Locker Rooms and Lessons in Gender

Leila Miller
catholic.com
2023-02-03

One day, I took some of the younger boys to get haircuts (yes, another lesson at the salon), and the stylist who took the boys' names was clearly attempting to "transition" between the two sexes. This person was friendly and gave a great haircut. We did not say a word of judgment or derision, nor did we exchange glances that might have made this stylist uncomfortable, but simply went about our business as usual.

When we got in the car, a discussion ensued. "Was that a boy or a girl?" "I couldn't tell at all!" "The name could've been for a boy or a girl."

It can be unsettling not to recognize an adult person's sex, because that identification is so primordial in our psyches. Writer Anthony Esolen once noted to me that a person's sex is the first thing we notice and the last thing we remember. Think about it: you may not remember the name or hair color of the clerk that helped you at the mall, but you will remember if that person was a man or a woman.

My husband and I reinforced to the children that this stylist was a child of God with inherent dignity, and how confused and troubled a person must be to want to change or reject his nature. As we do when we encounter anyone in grave confusion or sin (including ourselves!), we reminded the children to pray for that person, and we reiterated what we have taught from the start--and what you must teach: we cannot change objective truth, including the good and right way that God made his world.

I cannot stress enough that parents must form a child in objective truth from the youngest years. We don't get to determine what is true based on our feelings; rather, truth exists outside ourselves (God's created order), and our job is to seek truth, to find it, and to conform our lives and our wills to it.

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