I applied for the *EMERGING GENDER IDENTITIES* launch team. If my application is accepted, I will use this as an opportunity to consider again my own complex gender identity, and to review the history and trajectory of gender issues in our society. Both are subjects I’ve researched, written, and spoken on periodically over the past 30 years. This includes gender diversity, gender dysphoria, and intersexual conditions. For instance:
In the late 1980s, I started writing on these topics as I processed questions I had about masculinity and my gender identity. Up until that time, I considered myself “non-gendered” and referred to myself as a person, not as a man. (I’ve since met both men and women who have had a similar internal conflict about their gender.) I got involved in the secular and Christian men’s movements of the late 1980s and early 1990s.
In the 1990s, I read multiple books by John Money to see if he identified the conflicting kinds of gender perceptions I experienced myself (he didn’t seem to). John Money is credited as “The Man Who Invented Gender.” (See below for link to books.)
I’ve had friends from across the gender diversity continuum — some conflicted with their internal/external experiences of gender and chose to live congruent with birth gender, some who’ve chosen to live transgendered or in an alternate gender identity, some who reverted from transgender back to birth gender insofar as medically possible. I also know several people with intersexual conditions that have tended to affect their sense of gender identity.
In 2000, I did a futurist presentation on Transgenderism as an Emerging Bio-Ethics Issue in the 20th Century. This was for the Bannockburn Institute’s bio-medical ethics conference. (And, yes, an awkward title, but it was what the hosts assigned.)
In the past 20 years, some gender and sexuality concepts have become more clarified, other social constructs have gotten more murky, and a lot of the related language has changed — especially as to what is and is not considered acceptable, both socially and in ministry.
This book seems to arrive at a providential moment to review the history and trajectory of gender issues in our society. Also, good time to update my knowledge and consider wisdom offered for listening skills and practical ministry in our increasingly gender-diverse cultural landscape.
If you are curious about the author’s perspective and the book’s tone, see this publisher’s page link for the table of contents, author video clip in which he talks about why he wrote this, and endorsements from people with a range of vested interests in gender identity and ministry.
As an FYI, if you’re interested in applying for the launch team, apparently the application period will be closing in a few days, according to this Brazos Press tweet.
Or, on Facebook, see this page for details.
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I am citing two books about John Money’s views on gender for information purposes. It is important to know that the formal construct of “gender” is just 65 years old, even if multiple cultures have had alternatives to male/female and masculine/feminine for centuries.
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The Man Who Invented Gender: Engaging the Ideas of John Money, by Terry Goldie (UBC Press, 2014).
In 1955, the controversial and innovative sexologist John Money first used the term “gender” in a way that we all now take for granted: to describe a human characteristic. Money’s work broke new ground, opening a new field of research in sexual science and giving currency to medical ideas about human sexuality.
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Gendermaps: Social Constructionism, Feminism and Sexosophical History, by John Money (2016, Bloomsbury Academic).
To understand masculine and feminine social and political history in the second half of the 20th century, one must first understand the lexical history of the term gender, which did not become an attribute of human beings until 1955 when John Money introduced the concept of gender role to refer to the masculine or feminine presentation of individuals whose genital organs, by reason of birth defect, were anatomically neither completely male or completely female, but hermaphroditic.
In this book, Money explores the history of gender differentiation and its impact on contemporary, postmodern social constructionist explanations of male and female. He argues that the nature vs nurture dichotomy should be abandoned in favour of a paradigm of nature/critical period/nurture. The book further discusses how some gender differences are phylogenetically shared by all people and others are ontologically unique to an individual.
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