Protecting Sexual Identity

Unfortunately, the ideas that were spawned in the seventies and perpetuated in a different form today are deeply ingrained in the culture, even though they have never made sense. Child-rearing practices have been forever changed. Many parents, for example, are reluctant or ill equipped to teach their boys how they are different from girls or what their masculinity really means. There is also a new source of confusion emanating from the powerful gay and lesbian agenda. Its propagandists are teaching a revolutionary view of sexuality called "gender feminism," which insists that sex assignment is irrelevant. Genetics can be simply overridden. What matters is the "gender" selected for us by parents when we are babies, or the sex role we choose for ourselves later in life. Mary Brown Parlee articulated this perspective in Psychology Today. "The sex 'assigned' to a baby at birth is as much a social decision as a recognition of biological fact."14

Another feminist writer expressed it like this: "Although many people think that men and women are the natural expression of a genetic blueprint, gender is a product of human thought and culture, a social construction that creates the 'true nature' of all individuals." Therefore, if we protect children from social and religious conditioning, people will be free to move into and out of existing gender roles according to their preferences. Taking that concept to its illogical conclusion, the feminists and homosexual activists want to dissolve the traditional roles of mothers and fathers and, in time, eliminate such terms as wife, husband, son, daughter, sister, brother, manhood, womanhood, boy, girl, masculine, and feminine. These references to sexual identity are being replaced with gender-neutral terms, such as significant other, spouse, parent, child, and sibling.

Clearly, there are serious implications here for mothers and fathers. I urge you to protect your boys from those who are espousing these postmodern views. Shield both your sons and daughters from gender feminism and from those who would seek to confuse their sexuality. Protect the masculinity of your boys, who will be under increasing political pressure in years to come. Buffer them from the perception that most adult males are sexual predators who are violent and disrespectful to women.

It is also important for us as adults to understand our own sexual identities. If we don't know who we are, our kids will be doubly confused about who they are. Any uncertainty, any ambiguity in that assignment must be seen as damaging not only to our sons and daughters but also to the long-term stability of society itself.

Finally, I urge you to base your teachings about sexuality on the Scriptures, which tell us, "God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them" (Genesis 1:27). Jesus, who was the first Jewish leader to give dignity and status to women, said, "Haven't you read ... that at the beginning the Creator 'made them male and female,'" and, "For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh" (Matthew 19:4-5). That is the divine plan. It leaves no doubt that the Creator made not one sex but two, each beautifully crafted to "fit with" and meet the needs of the other. Any effort to teach children differently is certain to produce turmoil in the soul of a child.

We have seen what sexual identity is not. Now let's take a brief look at what makes males unique and how that understanding helps us raise healthy boys.

Book: Bringing Up Boys

By Dr. James Dobson

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