IT MAKES SENSE TO ME
by Larry Peterson
On June 21, the President of the United States once again bypassed the Congress of the United States and signed an executive order barring federal contractors (including faith based agencies) from discriminating based on sexual orientation or gender identity. Here was my problem with this: I have no understanding of what "gender identity" is. I mean, how can a guy think he is a girl or a girl think she is a guy? Deep down inside me I knew there had to be much more to this phenomenon than a simple choice of lifestyle preference? But it was so bizarre to me I just could not handle it. Some folks might call that "denial". Maybe it was.
I am a Catholic man who tries to stay true to his faith and not pass judgment on others, (especially those whose behavioral lifestyle I do NOT fathom). The truth is I have personally avoided this topic because it just always seemed so "out there" to me. After all, I am a man and I know it. My wife is a woman and she knows it. All the men I know and have known knew they were men. Same for the women. How can you NOT know what you are? The worst part was it was being politicized. That was deplorable. So what kind of ambiguous term is "gender identity"? What does it mean? Finally, I kicked the strange fear of confronting this subject to the curb and I decided I should look into it.
It did not take me long to realize that I truly had kept my head in the sand when it came to this subject. In so doing I had failed myself. I have now come to realize that among the great enigmas in our society today is the paradoxical condition known as Gender Dysphoria (aka: Gender Identity Disorder). This is real and this is a fact of life and it has existed for a long, long time. I have also come to learn that this is a medical "disorder" and not simply a "lifestyle" choice. I also admit that I am a bit ashamed I never had the guts to confront the subject.
Evidence shows that besides psychological and behavioral causes, biological ones (genetics) play an important part in a person having this condition. A person who is born with Gender Identity Disorder has a very high mountain to climb. They live in a society that, for the most part, looks at their condition as nothing more than a perverse lifestyle choice. I cannot imagine a person having to live every day pretending to be a gender they knew they were not. The alternative for them would be to live the way they knew they really were and be treated as one of society's aberrations constantly facing rejection and derision . I now understand the desire for hormonal treatments and transgender surgery. I also understand that these people need our compassion and understanding. But, like it or not, this Great Enigma brings forth the other side of the story.
President Obama's executive order seems to place "gay rights" above all other rights, including religious rights as set forth in our Constitution. In 1994 the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) was proposed by Sen. Ted Kennedy and Rep. Gerry Studds of Massachusetts. It has been proposed in ten sessions of Congress and has never passed. Obama's order is his way of passing his own ENDA. It provides no protection for religious groups even though civil-rights laws recognize these rights. The laws have recognized that religious employers have the right to hire people who share their faith and moral standards. ENDA proposals exempted these groups. Not anymore.
The president's order has bypassed all of this and permits federal agencies to cancel contracts with "noncompliant" employers including faith based agencies who can also be 'blacklisted" from future contracts. This will effectively shut down many faith based agencies. Look at how Catholic Charities has already been declared "unfit" to place children for adoption in Washington, Boston, San Francisco and the State of Illinois. I believe that the executive order of July 21, 2014 will usher in a new wave of religious intolerance and persecution the like of which has never been seen in the United States of America. The people who suffer from Gender Dysphoria are simply pawns in a quagmire of ideology. Theirs is not so much a sexual problem as it is a correctable medical problem. They deserve better from all of us, especially from a president who uses their condition to advance his own agenda.