The Devolution of Tolerance, a Meme

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I wonder, which of these 3 versions of tolerance do Australians prefer?

 

 

 

 

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A Christian QandA: But where was the Gospel?

Tonight’s ABC’s QandA program was purposed to examine the role of Christianity in Australian society today.

Interestingly, two hours prior to the show, I tweeted a question to which many of my Christian friends responded, ‘no, they would not be watching the program’. It seems as though lots of people are dubious about QandA’s capacity to present a fair and reasonable picture of Christianity, which is perhaps has some warrant based on previous programs.  I guess I include myself among the sceptics, but overall such doubts were given the boot. The show was presented well, and the rudeness scale from some previous episodes dropped off significantly.

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The program though didn’t quite start of the right footing, with Julia Baird exclaiming, “Everyone on the panel is a Christian.” Hmmm, really? There were some pretty dubious theologies up there tonight. But then I remembered how Julia recently referred to the Jehovah’s Witnesses, a cult who reject Christianity, as ‘conservative Christian’. That aside, Julia Baird did a fine job at facilitating the proceedings.

The Panel

On the panel was John Haldane (a Scottish Catholic who is a Papal advisor to the Vatican), Julie McCrossin (radio & tv personality, and gay rights activist), Ray Minniecon (Pastor & Chairperson of the Sydney Anglican Indigenous People’s Committee), Tiffany Sparks (Anglican minister in Brisbane), and Lyle Shelton (Director of ACL).

Given the program’s topic, one would have thought the ABC would invite Australia’s most notable Christian voices: where was Peter Adam, Peter Jensen, Brian Rosner, John Dickson, Michael Jensen, Justine Toh, and many others? I understand why Lyle Shelton was chosen, and Ray Minniecon, but the other panelists? McCrossin and Sparks represent what is at best a fringe and frayed interpretation of Christianity. John Haldane is from out of town and struggled to comment on Australian cultural particulars, although he did add a sense of intellectual gravitas that was otherwise missing at times.

Having said that, QandA is not (nor is it meant to be) an orthodox Christian program, and the producers no doubt have pressures on them to diversify the panel and encourage as many sparks as possible.

The Questions:

The most interesting part of the show was seeing what questions people were asking:

  • When a 16yo is arrested for terrorism is it time for us to consider if we have failed to nurture our sons?
  • Do the churches share responsibility for failing to articulate the Christian principles of a ‘just war’?
  • There was a question about Eric Metaxas and his alleged comparison between Nazi Germany and debates over sexuality.
  • Why are churches in Australia so silent when it comes to climate change?
  • What role should our churches be playing for true reconciliation in our nation today?Do Church leaders recognise the role that patriarchal hierarchies & theologies play in DV?
  • Is what the Bible describes a more realistic view of our world or have the secularists got it right?

Apart from the final question, no one asked about the veracity of Christian beliefs (is it true or not), rather, people wanted to know whether Christianity is good (good being defined in a variety of ways). That is worth reflecting on from an apologetic and evangelistic perspective. But also, for many of the questions, including the climate change and indigenous recognition, Christians have been actively speaking on these issues, and yet it seems as though the public hasn’t listened (ABC viewers at least!). This raises an important question for Christians as we seek to speak into society: why are we not being heard? How can we work better at clearly presenting our views?

The Conversation:

It is best to watch the program for answers to the specific questions, for here I only wish to offer one comment, which to me sums up the program:

Where was the Baptist tonight? Yes, that’s tongue in cheek…sort of. Baptists are in fact one of the few Christian denominations growing across Australia, and yet there was no room for one? Leaving the facetious aside,

Why was an entire episode of a ‘Christian’ Qanda without any mention of the crux of the Christian faith, the Gospel of Jesus Christ?

I remember an episode with Peter Jensen and one with John Dickson, where both sought to explain the Gospel and give a reason for the hope they have. Tonight, the entire program was addressing matters from a Christian perspective and yet where was a faithful and clear articulation of the Gospel, even in a single sentence? The closest we came was when Lyle Shelton made passing reference to Christ laying down his life, and when Ray Minniecon called Australians to ‘repentance’. 

Of course, television programs (and the media in general), have little interest in the actual message of Christianity;  it is easier and more contentious to focus on moral questions. These questions are important, and as a Christian I believe the Bible gives us answers, but Christianity is not moralism. This is one of the potential dangers for groups like the Australian Christian Lobby. While I agree with many of their statements, they can be guilty of presenting a Christianity that is defined by a set of moral values, but that is a faulty view of Christianity. This is not questioning their orthodoxy, but the only message we have is  is the good news message of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who died on a cross and rose from the dead for the salvation of everyone who believes in Him.

‘God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.’ (2 Corinthians 5:21)

‘I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord’ (Philippians 3:8)

As Julia Baird summed up the final question, she gave the panel every opportunity. She asked, ‘is it down to God’s grace or human endeavour?’ There I sat, pleading, would some one please explain the good news of Jesus Christ? Would someone at least say, ‘yes, it’s God’s grace’. What an opportunity to articulate the truth and beauty and power of God’s grace, but no. I was saddened to hear no minister of the Gospel say yes to God’s grace.

I was saddened. I was not surprised to hear Julie McCrossin and Tiffany Sparks contradicting Biblical truths; that’s what ‘progressives’ do; they throw away those things in the Bible that contravene their liberal views. But still, as Australians listened tonight to Christian leaders expound their beliefs, they will go to sleep none the wiser, yes, hearing some Christian ideas and thoughts, but almost nothing about the message which is Christianity. 

What I heard tonight was, Christians have opinions about lots of issues, just like everyone else. I heard, Christians disagree a lot. I heard, people have the capacity to change.

This ‘Christian’ QandA ended up sounding more like a Jane Austen novel set in Victorian England, acknowledging some things Christian, but with very little appeal to the Christ of Christianity and to the grace of God which Christians do trust, rejoice in, and want other Australians to know.

Julia Baird defends John Dickson…sort of

“It is easy to believe in freedom of speech for those with whom we agree.” (Leo McKern)

Like an episode of ‘Rumpole of the Bailey’, Julia Baird yesterday came to the defence of John Dickson, although in a somewhat less convincing performance.

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One week ago Rev Dr John Dickson raised a question on his personal Facebook page, concerning the manner in which the same sex marriage debate is being conducted in Australia. Within hours the post was taken down by Facebook, and then reinstated one day later with a somewhat fuzzy apology attached.

In yesterday’s The Age, Julia Baird came out swinging, first of all using testimony from Prince and then proceeding to argue, ‘Dickson’s questioning should not be slammed but aired, and he is right to argue conservative viewpoints should not be so rapidly shut down or dismissed as hate. It was very odd of Facebook to delete this post.’

At the same time, Baird didn’t hold back in offering her own view on Dickson’s comments,

‘This is a massive, inadvertently inflammatory call and one I do not agree with. Surely acceptance, tolerance and absence of judgment about difference would make LGBTI youth feel better. But, isn’t it up to them, to say what makes them feel better? It is also highly provocative to accuse those who either belong to, or are allies of the LGBTI+ community of augmenting the very hatred they have spent their lives trying to fight and diminish.’

The fact that a journalist in Australia has freedom to speak her mind and to disagree with another Australian, and to do so in the most direct manner, is a sign of a healthy society. Would we want our sitz im leben to be less than this? 

In her closing statement, rather than reiterating Dickson’s right to offer an opinion, it seems as though Baird crossed the floor to the prosecutor’s table, and it is these remarks that I find most odd.

Baird finishes by quoting another Facebook post, that of Sydney Chaplain, Garry Lee Lindsay,

I can’t see how this helps anything. Please don’t try to convince me that it is intellectual debate or you are approaching the subject with an open mind and a loving heart. You might be, but why do you have to say it? And why is it so important to make comment about other people’s lifestyle or culture on Facebook? Just go out and make friends with people because they are people, made in the image of the Creator, inseparable from God’s love.

“What about calling people to prayer for those poor people in Japan and Ecuador that lost their lives and family in the earthquakes? To start with!!! What about we stop writing posts like this one, make some soup and sandwiches, go and hand it out to the hundreds of rough sleepers on our streets every night and give them some company? Why don’t I? Because I’d rather whinge about the terrible people that aren’t like me, don’t think like me, don’t live like me. And do it from a distance, because then at least I know I’m OK. What a wretched man I am? Who will save me? Thanks be to God.”

First of all, Lee-Lindsay (and presumably Baird, given she is appealing to the quote) dismisses the importance of people offering comments about lifestyle and culture matters on Facebook. Although I wonder, does  Lee-Lindsay realise that he is guilty of the very thing he is accusing of others of doing? ‘Others mustn’t use Facebook to express opinions about sexuality issues, like I am doing right now…!’

Do Lee-Lindsay and Baird not realise that these issues of marriage and of transgenderism are very much public issues? Marriage may be a personal relationship, but it is also a societal one. If it were not, why are wedding ceremonies held in the presence of witnesses, and why does Government have a role and why do we have a national marriage registry?  Similarly, recent discussions on transgenderism demonstrates it is not merely a private issue: should boys be allowed to use girls toilets in schools? How is society to relate to people who don’t wish to identify with their biological sex? It is incongruous to suggest these issues cannot be discussed in public forums; these matters effect families, schools, communities and Governments. And if they are discussed, are only agreeable voices to be allowed?

Second, the quote implies that Christians such as John Dickson are whinging as they make public statements about SSM, when what they should be doing is ‘making friends with people’ and helping people where they are at. This is not only a very smug caricature of Christians, it is hugely presumptuous. How do they know we are not providing food for the hungry, and not praying for victims of those earthquakes?

Can we not do both? John Newton was a preacher and an anti-slavery campaigner. John Wesley preached more sermons than most and he started orphanages. Jesus preached, taught and addressed all manner of social and spiritual issues, and even daring to question the political realms, and he cared for the poor and broken. Christians I know are committed both to speaking and sharing, preaching and praying, and I have no doubt John Dickson does likewise.

Despite initially supporting John Dickson’s right to post on Facebook, Baird lands on what is becoming an all to common place; while John Dickson technically has the right to freedom of speech, he really shouldn’t say anything unless he is offering unqualified support for those who wish to pursue non-heterosexual lifestyles. In fact, Christians should stick to helping people and leave public discourse to others.

Ultimately, Julia Baird falls for the false antithesis: disagreement equals hate. Why is Baird propagating such poor logic? The latter may be an expression of the former, but not necessarily. For example, as a parent there are occasions when I disagree with my children’s choices, and yet I still love them. Indeed, love necessitates that I sometimes disagree with them. More than that, Jesus Christ lived and spoke constant love, and yet this love sometimes manifested itself by offering correction to people, even rebuke.

If Christians are to be anything like Jesus we will continue to trust and graciously speak his words, the gospel, and seek to love others as Christ has loved us. As far as John Dickson has tried to emulate his Lord and Saviour, he given us a worthwhile example to follow. It is clearly unpopular, but popularity is often a poor test for what is truly good and right.

What did John Dickson say? Facebook outrage

What was so shocking about a John Dickson post that Facebook found it necessary to delete it? What vindictive or vilifying comment did Rev Dr John Dickson make? What disgusting accusation did he write?

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mug shot of the accused

Here is the full gross hate-filled speech that has caused Facebook to act with swift justice, resurrected from the hidden vaults of a computer’s history:

“I might be wrong, but I think I detect a pattern of argumentation over same-sex marriage that potentially harms LGBTI youth and, yet, is partly the fault of those advocating for gay marriage.

It is true that demeaning insults were once part of the stock language against the LGBTI community in the public square. I can only imagine the damage that did to young (and old) people wrestling with their sexuality. It is a terrible part of our recent history. God, forgive us!

But I haven’t seen many demeaning insults directed at the LGBTI community in the public square in the last few years. Whether on The Project or ABC’s Q&A, it seems that all or most of the intemperate language and spiteful tone comes from advocates of gay marriage, while defenders of classical marriage—even if they are wrong and loopy—seem to have learned to engage in this contest of ideas with respect and civility.

But here is the thing that intrigues me most. At the climax of many of these public debates, as advocates of gay marriage raise their voices and deliver their insults, they frequently declare with unnoticed irony something like, “And this is precisely why we shouldn’t have a national Plebiscite on gay marriage: the discussion is so negative and hate-filled, and it can only reinforce feelings of rejection among LGBTI youth.” They sometimes cite a recent surge in calls to LGBTI helplines to prove it.

But my fear is that by heightening the tone of the debate and reiterating the hatred which classical marriage advocates allegedly have for the LGBTI community, it is advocates of gay marriage themselves who are unwittingly entrenching in young gay and lesbian men and women the sense that there is something wrong with them, that there is a whole segment of Australian society that despises them and sees them as second-class citizens. In short, isn’t it possible that the LGBTI community’s frequent claims of being a despised minority are exacerbating feelings of being hated among LGBTI youth?

But imagine an alternative scenario. If gay marriage advocates chose tomorrow to emphasise in public debate that it’s entirely possible to disagree with same-sex marriage and be deeply respectful of LGBTI people, isn’t it possible that young gays and lesbians listening in would be spared some of the harm this debate could cause? If calm and civil discussion was the order of the day, instead of tribalism and slurs, wouldn’t LGBTI youth feel better about who they are and less ‘under attack’ from other segments of society?

I realise I see all this through the lenses of classical Christian convictions and centuries of social power. I have tried to assess my motives and look at it from the perspective of others. But I am left wondering if gay marriage advocates bear as much responsibility as traditional marriage advocates for ensuring that LGBTI youth are not harmed in the lead up to the Plebiscite.”

The offence is as easy to spot as a Facebook algorithm…well, no, it’s not.

Facebook stipulates that,

“We remove content, disable accounts and work with law enforcement when we believe that there is a genuine risk of physical harm or direct threats to public safety. Learn more about how Facebook handles abusive content.”

Fair enough, but where are any of those things in John’s post? Perhaps someone wrote a comment in the thread, so appalling that it required the entire discussion to be erased? Unfortunately the entire discussion has been deleted and so we cannot verify, although I did read many of the comments while the thread was still available and I only read civil dialogue, even when disagreement was proffered.

No one is surprised by the fact that Facebook contains millions of appalling groups, pages, comments, and images; things that are truly sickening and derogatory, toward all kinds of peoples. If Facebook was genuinely concerned with bullish, defamatory and hateful speech, perhaps they might consider visiting the pages of some football clubs, or ABC’s QandA, or The Age newspaper (I’m referring to comments posted by members of the public).

Let us be clear, John has raised a reasonable question, one based on valid observations about current conversations on LGBT issues. He was not preaching a message; he offered an opinion and then asked what other people thought. He was respectful, and called for  ‘calm and civil discussion’. He made it clear (at the end of his original post) that he would delete any harmful comments. As anyone can see for themselves, John expresses concern for LGBT people, and bemoans the fact that too often debate on SSM resorts to insults.

And yet, Facebook determined to have this respectful conversation taken down. Why? At this point in time Facebook have not responded to John’s enquiry, nor that of others who have written and asked questions.

The famous American Chef, Anthony Bourdain once said, “I don’t have to agree with you to like you or respect you.”

It appears as though Facebook is joining the league of those who haven’t read Bourdain’s recipe!

Disallowing serious and legitimate discourse is not a sign of a mature society, but of a regressive culture that has become enslaved to an absolutist and oppressive ideolog. This is increasingly the case in Western societies as we see politicians,  media personalities, and entertainers insist the population adhere to their self-defined and unprovable moral truths. The fact that their definitions frequently change doesn’t get in the way of them demanding unquestionable allegiance. Under such a system it is irrelevant whether one speaks with compassion and clarity, and with evidence and grace; it is enough that the secularist’s sexual proclivity has been questioned.

We are somewhat stunned by Facebook’s actions, but let’s remember, this is nothing new. During his life Athanasius found himself exiled 5 times for speaking his views. William Tyndale was burnt alive for giving the English people the Bible in their own language, and John Bunyan had freedom of speech snatched from him and a prison cell given instead. This is not the first time in history when sensible speech has been censored, and it won’t be the last. Yes, it is irrational and intolerant, but such was the experience of the gentlest, most loving, rational, gracious man to have ever walked the earth, Jesus Christ.  The full beauty of glory of God dwells in Him, and yet the world disdained his talk of peace and love, and people despised the fact that he showed grace toward people, even those with him he strongly disagreed.

With perspective, last night’s actions by Facebook are pretty small, but they are certainly symptomatic of a broader issue that ought to concern not only Christians but all people who believe in fair, truth-seeking, and respectful debate.

Respectful Relationships?

I agree with Daniel Andrews’ recent comments about the evils of domestic violence in our society, and I laud the Victorian Government for adopting strong measures to support victims and convict perpetrators. Domestic violence is a dreadful, dreadful thing: Sexual, physical, emotional, and material abuse is never justified.

In August 2015, Daniel Andrews announced that the program replacing SRI in schools would be Respectful Relationships, which has been introduced into secondary schools, and will be compulsory from kindergarten to year 10 in 2017.

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There are many things to like in the curriculum, but oddly, a significant portion of the material has little to do with domestic violence, but is teaching children how to find partners and have sex.

For example, year 8 students are asked to write an ad, describing what qualities they would like to find in a partner. Is it appropriate to ask 12 and 13 year old children what kind of sexual relationship that would like to have?  Is it healthy for children to be directed to online dating sites, and given examples, such as these found in the curriculum?:

‘hot gay gal 19 yo seeks outgoing fem 18-25 into nature, sport and nightlife for friendship and relationship’

‘lustful, sexually generous funny and (sometimes shy) Tiger1962 seeking sexy freak out with similar intentioned woman.’

Not only are young teenagers taught about what to look for in a partner, they are taught what to seek in sex, and they are taught what to believe about sexuality, even to explore and affirm alternative sexual orientations.

As one of the year 8 sessions explains, it is designed to,

“enable students to explore the concept of gender and the associated notions and expectations that have an impact on sexuality. It also provides them with the opportunity to connect issues of gender to different positions of power central to adolescent sexual behaviour. The activity also aims to extend their understanding of gender by exploring traditional notions of gender in a case study that examines the experience of a young transsexual person.”

Much of the ensuing material explores broadening the horizons of sexual relationships, with the determination of deconstructing the “narrow” view of gender.

It may surprise some people to learn that children can legally have sex in Victoria from the age of 12 (younger in some States), so long as it is consensual and the other person(s) is within the legal age bracket. This may be lawful, but I suspect many parents would be shocked to learn that schools teach our children it is okay for them to engage in sexual intercourse at such a young age.

We are fooling ourselves if we think that exposing children to these ideas will not result in influencing sexual and social behaviour. The fact that Respectful Relationships makes consent unequivocal (a vital point) does not mean the activity is therefore good and okay for the child.

Also astonishing is what is missing. In a curriculum teaching relationships and sex, marriage receives almost no mention. Why is that? Marriage is mentioned on a ‘character card’ where Stephen, a 16 year old Christian attending a Christian college, believes sex should only take place within marriage between a man and woman (got to love the pastiche Christian example!). And there is Maria, a 15 year old girl who doesn’t want to wait for marriage before experiencing sex. Otherwise, marriage is only mentioned as a power structure behind which domestic violence occurs. What a sad and miserable view of marriage. I understand there are marriages where appalling abuse happens, and in my work I have ministered to victims from such circumstances. But marriage is designed to be, and often is, a beautiful thing, and it remains the best model for loving and caring intimate relationships in society.

Is it not a wonderful thing when a couple covenant together for life, ‘for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and health, to love and to cherish’?

There is much sensible and good advice offered in Respectful Relationships, which could be easily taught without the intrusion of particular views on sexuality and without exposing young children to ideas that blemish their innocence. It is a travesty that the issue of domestic violence has been taken captive by sexual libertarian ideology.

Is it the role of Government to absolutise onto children a theory about gender that is disputable and widely contentious? James Merlino has made it clear that this curriculum is to be compulsory in Victorian schools; I wonder, is forcing explicit sexual language and ideas onto children, moral or even legal?

Far from solving the unspeakable horrors of domestic violence, it is ultimately presenting a different version of the me-centric vision of the world. Author, Tim Keller writes, ‘It is possible to feel you are “madly in love” with someone, when it is really just an attraction to someone who can meet your needs and address the insecurities and doubts you have about yourself. In that kind of relationship, you will demand and control rather than serve and give.’ 

Instead of leaning on a failed sexual revolution in order to find a way forward on domestic violence, would we not serve our children better  if we considered a paradigm of sacrifice and service, and where living for the good of others is esteemed more highly than our own gratification?

Topsy Turvy Sexuality?

Australians are now part of the world of topsy-turvy sexuality; gender is fluid and yet the alphabet of carefully defined sexual orientations grows longer. Our children are now taught in school that gender is not bound by biology and yet the same programs encourage boys and girls to be separated for classes dealing with sex.

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Rabbit or Duck Sculpture

The clarion call of 2016 is that there is no normal when it comes to gender and sexuality, indeed believing so is heresy, and yet when it comes to the teacher’s manual for Respectful Relationships, the Education Department of Victoria strongly suggest ‘single-sex groups’, and ‘male educators’.

Why? According to the Department there are inherent differences between males and females, not only biological and physical differences, but emotional and social differences, such that it ought to influence the way we talk about domestic violence in the classroom.

For example, while mixed gender groups are not dismissed,  multiple reasons are offered as to why single-sex groups may be preferred:

“Both males and females may be more comfortable and expressive in single-sex groups. In sexuality education, for example, there is evidence that young people can be uncomfortable when asked to discuss sexual matters in front of members of the other sex and reluctant to fully participate in sessions held in a mixed-sex environment.

– Mixed-sex discussions can become polarised.

– Working in single-sex groups can minimise the harmful, gendered forms of interaction that are common in mixed-sex groups.

• Girls and women with prior histories of sexual assault may experience mixed-gender workshops as revictimisation, while potential male perpetrators may misuse information on how girls and women can reduce their risk of assault.

• There is some evidence that female and male participants prefer single-sex workshops. Research on violence prevention education among men in particular tends to emphasise the need for male-only groups, for example because:

• men are more comfortable, less defensive and more honest in all male groups

• men are less likely to talk openly in the presence of women

– single-sex groups reveal a diversity of opinions among men that may not be expressed when women are present

• men may be more prepared to reveal, and thus reflect critically, on sexist and abusive histories in all-male settings

• men’s attitudes and behaviour are shaped in powerful ways by their male peers, and male–male influence can be harnessed for positive ends in all-male groups

• there may be greater opportunity to discuss and craft roles for males in ending sexism and violence.

At the same time, there are clear benefits for mixed-sex groups. In particular, they:

• create opportunities for dialogue between females and males regarding gender, sexuality, violence and relationships, fostering cross-gender understanding and alliance

• create opportunities for males to listen to females regarding these issues”

This recognition of male and female differences also affects the question of who should facilitate these Respectful Relationships classes:

“Gender of teaching staff?

Most violence prevention educators in Australia are female, reflecting women’s much higher levels of participation and employment in services, agencies and community efforts addressing men’s violence against women. However, as engaging boys in violence prevention has become more prominent and as men’s roles have received increasing emphasis, there has also been some emphasis on the need for work with boys and young men to be conducted by male facilitators in particular. Arguments for using male facilitators and peer educators when working with all-male audiences include the following:

• Given the benefits of all-male groups or classes (see the discussion under ‘Curriculum structure’ above); male educators or facilitators are a necessary complement to this.

• Male educators and participants can act as role-models for other men.

• Male educators possess an insider’s knowledge of the workings of masculinity and can use this to critical advantage with male audiences.

• Male educators tend to be perceived as more credible and more persuasive by male participants.

• The use of male educators embodies the recognition that men must take responsibility for helping to end men’s violence against women. However, female facilitators can work very effectively with boys and men, and there are benefits to women and men working together.

Such partnerships demonstrate to participants a model of egalitarian working relationships across gender; they model women’s and men’s shared interest in non-violence and gender justice; they give men opportunities to hear of women’s experiences and concerns and to further mobilise their care for the women and girls in their own lives; and they enhance accountability to women and women’s services.

The argument that work with girls and young women should be conducted by female facilitators in particular has been made less often, perhaps as this is the norm anyway, given women’s overrepresentation in the violence prevention field. Nevertheless, it is supported by similar arguments to those above and by earlier arguments for single-sex groups per se.

Simplistic assumptions about ‘matching’ educators and participants, for example by sex, may not address the complex interactions and negotiations that take place regarding a range of forms of social difference, from age and ethnicity to class and sexuality. Indeed, sharing a biological sex is no guarantee of individuals’ compatibility, given males’ and females’ diverse gender identities and relations. In any case, there may be practical constraints on ‘matching’ educators, particularly when it comes to working with boys and young men.

Therefore, while there are valuable arguments for matching the sex of the educator(s) and their students in violence prevention and respectful relationships classes, this report suggests that programs have clear rationales for, or at least a critical understanding of, their use of female or male staff.”

The document is revealing because it presents a teaching methodology that contradicts the teaching material. The authors acknowledge there are real differences between males and females which extend beyond biology and which are not necessarily social constructs.  Indeed, one could say, it is normal. In fact, the authors are left, almost having to justify exceptions to this pattern, saying, ‘here’s what works, but we understand you may want to try things differently’.

No matter how hard sexual deconstructionists try to bend or even remove the parameters of the two genders, we inevitably return to them like fish to water.  I am not saying that there aren’t people who have genuine struggles and even dysphoria, but if gender is as fluid as some are arguing, why did these education experts think it pertinent to provide such specific guidelines, taking into account marked differences between boys and girls? Are they simply reinforcing archaic stereotypes? Or is it the case, that despite pressures to conform to the current mood on sexual thinking, it is impossible to altogether abandon what we know to be true, that boys are boys, and girls are girls:  both are equal and yet different.