Did Nature make a mess of human sexuality?
Two great virtues are applauded in our modern world. One is a sense of humour, now a compulsory element in every obituary. The other is a love of Nature. Nature is wonderful, we are told. Nature gave birth to everything. Nature filled our world with life and beauty.
And because Nature did such a fantastic job, all agree that we mustn’t meddle with it. Genetically-modified crops provoke the ire of armies of demonstrators; climate activists demand that we cease to cultivate the land, and let the thorns and thistles grow; even for the gardener, ‘wild’ is now beautiful. What grows of itself is best, even though you may have to start it off by sowing some seeds of yellow rattle, wild carrot and primrose. ‘Leave it to nature,’ says Monty Don, iconic guru of Gardeners’ World; ‘it will do a far better job than ever you can.
Did Nature get human sexuality wrong?
I’m not going to quarrel with any of this for the moment, but I have one question: Why, when we believe that Nature got it so right everywhere else, do we think it got it so horribly wrong when it came to human sexuality? Nature filled our world with birds and bees, horses and cattle, lions and tigers, all of them either male or female; and until recently, the whole world believed that the same binary distinction applied equally to the human species. Each of us was born either a boy or a girl, and this wasn’t an idea invented by some religious bigots who just wanted to rob human beings of the freedom to be themselves. It was the pronouncement of Nature, the voice of Biology and the message of our human chromosomes.
But now it appears that, far from being limited to the two options, man or woman, we actually have seven, the original LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) having been extended by the addition of Questioning, Intersexual and Asexual: an extension which conveniently enabled the movement to portray the gender-spectrum as including all the colours of the rainbow, while at the same time challenging the Christian claim to the rainbow as the symbol of God’s covenant with Nature.
And so, under the pressure to be inclusive, BBC Alba must run a documentary, Am Bogha Frois¸ which poor little me thought would be a programme about astronomy, but turned out to be Gaelic’s tribute to Gay Pride; then I had to watch England’s football captain, Harry Kane, having to wear a rainbow-coloured captain’s arm-band; whereupon the NHS, not to be outdone, advised all its staff to wear rainbow-badges in support of the LGBT community.
What’s meant by supporting the LGBT community? It’s absolutely right that any lesbian, gay, bisexual or transsexual should have full civil rights to enjoy the lifestyle of their choice, free from discrimination, and legally protected against abuse and homophobia. Even assuming I know their sexual orientation (and I certainly am not going to ask), I owe them love and respect as my neighbours and as bearers of the image of God.
But one right they do not have: the right to silence others and, while advocating diversity and inclusiveness because it suits themselves, to demand that anyone who dares to question any aspect of their own philosophy should be stripped of whatever public office they hold, or their works boycotted, or their contracts torn up.
Is sexuality a matter of psychology, not biology?
Back, then, to basics. In the world we now live in, sexuality is no longer a matter of biology, but of psychology, so that, if I think I am a woman trapped in a man’s body, then a woman I shall be; and I will modify my body accordingly.
But the plain truth is that despite all the advances in technology, it’s simply not possible to turn a man into a woman, capable, for example of bearing children. A male cannot become a female.
He can, however, become feminine; or, in the dubious new language we must now speak, he can change his gender, though not his sex. But is this anything more than changing one stereotype for another, and deciding to live and to appear no longer as a stereotypical male, but as a stereotypical female: dress like a woman, speak like a woman, give yourself a woman’s name, insist that you be addressed as woman.
So be it, and that is your civil right, but it doesn’t make you a woman.
Even within the LGBT community itself, cracks are beginning to appear over this precise issue, particularly among lesbians, who, along with many other feminists, object strongly to the alleged right of transgendered or transsexual men to walk unchallenged into women’s facilities, and to participate in women’s sport.
Surely, however, our main concern must be for the children caught up in all this confusion. In addition to all the normal stresses and choices of childhood, they are now being introduced from an early age to the question of their sexual identity. And if they’re not happy with what they are, perhaps they would they like to speak to a counsellor? Or receive therapy? Or, eventually, undergo surgery? And all this on top of their already deep anxieties over the climate emergency, racial discrimination and the pressure of continuous assessment.
Sexuality is an issue on which nature, science and apostolic Christianity speak with one voice, and that voice must not fall silent. Our disregard for the laws of physics has already, we are told, put our planet in jeopardy. Disregard for the laws of biology and the voice of historic Christianity may yet plunge us into an even deeper crisis.
Do we really want to open up a second front in our war with Nature?
This article first appeared in the Stornoway Gazette, 22 July 2021