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The fundamental flaw in gender theory


THE Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) is the antipodean equivalent of the BBC, and recently on its prime current affairs show Q&A one of the Scott Morrison government’s high-profile politicians, Trent Zimmerman, sounded more like a cultural-Left radical than a Liberal Party politician committed to a conservative agenda.

When discussing gender and religion Zimmerman argued: ‘Any person should be able to decide what future they want for their own life and what they do with their body is part of that.’ This was in response to Martyn Iles from the Australian Christian Lobby, who defended rugby star Israel Folau’s condemnation of homosexuality as a sin.

According to Zimmerman every individual has the right to decide whether he or she is male, female or lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, etc, regardless of what medical science tells us or a person’s obligations and responsibilities to others and society in general.

Zimmerman thus unwittingly reveals a fundamental weakness in neo-Marxist-inspired gender theory. Denying one’s God-given sex by arguing that gender is a social construct is a relatively recent phenomenon. The origins of radical gender theory which argues boys can be girls and girls can be boys, despite the fact that human biology proves otherwise, can be traced to Germany’s Frankfurt School established in the early 1920s. 

The Marxist academics associated with the Frankfurt School argued that the most effective way to overthrow capitalism was to engage in the culture wars by taking the ‘long march through the institutions’.  One of these academics was Wilhelm Reich, whose seminal book The Sexual Revolution heralded a revolutionary critique of traditional sexuality and institutions such as marriage.

During the counter-cultural revolution of the 60s and early 70s Reich’s book was rediscovered and what become known as the LGBTIQ+ movement emerged as a significant global force, especially in Western societies such as Australia. At the same time the word gender was redefined from being a grammatical expression to one suggesting that sexuality was fluid, dynamic and limitless. 

Primarily responsible was the researcher John Money from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, who introduced the description gender on the basis that sexuality was a social construct imposed by a straight, heteronormative society.

Ignored is the biological reality that approximately 99 per cent of babies are born as boys or girls. Not surprisingly, this explains why surveys show approximately 98 per cent of adults identify as women or men.  As argued by the American College of Pediatricians, ‘human sexuality is an objective biological trait’ and ‘human sexuality is binary by design with the obvious purpose being the reproduction and flourishing of our species’.  

It’s important to note that opposition to transgenderism crosses ideological boundaries. While criticism is normally associated with Christian conservatives such as Martyn Iles, the American radical feminist Camille Paglia and Australia’s Germaine Greer and Barry Humphries are also very critical. Paglia argues the ‘DNA of every cell of the human body is inflexibly coded as male or female from birth to death’.

Zimmerman’s argument that individuals must have the right to control their own bodies regardless of biology is also flawed as it embodies a philosophy, in the words of Pope Francis, that is ‘based almost exclusively on the autonomy of the individual will’.

Pope Benedict also opposed gender theory when arguing that denying one’s birth sex destroys ‘the very essence of the human creature through manipulating their God-given gender to suit their sexual choices’. Benedict said: ‘When the freedom to be creative becomes the freedom to create oneself, then necessarily, the Maker himself is denied and ultimately man too is stripped of his dignity as a creature of God.’

In the context of the New South Wales government’s current inquiry into the Education Legislation Amendment (Parental Rights) Bill 2020 which seeks to stop schools and teachers indoctrinating students with neo-Marxist gender theory it is also vital to understand that children and teenagers should not be granted the autonomy to decide for themselves what gender they prefer.

Parents are the primary educators and moral guardians of their children and they are responsible for ensuring their children do not come to harm by making decisions many will inevitably regret. Normalising transgenderism, for example, is dangerous to young and vulnerable students who, for whatever reason, are experiencing gender dysphoria. 

Illustrated by the recent British High Court’s decision to ban puberty blockers for children under 16, the reality is that young adolescents are not in a position to make critically informed and rational decisions. As argued by Professor Dianna Kenny in her submission to the NSW inquiry, it is wrong to ‘undermine parental authority in the child’s eyes, setting a dangerous precedent allowing children to make decisions about their wellbeing for which they are not emotionally or cognitively ready’.

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Dr Kevin Donnelly
Dr Kevin Donnelly
Dr Kevin Donnelly is a senior fellow at the Australian Catholic University’s PM Glynn Institute and a conservative author and commentator.

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