Rep. Cori Bush (D-MO) caused a commotion on social media by her decision to refer to mothers as “birthing people” while testifying before Congress on the concern that Black women suffer greater risk of complications and death during pregnancy. Bush shared her own harrowing stories of her own pregnancies and complications and near-deaths of both her now adult children. I addressed that matter in this post. But, her legitimate concerns about a troubling reality were undercut, honestly, by her tight grip on gender ideology.
Bush used the term “birthing people” to refer to mothers and also tweeted, “Every day, Black birthing people and our babies die because our doctors don’t believe our pain. My children almost became a statistic. I almost became a statistic.” Bush was not the only one to employ the term “birthing people” to refer to mothers. Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) also used the term in her tweet about her and Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) introducing the MOMMIES Act to expand Medicaid coverage to low-income pregnant women. Pressley tweeted about how she and Booker “re-introduced the MOMMIES Act to expand Medicaid coverage for birthing people & promote community-based, holistic approaches to maternity care.”
This is wacky, but it is also troubling for a couple of reasons. First, it is a lie. There is no such thing as people who are not women birthing babies. To imply such, or insist on such, is to degrade women and their unique, God-given ability to gestate and birth people. Literally every human being who ever entered into the world did so through the birth canal of a woman. Yet, woke warriors now demand that we deny this basic fact of biology and the unique dignity and privilege of women who are the only ones who can carry it out. Do they not realize how degrading this is? In their attempts to make trans people feel good about themselves (really, is that their job?), they have debased themselves, in the case of Bush, and every other woman who has ever given birth or longed to do so.
The second reason it is troubling is that it detracts and distracts from a genuinely noble goal, that of providing much needed services to low-income mothers. The focus of social media, sadly, was not on the concerns of low-income women, or of Black women and their higher risk of complications and death with pregnancy. No, the focus of social media was in attacking or defending Bush for her absurd devotion to gender ideology and woke wackiness.
In a March article by Devan Cole on the CNN website, Cole claimed, “It’s not possible to know a person’s gender identity at birth, and for some people, the sex listed on their original birth certificate is a misleading way of describing the body they have.” Let’s leave aside the matter that Cole’s own statement could be viewed as offensive to trans persons, since the “sex listed on their original birth certificate is a misleading way of describing the body they have” could be viewed as rejecting the idea that there are men who have vaginas and women who have penises, which is what trans persons and their supporters insist upon. Cole received much ridicule for this statement. But, to be fair, trans activists make a distinction between “sex” and “gender identity.” That distinction, in my mind, is baseless. Sex and gender are synonyms, or at least they were until a few years ago. Now, “gender identity” is what sex you decide or feel you are, and the sex, as in the sex recorded on your birth certificate, is merely your “assigned” sex. This raises two critical questions: how often can you change your mind about what sex you are and who, exactly, “assigned” your sex at birth – God or the doctor? In any case, the bottom line is that we, apparently, are not secure in identifying the sex or gender of a child based on biology. To insist that biology is real is now hate speech.
In 2020, J. K. Rowling, the author of the wildly popular Harry Potter series of books, was criticized for defending calling women women in response to an article entitled, “Opinion, Creating a more equal post-COVID-19 world for people who menstruate.” Rowling tweeted, “‘People who menstruate.’ I’m sure there used to be a word for those people. Someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?” Rowling receive a torrent of criticism and abuse on social media for pointing out the obvious, that “people who menstruate” are called women. But, of course, trans persons and their allies insist that there are men who menstruate. In response to the criticism, Rowling tweeted, “If sex isn’t real, there’s no same-sex attraction. If sex isn’t real, the lived reality of women globally is erased. I know and love trans people, but erasing the concept of sex removes the ability of many to meaningfully discuss their lives. It isn’t hate to speak the truth.”
But, it now is hate to speak the truth. It is hate to refuse to refer to people according to those pronouns that are consistent with objective reality. It is hate to defend the obvious fact that males have an advantage over women in sports. It is hate to complain that there is a boy taking a shower in the girl’s locker room at school. It is hate to complain that there is a man changing in the women’s dressing room. It is hate to deny that men can become pregnant, or that there are men with vaginas and women with penises. Speaking the truth, and living life according to objective reality, and expecting others to do the same, is no longer considered acceptable behavior. It is bigotry. It is violence. It is hate. This is the world we are living in, and the world demands that you comply.
There are only two worthy responses to this madness. The first is to resist it. Regardless of what anyone says, your boss, your best friend, your pastor, your elected officials, your doctor, your favorite scientist, whoever — it is imperative that this madness, the demand to acknowledge and live according to a lie, be resisted at whatever consequence. Only by demonstrating that those who insist on speaking the truth will not be swayed by social expectations, by pseudo-scientific arguments, or even by the law will the lie be exposed. We must all have the courage of the child who spoke the truth about the emperor’s new clothes. We cannot bow to the lie. To do so would allow truth itself to be swallowed up by the culture of relativism, and the consequences of that are horrendous and monstrous beyond all telling. The second worthy response is joy. We must keep our wits, of course. But, we must also keep our faith in the promises of Jesus and the grace of God for our salvation. Even if the consequences of staying true to ourselves and to truth itself are painful, we must be willing to suffer them and unite our suffering to those of Christ on the cross, and to do so with joy. Our joy will speak volumes to a world gone mad, a joyless world, an angry world, a world that desires to pull us in to an agenda of hate, disunity, and mockery of all that is good, true, and beautiful.
Speak the truth. Keep the faith.
Be Christ for all. Bring Christ to all. See Christ in all.