Stephen Measure

Gender Identity Is a Religious Belief That I Don't Believe In
August 21, 2018

Note: Gender identity is the belief that our gender is based on identity rather than biological sex. In other words, it is the belief that a biological man, with XY chromosomes and male anatomy, is actually a woman if he feels like he is a woman.

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I am a religious man. I know a religious belief when I see one. And I'm telling you that gender identity is a religious belief. It is a religious belief I personally don't believe in, but it is a religious belief nonetheless.

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If something is proven through empirical evidence, then I can believe it for scientific reasons. On the other hand, if something cannot be proven through empirical evidence, or even if it contradicts current empirical evidence, I might choose to believe it for religious reasons, or I might not. Gender identity falls into the latter category of things that cannot be proven. Not only is it unprovable through empirical evidence, it actually contradicts empirical evidence, and I therefore cannot believe it for scientific reasons. I could, however, choose to believe it for religious reasons, but I do not. Gender identity is a religious belief I reject.

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Let me be clear: Gender identity is a perfectly respectable religious belief. The basic idea is as follows: There is something inherent to us, something unseeable, something unknowable, something unprovable, something at our core, something that is more us than even our physical bodies—let's call this our soul. And, according to the belief of gender identity, sometimes our soul is a different gender than our physical body, and when this happens, the gender of our soul takes precedence over the gender of our body. It is a perfectly respectable, completely unprovable, absolutely religious belief—and it should be treated as such by society.

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Muslims, Sikhs, Jews, and Latter-day Saints all wear special clothing because of their religious beliefs, and religious freedom allows them to do so. In like manner, if some Progressive men want to wear dresses because they believe they are women, then religious freedom grants them that privilege as well. But accommodating the clothing of a religion doesn't require everyone else to accept that religion as true. Likewise, allowing Progressive men to wear dresses doesn't require everyone else to accept that they actually are women.

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The correct way for society to handle gender identity is within the context of religious accommodation. Gender identity is a religious belief, not a secular fact, and it should be treated as such.

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In the spirit of religious accommodation and pluralism, when we know that someone believes they are a gender they biologically aren't, it might be appropriate, as a courtesy, to refer to them in a gender-neutral manner (e.g. using the gender-neutral single-person pronoun “they”). But biological sex must be the secular baseline—all laws and public policies should be based on it, not on the religious belief of gender identity. And the religious accommodation of gender identity must never require those who do not believe in gender identity to speak or act as though we did. We can politely avoid the subject by using standard gender-neutral language if possible when referring to those who reject their biological sex, but we must never be asked to pretend that people are a gender they biologically aren't.

Note: The use of “preferred pronouns” (e.g. made-up pronouns or the wrong gender's pronoun) is a sign of faith in gender identity. Those who diligently use “preferred pronouns” are those who desire to demonstrate their faithfulness to gender identity. Those who zealously demand everyone else use them are those who seek to impose their religion on the world. Secular pronoun use should be either “he” or “she” when referring to the antecedent's biological sex, or it could be “they” when we don't know the antecedent's biological sex or are politely avoiding it.

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The convenience of single-sex bathrooms is based on the secular reality of biological sex.

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This is what a secular bathroom policy should look like:

Our bathrooms are based on biological sex. To provide religious accommodation to those who believe they are a gender that differs from their biological sex, a gender-neutral bathroom is also available.

Note: There is no need to handle this through criminal law. Just make it clear that no one has the legal right to use the bathroom of the opposite sex (i.e. you can't sue if you are denied entry), and leave it at that.

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This is what a secular sports policy should look like:

Athletic competition is separated based on biological sex. The womens' league is reserved exclusively for biological women who are not taking medication to develop male characteristics. However, in order to provide religious accommodation to those who believe they are a gender that differs from their biological sex, everyone, regardless of their biological sex, is welcome to compete with the men.

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No law or policy should ever discriminate against someone for thinking that gender should reflect the secular reality of biological sex.

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Anytime someone makes a declaration based on “personal truth”, know that they are making a religious declaration. Scientific/secular truth is objective and available to all; it is not “personal”.

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Gender identity isn't a secular assault against religious morality. It is a religious assault against secular reality.

I have a religion, but it's not that religion.

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Everyone has a religion and gender identity is the proof. How many supposedly non-religious people nevertheless believe in gender identity—a belief that doesn't just lack physical evidence, it actually contradicts physical evidence! I repeat: Everyone has a religion, absolutely everyone, and gender identity is the proof.


Related essays:
Divine Authority and "Gender Identity"
Opposition to "Gender Identity" Is Driven by Logic, Not Religion


topic: gender identity

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