(note for those seeing this first. this is a rough draft and will be updated with annotations & hyper-links)
One of the things parents of GenZ will need to do to help their kids navigate our cultural landscape, is help students deconstruct over simplified narratives presented to them that are used to bully, shame, or emotionally manipulate those who disagree into compliance.
They are growing up at a time where the voices they hear present a very binary narrative, “you either support X or you are hateful.” I have personally observed, whenever I talk about certain issues, that many young people are resolved, they are resolute, that if you don’t have the same position they they have embraced, you are suspect at best, hateful at worst.
Parents are going to have become students, not only of culture, of movements within culture, but of how the media frames issues to your student through entertainment and social media in order to help kids deconstruct those assumptions and narratives and help them think clearly and ultimately, lovingly.
There is probably no issue where the Love / Hate narrative can be so clearly observed than gender identity. The ideas, or dogma, of gender ideology has trickled down from activists, to cultural influencers, and into our classrooms with very little pushback or critical assessment by the adults in charge. The love/hate narrative has been wielded preemptively and quite successfully to suppress dissent and coerce support.
Earlier this year, an elementary school admin was confronted with controversial book recommendations to kids in their preschool, reportedly said, “we just want to err on being loving.”
And there you have it! Case closed, no discussion, no introspection. Pointing preschoolers to books that imply that they may have been born in the wrong body, or the unscientific notion that doctors “guess” if a baby is a boy or girl, is not a loving thing to do.
My observation, as someone who has talked to teachers, counselors, and even the Commissioner of Education for Kentucky, is that many of the adults making policy have not really thought it through, they are floating along with the group think, knowing that if you question it or challenge it, it would leave them open to the criticism of being hateful, or unsafe.
A healthy contrast to the binary here is the robust discussion going on across the Ocean in Europe. When society rejects the love / hate binary on this gender discussion… actual discussion takes place. Imagine that.
Interestingly, it is not the right wing politicians who are the loudest, but many and prominent progressive feminists (like JK Rowling) who have forced their society that saw a 4000% increase in youth wanting sex reassignment intervention, to ask, “is this good?” “Is this wise?” “is this loving?”
Many of these feminist (often called terfs) are campaigning for sex-based rights, the right for raped women to not have to share a shelter with a biological male, or for a homeless woman to not share a room with a male, or for women to not have to risk injury in sports, or relinquish awards & championships to males they must now compete against.
It is also, the researchers who have been fired for contending for biological reality. It’s the child psychologists & endocrinologists who have blown the whistle on activism which has hijacked good medicine and psychology. Whistleblowing that led to the Cass report and the closing of the largest gender clinic in England, Tavistock.
Its LGB activists, surprisingly to some, who argue that society is “transing the gay away”.
It’s even transgender adults who say, “this is out of control. I had dysphoria, this is a social contagion leading kids to irreversible damage”
It is the legions of detransitioning young women who’ve had their breasts removed, their voices changed, their fertility compromised, coming out and letting people know that all of the “safe” people who cheer led their transition, were in fact, not safe. Kiera Bell, transitioned & had a double mastectomy, then realized it was a horrible mistake, sued the NH, who had since changed the policy of giving puberty blockers to kids. She said, there was no responsible adult telling me anything other than move forward.
In Europe, some the most affirming countries like Sweden are tapping the breaks on gender ideology.
Is it because all of the sudden these countries have become hateful? No, they are pausing examine if what they though was loving and helpful is actually unloving and hurtful.
Certainly, the conversation is happening here. It does tend to be a politically right vs. left issue here. But that is another completely unnecessary binary in which to frame the issue. Because, as you can read in Priscilla Schrier’s book, “Irreversible Damage”, many very progressive LGBT affirming parents were gob smacked and how their kids were fast tracked toward social and medical transition and were the victims of this love / hate binary to shame them into compliance.
I’ve studied the new gender movement for several year, and I’ve even spoken on it at multiple Christian conferences. But, almost all of the people I follow on this to become informed are not necessarily Christian or politically right-wing people who generally speak to the choir, but secular people, including atheists, and feminists who have been “peaked”. “Peaked” or “peaking” is a word that is most often used in England to describe someone who was otherwise really progressive politically, but was “peaked”, meaning there was a moment when they realized that going along with gender ideology was not loving, was not scientific, and does more harm than good. They essentially deconstructed the binary of love / hate and came to the realization that they were lied to and that it is not so simple.
Parents, one thing you may have to do with your GenZ students, especially if they are already in high school, and more likely if they are girls, is help them “peak” to begin the deconstruction of the narratives they have consumed. That includes conversations about rigid stereotypes that lead girls to think they aren’t girls, to medical harm, to psychology harm, societal harm done by redefining what it is to be a man or woman, to justice about women’s spaces and places. Once they’ve been peaked, they will see the harm everywhere they look and you’ll see that the love / hate binary was an illusion and actually a weapon wielded by activists so that their ideology could go unchecked in culture. Hopefully they will see that celebrating gender ideology, and participating in its various religious rights (such as pronoun declarations) can be an unhelpful thing to their neighbors.
Post-script: One thing that will not help us help out kids break down the love / hate binary on the issue, is speaking about it in an unloving way. I have no animosity for kids wresting with gender confusion, I have truck loads of sympathy for it. In fact, my indignation about the subject is fueled by love and compassion for those kids. So, there needs to be harmony between our words and actions, if young people are to believe that we are being loving, though in a way the culture does not appreciate.
Post-script 2: You’ll notice in this article that there is no reference to this passage of Scripture or that passage of Scripture. That is by design. With GenZ I’ve noticed that on some cultural issues there can be a strategic benefit to not immediately appealing to the authority of Scripture to make a case on a cultural issue. I could certainly quote Jesus’ affirmation that God’s design is male and female, and that it aligns with science. But some GenZ students who have dug their heals in, it can be helpful to point them to common ground religious and secular people have on a issue of social concern or justice.