all history is the history of class struggle, but according to the radical feminists, the first and primary class struggle was not between owner and worker, but between man and woman. According to this theory, men created marriage in order to oppress women. Sex classes led to class thinking and all oppression.2 Not being a Marxist, I wasn't buying this, since my personal belief is that women are very clever and if marriage had not been invented by God, wise women would figured out that sex makes babies and if a man wanted access he had to stand up before her father and brothers and promise to be there when the baby was born.
Judith Butler, author of Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity, was even more extreme. She wanted nothing less than the overthrow of sex distinction, which she believed would bring down the entire ‘patriarchal system.’ According to Butler, if gender is independent of sex then ‘man’ can signify a female body and ‘woman’ a male body.3 The 1 John Colapinto, As Nature Made Him, (NY: Harper Collins, 2000) 2 Shulamith Firestone, The Dialectic of Sex (NY: Bantam, 1972) 3 Judith Butler, Gender Trouble: Feminism and the subversion of identity (NY: radical feminists railed against ‘compulsory heterosexism’ and motherhood labeling them social constructions. If all this is confusing, it is supposed to be. As one radical feminist explained “Logic is a patriarchal plot.”
Of course, we now know that Money's experiment was an absolute failure. The twin raised as a girl never accepted his status as a female. He felt like a freak and when at age 14 he was told the truth, he immediately demanded the right to live as a male. He underwent painful surgeries to correct the mutilation caused by Money.
Money had been informed that his experiment had failed, but, in spite of being questioned as to the outcome, he had continued to pretend that it had succeeded. In addition, a number of other boys who had been subjected to Money's protocol spontaneously rejected their female assignment. As young adults, victims of this human experimentation, have risen up and demanded that such surgeries be halted.
While you might think that Money’s deception was an exception, that published peer reviewed articles and books can in general be trusted, and that footnotes in statements by professional associations and in journal articles actually support the claims made, let me caution you that is not always the case. I spend most of my time tracking down references and over and over again I have found that even after a claim has been discredited, it continues to be quoted and worse used by judges and legislators to support radical social change. For example, in 1956 Evelyn Hooker compared 30 carefully selected homosexual men with 30 heterosexual men, and declared that homosexual men were no more likely to have psychological problems.
This study is still referred to, although even at the time it was recognized as badly designed.4 Since then a number large well designed studies have found that persons who self-identify as homosexual are far more likely to have psychological disorders, substance abuse problems, and suicidal ideation.5 Routledge, 1990)
4 Evelyn Hooker, The adjustment of the male overt homosexual" Journal of Projective Techniques, (1957( 21: pp. 18-31.
5 Richard Herrell et al., “Sexual Orientation and Suicidality: A Co-twin Control Study in Adult Men.” Archives of General Psychiatry (1999) 56: pp. 867-874. David Fergusson, L. John Horwood, Annette Beautrais, “Is sexual orientation related to mental health problems and suicidality in young people?” Archives of General Psychiatry, (1999) 56 (10): pp. 876-80.
Keren Skegg, et al, “Sexual Orientation and self-harm in men and women,” American Journal of Psychiatry, (2003) 160 (3): p. 541.
Theo Sandfort et al., “Same-sex sexual behavior and psychiatric disorders: findings from the Netherlands Mental Health Survey and Incidence Study (NEMESIS). Archives of General Psychiatry, (2001) 58 (1): pp. 85-91.
Unfortunately, in these areas advocacy research is the norm.6
Most of those who switched from using the word ‘sex’ to using ‘gender/ have no idea that they were victims of ideological manipulation.
Mainstreaming the gender perspective
“Mainstreaming a gender perspective” sounds may innocent, even pro-woman, but in fact it is a cover for the radical agenda of the Sexual Left. There are three aspects to the Gender Perspective:
First, the demand for statistical equality between men and women.
Second, the demand for absolute sexual freedom.
Third, the demand to add sexual orientation and gender identity to the list of protected categories.
Men and women are different, in myriad ways. At the most basic level women can become pregnant and men cannot. How should society deal with this fundamental difference? Advocates for a Gender Perspective argue that the differences between men and women and particularly the fact that women become pregnant and are the primary caregivers for small children is the cause of oppression and the only way to free women is to eliminate, in so far as possible, every difference so that men and women participate in every
Theo Sandfort, et al, “Sexual orientation and mental and physical health status: Findings from a Dutch population survey, American Journal of Public Health, (2006) 96 (6): p. 1119.
Ron de Graaf, Theo Sandfort, M. ten Have, “Sucidality and sexual orientation:
Differences between men and women in a general population-based sample from the Netherlands,” Archives of Sexual Behavior (20060 35 (3): p. 253.
Susan Cochran, Vickie Mays, J. Greer Sullivan, “Prevalence of mental disorders, psychological distress, and mental health services use among lesbian, gay, and bisexual adults in the United States,” Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, (2003) 71(1): p. 53.
Stephen Gilman, et al., “Risk of Psychiatric Disorders Among Individuals Reporting Same-sex Sexual Partners in a National Comorbidity Survey,” American Journal of Public Health, (2001) 91 (6): p. 933.
Jack Warner, et al, “Rates and predictors of mental illness in gay men, lesbians and bisexual men and women,” British Journal of Psychiatry, (2004) 185: p. 479.
Michael King et al., “A Systematic Review of Mental Disorder, Suicide, and Deliberate Self Harm in Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual People,” BMC Psychiatry, (2008) 8: p. 70.
6 Rodger Wright, Nicholas Cummings, Destructive Trends in Mental Health, (NY: Routledge, 2005) activity of society in statistically equal numbers --from high elective office to care for infant children --50/50. The problem with this is that a significant percentage of women, the supposed to be the beneficiaries of mainstreaming a gender perspective, want to make motherhood their primary vocation, and a very few men have the same ambition. This means that in order to achieve 50/50, women must be forced out of the home and into the workforce, children placed in daycare, and quotas must be imposed on hiring and promotion.
It is easy to look at statistics, notice differences, and, based solely on the numbers, cry discrimination. But justice requires us to look at the actual choices made by women, and make sure that they are not victims of hidden discrimination or stereotypes, but also that they are free to choose their own paths. The differences between the participation rates or rate of rewards for men and women are not prima facie evidence of unjust discrimination against women. Although unjust discrimination still exists, the fact is that in many areas women are free to receive education, enter professions, and choose careers without being restricted by stereotypes and discrimination.
The challenge in the developed world is to defend the right of women to choose motherhood as their primary vocation --whether they drop out of the workforce for a significant period to care for their children, choose work which allows them more time for family, or choose never to work outside the home. No single solution fits all situations all women. Each country, based on its own culture and economic situation, needs to decide for itself how to support motherhood, but as long as some women choose motherhood as their primary vocation, and virtually no men do, society will never be able to achieve 50/50, without draconian measures designed to limit the freedom of women and impose restrictions on men. Those supporting Gender Mainstreaming call for positive discrimination to increase the workforce participation of women through the use of affirmative-action or quotas.7 They are concerned that policies on leave and family support may "facilitate rather than challenge women's caring role."8 New studies on how a baby’s brain develops points to attachment as essential to psychological health. Babies’ brains do not come pre-programmed, but rather babies are born seeking certain experiences. These experiences are supplied by interaction with the mother. Through the
7 Mark Pollack, Emilie Hafner-Burton "Mainstreaming Gender in the European Union" 7:3, 432-456)
8 Jill Rubery, "Gender mainstreaming and gender equality in the EU: the impact of the EU employment strategy," Industrial Relations Journal, 33 (5): pp. 502.
attachment process the baby’s brain is connected and the foundation for psychological health is laid. Women’s desire to mother is not irrational or an oppressive social construct, but a wise realization that making people is the most important work in society and that mothers are uniquely able to supply the attachment that babies need.
Sexual and Reproductive Rights
A second aspect of the Gender Perspective is its advocacy for absolute sexual and reproductive rights, defined as the right to engage in sexual activity with anyone regardless of sex, number, age, relationship, or marital status without guilt or shame, which in turn requires easy access to the means to prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. According to this view, if women are going to be absolutely equal, then they must be as free as a man is to engage in sex without becoming pregnant. For those who believe motherhood is the cause of the oppression of women, contraception and abortion on demand are essential for women's liberation.
The defenders of the truth about woman believe that sexual license is not liberating, but a form of bondage. Sexual promiscuity spreads sexually transmitted diseases, which threaten a woman’s fertility. Condoms provide only minimal protection. Each form of contraception presents problems for the women and when contraception fails, it is the woman who bares the burden.
It is interesting note that the agenda of the radical feminists has lost its appeal among many of the women who were the beneficiaries of the first wave of the feminist movement. Sylvia Hewlett, author of "Baby Hunger" and “ Creating a Life”9 and advocate for women in the workplace found that women who had put career first and postponed having children and were often unable to become pregnant. They may have achieved success, but bitterly regretted the price they had paid.
Every year a woman waits to have a baby reduces her chance of pregnancy, and reproductive technologies do not always work as Anne Taylor Fleming, author of "Motherhood Deferred: A Woman's Journey" discovered when even after using reproductive technologies she was unable to have a child.
Dr. Miriam Grossman a campus psychiatrist and author of Unprotected expressed concern that college women are not being informed about to the consequences --psychologically and biologically --of 9 Sylvia Hewlett, Creating a Life, (N Y: Miramax Books, 2003 uncommitted sexual activity.10
These women and other like them are fully committed to the rights of women, yet feel betrayed by the radical feminist agenda. The new generation of women has discovered that the gender perspective is not their perspective and that the freedom promised by the Sexual Left is paid for in the tears of women.
In spite of this the advocates for the gender perspective continue demanding that governments enforce their agenda not only in their own countries, but in the developing world.
Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity
The third demand of those mainstreaming a gender perspective is for total acceptance of the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered, and queer (GLBTQ) agenda. In public the mainstreamers argue that those who self-identify as GLBTQ are simply a natural part of human diversity, born different, can’t change, and therefore should not be discriminated against for who they are or whom they love. The problem with this is that there is no evidence they were born that way and change is a real possibility (either spontaneous or through therapy). There is substantial evidence that many of those who self-identify as GLTQ suffer from attachment disorders and other psychological problems, including narcissism. The question should be: How should society deal with people with psychological disorders who want society to normalize disorder?
Making a Disorder a Right
In 2006, a group of self-styled human rights experts met in Yogyakarta, Indonesia and outlined a set of principles designed to totally redefine human rights --principles which they argued should be binding on all states.11 These so-called principles would make absolute sexual freedom the measure of human rights and trample over freedom of religion, freedom of speech, parental rights, and national sovereignty.12 The Yogyakarata Principles demand that all discrimination in the public and private spheres on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity be eliminated.
Of course, violence against any person should be prosecuted. Of
10 Miriam Grossman, Unprotected (NY: Sentinel, 2006)
11 Yogyakarta Principles, http://www.yogyakartaprinciples.org/index.php?item=25,
12 Piero Toggi, “Six Problems with the “Yogyakarta Principles” IORG Briefing Paper, revised May, 2008
course, each person is entitled to full protection under the law. However, under the Yogyakarta Principles those who refuse to recognize same-sex marriages or sex changes could be charged with hate crimes and subjected sanctions, even if their statements are based on scientific studies or strongly held religious views.
Many of those pushing ‘gender mainstreaming’ are social constructionists, who believe that the differences between men and women are artificial. However in public, gay and transgender rights advocates use essentialist arguments. They are act as though homosexuality and transsexuality were biologically determined – that people are born that way and can’t change, and that homosexuality and transsexuality are normal, healthy manifestations of human diversity. There is no scientifically replicated evidence supporting these assertions and if you read gay literature carefully, you will notice that they hedge such claims.13
There is substantial evidence that early childhood experiences leading to childhood Gender Identity Disorder accounts for most same-sex attraction and transsexual identity disorders. Susan Bradley, who is an expert in the treatment of children with Gender Identity Disorder, suggests that Gender Identity Disorder can be connected to problems with attachment, separation, and identification in early childhood.14
There are numerous studies documenting change of sexual orientation, particularly among women.15 A birth cohort study conducted in New Zealand found substantial changes in sexual orientation.16 The book Sexual Fluidity, by Lisa Diamond as the title suggests discusses the dynamics of changes in sexual attraction among women. In her study the majority of women changed their sexual identity at least once in a ten year period. Some several times.17
Persons with same-sex attraction have demanded and in some place won the right to enter into legal marriages. The public may believe that these relationships are comparable to marriage between a man and woman, but they differ in significant ways. They cannot be consummated in a marital act and are infertile. Every child acquired by a same-sex couple has been permanently and purposefully separated from one or both biological parents
13 John DeCecco, David Parker, Sex, Cells, and Same-sex Desire (NY: Harrington Park, 1995)
14 Susan Bradley, Affect Regulation and the Development of Psychopathology, (NY; Gilford, 2000)
15 Stanton Jones, Mark Yarhouse, Ex-Gays (Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2007)
16 Skegg, Ibid
17 Lisa Diamond, Sexual Fluidity, (Cambraidge MA: Harvard U.P., 2008)
and such separations are perceived by the child as a loss. Male couples are almost never faithful over time. While gay advocates push for marriage, there are many in the gay community who view marriage as a restriction on the absolute sexual freedom that is the essence of the gay lifestyle. There is substantial evidence that the goal of the same-sex marriage movement is not to bring the gay community into conformity with traditional morality, but to impose gay values on the larger community.
The claim that gender identity should be added to the protected categories is even more problematic. The public has been led to believe that some people are born with a male body but a female brain, or a female body but a male brain and therefore need surgery to correct nature’s little mistake and give them the body they were meant to have. According to the Yogyakarta Principles, such person’s documents should be changed to allow them to live undetected as the sex they want to be rather than the sex they were born.
It is important to realize that protections for “gender identity” would lead to a string of legal deceptions. While those presenting themselves for surgery claim to have always believed they were not the sex they were born, there is substantial evidence that those who want surgery know that the only way they can convince the surgeons to operate is to tell the right story – the male body/female brain myth. In fact, the etiology of a desire for surgery can be traced to several different psychological disorders.
Gender Identity Disorder in young boys can lead to an imitation of female behavior and dress. While these boys are labeled as effeminate or girlish, they don’t resemble normal little girls. These little boys are fearful, anxious, restricted, compulsive, and use their mother’s clothing to self-comfort. What distinguishes them from other boys with GID, who if left untreated are at risk to become homosexually attracted in adolescence, is that these boys are attracted to heterosexual men and believe that by becoming the male fantasy of a woman they can attract such men. Their impersonation of womanhood is based on a stereotyped image of a big busted, always sexually available woman. Many of these homosexual transgendered men earn money for their sex change working as prostitutes.
Another category of men desiring surgery is autogynphiles, men who are in love with the image of themselves as a woman. This syndrome begins with transvestite paraphilia, self-comforting masturbation in adolescence while looking in a mirror and dressing in women’s clothing. Such men are attracted to women, often marry and have children, and then later in life, perhaps a period of stress, decide that secret cross-dressing is not enough, they want to be women. These men tend to make very unconvincing women.
As a woman, I find the stories of men who think they are women unconvincing. They talk about how nice it will be to wear silky undergarments, or gossip or shop, but know nothing of real womanhood.
It is interesting to note that radical feminists and lesbians are conflicted about men who claim surgery made them women and particularly concerned about those men who after surgery claim to be lesbians. Janice Raymond, a radical feminists and author of The Transsexual Empire denounced such men for embodying the most negative stereotypes of womanhood and for invading women’s space.18 Some feminist gatherings are restricted to women born women, living as women.
Many professionals involved in treating transsexuals are not convinced that surgery really changes sex. They believe that these men suffer from psychological disorders, but because they refuse therapy and threaten suicide or self-mutilation, they are okayed for surgery. George Burou, a Casablancan physician who has operated on over seven hundred American men admitted, “I don’t change men into women. I transform male genitals into genitals that have a female aspect. All the rest is in the patient’s mind.”19
Ethel Person, who interviewed a number of men in the process of transition, wrote:
“What I do accept is that men and some women, who undergo transsexual surgery, are terribly alienated from their bodies, so alienated that they think little of mutilating them. I accept the fact that transsexual have suffered an enormous amount of psychical and emotional pain. But I don’t accept the fact that someone’s desire to be a woman, or a man, makes one a woman or man. Or that the instrumentality of hormones and surgery creates a real woman or man.” 20
According to Jon Meyer and John Hoopes, who conducted a study which led to the discontinuation of the sex change surgery program at Johns Hopkins:
“In a thousand subtle ways, the reassignee has the bitter experience that he is not—and never will be—a real girl but is, at best, a convincing simulated female. Such an adjustment cannot compensate
18 Janice Raymond, The Transsexual Empire (NY: Athene, 1994) 19Ibid, p. 10. 20 Ibid, p. xxiv.
for the tragedy of having lost all chance to be male, and of having in the final analysis, no way to be really female.”21 Charles Ihlenfeld was initially involved in sex change surgery, later left the field. He explained:
“Whatever surgery did, it did not fulfill a basic yearning for something that is difficult to define. This goes along with the idea that we are tying to treat superficially something that is much deeper.”22 Even John Money, who was instrumental is pushing sex change surgery, recognizes that the female personality of men desiring surgery is a creation of their idea of what it means to be a woman and excludes true maternal feelings. He wrote:
The male transsexuals “female personality is, in part, his conception of those traits and behavior patterns which typically constitute femininity… It simply excludes traits such as an urge to fondle the new-born and erotic arousal not be visual and narrative stimuli, but by touch, because they are normally outside male experiences and comprehension.”23
The desire for a sex change among women has increased in recent years as women who experienced GID in childhood and became masculine-identified lesbians decide they want to be accepted as male. Some opt for breast removal and hormone treatments. Others request a total hysterectomy and a few undergo surgery to create a non-functional simulation of male genitals. Interestingly, this trend has not been well received by other lesbians, including the partners of those who transition; it is viewed as going over to the enemy.
While some jurisdictions have allowed persons who have undergone surgery to change their documents, those pushing the transgender agenda demand that any person who wants to be accepted as the other sex be allowed to change their identification whether or not they have had or intend
21 Jon Meyer and John Hoopes, “The gender dysphoria syndromes: A position statement on so-called transsexualism,” Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, (1974), p. 450 22 ____ “A doctor tells why he’ll no longer treats transsexuals,” National Observer, Oct. 16, 1976, p. 14
23 John Money, Clay Primrose, “Sexual dimorphism in the psychology of the male transsexual”( in Richard Green, John Money, Transsexualism and Sex Reassignment,” Baltimore: Johns Hopkins,; 1969) p.131 to have surgery.
In addition, the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgendered alliance has expanded to include persons who self-identify as “queer.’ Such persons don’t want to be restricted to one “gender” Some demand the right to be neither men nor women.24According to Riki Wilchins, a contributor to Genderqueer:
“…gender is the new frontier: the place to rebel, to create new individuality and uniqueness, to defy old, tired, outdated social norms, and, occasionally drive their parents and sundry other authority figures crazy.”25
Is it really a good idea to grant special protection to those in rebellion against parents and other authority figures?
The problem with legal rights for the transgendered and queer is that it legalizes deception. Those who claim a sex other than their own, want to lie to sexual partners, wipe out their past, and create a false one. It is interesting to note that some transsexuals become tired of living a lie and decide to live as open transsexuals, sometimes in relationships with other transgendered persons.
The transgendered delight in ‘passing” --deceiving others as to their true sex--but that is not enough, they want to define discrimination as anything that makes them feel bad, such as referring to them with the wrong pronouns or not accepting that their new identity. They want everyone to go along with deception. Some are prone to narcissistic rage. When their deception is not accepted or their psychological health is questioned, they claim victim status and mount vicious campaigns against opponents.26
People cannot change their sex and to force the public to go along with the transgender deception violates freedom of thought, speech, and religion. The following quote from Theodore Dalrymple, explains what happens when people give into a state imposed deception:
In my study of communist societies, I came to the conclusion that the purpose of communist propaganda was not to persuade or convince, nor to inform, but to humiliate; and therefore, the less it corresponded
24 Riki Wilchins, “A continuous nonverbal communication (in Genderqueer, Los Angeles: Alyson, 2002) p.14
25 Ibid, p. 13
26 Anne A. Lawrence, “Shame and Narcissistic Rage in Autogynephilic Transsexualism,” Archive of Sexual Behavior (2008) 37: pp. 457–461.
to reality the better. When people are forced to remain silent when they are being told the most obvious lies, or even worse when they are forced to repeat the lies themselves, they lose once and for all their sense of probity. To assent to obvious lies is to co-operate with evil, and in some small way to become evil oneself. One's standing to resist anything is thus eroded, and even destroyed.27
Imposing the Gender Agenda on the World
By the 1970’s, the gender agenda had firmly established itself in academia, but the public took little notice. In 1995, its advocates plotted to impose it on the world at the UN Conference on Women in Beijing. The stage had been set the year before in 1994 at the UN's Cairo Conference on Population and Development, which pitted the well-organized forces of the Sexual Left against unorganized defenders of life and family. In Cairo, the Sexual Left led by International Planned Parenthood Federation and a coalition of radical feminists and lesbians who were determined to have abortion declared a universal human right. By the grace of God and the prayers of Blessed John Paul II, they failed. They were furious, but determined to prevail in Beijing.
In March of 1995, the delegates and those lobbying the delegates received the proposed platform of action for Beijing. The pro-family lobbyists were focused on the sections referring to sexual and reproductive rights. They weren’t particularly concerned that in virtually every section word 'women' as in 'women's rights' and 'women's perspective' had been replaced with the word 'gender' as in 'gender perspective.' A conference on women had become a conference on 'mainstreaming a gender perspective'.
Some assumed that since the English word for 'sex' had another meaning, perhaps 'gender' was just a more genteel was of saying 'sex'. Others assumed that 'gender' referred to both men and women and its use was a sign of balance. Few knew that 'gender' had been redefined and sex and gender are not synonyms.
In 1995, Money's theory that gender was a social construct had yet not been uncovered as a fraud. It continued to be a mainstay of feminist theory. One section of the platform read “differences between women’s and men’s achievements and activities are still not recognized as consequences of 27 Jamie Glazov (2005) “Our Culture, What’s Left of It,” Frontpage Magazine, August 3. quoting Theodore Dalrymple, Our Culture, What's Left of It: The Mandarins and the Masses socially constructed gender roles rather than immutable biological differences.”28 I warned the pro-family delegates that its inclusion in the Platform was not innocent. I pointed out that the woman’s capacity for pregnancy and nursing were biological differences, and what was targeted by the gender perspective was women’s right to choose motherhood as her primary vocation. Why else would a document supposedly designed to benefit women contain no positive references to motherhood or marriage?
The pro-family delegates were not convinced. However, one of them was discussing the controversy with his wife, when the family’s baby sitter, a student at Hunter College, mentioned that she was taking a course on gender. She gave the delegate copies of the course material. From these it was clear that concerns about gender were justified. Among the papers was an article by Adrienne Rich, entitled “Compulsory Heterosexuality and Lesbian Existence”29 which characterized motherhood as an oppressive institution. There was an article by Lucy Gilbert and Paula Webster on “The Danger of Femininity,”30 and excerpts from a book by a transsexual Kate Bornestein Gender Outlaw: On Men, Women and the rest of us. According to Bornestein:
“Gender fluidity is the ability to freely and knowingly become one or many of a limitless number of genders, for any length of time or rate of change.” 31
There was also article by Anne Fausto Sterling, "The Five Sexes: Why Male and Female are not Enough,"32 This material convinced many that 'gender' was a code word for homosexuality or transgender rights or something worse and led to an acrimonious debate.
The result was a compromise. Gender was left in the document, but redefined again, this time to refer to 'male and female'. It is interesting to note that in 2000 Sterling admitted that her original ‘five sexes” articles had 28 Beijing Platform of Action, paragraph 28.
29 Adrienne Rich, “Compulsory Heterosexuality and Lesbian Existence” Bloody Bread and Poetry, Selected Prose, 1979-1985 (New York” WW Norton)
30 Lucy Gilbert, Paula Webster on “The Dangers of Femininity,” Gender Difference: Sociology or Biology, p. 40
31 Kate Bornestein Gender Outlaw: On Men, Women and the rest of us.(NY: Routledge, 1994) p. 52
32 Anne Fausto Sterling, "The Five Sexes: Why Male and Female are not Enough" (Sciences, March/April 1993, p. 20-24).
been written as a joke.33
The advocates for the gender perspective have continued to push their definition of gender as socially constructed roles that are not tied to the biological reality. The issue reemerged this spring at a meeting of the Council of Europe where gender was defined as “socially constructed roles.”
This definition is at odds with the definition adopted in the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court which states: “that the term ’gender’ refers to the two sexes, male and female within the context of society. The term ‘gender’ does not indicate any meaning different from the above.”34 And so the battle goes on.
The Woman’s Perspective
Those pushing the gender ideology insist that those who oppose their paradigm want to send women back to some dark age where women are uneducated, powerless, oppressed, barefoot and pregnant. This is nonsense.
The internet has allowed woman around the world to make their voices heard. We are not going back, we are not powerless, and we are all wearing shoes.
The gender ideology ignores the need of children for mothering and half of the children deprived of mothering will grow up to be women. They will come into adulthood with an empty space in their hearts, still looking for attachment --looking for love in all the wrong places. We can weep for women who are so alienated from their womanhood that they hire surgeons to cut off healthy breasts and remove fertile wombs, so they can pretend to be men. But we cannot applaud their choices.
And what about the unmothered boys, will they grow up to be considerate, responsible, loving husbands and fathers, or become self-centered, immature men looking to have their needs met? Good mothering isn't a luxury, it is an essential. Nature requires nurturing. As I read the life histories of those promoting the gender ideology, I see the pain of unnurtured women and men, trying to pretend that their wounded state is just diversity and their disorders liberation.
We are the defenders of the truth about the human person – which is
33 Anne Fausto Sterling “The Five Sexes, Revisited.” Sciences, (2000) 40 (4): 18.
34 Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court the truth about woman. Men and women are different and respect for the dignity and equality of women requires not only rejection of narrow, restricting stereotypes, but also honest recognition of the distinct, authentic vocation of women, the call to be who we are. We can find that vocation written in the theology of the body – women conceive and bare children, they have breasts to nurse. Each new person comes into being through the womb of a woman.
And even if a woman never has a child, the potential for motherhood lies within her heart, for each of us finds ourselves through a sincere gift of self and each woman senses that she is in some way entrusted with the human person. Motherhood alone does not define the totality of what it means to a woman, no more than fatherhood defines a man. Every woman is a complete human being with talents and aspirations, with rights and responsibilities, but motherhood does shape the way she lives out her vocation as a person. An attack on motherhood is therefore an attack on what it means to be a woman.
We must be very careful that in resisting the gender agenda we do not become defenders of stereotypes which have restricted women’s access to the workplace and the political sphere --stereotypes which divide the traits and talents, virtues and vices between the two sexes, like a zero sum game.
Human beings are infinitely flexible. I never use the phase ‘opposite sex’ because men and women are not opposites. I think of them like two eyes.
Because our eyes are slightly apart we are able to perceive depth. In the same way men and women are slightly different and their differences provide deeper perception of reality. A society deprived of women’s vision has only one eye.
The gender perspective is not a woman’s perspective, but blind to the truth about women and it must be defeated.
Dale O’Leary in the author of The Gender Agenda: Redefining Equality. (also available in Spanish and Italian) and One Man, One Woman: A Catholic’s Guide to Defending Marriage. http://daleoleary.wordpress.com