Beliefs Brian Pellot: On Freedom Culture Ethics Institutions Opinion

Southern Baptists need a lesson in ‘gender identity’ vs. ‘biological sex’

Laverne Cox
'Orange is the New Black' star Laverne Cox, who is transgender, delivers a lecture at the University of Missouri - Kansas City in 2013.
Laverne Cox

‘Orange is the New Black’ star Laverne Cox, who is transgender, delivers a lecture at the University of Missouri – Kansas City in 2013.

Earlier this week the Southern Baptist Convention passed a resolution affirming “God’s good design that gender identity is determined by biological sex and not by one’s self-perception.”

This is utter nonsense. Sex is biologically determined (think chromosomes, genitals, the stuff you’re born with or without), but gender identity is self-perception based on social constructs.

The SBC also affirmed “God’s original design to create two distinct and complementary sexes, male and female,” apparently forgetting about intersex individuals who are born with conditions that make this clear-cut binary impossible.

So to further muddle an already false dichotomy, they argue that two distinct sexes should equal two distinct gender identities. Hogwash. Poppycock. Gobbledygook.

Gender identity, by it’s very definition, is determined by “one’s self-perception” and influenced by other societal structures at play. It is an identity that one chooses to identify with or is otherwise socially pressured into doing so.

Most people in the U.S. are cisgender, meaning that, based on dominant social norms, their gender identities “match” their biological sexes. But many many many people do not fit this cookie-cutter mold that the SBC is pushing.

In much of South Asia “hijra” is recognized as a legitimate third gender, even legally so in Bangladesh and India. Australia now allows anyone to list their gender as “X” (rather than “M” or “F”) on official documents. And, as cited in TIME’s recent cover story, there are approximately 1.5 million transgender Americans.

Facebook, one modern arbiter of what’s legit, recently added about 50 new gender options for users to choose from. Male and female are both there, but so is agender, bigender, gender fluid, genderqueer, transgender and gender questioning, to name a few. Fill-in-the-blank isn’t an option (presumably for the sake of targeted advertising).

So why is the SBC taking such a strong and public stand against this very real gender identity rainbow to support an outdated and inaccurate black-and-white notion of gender?

Why do they feel the need to tell people that their social identities are illegitimate? If someone says they identify as X, who is the SBC to tell them that they should be Y? I’m not just talking about chromosomes.

If someone says they’re agender, bigender, transgender, trigender, genderqueer, why try to convince them otherwise? What benefit does the SBC gain in doing so? And what harm do they bring about declaring subjective identities somehow objectively wrong?

In its resolution, the SBC affirms love for its transgender neighbors and condemns acts of abuse against them while simultaneously opposing legislation to protect them or efforts to educate children about their existence.

I guess we shouldn’t be surprised that the SBC’s resolution refers to god as ‘Him.’ I wonder if they’ve checked to see whether His biological sex matches His gender identity.

About the author

Brian Pellot

Brian Pellot is based in Cape Town, South Africa.


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  • “50 new gender options.” Riiiiiiiiiiight.

    This nation is going down fast. Not going to be a pretty picture when it hits rock-bottom. Soon.

  • Thank you Brian, you are very nearly there. Biological sex and gender identity are indeed completely different things. However gender identity isn’t part of a social construct, it is your internal perception of yourself, either male or female or both or neither. Gender expression is the socially constructed bit in that it varies between one society and the next. Whereas one society may see brewing as women’s work another might decide it is the manly thing to do.


  • This is absolute insanity. Anyone who believes this nonsense, much less any poor soul who is deluded enough to believe he or she is any gender other than that of which he or she was born, requires serious intensive psychological help.

  • “forgetting about intersex individuals who are born with conditions that make this clear-cut binary impossible.”

    Just a quick lesson on HERMAPHRODITES. It is common in invertebrates and plants, in humans it is a genetic ANOMALY. In humans people who view themselves as a sex they are biologically not that is a mental illness. Kind of like when someone thinks they are a bird and spends their time building a nest to live in.

    By the softening of the language to call it “intersex” or “transgendered” or whatever the heck these mentally ill people want to call it, all you do is enable this behaviour instead of getting them treatment.

  • According to God’s word theirewere only two genders created. Even in the situation of those who are born with both sex organs. There is always a higher amount of either the femal hormone or the male hormone. To try and change this is a perversion of what God created. I completely agree with the SBC. Even though the writer claims to be on the side of religious freedom it’s obvious that he is not.

  • I am a Christian who believes in gay and lesbian marriage but I have to say, all of this gender confusion and additional gender identities and expressions are not going to help the movement progress, politically speaking. For those who are against the LGBT movement this news will only heighten their fears and their beliefs that this is a conspiracy to undermine basic morality.

  • “For in Him [Jesus] all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form.” -Colossians 2:9 (NASB)

    Why should it surprise you, Mr. (Miss?) Pellot, that a Christian organization would want to follow the Bible? The verse above makes it clear that Jesus is a Man Who is also God — and that He is a He, Him, masculine pronoun. And Like Joel W has stated, the Bible makes it clear God created two sexes.

    Thank for you supporting the argument that gender ID is “one’s self-perception” (and perception is not the same as FACT), which is what the “religious right” has been stating all along — it is a CHOICE. Your logic seriously flawed. No where do you mention any sources, other than Time and Facebook, which are hardly authoritative.

    If it’s all a matter of perception, then I guess I perceive you as a relativistic pansy, Briana.

  • Brian – Jesus referred to God as “Father”. So there you go. But only a Bolshevik atheist with perverted thinking would even care as to answer of the the asinine question you posed.

  • “Facebook, one modern arbiter of what’s legit,”

    Oh…I get it! This load of hooey is supposed to be sarcasm.

  • “Fact.”

    Your argument would be more persuasive if you made “Fact” all upper case and bold. That would surely persuade all but the most incorrigible skeptics.

    To win those over, you might want to add an animated GIF of a fist pounding a table

  • Mother nature is clearly a cross-dressing tranny witch switch that, for the most part, makes generous use of the polarizing effect between the male and female sex by instilling within the psyche of her children (and re-expressed in their culture) behavioral gender ideas that normally align with the sex of the child.
    The male/female binary IS succesful from a selective vantage point. However, it’s also readily apparent that her genetic machinations don’t always jive; perhaps different development stages of fetus create intersex individuals, to name one difference, or less clear-cut binary driven expression in the body and or psyche of her kids. And why not? The big bitch ain’t perfect. A little Christian sympathy for Mother Nature is in order please. The presence of these “trans” individuals actually help drive selective pressure. Think about it. Competition is increased if, say, 10% of population is not engaged in strict binary M/F behavior. However, the trans-people do increase the amount of novel economic market ideas circulating, which, in turn, helps the economy as a whole. Maybe they make good friends too. Culture clearly benefits from their presence historically. It’s rarely stated but a fact: the human rights movement (free speech too) is good for markets whether feminist, transgender, racial, etc. BTW, Mother Nature in her infinitely possible wisdom allows most of her children the ability to successfully procreate, including many of those fence sitters. The garden of earthly delights is of constant variation and adaptive change. All the weeds and flowers are required for a full bloom. Just sayin. Turn up the house music please.

  • You lost me when you fallaciously claimed your opinion is fact. It is not. Gender is not chosen by the individual. Its is created by God and tied to our biology. If there is any confusion it’s because of the nature of sin.

  • What happens when gender identity becomes infantile or adolescent. It may be animalistic or incestuous. It could be sadistic or necrophobic. Just because a person identifies with a certain sexual behavior doesn’t make it right.

  • I guess I’m talking about sexual identity but the definition given portrays gender identity as a subset of sexual identity.

  • Correction: Should be closer to the following idea:

    …perhaps atypically paced and or affected genomal/chromosomal development stages of fetus create some of these variations, including intersex individuals. (or Hall of Fame athletes, biologists, presidents, Wall Street derivative traders, autistics, mathematicians, artists, economist, your neighbor, spouse, etc.).

    Perhaps a mommy treated a tommy as a boy, but (s)he was really a girl–a brilliant scientific girl. Just ask Lynn Conway. As far as the economic questions are concerned we should really ask Deirdre McCloskey.

    There’s a broad continuum of individual examples here that is not clear cut–genetic, behavioral, cultural , environmental, etc. I’m confident that in the future we will sort all of this out. We are only barely 400 years from the beginnings of the scientific revolution. In the mean time, let it all hang out.

  • No worries Frank. You’ve been lost for a while, so being lost in this discussion is AOK.


  • Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but in the end, God’s is the only one that matters. He said that he created them male and female. No where do I see that he created them male, female and other.

  • To the extent that an individual demonstrates physically both male and female sexual characteristics, this is indeed an anomaly which illustrates the fall from a perfect creation. Social constructs (Read: Emotive paradigms) do not trump biology.

  • Nope. God is a construct. In FACT God is more of a construct than any gender notion mankind currently suffers from.

    Looky here kids, here’s the dealio: the “Blank Slate” crowd is el wrongo on gender–but not completely. Why is that? Because there is a relationship betwen gender and sex; it’s just not as rock solid as the bible thumpers believe nor is it as in flux as the Blank Slate Libtards would have it. Everyone is a lot wrong and a little bit right, okay? The environment can affect changes in certainindividuals that leads to different gender ideas and expression–from fetus to adult.
    On the other hand, Mother Nature saw fit that in MOST, but in NOT ALL cases, penises work nicely with the male gender while vaginas work beautifully with the female gender. It is a function of our selective environment over millions, nay billions, of years. (Yes, I’m aware of the recent discovery of the female insect with the penis-like mating appendage and the female dominant faux penis super clit of hyenas.) HOWEVER, I’m sure somewhere out in the multiverse there is a planet of well hung females subordinating the caregiving maternal-like males all day and night. (Maybe the whole lot of them have penises in varying degrees. Everyone seems to like penises as much as vaginas after all.) Less shocking is the idea that maybe there is a planet of huge, strong vag females who give birth and dominate submissive teensy weensy penis males? (That state exists for some species of insect–certain spiders comes to mind.)

    (Yo, Bible bitches, before I forget, the earth is older than 6K years, okay? DEAL.)


    There are many factors that create gender from both a cultural/environmental vector and a genomic/phenotypic one. ( Sidenote: Although minor, what of simple age with gain/loss of testosterone? I know plenty of older (formerly sexy beasts) dudes that love to be dominated and dress up as little girls for their fave dommes. In fact, many men–Christian, Buddhist, Muslim, Jewish, Mormon, Raelian, etc.–report being aroused by the idea of being a woman, if even just a fantasy. Does that mean their gender changed? Maybe. Maybe not. Humiliation and loss of social status plus some lingering genomic/phenotypic ideas promoting a more ambiguous gender identity may produce a gender crisis leading to…who knows. Maybe we should study long term prison populations.)


    See, it’s all in the service of the social order, which is fluid just like gender and modes of dominance. Think of some individual’s gender as slow-to-change eroding granite, not-so-mutable firm mud for many, meandering rivers for others, and steep waterfalls of gender uncertainty leading to sexual reassignment surgery in Bangkok for the lucky few. How about Klinefelter’s XXY syndrome? Anyone have data on dem boys?
    Oh, by the way, all of these people should be respected and granted basic human rights.
    Maybe we just don’t know enough about genetics yet or psychology. Wouldn’t it be funny if that group of marginalized individuals held some long-sought genetic key to perfect health and longevity–LOL. Plurality and equal rights needs to rule the day…and night. Hehe.

    Prince of Darkness,

    I bet God is a slutbunny. Just sayin.

  • Diogenes,
    Go find your lantern and stop using silly words like “anomaly.” And what’s this “fall from a perfect creation” nonsense. I hear ya on the biology sentiment, but we are still evolving, so there’s no “perfect” anything. Now simma down and get back into your garbage dumpster, and don’t come out until you finish reading your books on evolution–sheesh.


    Prince of Darkness

  • My bad on the grammar slip. “are” in place of “is”–I hate that! LOL.
    Correction in caps followed by a small rewrite for clarity.:

    There’s a broad continuum of individual examples here that ARE not clear cut examples of solely genetic, behavioral, cultural, or environmental causation.

    I’m confident that in the future we will sort all of this out. We are only barely 400 years from the beginnings of the scientific revolution. In the mean time, let it all hang out.

    Mazal Tov!

    Prince of Darkness,

  • God exists and always has. God has both male and female traits of appearance, not sex. God took both traits and created two persons, male and female, each with one of his and her traits. They were two and the only two perfectly created human ancestors. Designed for eternity and life, until sin happened followed by death happening. Undergoing a gender transition is never sin, because gender, as an image of God is never sin.

    God designed both male and female to have beautiful long hair. Man, in his infinite lack of wisdom has taken gender, a trait of God Herself, and turned it into an instrument of power. Man’s unquenchable thirst for power, the stories of which fill history books makes use of everything in his usurpation of power, including over women. Man abuses gender, a trait of God and declares that men must never look like women—-off goes the hair. Man, abusing gender again, declares that men must never wear dresses—-robes are discarded for trousers. Man says that it is unnatural for men to have a*** sex, and yet allows this “unnatural” act on women.

    Man says that men can never wear dresses, and yet says women can wear pants. Man says that men can reveal their nipples, but women must never. Man reads that God’s perfect creation became imperfect, and yet passes a resolution retroactive to the time before procreation yielded imperfect beings; referring to a “perfect order” that is no more but a promise to come again.

    We are transgender, and the mentally disordered is man, not us. No one knows what causes the gender maladies, but man need not know specifics, for right there in the Christian bible for all to see, indeed for thousands of years, is the reason for we who are transgender: tainted and corrupted by sin fallible physical bodies. An orange has a skin, and the skin of sex is gender identity. Let’s put our brain and faith back in gear and realize that the endocrine system, like any physiological system can go wrong. God has given man a brain to fix all man can, including sex gone wrong, so wrong that girls are born in male bodies and boys in female bodies.

    Go in peace and judge no more.

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