On Monday, reason prevailed as Indiana University of Pennsylvania’s president, Dr. Michael Driscol, announced that senior Lake Ingle would be allowed to return to his religious studies class needed for graduation.
Ingle was kicked out of that class by professor Allison Downie and accused of violating the schools Academic Integrity Code. What was Ingle’s crime? He dared to question the premise that there are more than two genders.
For the uninitiated, discussions on college campuses and most public schools have turned into politically correct indoctrinations where no contrary facts or opinions are allowed. If one dares to question one’s teacher or professor, the student is often “shamed” into silence. Hardly a healthy environment for learning!
On Feb. 28, in the class titled “Special Topics in Christianity: Self, Sin and Salvation,” students were shown a TED Talk by transexual Paula Stone Williams, a former pastor and CEO of Orchard Group, a church-planting organization. Shortly before his retirement, Paul, aka Paula, a husband and father, decided to try life as a woman. Already a skilled communicator, Williams now glibly enlightens audiences on feminist issues such as male privilege, the wage-gap, systemic sexism and “mansplaining.”
Following the video, professor Downie opened the discussion to women only. When no female students spoke, Ingle saw an opportunity. He pointed out that the official view of biologists is that there are only two genders and explained the logical reasons behind the so-called “wage gap.”
While Ingle is right about the wage gap, I must point out that he is only partially right on the issue of gender. To paraphrase the great modern-day philosopher Bill Clinton, it depends on what the definition of “gender” is.
For all practical purposes the words sex and gender are used interchangeably. Some dictionaries and academics give them different definitions, while others do not. When I first began writing, gender was commonly used to identify one as male or female. Sex was used to describe the attraction or behavior between males and females.
Over the years, those definitions have evolved. For example, the Food and Drug Administration used to use gender instead of sex when referring to physiological differences between male and female organisms. In 2011, largely due to political pressure from left field, the agency adopted the preferred language of the anything goes crowd – if you say you are a male (or female), then you are male (or female) – and began using sex as the biological classification and gender as “a person’s self-presentation as one or the other.”
Yes, Mr. Ingle is technically correct: There are still only two, and will always be two, classes of human beings, whether you refer to males and females in terms of sex or gender, and no amount of wishful thinking or surgery can change that.
Show me a person with some age who doesn’t see themselves as younger than their years as in, “I’m a 21-year-old trapped in a 50-year-old body.” However, that thinking doesn’t change anything or stop the aging process.
Sure, a surgeon can shave years off a person’s outward appearance, but inwardly he or she is still the same age, and, like it or not, the aging process will continue.
Today, it is considered fashionable to be transexual, but even after all that surgery, Paula is still the same human being God created male.
Yes, there are abnormalities that are often obvious at birth that make it difficult to determine the true sex of an individual, though these cases are rare. The accepted term for this medical condition is “intersexuality.” Some babies may be born with ambiguous genitals while others may have ambiguous internal organs (testes and ovaries). Generally those with this condition cannot reproduce and may require special medical attention and intervention.
This is quite different from those individuals who simply see themselves as a member of the opposite sex and feel if they could simply alter their appearance to the extent medically feasible then they would somehow be fulfilled. This, too, is a serious problem, not dissimilar to those who see themselves as handicapped and seek to have one or more limbs removed so they can live out this experience.
These individuals deserve our love and understanding, but that does not mean that we should treat their desires as normal or that they should be promoted to impressionable young people.
Dr. Driscol’s decision to allow Ingle to return to this classroom was not popular among progressive campus intellectuals, but, at least for now, reason has prevailed.