A Conversation On Gender: Part 1 – Defining Our Terms

by Apologetics, Controversial Subjects, Morals & Values, Sexuality and Chastity

I think it is safe to say that we’ve all had conversations with people where both parties are clearly not on the same page. Sometimes, the differing stories involve differing definitions for terms.

I had a philosophy professor who urged us to always define our terms before we proceed with a conversation. For example, what most people understand as an accident, “an unfortunate incident that happens unexpectedly and unintentionally, typically resulting in damage or injury” is understood philosophically as “a property of a thing which is not essential to its nature.”

When it comes to the “gender” conversation, we often talk past one another because we define our terms differently.

Today, I want to talk about how society defines sex and gender (because without knowing this, we can’t engage in effective conversation).

Society, influenced by transgender ideology, separates the definitions and uses for the once synonymous terms of sex and gender.

In society’s disintegrated view, sex refers to a person’s physical, biological expression as either male or female “assigned” at birth, mainly based on observation of a baby’s genitals, while gender refers to socially constructed roles determined by society.

Therefore, according to society’s definition, since gender results from a consensus of human minds rather than anything objective, it can change or be fluid.

The social categorization of human behavior, in particular, determine gender identities or perceptions as either man, woman, or other.  Since I like the color pink, played with dolls, and am interested in makeup I am a woman. Because I played football, do not like talking about my emotions, and am good at math I am a man.

So, what exactly is gender dysphoria?

The condition of gender dysphoria refers to the distress caused by a physical expression of sex differing from a mental perception or self-identification of gender. Therapies then aim to either align mental perception to biological expression or vice versa.

Unfortunately, those in favor of accommodating gender dysphoria, meaning, those in favor of socially or physically aligning sex to gender, take the human person for granted.

Accommodation concedes to the idea that we, as people, are products of our actions. Our behaviors determine our identity and worth. We see this application of defining ourselves each time we meet someone new and one of our first questions is “What do you do?”

But, we are not defined as human doing, but as human being. Our dignity originates by virtue of our creation in God’s image and likeness, but simply existing, particularly as male and female.

We do not have to do anything to be of worth or value. We do not need to earn the Father’s love.

“We are not the sum of our weaknesses and failures. We are the sum of the Father’s love for us and our capacity to image His Son.” (Pope St. John Paul II)

It seems so simple and easy, and it is. The problem of sin and the fall of humanity from preternatural grace is the root of all confusion and disharmony.

God is simple, but humanity complicates. God gave us everything good. All that we own is our fallen human condition.

Thankfully, God threw us a bone and gives humanity a blueprint and direction through our natures and creation. Sure, there are times when our bodies work against us as a result of sin.

However, we must also prudently look to our bodies and creation to guide us on how to live, instead of letting how we live dictate who we are. 

Now that we have delved into what society has to say, want to learn more about what the Church says about sex and gender? Check back for Part II of this discussion on gender!

Photo by Henri Pham on Unsplash

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