Elections 2023
Ethical theory

Ion Mittler:  Christian sexology
2   Gender
Gender: a bodytype or a social essence?
Gender concepts in biology
Gametic sex, based on reproductive cells
Genotypic sex, based on chromosomes
Phenotypic sex, based on genitals
Gender in the Bible era
Gender in the Old Testament
Gender in ancient Egypt
Gender in the New Testament
Gender in Roman empire
Comparison of three ancient societies
Gender concepts in the modern era
Bodytype in modern thinking
A person’s social essence in modern thinking
—— Hermaphrodites in 17th and 18th century England
—— A social essence fully independent from one’s bodytype
—— Social self-expression and social identity
—— Is social identity a proclivity or a choice?
—— Legal gender
—— 93 different social identities
—— Ideology of social genders and anti-gender movement
—— Misgendering
BSUG/MOW classification of bodytype and social essence
Bodytype (BSUG)
Social essence (MOW)
Legal gender (mow)
Typical persons: BM man and GW woman
Various persons, according to BSUG/MOW classification
Problems related to self-identification of gender
Ethical questions related to trans-bodiedness
Trans essence as alternative to trans-bodiedness
The roles of social genders
Gender: a bodytype or a social essence?
Since the 1970’s such a convention has become popular in English language, that the word “sex” means a person’s physical bodytype, and “gender” means one’s social essence, or according to the original definition, the “role” in which the person lives in the society.[1]
1 Wikipedia 2022. Gender, subtitle History of the concept. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gender#History_of_the_concept [25.10.2022].
Social essence (or ”gender”) is a concept, by which people nowadays mean masculine or feminine clothing or beautification (regardless of which bodytype one’s genitals belong to), and the convention of being called a “man” or “woman” (or some other alternative). The concept can also mean behaviour that is typical for a man or woman — if anyone is still found among the supporters of the theory of social genders, who is ready to admit that there are differences in the behaviour of man and woman. (The theory was originally compiled based on such observations, though.[2])
2 Wikipedia 2022. John Money, subtitle Books on sexology. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Money#Books_on_sexology [4.11.2022].
There is some debate in the society nowadays, what the concept of “gender” should mean with sole rights, so that other meanings would no longer be permissible. There is also debate, whether the words “man” or “woman” mean a person’s bodytype or social essence.
It has started to become more common in the legislations of countries that legal gender means a social identity, which makes no assumptions about one’s bodytype, and not necessarily one’s social essence either. This would be problematic in sexology or medicine, as in these sciences one’s bodytype is crucially important information, but one’s social identity is usually a moot point of secondary importance.
If a person was born as a girl, but later one’s physical bodytype has been modified to be boyish, so that that one’s vagina region has been surgically shaped to look like a penis esthetically, from the viewpoint of medical science one still has the body of a girl. Many such statistics and facts would not apply to this person, which apply to people who have had a penis since birth.
For statistics and other data to be true with a precision that is required in science, it is necessary to use such terminology, which is not based on a person’s current legal gender, nor on the shape or type of one’s genitals at this moment. It cannot be left unclear for the reader of a text in the field of sexology or medicine, what characteristics the persons have that the statistics or data concern.
In this work I use the word “gender” usually to mean a societal legal concept, or other such meanings of the word “gender”, which are not contested by any significant party at the moment. For the disputed meanings I avoid the term “gender” altogether, and use other terms instead, such as “social essence”, for example.
With this solution I try to avoid the discussion being stuck in unnecessary debates about the meanings of words, which are not even mentioned in the Bible, by adopting new terminology, whose meaning is not under debate (at least for the time being). In modern Hebrew, physical sex and social gender are both ”mīn”. This word was taken from the Bible, but it is never used with the meaning “sex” or “gender” in the Bible. It always means the species of animals or plants.[3]
3 Bible Hub ca. 2007. 4327 min. https://biblehub.com/hebrew/4327.htm [28.10.2022].
There are also debates about the meaning of concepts “man” and “woman”, on similar grounds. In the text of this work I strive to make it possible for the reader to conclude without any doubt, whether a term referring to a man or woman means one’s bodytype, social essence, or both of them together.
I describe a person’s bodytype with the word “girl” or “boy”, and a person’s social essence with the term “manly” or “womanly”.
With the words ”man” or “woman” I refer to a combination of bodytype and social essence: a person who has a boy’s bodytype and a manly social essence, or a person who has a girl’s bodytype and a womanly social essence. A similar convention is used in the text of the Bible, and in nearly all literature before the 1970’s. Also the background research for this work contains many interviews of ordinary people, in which people use the terms “man” and “woman” in the traditional meaning of these words, referring to a combination of bodytype and social essence in the afore-mentioned way.
Legal gender, which is registered by the state authorities, is sometimes independent from the person’s bodytype and social essence, so it needs terminology of its own. In this book I usually refer to a person’s legal gender with the expressions “judicial man” or “man-in-law”, and “judicial woman” or “woman-in-law”.
When written in quotation marks, any word can mean anything, however. If I write that the legislation of Finland has the legal genders “man” and “woman”, here these words refer to the official names of the categories. The terms are in quotation marks to indicate that their meaning can be different from the meaning of these words in such discussion, where the intention is that each term has a clearly defined and limited meaning.
Gender concepts in biology
Gametic sex, based on reproductive cells
Heterosexual beings have two sexes in reproductive biology: male and female. A being can also be sexless, so practically there are three categories of sex.
The gametic sex is based on whether the being (when healthy and in a fertile age) produces large reproductive cells (which means it is a female), or much smaller reproductive cells (which means it is a male), or neither of them, which means that the being is sexless.[4]
4 Komonen, Atte 2020. Biologinen sukupuoli. Tieteessä Tapahtuu, 38(1). https://journal.fi/tt/article/view/89802 [29.10.2022].
For reproductive biology a human is male, if he has testicles that produce sperm cells (when the person is healthy and in a fertile age). A human is female, if she has ovaries that produce egg cells. If a human were born without testicles and ovaries, the person would be gametically sexless, from the viewpoint of reproductive biology.
In society we are interested in a human mainly for other reasons, and based on other characteristics, than the ability to produce sex cells for reproduction.
Genotypic sex, based on chromosomes
In the biology of humans, a man’s chromosomes are usually of type 46-XY, and a woman’s chromosomes are of type 46-XX. These chromosome combinations correlate strongly with other concepts of sex or gender, so the sex of a human can often be concluded from the chromosomes. Not in all cases, however.
There are rare cases, where a girl can have the typical 46-XY chromosomes of a boy, but she is indisputably a girl nevertheless, what comes to her body and genitals.[5] If one’s sex were defined based on chromosomes only, her genotypic sex would be boy. But there are no characteristics of a boy in her body. For this reason chromosomes are not very meaningful criteria for defining the sex of a human.
5 Wikipedia 2022. XY gonadal dysgenesis. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/XY_gonadal_dysgenesis [29.10.2022].
In very rare cases the chromosomes of a human can be of type 47-XXY, 47-XXX, 47-XYY, 48-XXYY, 48-XXXY, 48-XXXX, 49-XXXXY or 49-XXXXX. A human can have an unusual combination of chromosomes so that one is not even aware of being “unusual”.[6] One can live a perfectly normal life as a man or woman, and no one whom this person has met has ever noticed anything unusual. Not even medical doctors.
6 The Focus Foundation staff ca. 2022. X & Y Chromosomal Variations Are Common But Frequently Undiagnosed. The Focus Foundation. https://thefocusfoundation.org/x-y-chromosomal-variations/ [29.10.2022].
Some deviations of chromosomes cause symptoms, which give medical doctors a reason to suspect that there is something unusual in the person’s body. Some chromosome deviations cause severe health effects, others have very mild symptoms, and some are completely symptomless.
The modern society is not much interested in chromosomes as the basis for defining a person’s sex. There is no intention to define people separately as 46-XY men and 47-XXY men: both of these are simply “men”, who look outwardly similar, and live an approximately similar social life.
Phenotypic sex, based on genitals
In the biology of humans, a newborn child can be stated as a boy by bodytype (that is, the sex based on the phenotype of genitals), if he has a quite typical-looking penis and testicles. He probably has a prostate too, but this cannot be detected from outside of the body.
A newborn child can be stated as a girl by bodytype, if she has quite typical-looking genitals of a girl. She probably has also a womb and ovaries, which cannot be detected from outside of the body.
Approximately one child in 4500 is born as a so unclear case, what comes to the shape of genitals, that the doctor needs to examine the matter more closely, and possibly also discuss with the child’s parents, which binary sex will be defined for the child, and will any surgical esthetic procedures be done on the child’s genitals.[7]
7 Ogilvy-Stuart, Amanda L 2004. Early assessment of ambiguous genitalia. Arch Dis Child 2004;89, sivut 401–407. https://adc.bmj.com/content/archdischild/89/5/401.full.pdf [24.10.2022].
In structurally unclear cases a girl’s clitoris can be so large that it looks like a penis, or a boy’s penis can be so small that it looks like a clitoris, and the testicles may remain deep inside the body.[8] In such cases the doctor needs to carefully examine the child’s anatomy, to find out whether the child has a girl’s or a boy’s genitals.
8 Yau, Mabel & Gujral, Jasmine & New, Maria I 2019. Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia: Diagnosis and Emergency Treatment. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK279085/ [29.10.2022].
Human societies have followed such thinking throughout history, nearly without exception, that each human has been defined as belonging to one of the two binary sexes, no matter how unclear and ambiguous the shape of one’s genitals is.
Gender in the Bible era
This text cites the law of Moses quite often, but only such places that are relevant in the tradition of Christian moral doctrine. Some things related to sexuality or gender in the law of Moses are cited systematically, while some other topics are completely ignored: most probably the punishments, or any rules that are related to something else than a voluntarily agreed marriage between one man and one woman.
This gives some historical perspective to Judeo-Christian moral thinking, but does not necessarily mean that the law of Moses would be in force[9] to any extent in the era of Christianity.[10] The moral doctrine of Christianity and its relationship to the law of Moses is examined more extensively in chapter “Ethics, moral doctrine and Bible interpretation”.
9 Lauterbach, Jason 2020. Jesus did not abolish the law of Moses. Stay Biblical. https://www.staybiblical.com/jesus-did-not-abolish-the-law/ [5.11.2022].
10 Manzon, Norman ca. 2015. The Abolition of the Law. The Bible Study Project. https://www.biblestudyproject.org/bible-study-library/the-christian-and-the-law-of-moses/part-1-the-abolition-of-the-law/ [5.11.2022].
Gender in the Old Testament
The Bible emphasizes a worldview that is based on two binary genders, in the social life of humans and many animals:
Genesis 1:27 ”Male and female He created them.”[11]
11 In Hebrew: “Zaķar w neqevah baraa otam.”
The law of Moses has also a third such social category, which is based on the qualities of a person’s body: eunuch, in Hebrew ”sarīs”. This meant a man whose genitals have remarkably defective functionality, for some reason:
Deuteronomy 23:1 ”One harmed by crushing [the testicles] or one cut off of his penis may not come to the assembly of Yahweh.”[12]
12 In Hebrew: “Loë yavoë peźūà-dakkaa w kerūt-šofķah bi qehal Yahweh.”
The wording used in the law of Moses seems to refer only to such injuries in the genitals, which have been caused violently through human action. According to the traditional Jewish interpretation also such men are ”sarīses”, whose genitals have some defect since birth.[13] Jesus represents such interpretation too, and mentions this social category after He had just talked with the Pharisees about God having created the human as man and woman:
13 Hirsch, Emil G & Nowack, Wilhelm & Schechter, Solomon & Seligsohn, M 1906. Eunuch. The Jewish Encyclopedia. Funk and Wagnalls Company. https://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/5904-eunuch [24.10.2022].
Matthew 19:12 ”For there are eunuchs, who since mother’s womb were born that way, and there are eunuchs, who were made eunuchs by people.”[14]
14 In Greek: “Eisin gar eunouchoi, hoitines ek koilias mētros egennēthēsan houtōs, kai eisin eunouchoi, hoitines eunouchisthēsan hypo tōn anthrōpōn.”
Some English Bibles translate the Hebrew word ”sarīs” as “eunuch”, while some translate it as “officer”. Court lord was a typical profession of eunuchs in Middle Eastern cultures, where a king who had many wives needed guards who could be trusted that they will not have sex with the king’s wives.
In theory it is possible that some court lords were not incapable of having sex, though this was a quality that many polygamous kings required from the guards of their harems. Potifar, a court lord of the Egyptian pharaoh, was a ”sarīs”, but he had a wife nevertheless. His wife wanted to have sex with Joseph, however, and tried to beg for it day after day.[15] It remains unclear, whether the reason was that she had been given as wife to a man who was unable to have sex.
15 Old Testament. Genesis 39:6–10.
The law of Moses does not forbid a eunuch from getting married, neither does the definition of eunuch require that the person is incapable of having sex. In order to get married, thre is no requirement that the person is able to have sex.
What comes to a person who was born as eunuch, sufficient criteria was that one’s genitals had very unusual features esthetically. If one of a man’s two testicles is defective, according to traditional Jewish interpretation it would be enough to define his social category as eunuch.[16] The law of Moses does not clarify, whether it suffices to cause a person’s social category to be “eunuch”, if he has some defect in one testicle only.
16 Hirsch, Emil G & Nowack, Wilhelm & Schechter, Solomon & Seligsohn, M 1906. Eunuch. The Jewish Encyclopedia. Funk and Wagnalls Company. https://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/5904-eunuch [24.10.2022].
Elsewhere the law of Moses contains conditions for being qualified to work as a priest in the temple, on the basis that they should have a completely faultless body, without a defect of any kind.[17] For that reason the traditional Jewish interpretation seems quite possible, that a defect in one testicle might possibly have been enough to define a man’s social category as eunuch. In that case some eunuchs would have been perfectly ordinary men, what comes to their sexual abilities. However, such a man would not have been a particularly interesting option to be hired as a harem guard for a polygamous king.
17 Old Testament. Leviticus 21:18–21.
A child born with an unclear bodytype during the law of Moses era was probably defined as a girl, if her genitals looked such that when she will be a grown-up adult, she will probably be able to have sex in the role of a woman. In other unclear cases the born child was probably defined as a ”sarīs”, who was thought to be a boy of some kind.
Shortcomings in the functionality of testicles and in testosterone production made many sarīses beardless and distinctively feminine in physiology.[18] They stood out in their outward appearance from men in the society of Israel, where nearly every adult man had a beard. The appearance of such sarīses may not have differed from women so much, but they were apparently assumed to be more men than women, what comes to genitals.
18 Franklin, James L 2010. The Castrati, a physician’s perspective, part 2. Hektoen International Journal, vol. 2 issue 3 2010. Hektoen Institute of Medicine. https://hekint.org/2017/01/30/the-castrati-a-physicians-perspective-part-2/ [27.10.2022].
The society in the Bible is an emphatically heterosexual world of men and women, but for this to be possible in practice, a third category was needed for the persons who didn’t fit in the physiological ideal of a man or a woman, accurately enough. Only a small number of such persons existed innately, not more than a few hundred in the population of some two million. It is difficult to estimate, how many were the “sarīses” produced by human action.
With whom were these “sarīses” allowed to get married and have sex? An unclear appearance of the genitals doesn’t mean that the person might not be able and willing to have sex, at some point in one’s life. According to Jewish tradition a ”sarīs” was allowed to get married, at least with a foreigner.[19] And why not, as the law of Moses didn’t expressly prohibit this.
19 Hirsch, Emil G & Nowack, Wilhelm & Schechter, Solomon & Seligsohn, M 1906. Eunuch. The Jewish Encyclopedia. Funk and Wagnalls Company. https://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/5904-eunuch [24.10.2022].
Gender in ancient Egypt
Already 100 years before Joseph and Potifar (ca. 2000 BC), the legislation of ancient Egypt had the same three social categories as the law of Moses, which are based on a person’s bodily features: woman, man and eunuch.[20] Did ancient Egypt and the law of Moses have a system of three “genders”? It depends on what we want to mean with the concept of gender. The Bible does not contain the word “gender” even once.
20 Wikipedia 2022. Third gender, subtitle Egypt. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Third_gender#Egypt [24.10.2022].
Genesis 39:1 ”Potifar, a eunuch of the pharaoh, the chief of bodyguards, an Egyptian man.”[21]
21 In Hebrew: ”Pōŧīfar, serīs paròh, śar ha ŧabbaȟīm, īš miźrī.”
The words “man” and “eunuch” are used for the pharaoh’s court lord Potifar, in the same phrase. In the grammar of Old and New Testament, eunuchs are always referred to with a masculine expression, and most eunuchs were undeniably men by origin. At least in Israel people apparently didn’t think eunuchs to be “the third gender”, in the sense that they would not be men at the same time. It was a social category for such persons, who were not thought to be perhaps able to produce healthy descendants into the society.
Gender in the New Testament
Jesus mentions that some people have made a ”sarīs” of themselves of their own will:
Matthew 19:12 ”And there are eunuchs, who have made a eunuch of themselves for the sake of the kingdom of heavens. Who is capable of approving, let him approve.”[22]
22 In Greek: ”Kai eisin eunouchoi, hoitines eunouchisan heautous dia tēn basileian tōn ouranōn. Ho dynamenos chōrein, chōreitō.”
Jesus mentions this only briefly and nonchalantly, without explaining more precisely, what benefit or harm such a radical decision would cause, and without expressing moral reprehension or approval very clearly. What does Jesus mean as He says: ”who is capable of approving, let him approve”? What should a person approve: such a physical condition for oneself, or such a physical condition in another person?
The law of Moses doesn’t forbid a person from seeking to become a sarīs, so Jesus had no need to warn people not to break the law in this matter. It would have been considerate, if the law of Moses forbade people from making another person a sarīs, against one’s will. This aspect is included in the commandment “love your neighbour as yourself”, but in practice the society doesn’t function too well at the mercy of such a generic principle: each thing that we want people to avoid doing, needs to be specifically forbidden in the law.
Jesus mentions that sarīses were produced also intentionally, not all of them were born that way.[23] The population of Israel was maybe around 2 million at the time of Jesus.[24] If one born child out of 5000 had an unclear bodytype, there would have been some 400 persons born as sarīses in Israel. Kings and the rich may have had the need for a larger number of trusted personal servants.
23 New Testament. Matthew 19:12.
24 Wikipedia 2022. Historical Jewish population comparisons. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Historical_Jewish_population_comparisons [27.10.2022].
Gender in Roman empire
In the New Testament era, Israel was part of the Roman empire. The Roman law had two binary sexes or genders, and three bodytypes, similarly as in the law of Moses. The third bodytype, which was for persons who didn’t have sufficiently typical-looking genitals of a girl or boy, was called “hermaphrodite”. The category of this bodytype was philosophically neutral on the girl vs. boy axis.
According to Roman law, a hermaphrodite had to be defined as a man or woman by the binary gender, based on whether one’s genitals had an appearance more similar to the genitals of a girl or a boy. The legal rights and responsibilities of the person were based on the binary gender.[25] The situation may have been similar also in the law of Moses, concerning a sarīs. The law of Moses does not clarify this.
25 Wikipedia 2022. Sex assignment, subtitle History. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sex_assignment#History [29.10.2022].
Comparison of three ancient societies
Now as we have examined the historical categories of ”man”, ”woman” and an unclear third bodytype in three societies that are mentioned in the Bible (ancient Egypt, kingdom of Israel and Rome), we can evaluate, how these concepts would be classified in modern thinking.
In all these three societies the thinking is based on the perception of two ideal bodytypes: a faultless man (boy) and woman (girl). Also a third bodytype category has been defined (eunuch, sarīs or hermaphrodite) for the quite rare cases, which don’t clearly represent either of the two ideal bodytypes, or whose genitals have suffered significant injuries at some point in life.
Each person was defined as belonging to one of two binary physical sexes: either a man or a woman. In Egypt and Israel a eunuch or sarīs was probably always defined as a ”man”. At least the Bible doesn’t mention any cases, where a sarīs would have been defined as a “woman” by the binary sex, as could have been done under the Roman law. The Roman law required to define, whether a person with a hermaphrodite bodytype was a “man” or “woman” by binary sex.
We don’t know if all hermaphrodites, who would have been defined as “women” under the Roman law, would have been defined as “women” in ancient Israel, or if some of them would have been defined as “sarīses” and some as “women”. The criteria, by which the bodytype of a born child was defined in unclear cases, is not included in the texts of the law of Moses. Such knowledge has been passed on as tradition, from mouth to mouth.
There were three categories of social essence: man, woman, and a third alternative (eunuch, sarīs or hermaphrodite). Each bodytype formed also a category of social essence. People with the third bodytype are referred to in the narratives usually with the social essence, which was based on one’s bodytype, not by a term based on the binary sex. Potifar is referred to as a “eunuch” and also as a “man”. (Assuming that “eunuch” is his bodytype, and not only his profession, “court lord”. The peculiar behaviour of his wife speaks for the assumption that “eunuch” would have been Potifar’s bodytype.)
The binary physical sex was apparently not the primary concept, which a person was thought to represent, but the third bodytype may have been the primary criteria that defined a person’s social essence. A person was perceived socially as a “man” or “woman” only in case one’s bodytype was not the third unclear or injured alternative — even though such a person was also a “man” or “woman” by the binary sex.
The concepts “man” and “woman” were used to mean three different overlapping concepts: binary philosophical sex, the faultless and ideal bodytype of a girl or boy, and the social essence based on it. Most people were “men” or “women” in all these three senses. Persons with the third bodytype were “men” or “women” in one sense only: by the binary sex.
A third form of humanness was defined also in some other cultures of the same era, in addition to “man” and “woman”. Mesopotamian literature talks about a third gender of some kind since approximately 1700 BC, and the religious texts of the Indian region discussed three types of human social essence since approximately 1500 BC.[26]
26 Wikipedia 2022. Third gender, subtitle History. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Third_gender#History [24.10.2022].
The most probable reason, why it was considered necessary in ancient cultures to define a third form of humanness, in addition to man and woman, might be that a small share of humans are born with untypical genitals, or suffer from hormonal hypofunction or a puberty that never happens, and humans had no skills to correct the situation surgically or with hormone therapies, as is possible nowadays. Also injuries in the genitals, either intentionally or accidentally, have often been seen as grounds for defining a person into some other category than a healthy member of the society with full legal status.
It seems improbable that the reason for defining a third “gender” would have been people’s behaviour, or how they were dressed. Such an aspect would have been probably interpreted as criteria for sexual orientation, rather than for gender. The concept of gender has been based on physical features in nearly all known historical societies, all the way until the 1970’s.[27]
27 Wikipedia 2022. Gender, subtitle History of the concept. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gender#History_of_the_concept [29.10.2022].
Gender concepts in the modern era
Bodytype in modern thinking
The modern medical science knows a lot more about chromosomes and human physiology than was known in the era of the law of Moses, but the practical consequence from this is not that humans would be treated more diversely as representatives of different bodytypes. Quite the contrary, the number of legal bodytypes has been reduced to two.
The third category of bodytype, hermaphrodite (or sarīs or eunuch), has been rendered nearly useless legally and socially, as medical science has learned to modify unclear cases surgically and with hormone treatments to look like a quite typical boy or girl. However, vagueness of the bodytype is not necessarily limited to the shape of genitals only. New problems can arise in puberty, if the body develops to look typical for a different sex than was defined as the child’s bodytype after birth.
Still in the modern age there are rare cases, in which the result achieved by medical science is very imperfect, and the person will notice that one is a very unusual and maybe even unfit representative of one’s bodytype. It can become a psychological burden, if the person feels insufficient to meet the expectations that people generally set for the bodytype that one has been assigned to.
The category of sarīs in the Bible era was a recognition of the practical fact that it wasn’t possible to fit all people in the faultless bodytype ideal of a boy or girl. It is possible to see both positive and negative sides in this. A person was declared as somehow unfit physiologically, as one who doesn’t meet the criteria of faultless humanness. This can be seen as stigmatizing and degrading.
On the other hand, the person was also declared to be free from any expectations and demands that are related to manhood or womanhood. This may have been a liberating experience, which also offered the person an explanation who one is, and why one is different than the others.
In some countries the authorities have recently expressed criticism of the criteria, by which a child’s genitals are interpreted to be “abnormal” and in need of surgical modification. The American organization InterACT lobbies for the policy that children’s untypical genitals wouldn’t be repaired surgically, until the child has grown to such an age that one can decide about this personally.[28]
28 ISNA staff ca. 2008. Our Mission. Intersex Society of North America. https://isna.org/ [2.11.2022].
Medical reparation of untypical genitals in early childhood is currently forbidden by law in Albania, Germany, India, Kenya, Malta, Portugal and Uruguay.[29] In other countries it is permissible and an established convention.
29 Wikipedia 2022. Intersex human rights, subtitle Intersex rights by jurisdiction. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intersex_human_rights#Intersex_rights_by_jurisdiction [2.11.2022].
Ethical consideration concerning this topic takes into account a person’s right to decide about irreversible changes in one’s own body. But also the responsibility felt by the society and medical science to prevent that the person would have to live one’s childhood with the thought and feeling that one’s genitals are abnormal and disfigured, different than everyone else has.
If the child’s bodytype can be recognized reliably and undisuptably, and the unusual structure of the genitals can be surgically modified to look much more typical, it should be statistically probable that the person’s life in childhood will be happier and less anxious, if the structure of one’s genitals has been repaired surgically — compared to living one’s childhood with genitals that one perceives to be disfigured.
If it is possible to repair an inherent deformation, it would be ethically questionable to intentionally leave the deformation as it is, wishfully thinking that perhaps the child and all one’s friends will learn to think positively about it. They probably won’t. That is why such a human experiment can be seen as immoral, if it would probably cause the child grief and anxiety, which we would be able to avoid if we wanted.
Also such grief and anxiety exists, which we are not able to avoid, even if we wanted. There are deformations and injuries, which medical science cannot repair. The fact that medical science is not capable of everything, is not grounds for medical science to refrain from doing also what it is capable of.
Mistakes should not be done when interpreting the child’s genitals and bodytype, however. If there are reasons to assume that defining the bodytype can possibly go wrong in early childhood, that would be moral grounds for refraining form performing surgical treatment of the genitals before puberty, for example. Legal and moral consideration related to this topic is currently done in several countries, are the current conventions and criteria good in all cases, or are there such often recurring cases, in which medical reparation of the genitals would be wiser to leave until a later phase in life.
For modern Christianity it is an ethical question, whether the nearly perfect hygiene of two bodytypes achieved in the society should be defended by all means, without accepting any exceptions, or would acknowledging a third bodytype be more beneficial than harmful for the persons, whose bodytype the modern medical science is still unable to repair into a faultless boy or girl. It should be remembered that Jesus mentions a third bodytype, which can be inherent or the result of one’s own will.[30]
30 New Testament. Matthew 19:12.
A person’s social essence in modern thinking
Hermaphrodites in 17th and 18th century England
In the England of late Middle Ages, the legal binary sex of a person with an unclear bodytype (that is, a hermaphrodite) could be verified in a court hearing still in adulthood. The convention varied, was the binary sex of a hermaphrodite defined based on an anatomical statement written by a doctor (in which case it was based on the bodytype quite straightforwardly), or was the decision made by asking the opinion of ordinary people, who knew this individual personally.[31]
31 Sudai, Maayan 2021. Sex Ambiguity in Early Modern Common Law (1629–1787). Cambridge University Press. https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/law-and-social-inquiry/article/sex-ambiguity-in-early-modern-common-law-16291787/1F04AA53FF7160425C4023CB006EAF74 [31.10.2022].
If the decision was made by asking opinions from people, in that case the decision was practically based on the person’s social essence, without taking into account the structure of one’s genitals, as people had the freedom to be also of a different opinion about the person’s binary gender than what was indicated in a doctor’s anatomical report.
In the England of 17th and 18th century, some persons with an unclear bodytype probably got a legal binary gender, which was different than what a doctor would have defined as their binary sex based on anatomy. But these were very unusual individuals anatomically. Such a way of thinking did not exist in England that a physiologically typical man or woman could choose one’s legal binary gender, or that it could be decided in a referendum.
A social essence fully independent from one’s bodytype
Such a concept of social essence (“gender”), which is defined as completely independent from the person’s bodytype, started to become common in scientific thinking since year 1955, when sexologist John Money presented the thought that gender can also be seen as a social “role”. In the 1970’s feminist researchers discussed extensively a person’s social role and essence, as separate and independent from one’s bodytype.[32]
32 Wikipedia 2022. Gender, subtitle History of the concept. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gender#History_of_the_concept [25.10.2022].
On the other hand, already the law of Moses treats a person’s bodytype, social essence and social role as three separate phenomenons. It was forbidden for a person whose bodytype was boy to be dressed in clothes that were typical for a woman.[33] A person’s bodytype and social essence were thus perceived as separate concepts, which can be in logical contradiction to each other. Moses doesn’t take an accepting stance towards it, however, like the feminists of the 1970’s did, that a person’s bodytype and social essence would be allowed to be independent of each other in people’s daily life.
33 Old Testament. Deuteronomy 22:5.
The law of Moses imposes also social roles on people, based on their bodytype. For example that a person whose bodytype was boy would be responsible for the subsistence of his married spouse, and he was only allowed to marry a person whose bodytype was girl.[34] Also here it has been perceived that people have social roles, which could in theory be mixed in many ways relative to their bodytype and social essence, but the possible combinations were limited by legislation to such alternatives only, which were thought to be good for humans and the society.
34 Old Testament. Exodus 21:10.
Thus a bodytype, social essence and social role appear as separate phenomenons already in the Bible, but not defined philosophically, and not as free relative to each other, but prescribed to follow a certain logical order. Giver of the decree has been aware that without the decree the relations between these concepts might become different too, but it was not preferred that things would be differently.
Social self-expression and social identity
The theory of a person’s essence is nowadays so complex that understanding it requires a university degree. Yet ordinary people are expected to understand it and to take it into account in their own daily life. The conceptual difference between social self-expression and social identity offers an example of how detailed and difficult to perceive the modern theory of genders can be.
Social self-expression (”gender expression”) is a concept related to a person’s social essence, which means stereotypical details in the person’s outwardly observable appearance. For example that a woman has long hair and a man has short hair, or a female politician has a dress and a male politician has a tie and suit, because these persons want to consciously emphasize the stereotypical womanliness or manliness of their social essence. They express themselves in a womanly or manly manner, in a way that other people can observe, and which is meant for other people to see and interpret in a certain way.
On the other hand, some women don’t want to express themselves in a traditionally womanly style. They have short hair, trousers and a T-shirt. This can be seen even as criticism of the stereotypical concept of social essence: they know that they are girls by bodytype, and they expect to suffice to other people as women based on this physiological feature, regardless of how they behave or are dressed.
Such an aspect is not rare in traditional feminism, where they have wanted to liberate women from all kinds of stereotypical patterns of clothing and behaviour, which are related to the concept of womanliness. This poses challenges to the meaningfulness of the thought that womanliness would be a social essence which has stereotypical characteristics, and that it would be relevant to define a person based on one’s social essence at all. Such a way of thinking is called “feminism critical to social genders” (gender-critical feminism).[35]
35 Wikipedia 2022. Feminist views on transgender topics, subtitle Gender critical feminism/trans-exclusionary radical feminism. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feminist_views_on_transgender_topics#Gender_critical_feminism/trans-exclusionary_radical_feminism [1.11.2022].
A boyishly dressed woman doesn’t necessarily want to be known as a manly, wrongly behaving woman. She may want to be known as a woman based on her bodytype, without any other preconditions. Such a way of thinking that a person is defined by one’s bodytype, regardless of one’s outward appearance, is in contradiction with the philosophy that a person is defined by one’s social essence regardless of one’s bodytype. There is a sharp ideological divide in feminism along this topic, how womanhood should be defined, based on one’s bodytype or one’s social essence.
The parties of this ideological disagreement in feminism can have an openly hostile attitude towards each other, as alleged violators of the human rights. One party because a person should have the right to define oneself as a woman, if one wants to be a woman. And the other party because safe spaces should be reserved in the society for persons whose bodytype is girl, so that no one with a boy’s bodytype will be present there. The author Joanne K. Rowling is one of the most beloved and at the same time the most hated persons in the world, because she has publicly taken a stance concerning this topic, in a way that delights some and enrages others.[36]
36 Milne, Amber & Savage, Rachel 2020. Explainer: J. K. Rowling and trans women in single-sex spaces: what’s the furore? Reuters. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-britain-lgbt-rowling-explainer-trfn-idUSKBN23I3AI [1.11.2022].
There is a similar ideological divide between some trans-bodied, who have surgically changed their bodytype, and the trans-essenced, who have only changed their legal gender. These two parties don’t always approve the thinking of each other even that much that they would fit as members in the same interest organization of LGBT people.
Some trans-bodied people oppose the self-identification of one’s legal gender[37], because they fear that it can lead to overreactions and moral scandals[38], which can turn the public opinion against the thought that changing one’s legal gender is allowed at all in the society.
37 LHB-Liitto 2022. Haastattelu: trans ja toista mieltä. https://lhb-liitto.fi/2022/06/08/trans-ja-toista-mielta/ [24.10.2022].
38 Bellamy-Walker, Tat 2022. N.J. trans prisoner who impregnated 2 inmates transferred to men’s facility. NBC News. https://www.nbcnews.com/nbc-out/out-news/nj-trans-prisoner-impregnated-2-inmates-transferred-mens-facility-rcna38947 [1.11.2022].
Social identity (”gender identity”) is another concept quite closely related to social essence, which means a person’s perception of oneself. Normally it can be assumed that a person publicly indicates with one’s social self-expression, what one’s social identity is like. If a person feels that a womanly social identity is one’s own, the person probably expresses oneself in a womanly way, and emphasizes womanly features in one’s outward appearance, in ways that have been listed afore, for example.
This cannot happen, however, if the person lives in a society or community, where it is forbidden to wear the typical clothes of the opposite gender, for example (as was the case in the era of the law of Moses), or if the person fears for one’s reputation. For such reasons it is possible that a person wants to represent a certain social identity, but in practice one doesn’t indicate it with one’s social self-expression. The person doesn’t dare indicate it.
According to the prevailing thinking, a person should have the right to choose one’s social identity, regardless of what one’s bodytype is, and also regardless of what one’s social self-expression is like. The situation can get quite confusing, if a person is said to be a “woman”, but this information does not tell, whether one’s bodytype is girl or boy, neither does it tell, whether one’s social self-expression is womanly or manly. This information only tells what kind of thoughts one has.
The way of thinking in the theory of social genders would be difficult to understand, even if it were discussed with accurate terminology, which gives a precise idea, what kind of a person we are talking about. As the general convention is to use such terminology, which doesn’t have a precise meaning, but a word can mean many different things, understanding the situation becomes quite impossible for a layman.
In this work I use such a convention that the term “social essence” means the combination of social self-expression and social identity, which are logically concordant. “Manly social essence” means a person whose social self-expression is manly, and who believes that one’s social identity is “man”.
But would such an identity be ”social”, if it includes no yearning for social self-expression that is analogical with the identity? Or would the correct term be ”inner identity” then?
Is social identity a proclivity or a choice?
If the modern concept of social identity is not dependent on a person’s bodytype, on what grounds does social identity get selected for a person? Is it a matter of “wanting”, where the person is an active operative and decision-maker, or is it a matter of passive and spontaneous “sensation”?
In the theory of social genders it is principally assumed that yearning for a social essence that contradicts with one’s bodytype is not a choice made by the person, but a person is born or grows into it passively, so that it is not a matter of freedom of choice or opinion, but rather, what a person is like in any case, no matter if it is permissible or not.[39] (Similar thinking concerns also homosexuality, and eventually nearly all inclinations and affections of a person.)
39 Wikipedia 2022. Gender identity, subtitle Factors influencing formation. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gender_identity#Factors_influencing_formation [1.11.2022].
How would this yearning be formed for a person, to represent a specific social essence? No consensus prevails about this. One theory is that social identity is innate, so that it is based either on genes or on the circumstances that prevailed during development of the fetus. Another theory is that it’s a social construction, which the person absorbs in early childhood through one’s experiences.[40]
40 Wikipedia 2022. Gender identity, subtitle Factors influencing formation. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gender_identity#Factors_influencing_formation [3.11.2022].
In the circles that specialize in this topic it is not common to pay much attention to the third possible theory, that it could be a person’s own conscious choice. Legislation is currently being developed into precisely that direction, however, that social identity can freely be even a person’s own choice.
Many people don’t want to talk about “changing” one’s bodytype, but rather “repairing” it. Neither does a person ”change” one’s legal gender: the person “confirms” one’s gender as correct. With such word choices people want to emphasize the thought that a person’s bodytype or legal gender has been erroneus, until it is finally repaired or confirmed as correct. Also the surgical repairing of a newborn child’s genitals can be rather called “modifying”, if one doesn’t want to philosophically acknowledge that a newborn child’s unclear genitals would be “defective” and in need of “repairing”.
Legal gender
The legislation of Finland has two alternatives of legal gender: “man” (man-in-law) and “woman” (woman-in-law). At the time of writing this book, 21 countries in the world allow also a third option “other” (other-in-law), or possibly yet more options.[41]
41 Wikipedia 2022. Legal recognition of non-binary gender. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Legal_recognition_of_non-binary_gender [24.10.2022].
In United States some individuals have received gender marking X for themselves since 2016, after winning a court case against the state, although the law didn’t even recognize a third gender as an option. In 2022 United States has started to issue passports, in which the gender can be X.[42]
42 Wikipedia 2022. Intersex rights in the United States, subtitle Identification documents. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intersex_rights_in_the_United_States#Identification_documents [9.11.2022].
A convention of three legal genders seems to be becoming more common around the world, but it is not a new invention. In ancient times it was used, because persons are sometimes born into the world, whose bodytype is untypical. Nowadays a third gender is sometimes used for the same reason, but more commonly because there are persons who don’t want to identify with the typical social identity of a man or woman.
The legislations of some countries emphasize a person’s right to self-identification, so that a citizen can choose one’s legal gender all by oneself, without the need to prove to a psychiatrist that one has any psychological features of the chosen social identity. This is currently possible in some 20 countries: Norway, Denmark, Iceland, Ireland, Belgium, France, Switzerland, Portugal, Greece, Malta, India, Pakistan, Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Costa Rica and New Zealand.[43]
43 Wikipedia 2022. Gender self-identification. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gender_self-identification [2.11.2022].
Legislation of the most Hinduistic country in the world, Nepal, is an unusual exception.[44] There are three legal genders: “man”, “woman” and “other”. Nearly all people get “man” or “woman” as their legal gender after birth. Later in life it is allowed to change one’s legal gender with a mere notification, but “other” is the only allowed option that it can be changed to. According to the law of Nepal, a “man” cannot become a “woman”, neither can a “woman” become a “man”.[45] This has some analogy with the convention that prevailed in the Bible, where a man’s bodytype could change only into the sarīs category. Other changes of bodytype or legal gender were not known back then.
44 Wikipedia 2022. Nepal, subtitle Religion. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nepal#Religion [2.11.2022].
45 Wikipedia 2022. Gender self-identification, subtitle Nepal. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gender_self-identification#Nepal [2.11.2022].
93 different social identities
Wikipedia currently lists 93 different social identities, which according to the modern definition are independent from a person’s bodytype.[46] Among these identities are also the concepts “man” and “woman”, which historically mean a combination of bodytype and social essence (and still mean nowadays, in the imagination of the vast majority of humankind). In this case these words mean the social identity only, without taking into account the person’s bodytype.
46 Wikipedia 2022. List of gender indentities. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_gender_identities [24.10.2022].
This causes regrettable but apparently intentional unclarity, what the concepts “man” and “woman” mean — and which terms we could use, if we want to refer to a combination of bodytype and social essence. Substitutive concepts have not been offered for this purpose, and this might be intentional too, because according to the prevailing thinking it would be better, if people were no longer referred to with concepts that define both the bodytype and the social essence.
Some of these 93 social identities listed by Wikipedia are synonyms to each other, so the number of different alternatives is not quite as great as this, but apparently more than 50 anyway. I will not list them all here, but I mention some examples of social essences, which the identities listed by Wikipedia should motivate a person to represent, at least in theory.
Non-binary social essence: This can mean nearly any other alternative than in a typical way manly or womanly social essence.[47] This resembles a bit the concept of hermaphrodite that is defined in the Roman law, but is not based on one’s bodytype, but on the grounds that the person’s behaviour, clothing or thinking is some kind of an intermediate form of a man’s and woman’s stereotypical behaviour, clothing or thinking. Whatever this would mean in practice. Perhaps the person knows the answer to this question oneself.
47 Wikipedia 2022. Non-binary gender. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Non-binary_gender [28.10.2022].
Genderless social essence (agender): This might be a synonym for non-binary social essence. If taken literally, this term could mean that the concept of gender cannot be applied to this person at all. With such a term the person may want to indicate ideologically that gender is an unnecessary and undesirable concept in the society.
If the matter is evaluated with any objective criteria, such as the method of 17th century England (based on the impression that is spontaneously formed by ordinary people), it seems improbable that a person’s social essence can be “genderless” in any other sense than located somewhere half-way on the manly — womanly axis.
Demigender social essence: A person who identifies primarily with the characteristics of one social essence, but it is mixed with some features of another social essence.[48] These criteria might be met by a man (possibly homosexual), who behaves or dresses in a remarkably womanly way. He would be primarily manly, but his clothing, outward beautification or behaviour would include also details that are intended as womanly.
48 Wikipedia 2022. Non-binary gender, the term Demigender. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Non-binary_gender#Demigender [28.10.2022].
It is unclear, how easily in the law of Moses era they would have reacted to partial womanliness of a man’s appearance, or partial manliness of a woman’s appearance. The prohibition in the law of Moses to wear clothes similar to the opposite gender uses the Hebrew word ”kli”, which has been translated in different parts of the Old Testament as ”items”, ”things”, ”equipment”, ”weapons”, ”tools”, ”clothes” and ”jewellery”, for example.[49]
49 Bible Hub ca. 2007. Keli. https://biblehub.com/hebrew/3627.htm [2.11.2022].
Deuteronomy 22:5 ”May a man’s item not be upon a woman, and may a man not wear a woman’s garment.”[50]
50 In Hebrew: ”Loë yihyeh kli-gever àl iššah, we loë yilbaš gever śimlat iššah.”
Beardless men were rare in ancient Israel. The law of Moses says something about this topic, but the meaning of the commandment is a bit unclear.[51] Make-up is mentioned in the Bible only in the context of women.[52] Earrings are mentioned in the context of men only in situations, where they were collected off from the people.[53] It is also mentioned that wearing golden earrings was “the custom of Ishmaelites” — that is, the convention of another nation.[54] In the context of women earrings are mentioned several times, however.[55]
51 Visser, Marten 2021. Should we not trim our beards?, subtitle A law given by God. Biblword. https://www.biblword.net/should-we-not-trim-our-beards/ [2.11.2022].
52 Rubin, Norman A. 2005. Perfumes and Cosmetics in the Biblical World, subtitle The use of color in the eyes. Anistoriton: Viewpoints, Volume 9, March 2005, Section V051. http://www.anistor.gr/english/enback/v051.htm [2.11.2022].
53 Old Testament. Exodus 32:2.
54 Old Testament. Judges 8:24.
55 Bible.com 2022. Earring. Search results with this keyword. https://www.bible.com/en-GB/search/bible?query=earring [2.11.2022].
It remains unclear, what kinds of stereotypical differences there were between the outward appearance of genders, and which details were voluntary for an individual. For that reason it is also unclear, would behaviour similar to “demigenderedness” have been tolerated in the society of ancient Israel, if a person’s social essence would not sharply contradict with one’s bodytype.
When Christianity spread into the area of the Roman empire, many such men converted to Christianity, who had the habit to shave their beard completely off, according to the Roman customs. Their outward appearance resembled a woman’s appearance a bit more closely than the bearded style of ancient Israel. No criticism is directed at this Roman convention in the teaching letters of the New Testament, even though the length of hair gets pointed out. From this we can conclude that nothing objectionable was seen in shaving one’s beard, so that it should have been discussed in the teaching letters. Even a very carefully shaven beard leaves a man’s skin usually a bit rougher than a woman’s skin, so the difference in the appearance of the two genders doesn’t completely disappear with this method.
If we combine also womanly long hair to the appearance of a beardless man, we are two steps closer to a woman’s typical appearance. If we add yet some lipstick, we are three steps closer. At which point would the definition of ”demigenderedness” be met, what comes to the outward appearance of the person? (The concept of gender is related to other things too than just the outward appearance.) In this case the person’s appearance would not be very close to the manliest possible edge of the scale, which would apparently be represented by a bearded man, who has short hair.
Under the watchful eye of apostle Paul, merely long hair on a man would have crossed the line of acceptability, how much it is appropriate for a man to borrow symbols of womanliness prevailing in the culture to one’s outward appearance. Paul regarded long hair as an important symbol of a womanly appearance.[56]
56 New Testament. 1st letter to Corinthians 11:14–15.
The Old Testament does not pay dogmatic attention to the length of hair. Many men and women had relatively short hair, due to hygiene or practicality, especially the poor and the slaves.[57] A wealthy man called Absalom had his hair cut once a year, when his hair became uncomfortably heavy.[58] A person’s hair grows some 15 cm (6 inches) in a year. The story doesn’t mention, how short his hair was cut, on top of which length he got 15 cm (6 inches) more growth along the year.
57 Rubin, Norman A. 2005. Perfumes and Cosmetics in the Biblical World, subtitle Hair and hair styles. Anistoriton: Viewpoints, Volume 9, March 2005, Section V051. http://www.anistor.gr/english/enback/v051.htm [2.11.2022].
58 Old Testament. 2nd book of Samuel 14:26.
Remarkably short hair became fashionable for men in the Roman empire some 100 years before apostle Paul, during the reign of Julius Caesar (100 – 44 BC), as Caesar ordered his soldiers to get their hair cut short, so their long hair will not be a nuisance while fighting in a war.[59] Short hair is obligatory for men in the armies of most countries still nowadays. This convention adopted by armies might be the reason, why the ideal of a man’s short hair has spread nearly everywhere in the world, and remained in fashion for more than 2000 years.
59 Kaloni Hair Restoration staff 2020. 10 facts about men’s long hair in history. https://kaloni.com/blog_en/masculinity/mens-long-hair-in-history/ [30.10.2022].
By the New Testament era, long hair had already been established in Rome as a symbol of womanliness, and the situation has remained similar until modern age in western cultures.[60] Wealthy Roman women spent a lot of time sculpting their long hair into imposing coiffures. Paul exhorts Christian women to avoid such vanity[61], but otherwise he takes an outright dogmatic stance towards the principle that hair length is a detail in people’s appearance, with which a person should emphasize one’s gender.[62]
60 Bartman, Elizabeth 2001. Hair and the Artifice of Roman Female Adornment. American Journal of Archaeology, Vol. 105, No. 1 (Jan. 2001), sivu 1. The University of Chicago Press. https://www.jstor.org/stable/507324 [30.10.2022].
61 New Testament. 1st letter to Timothy 2:9.
62 New Testament. 1st letter to Corinthians 11:14–15.
The reader may have his or her own perceptions, is it acceptable for a person to borrow outward symbols of the opposite gender into one’s appearance, and how much one can borrow them. Is there a list of things that a man is not allowed to borrow from a woman’s stereotypical appearance: earrings, high-heeled shoes, polished nails, lipstick? Or is there a number, how many things one can borrow at most, if the man’s appearance is otherwise consistent with the style of a traditional man?
We will take a closer look at this topic in chapter “Beauty ideals” of this book, where we will examine e.g. statistical data of what ordinary people think, what kinds of elements are convenient to be included in the outward appearance of a man or woman.
Fluid social essence (gender fluid): A person who wants to live sometimes in the role of one social essence, and at other times in the role of a different social essence.[63] Today to work with a manly look, with a tie in neck and the bread stubble unshaven. Tomorrow to work with a womanly look, wearing a skirt and make-up.
63 Wikipedia 2022. Non-binary gender, the term Genderfluid. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Non-binary_gender#Genderfluid [28.10.2022].
Such behaviour wouldn’t have been accepted in the law of Moses era, neither in the congregations in New Testament. A person was required to steadily represent a social essence that is consistent with one’s bodytype. In the theory of social genders it can be assumed, however, that a person has need for such behaviour. Or even if one hadn’t, then at least the right to such behaviour.
Pangender social essence: A person who has the perception that one has many social essences. One may feel that one is even all social genders at the same time.[64] Not in turns, however, one essence today and another one tomorrow, but as a quite steady combination of the characteristics of various social essences. In the Bible era people’s attitudes towards such would have been based on similar principles as towards demigenderedness.
64 Wikipedia 2022. Non-binary gender, the term Pangender. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Non-binary_gender#Pangender [28.10.2022].
Ideology of social genders and anti-gender movement
The way of thinking that has been described afore, where the concept of gender is not based on bodytype, is called “gender ideology” (the ideology of social genders) in some conservative circles. The purpose of this expression is to emphasize that it’s a way of thinking, an ideology, but it’s also possible to think differently, and it should be permissible to think differently.
Supporters of the ideology of social genders often use the name “anti-gender movement” (movement against social genders) of the conservatives who ciritize them. The purpose of this expression is to stigmatize them as being “against” the basic rights of other people.
A quite aggressive and global political conflict has emerged between these two parties, a battle for monopoly on the truth in the society, so that the way of thinking of the opposing party would preferably be defined as illegal. It doesn’t seem that we are going to see peaceful coexistence of these two different ways of thinking, but rather a battle between them for the sole right to define the only permissible truth.
We will probably see court cases about the meaning of the concepts “man” and “woman” in different parts of the world. And we have seen already. The most probable reason, why someone would be sued to court for using the wrong term related to gender or sex, is that a person who has changed one’s social essence is talked about using the former first name, or a pronoun that refers to the former social essence.[65]
65 Solomons, Adam 2022. Schoolteacher ‘sacked for misgendering trans pupil’. LBC News. https://www.lbc.co.uk/news/teacher-sacked-for-misgendering-transgender-schoolgirl/ [2.11.2022].
The matter is not quite unequivocal when referring to a historical event, such as the famous information leak of private Manning in the Afghanistan war in 2010. Manning’s first name was Bradley at that time. In 2013 Manning announced the intention to change one’s gender, and started to use the female first name Chelsea. The surgical operation to modify Manning’s bodytype was done in 2018.[66] If we discuss Manning’s information leak, which happened in 2010, we might perhaps not rewrite history with different names and pronouns, because the person has later changed one’s social essence.
66 Wikipedia 2022. Chelsea Manning, subtitle Gender transition. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chelsea_Manning#Gender_transition [2.11.2022].
The words “man” and “woman”, which define one’s gender, and in many languages also pronouns that refer to a person, such as “he” or “she”, can sometimes cause a public ideological dispute between a person who has changed one’s social essence and another person. This other person might not be willing to admit it as true in a philosophical sense that the concept of gender is based on one’s social essence, and for this reason he or she might “misgender” the person (that is, use terminology that refers to the person’s bodytype in early childhood), or “deadname” the person (that is, use the person’s former first name).
In such a situation arises a dispute, which party will agree to bow down to the different faith of the other party. Which perception of humanness will be acknowledged as correct and the other as wrong?
In cases that end up in court it is common that the party accused of misgendering appeals to freedom of conscience, that it is against his or her conviction to acknowledge that changing one’s gender is ethically acceptable or an objective fact. A court in California decided in 2021 that misgendering belongs to the realm of freedom of speech, and is not punishable, even though the state had a law in effect, which expressly forbids misgendering.[67]
67 López, Canela 2021. California court says it’s OK to intentionally misgender and deadname trans people. https://www.insider.com/california-court-says-legal-to-misgender-deadname-trans-people-2021-7 [2.11.2022].
A legal situation this unclear will probably not continue forever. It is probable that in many western countries the legislation will ban calling a person who has changed one’s legal gender with terminology, which refers to the former legal gender of that person. But will it be obligatory to acknowledge the new legal gender of that person as a philosophical fact, or will people maintain the freedom to subtly steer clear of this question of conscience?
With neutral terminology it would be possible to avoid unnecessary collisions of worldviews, so that the differently thinking person would not need to publicly bow down to a faith that is against one’s conscience.
Instead of the concepts “man” and “woman”, one can use the neutral word “person”, and instead of the first name one can call the person using the family name. Instead of the gendered words “she” and “he”, it is possible to use neutral expressions ”they”, ”this”or ”one”.
Such a solution would be a compromise, in which both parties know that they disagree with the other party, but the matter is not escalated into an unnecessarily extensive dispute, and the conviction of neither party will be nullified publicly. The person who changed one’s social essence would not achieve specific philosophical superiority, so that the differently thinking person would be obliged to bow down to the other one’s faith publicly. But also the differently thinking person would not achieve specific philosophical superiority, so that one would publicly and scornfully mention the other person’s former social essence.
BSUG/MOW classification of bodytype and social essence
The terminology used afore for a person’s bodytype would not be precise enough for the needs of medical science, and not even for the needs of sexology. For that reason I sketch here yet more precise terminology, with which a person’s bodytype can be classified with a precision that can be necessary in medical science, for example.
I use as an example a person, whose bodytype is so unclear at birth[68] that the doctor needs to consider the situation and discuss with the child’s parents, before a decision is made about the child’s bodytype. The bodytype of the child is called “unclear” or “undecided”, until a decision has been made about the bodytype, and any possible surgical measures have been performed.
68 Mayo Clinic Staff ca. 2022. Ambiguous genitalia. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/ambiguous-genitalia/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20369278 [24.10.2022].
Surgical reparation of a child’s genitals is usually performed within 18 months of birth.[69] At age 2 years this person is quite clearly boy by bodytype, after surgical modifications. However, in puberty it turns out that the doctor’s estimation of the probable development of the child’s bodytype missed the mark, and his body starts to develop remarkably womanly features. As an adult he changes his legal gender as “woman” (woman-in-law), and his social essence as womanly, and his bodytype as girl with a new surgical operation.
69 Urology Care Foundation ca. 2022. What is Ambiguous (Uncertain) Genitalia? https://www.urologyhealth.org/urology-a-z/a_/ambiguous-(uncertain)-genitalia [3.11.2022].
Which term would be suitable for describing this person in medical science or sexology? Is this a “man” or “woman”? At this point she is legally a “woman”, but the statistics and anatomical information concerning women might not apply to her very accurately. To be more precise, this is a UbgW person, if we use a classification like this:
Bodytype (BSUG)
B — Boy since early childhood, male.
b — boyish, maleish: girl since early childhood, whose vagina region has been modified to look esthetically like a boy’s genitals, and the breasts have been removed surgically.[70] (A person with a girl’s bodytype has apparently never received an authentic penis as a transplant yet, anywhere in the world.[71])
70 University of Michigan Health ca. 2022. Gender Confirmation Surgery, subtitle Female-to-male sex reassignment. https://www.uofmhealth.org/conditions-treatments/transgender-services/gender-confirmation-surgery#ftmreassignment [9.11.2022].
71 Wikipedia 2022. Penis transplantation. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Penis_transplantation [9.11.2022].
S — Shemale: boy since early childhood, who has remarkably womanly (silicone) breasts, or in a very rare case, who was born with mammary glands.
s — shemaleish: girl since early childhood, whose vagina region has been modified to look esthetically like a boy’s genitals, and who has womanly breasts.
v — virile unclear, masculine unclear: a person with remarkably unusual or severely damaged structure of genitals, whose inborn binary bodily sex is “man” without a doubt. In the Bible this would be sarīs / eunuch. In Roman law some of the hermaphrodites.
U — Unclear innately: since birth so unclear structure of genitals, that defining a binary bodily sex is challenging.
f — female unclear: a person with remarkably unusual or severely damaged structure of genitals, whose inborn binary bodily sex is “woman” without a doubt. In the Bible this would probably be a “woman”, if sarīs / eunuch was philosophically reserved for males only (and this unclear case were correctly recognized as a female). In Roman law some of the hermaphrodites.
g — girlish, femaleish: boy since early childhood, whose penis with its surroundings has been esthetically modified to look like a vagina region.[72] (A person with a boy’s bodytype has apparently never received an authentic vagina, labia or clitoris as a transplant yet, anywhere in the world. However, some successful vagina transplants have been performed so that the recipient’s bodytype was girl.[73])
72 University of Michigan Health ca. 2022. Gender Confirmation Surgery, subtitle Male-to-female sex reassignment surgery. https://www.uofmhealth.org/conditions-treatments/transgender-services/gender-confirmation-surgery#mtfreassignment [9.11.2022].
73 Wikipedia 2022. Vaginal transplantation. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vaginal_transplantation [9.11.2022].
G — Girl since early childhood, female.
Social essence (MOW)
M — Manly, masculine.
O — Other kind.
W — Womanly, feminine.
Legal gender (mow)
m — man-in-law, judicial man, “man”.
o — other-in-law, judicial other, other.
w — woman-in-law, judicial woman, ”woman”. This classification, which I drew up for this book, is based on three legal genders (m, o, w), three categories of social essence (M, O, W), nine bodytypes (B, b, S, s, v, U, f, g, G), and three moments along one’s life: at birth, at age 2 years, and most recently (that is, currently or at the moment of death).
The categories of bodytype, social essence and legal gender have intentionally different names. Using the same terms for different purposes would cause misunderstandings and uncertainty about what the presented information means.
In medical science a person’s social essence (the MOW information) is rarely very relevant, but one’s legal gender might be of interest (the mow information) — and even this mostly for social purposes, so people know how to address the person.
In sexology a person’s social essence and a stereotypical gendered outward appearance has significance, if we consider a person’s attractiveness and sexual desirability in the opinion of other people. The MOW information is relevant for sexology, especially the person’s style of clothing and beautification.
The bodytype is determined in this classification partly by one’s inborn bodytype, and partly by the outwardly observable appearance of one’s genitals or womanly breasts. A person who is boy since early childhood (B) can change into the option shemale (S), if he acquires silicone breasts. Or into the option virile unclear (v), if he gets a very unusual surgical operation on his genitals, or completely loses his external genitals[74]. Or into the option girlish (g), if his penis with its surroundings is surgically modified to look like a vagina region. However, he cannot change into the option girl since early childhood (G), with the methods currently known by medical science.
74 New Testament. Matthew 19:12.
For medical science this person’s body would be primarily a boy’s body in any case, and the doctor would need to take this into account in one’s work. Also in sexology we would need to take into account that his body is originally a boy’s body, and this information may have an impact on which persons will be able to accept sexual feelings towards him.
Why does this classification mention womanly breasts as criteria — and why only in case the person has a penis? An overweight man can have so-called “man boobs”, larger breasts than some women have, but here we mean such an intentionally caused situation that a person with a boy’s bodytype has acquired silicone breasts.[75] (This happens a lot in the prostitution of e.g. Thailand.[76]) Or a person with a girl’s bodytype has gotten her vagina region surgically modified to look like a penis and its surroundings, but her womanly breasts have not been surgically removed. (This might be very rare.)
75 Wikipedia 2022. Shemale. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shemale [10.11.2022].
76 Xreasons 2019. 7 Reasons why Ladyboys are so Prevalent in Thailand. Medium. https://medium.com/@xreasons/7-reasons-why-ladyboys-are-so-prevalent-in-thailand-48b46613c1 [10.11.2022].
Why should such bodytypes as “Shemale” and “shemaleish” be defined separately? If a person, whose bodytype is boy or boyish, has womanly breasts that look authentic, his body is not as neutral in a heterosexual context as an ordinary man’s body. Silicone breasts are not installed on boys for the fun of it in Thailand’s prostitution: the intention is to arouse desire in men who have bisexual inclinations. The bodytypes ”S” and ”s” are defined mainly due to aspects that are related to sexology.
Breasts don’t affect the definitions of such bodytypes, in which the person’s genitals are esthetically similar to a girl’s genitals. A woman’s breasts do matter for sexology, but only if their size and shape approximately meets people’s typical expectations. A completely breastless woman is not necessarily in a much different position in sexology than a woman, who has the largest breasts in the world. Therefore it has not been deemed necessary to form separate bodytype categories for women whose breasts never develop (or they develop very late in life), or whose breasts are removed during the treatment of breast cancer.
Typical persons: BM man and GW woman
Majority of people are BBBMm men or GGGWw women, according to the BSUG/MOW classification. Their bodytype is boy (B) or girl (G) at birth, at 2 years of age, and currently. Nowadays their social essence is manly (M) or womanly (W), and in the population registry they are judicial men (m) or judicial women (w).
I could always use the concepts BBBM man and GGGW woman, when I mean a person who was born as a boy or girl, and who still currently lives in the body and social essence that one has had since birth. But also UBBM and UGGW are practically interpreted as an inborn man and woman: a person, whose unclear genitals have been surgically repaired to fit a boy’s or girl’s bodytype during the first two years of one’s life. In that case the concept of man and woman can be defined with abbreviations xBBM and xGGW, so that one’s “original” bodytype is the situation at 2 years of age, not necessarily at birth. This is why I generally use in this work the expression “bodytype of early childhood” (the bodytype at 2 years of age), instead of “bodytype at birth”.
To make life easier, let us agree that such concepts can be written also in a shorter format. If the abbreviation has only two letters, the first letter means “x + two same letters”. Bw means xBBw: a boy’s bodytype at 2 years of age and currently, and the person is a judicial woman nowadays.
If the abbreviation has three letters, the first letter means “x + same letter”. BgW means xBgW: a boy’s bodytype at 2 years of age, whose penis and its surroundings were later surgically shaped to look like a vagina region, and the person has a womanly social essence nowadays.
Legal gender is not very relevant information for sexology, so it is usually not necessary for me to take into account in the text, whether a BM man is by legal gender a BMm man or a BMw man. If a person’s legal gender is not logically analogical with one’s social essence, then the legal gender would be an “inner identity”, which the person does not indicate to others with one’s social self-expression. The importance of such an identity would probably be minor and abstract for sexology, so I usually don’t take this matter into account in the text of this book.
Such abbreviations could be a bit clumsy to read, so I use in this book the historical terms “man” and “woman”, and declare that I always mean with them a BM man and a GW woman, so that the legal gender of the person is not taken into account.
If I use the word “man” or “woman” in this work to refer to some other concept than a BM man or GW woman (for example, a legal gender), the matter will always be explained separately. In this book the concepts “man” and “woman” never mean only a bodytype, legal gender, social essence or social identity, unless it is expressly clarified so (and these words are written in quotation marks, to indicate that their meaning is unusual in the context).
Various persons, according to BSUG/MOW classification
What kinds of persons are found in the society nowadays, defined in this way? The traditional perception of a trans woman is a BgW person, with a boy’s bodytype since early childhood, whose penis and its surroundings are now shaped to look similar to a vagina region, and whose social essence is now womanly. Similarly, the traditional perception of a trans man is a GbM person, with a girl’s bodytype since early childhood, whose vagina region is now shaped to look similar to a penis and its surroundings, the breasts have been removed, and one’s social essence is nowadays manly.
Such an alternative has started to become more common lately, that a person who changes one’s legal gender doesn’t have one’s genitals surgically modified to look like the genitals of the opposite bodytype. Such a case can be a BWw person, for example, with a boy’s bodytype since early childhood, whose social essence is nowadays womanly, and one’s legal gender is now judicial woman. Or even a BMw person, who according to the observations of other people is a quite ordinary man since early childhood (BM person), but one’s legal gender is now judicial woman.
UO person would have an unclear bodytype since birth, so that no surgical measures are taken in childhood to clarify the bodytype, and in adulthood the person’s social essence is “other kind”. According to the law of Moses, this person might be a sarīs since birth. (The modern medical science nearly always attempts to clarify a child’s bodytype as boy or girl, but the skill to do this has existed for 100–150 years only.[77] Before that, approximately one person in 4500 lived one’s whole life with a slightly unclear bodytype.)
77 Wikipedia 2022. Intersex people in history, subtitle Contemporary period. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intersex_people_in_history#Contemporary_period [3.11.2022].
Problems related to self-identification of gender
Medical science is primarily interested in a person’s bodily essence, which is indicated by BSUG classification. Sexology is also interested in a person’s social essence, which is indicated by MOW classification.
In thinking that is based on the theory of social genders, a person can be defined through one’s inner identity, as an XXXXm person or XXXXw person, so that only the identity matters, not one’s bodytype at any stage in life, nor one’s social essence.
It is obvious that such an approach would be impossible and inadequate for medical science or sexology, what comes to the accuracy of scientific information. All such information would be unclear and undefined, which is of primary importance for medical science or sexology.
There are situations, where a person’s bodytype and social essence matter also generally in the society. People can live their own lives in the free society, without bothering what the others are doing or thinking. Situations that involve nudity or a scanty level of dress are such, however, where most people have a psychological or moral need to have only such persons present in the situation, who are all of the same bodytype.
Many supporters of the theory of social genders don’t philosophically acknowledge such a right, and they claim such a conviction to be “discrimination”. According to conservatives it is “harassment”, on the contrary, if a person with a boy’s bodytype is present in women’s shower facilities. Here we have a conflict and collision of two different convictions, which can cause anxiety to many people.
Persons who have changed their legal gender already have the legal right to be in women’s public shower facilities, in countries like Finland and United States. The situation is calm, however, and this does not happened much. Sometimes it does happen, and then some persons can feel anxiety in the situation.[78] Some trans people may assess this situation also themselves, and consider that if collisions between different convictions happen a lot in the society, it could lead to an increase in resentment and critical public discussion directed at them.[79]
78 M, Anne 2020. Ikuisuuskysymys sukupuolitetuista tiloista. https://transparentti.blogspot.com/2020/03/ikuisuuskysymys-sukupuolitetuista.html [3.11.2022].
79 LHB-Liitto 2022. Haastattelu: trans ja toista mieltä. https://lhb-liitto.fi/2022/06/08/trans-ja-toista-mielta/ [24.10.2022].
For whom are ”women’s” public shower facilities meant? Are they meant for Gx persons: those with a girl’s bodytype since early childhood only? Or for Xgx persons: also those with a boy’s bodytype since early childhood, whose penis with its surroundings has been shaped to look like a vagina region? Or for Xw persons: everyone whose legal gender is “woman”, regardless of bodytype or social essence? This has become unclear, because the door of the shower facility doesn’t have the sign Gx, Xgx or Xw, but rather the word “women”, whose meaning has become unclear in the society. People understand this concept in different ways.
A solution that would leave room for different convictions and subjective experiences would be such that the door of a shower facility doesn’t have the sign “women”, but rather the text Gx, Xgx or Xw. Then each person could choose, what kind of a shower facility one wants to enter. Supporters of the theory of social genders might have a negative stance towards such an idea, however, that anyone in the society could maintain shower facilities that are meant for “women” defined according to anyone else’s conviction than theirs. Or that taxpayer money would be used for maintaining shower facilities, which serve anyone else’s worldview than theirs.
Ethical questions related to trans-bodiedness
Trans-bodied is such a person, who has changed one’s bodytype with a surgical operation: most commonly BgW or GbM. The person usually receives also hormonal therapies, which modify one’s body to be a bit more manly or womanly.
A surgical operation to modify the penis and its surroundings to look like a vagina region was performed for the first time in 1931, to a person who is known by the name Dora Richter.[80] Removing or harming the penis or testicles is mentioned in the Bible too, sometimes even so that it was the will of the person himself. When Jesus says that some persons have made eunuchs of themselves[81], He means this:
80 Wikipedia 2022. Dora Richter. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dora_Richter [25.10.2022].
81 New Testament. Matthew 19:12.
Deuteronomy 23:1 ”one harmed by crushing [the testicles] or one cut off of his penis”[82]
82 In Hebrew: “peźūà-dakkaa w kerūt-šofķah”
This discussion between Jesus and the Pharisees concerns permanently removing or weakening the sexual functionality of one’s genitals, with the surgical methods of ancient times. This topic is understandably very delicate and able to evoke anxious feelings, so many Bible translators have steered clear of such closer details, as far as possible.
Weymouth New Testament translates the “eunuchs” mentioned by Jesus with a cautious euphemism “disabled from marriage”. New American Bible says “incapable of marriage” and that they “renounced marriage”. International Standard Version says “celibate”. Good News Translation says “cannot marry” and that they “do not marry”. Contemporary English Version says “unable to marry” and that they “stay single”.[83]
83 Biblehub ca. 2010. Matthew 19:12. https://biblehub.com/matthew/19-12.htm [10.11.2022].
Such translations are merciful for the reader’s imagination, but theologically they are erroneous, because they include the insinuation that a person can be “unfit for marriage” in God’s opinion. The original text of the Bible doesn’t contain such a thought. The law of Moses doesn’t forbid marriage from anyone based on characteristics of the body or genitals. Not from sarīses either. The thought is also not self-evident that a person who made a eunuch of himself would never intend to get married. A sexless marriage or a marriage involving other than typical sex still remains as a possibility.
The thought that someone would make a eunuch of oneself inspires heavy philosophical and moral considerations, because there is no return to the former body, at least so that everything functions as before, and looks the same as before. What if the person will regret later? Was such a decision made in full understanding and with a healthy mind? The Bible doesn’t mention that Jesus would have resented this matter, or that He would have explained the ethical problems that are related to this. Persons who had made a eunuch of themselves are mentioned only briefly, as a side note.
Changing one’s bodytype is also a radical process, which involves partly similar and partly different philosophical and moral considerations. Common for these operations is that the person’s genitals are harmed surgically, and they lose some of their functionality. But not all their functionality, in the case of changing one’s bodytype.
This causes other moral considerations, as the person will not give up one’s ability to sexual activity, but the esthetical appearance of one’s genitals is modified to be similar to the opposite bodytype. The operating principle of the genitals remains original, however, for the tissue that is left of them. The objective is to continue active sex life in the role of the opposite bodytype.
It is difficult to explain a person’s yearning for changing one’s bodytype, without references to sensations and ways of thinking, which contradict with the worldview or sexual ethics that is presented in the Bible. This will not hinder the person from participating in the practicing of Christianity, however, if one deems it necessary, as there are many churches in the world that have the walls wide and the ceiling high.
The conservative wing of Christianity interprets the situation through the Bible, and references to homosexual sensations, which might inevitably be related to changing one’s bodytype, form for many an insurmountable obstacle to believe that it could be a decision in life that is consistent with the will of God.
For the modern liberal population such theological aspects have no importance, but even without a theological or moral doctrinal aspect, the imperfection and irreversibility of the procedure raises in many people concerns that are based on practical reasons, and are not related to religion in any way:
Does the person who is considering to change one’s bodytype understand that one cannot become a faultless representative of the opposite bodytype, but one will become trans-bodied? Intentional use of concepts that mean many different things doesn’t reduce such concern, but quite the contrary, only increases it, if a male person is told that he can become a “woman”. In a limited way, in some details. But the term “woman” also means the charming actress in the movie, whom all gentlemen are wooing in turns, and similar to whom this man would like to become in his dreams.
When he is told that he can become a “woman”, can the concepts get mixed, and can he perceive the matter in such a way that he can become a “woman” also in the sense that he could be like the actress in the movie, whom all heterosexual men desire passionately? That is what he cannot become. Therefore it is problematic and worrying, if a person who is considering to change one’s bodytype is talked to using terms that can mean also such characteristics, which the person might dream of, but one will never achieve them.
The know-how of modern medical science has its limits, an it is obvious that a trans-bodied person cannot act as a typical representative of one’s new bodytype, when seeking a romantic love relationship. One will have to seek a love relationship from a quite narrow margin of such people, for whom the notion of the partner’s same-sex physical origin is not a problem consciously or sub-consiciously, what comes to sexual interest. Does the person realistically understand this, what one’s social role will be like in future?
At the moment of such a radical and irreversible decision, it would be particularly important to take care of the hygiene of concepts, so that the recipient of information may not even accidentally misinterpret the offered information. The convention is quite the opposite, however: such a person is talked to using concepts, which may sound fancier and greater than is the reality that can be implemented in practice.
A person who is considering to change one’s bodytype is probably protected from moral and ideological critique. The culture of puristic thinking, and the systematic silencing of wrong opinions, raise concern that a person considering to change one’s bodytype may be offered only such information, from which some critical aspects or concerns have been removed. The principle that a person should be allowed to ”decide for oneself” is fulfilled more inadequately than the organizers of such arrangements admit to themselves, if the information that the decision-making is based on has been limited and censored on ideological grounds.
Britain’s national health service NHS recommends doctors to hesitate and delay starting any treatments related to changing one’s bodytype, particularly among teenagers, because their intention to change the bodytype is most often a passing phase in life.[84] In Florida the authorities have banned treatments that advance the changing of one’s bodytype from persons under 18 years of age, because the number of persons who regret having changed their bodytype has become worryingly high.[85]
84 Craig, Emily 2022. Children who think they’re trans are probably just going through a ‘phase’, NHS says. Daily Mail. https://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-11347735/NHS-says-children-say-trans-just-going-phase.html [4.11.2022].
85 Shaheen, Mansur 2022. Florida medical board BANS puberty blockers for minors under the age of 18. https://publicnewstime.com/health-news/florida-medical-board-bans-puberty-blockers-for-minors-under-the-age-of-18/ [4.11.2022].
It is unclear, are persons who consider changing their bodytype protected from a psychiatric diagnosis. Such a concept is known in psychiatry as “dysmorphic body perception disorder” (or “body dysmorphic disorder”), which means that the person thinks that some part in one’s body is repulsive, wrong kind or disfigured, even though in the opinion of most people there is nothing particularly wrong in this person.[86] Yearning for changing one’s bodytype is a somewhat similar situation: also this involves disgust directed at one’s own body. This case has been isolated as its own diagnostic category, however, which might be treated with a higher probability in such a way, that the patient is not wrong and the physical reality right, but the patient is right and the physical reality is wrong.
86 Wikipedia 2022. Body dysmorphic disorder. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Body_dysmorphic_disorder [4.11.2022].
Ideological criticism and offering alternative solutions would be in the interests of such a person, so the person can see the broad general view and all different alternatives with their argumentations (without biased demonization of some convictions, which is common in discussion related to this topic), before the person will make the final decision.
It is better to conclude rather before the operation than after it, if the person’s perception of oneself and the best way to live one’s life will stand criticism and all the information, which differently thinking people may present, and which the brochures may have been silent about, with which the operation has been marketed to the person.
Afterwards it is futile to reproach the person too mercilessly. What is done is done, and who is capable of approving, let him approve. The most useful moment for criticism and questioning is before the final decision.
When the surgical operation to change one’s bodytype has been performed, in the law of Moses a trans woman would be sarīs, apparently a “man” by the binary physical sex, whose penis has an untypical shape or is missing altogether. The situation doesn’t differ much from the alternatives mentioned by Jesus, that some “have made a sarīs of themselves”, and some “were made sarīses by humans”, and some “were born as sarīses”.[87] In extremely rare cases (a few per a million born children) a person can be born with a boy’s bodytype and a boy’s genitals, which look misleadingly similar to a girl’s genitals.
87 New Testament. Matthew 19:12.
We don’t know the level of medical understanding in the era of Moses, which binary sex would have been defined for this type of a person at that time: “woman” or (sarīs) “man”. It is not indisputable either, with whom such a person was allowed to get married.
Changing one’s bodytype in the other direction, from a girl to boyish, is a more vague topic in the context of the law of Moses. No category similar to sarīs is defined in the law of Moses for a person who is interpreted to be “woman” by binary physical gender, and whose genitals have an untypical shape, or they have been intentionally damaged. Neither does the law of Moses mention that sex between two women would be forbidden.[88] Apostle Paul mentions this in the New Testament, however.[89]
88 Alpert, Rebecca T. & Brettschneider, Marla 2021. Lesbianism. The Shalvi/Hyman Encyclopedia of Jewish Women. https://jwa.org/encyclopedia/article/lesbianism [4.11.2022].
89 New Testament. Letter to Romans 1:26–27.
Such theological questions have no importance for the liberal society, and many people in western countries are probably ready to accept a person who changed one’s bodytype as a representative of the new bodytype. (Probably excluding a personal romantic or sexual relationship with such a person, which might require readiness to handle homosexual sensations, which are avoided by most people philosophically or sub-consciously, also without any connection to religion or moral doctrine.) Alternatives of erotic preferences that differ from heterosexuality don’t form a problem for the liberal mainstream population, as long as these are not directed at them personally in a tangible way.
The presence of a person who has changed one’s bodytype in social situations that involve nudity, such as in public shower facilities, is probably not very problematic for most people in the liberal mainstream population. Nudity includes in any case a possibility for homosexual sensations, whose statistical probability should be much higher than possible erotic interest coming from trans-bodied persons. The liberal mainstream population might be ready to accept such aspects, without regarding them as a particular problem. For conservatively thinking people would apply the principle: “Who is capable of approving, let him approve.”[90] Who is not capable of approving, will not approve.
90 New Testament. Matthew 19:12.
Trans essence as alternative to trans-bodiedness
A surgical method for shaping the penis and its surroudnings to look like a vagina area was invented in 1931.[91] What did all people suffering from body dysphoria do before 1931, who had the need to change one’s bodytype surgically? Perhaps they dressed themselves in the clothes of the opposite gender. Became transvestites, or even trans-essenced.
91 Wikipedia 2022. Dora Richter. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dora_Richter [4.11.2022].
The theory of social genders defines such a difference between being transvestic and trans-essenced, that being a transvestite is like role play, temporarily identifying with the opposite gender, without fancying that one should be permanently a member of the opposite gender. However, a trans-essenced person wants to be permanently a representative of the opposite gender, but for some reason concerning the outward appearance only, without striving to make changes in one’s bodytype and genitals.[92]
92 Wiktionary 2022. Transvestite, subtitle Usage notes. https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/transvestite#Usage_notes [4.11.2022].
This might be explained by the person’s awareness of the fact that changing one’s bodytype is not possible very perfectly and faultlessly. The person can be worried that one’s ability to experience sexual pleasure would be weakened, if one changes the bodytype. For that reason the person contents oneself with more limited ways of identifying with the opposite gender.
Another possible explanation is that in a type of homosexuality, which contains bisexual influences, the party in a more feminine role wants to emphasize one’s role, by adopting a womanly social essence permanently and publicly in the society. If the person has earlier played a feminine role only privately and within a sexual relationship.
It is usually not deemed acceptable in the theory of social genders to speculate, whether sexual preferences have some role in the motives of a trans person. Instead of such possible motives, they prefer to describe more neutrally an “experience” or “need”, which assumedly has developed during the early childhood as a social construction, or is an inborn feature.
In ancient times people didn’t change their bodytype surgically, because they didn’t know that it is even possible. Nowadays it is possible, and the possibility has formed a need, indeed a necessity, without which some people don’t have the will to even live.[93] Does supply and marketing create demand? And which situation has been better for these people: The situation that prevailed in ancient times, when the only way to fulfil their predilections was to be dressed in clothes of the opposite gender? Or the modern situation, where they can also change their bodytype surgically?
93 Wikipedia 2022. Gender dysphoria. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gender_dysphoria [4.11.2022].
The law of Moses didn’t allow transvestism or trans-essencedness.[94] Also apostle Paul requires maintaining stereotypical differences between the outward appearance of men and women.[95] Based on the Bible it is difficult to explain trans-essencedness as a moral ideal, but we can contemplate nevertheless, is trans-essencedness a smaller problem than trans-bodiedness?
94 Old Testament. Deuteronomy 22:5.
95 New Testament. 1st letter to Corinthians 11:14–15.
Wearing the clothes of the opposite gender is a lifestyle, from which it will be possible to move on to a different lifestyle quite faultlessly. The moral stakes are smaller than in trans-bodiedness, as it is possible to revoke the decision later. That is why it might be easier to retain a peace of mind while witnessing someone becoming trans-essenced, than hearing about the person’s plans to become trans-bodied.
If the teenage child of a family with conservative values announced one’s intentions to adopt a homosexual, trans-essenced or trans-bodied lifestyle, of these alternatives trans-bodiedness would probably cause greatest concern and anxiety in the child’s parents, because it involves the aspect of definiteness and irreversibility. Who starts with this, there will be no faultless return to the former.[96]
96 Farrell, Paul 2022. Girl, 17, who transitioned back from a boy reveals how puberty blockers and surgery have ‘irreversibly and painfully’ ruined her body as she backs Florida law blocking medical interventions. Daily Mail. https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-11001029/Do-not-transition-kids-message-former-trans-girl-17.html [4.11.2022].
One can always quit a homosexual lifestyle, if one changes one’s mind, even though it is rare. One can also quit a trans-essenced lifestyle later in life. But revoking trans-bodiedness faultlessly is impossible. That is why it involves particularly heavy moral considerations, especially if it concerns a teenager, who considers giving up one’s bodytype before one even knows, what life will feel like as a sexually fully mature representative of that bodytype.
A trans-essenced lifestyle has the positive side that it leaves all other alternatives fully possible for the future. Nothing has been lost forever. If something has been lost, the loss concerns the present moment only.
Teenage does include the aspect, though, that one’s body is changing towards an adult of the inborn sex like a train, if it will not be stopped with medication. The decision to stop the development is morally heavy, however, when we consider that the person doesn’t even know, how one would feel as an adult representative of the inborn sex. The person would make the decision blindly without precise knowledge, and being so young that one is not even considered mature enough to buy one beer from the shop.
The sharpest negative attitudes and prejudices in the society might concern in fact the trans-essenced persons, however. A man since early childhood, who changes one’s legal gender as “woman”, and having a typical manly appearance arrives in women’s shower facilities. Or gets into women’s prison, and there makes some female prisoners pregnant.[97]
97 Bellamy-Walker, Tat 2022. N.J. trans prisoner who impregnated 2 inmates transferred to men’s facility. NBC News. https://www.nbcnews.com/nbc-out/out-news/nj-trans-prisoner-impregnated-2-inmates-transferred-mens-facility-rcna38947 [1.11.2022].
If sex between women was not regarded as a social threat worth mentioning in the law of Moses, the situation is similar in the modern age: most women don’t consider it a problem to be nude with others whose bodytype is girl. Some of them could be lesbians, who knows, but women don’t perceive in this situation a threat as dramatic as if one of the persons present had a penis. Presence of a penis was the common logical denominator in the 22 types of sexual relationships that the law of Moses reproaches.[98] The same seems to apply to women’s shower facilities in the modern culture.[99]
98 Old Testament. Leviticus 18:6–23.
99 Milne, Amber & Savage, Rachel 2020. Explainer: J. K. Rowling and trans women in single-sex spaces: what’s the furore? Reuters. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-britain-lgbt-rowling-explainer-trfn-idUSKBN23I3AI [1.11.2022].
In an interview to The Telegraph newspaper, female competition swimmer Riley Gaines describes her feelings as anxious, when a 190 cm tall person with a boy’s bodytype entered the women’s dressing room without a warning in advance, and undressed oneself nude in the presence of the women — who were intending to get undressed also themselves. It became quiet in the dressing room, and in Riley’s opinion the situation was “crazy”. Afterwards she wondered, why the people who have the power to decide don’t understand that this is wrong.[100]
100 Kuisma, Lassi 2022. Naisuimari järkyttyi, kun transsukupuolinen alkoi riisuutua pukuhuoneessa – ”Yhtäkkiä koko tila hiljeni”. Iltalehti. https://www.iltalehti.fi/muutlajit/a/c998bb01-e295-418e-b919-45c7998c2d06 [10.11.2022].
The situation is becoming such in the society, that an elite that promotes a way of thinking based on the theory of social genders doesn’t acknowledge it as a human right of an ordinary citizen, that a person would have the right to avoid mixed nudity between different bodytypes. If such a human right has once existed, now it is no more.
Concerning the free society that respects human rights, this is the most remarkable subject of dispute between conservative thinking and supporters of the theory of social genders: based on what are people divided into groups when they are nude, the bodytype or inner identity? Will ordinary people be asked how they feel, or will an elite decide on their behalf that the human rights no longer even exist, which they thought that they have?
Therefore trans-essencedness is not free from problems for the rest of society, but can in fact be more problematic than trans-bodiedness, if the thinking follows the theory of social genders, that a person should have the right to live in the society similarly to anyone who has this social essence since early childhood, even if one’s bodytype belongs to the opposite binary philosophical gender.
Considering all parties, the solution that contains grievances least and most evenhandedly would be that in situations involving nudity, the society would not try to make the unrealistic assumption on behalf of the citizens, that people would feel comfortable being nude in the presence of persons with the opposite binary bodytype. There are several possible ways to solve this problem, each of which has its own emphasis concerning the rights of various parties and the economic costs.
One option is that a public shower facility is meant for one binary bodytype only: boys (Bx/Xbx) or girls (Gx/Xgx), which might include those whose bodytype has been changed surgically. Single-person shower closets are reserved for other people than these. This alternative would have quite low economic costs, as single-person shower closets already exist for the staff, and there are very few trans-essenced persons in the society. In this alternative a trans-essenced person would be nude alone, apart from most other people, if the person doesn’t want to use the shower facilities of one’s bodytype.
An expensive but probably the best solution would be to offer single-person shower cabins as many as there is demand for them, perhaps for 20 percent of visitors, for example. Most of their users would be others than trans-essenced: people who want to be nude preferably alone, due to various reasons related to religion, health or self-esteem. Among teenagers the demand for private shower cabins would be particularly high.[101]
101 Wride, Nancy 1996. Schools Throw in the Towel on Getting Kids to Shower. Los Angeles Times. https://www.latimes.com/archives/la-xpm-1996-09-25-ls-52059-story.html [4.11.2022].
The roles of social genders
The theory of social genders started to develop in 1955 from the thought presented by sexologist John Money, that genders have stereotypical roles and behaviour patterns, which can be examined as phenomenons that are independent from one’s bodytype.[102] Some persons follow the behaviour patterns of the opposite gender quite obviously and consciously, especially among the sexual minorities.
102 Wikipedia 2022. Gender, subtitle History of the concept. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gender#History_of_the_concept [4.11.2022].
In this chapter of the book we have paid a lot of attention to a person’s social essence, the way how one is dressed and beautified in a manner that is typical for a specific gender. The social gender role defined by John Money means all such behaviour and thinking, in which it is possible to observe statistically significant stereotypical differences between the genders.[103] For example, in which style people walk, what kinds of hobbies they have, which topics they spontaneously discuss with passers-by, or what kinds of things they dream about. Money has apparently detected statistical differences between the genders in these matters.
103 Wikipedia 2022. John Money, subtitle Books on sexology. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Money#Books_on_sexology [4.11.2022].
The Bible defines for the genders some societal and social roles, which can be even dogmatic in nature. In the Old Testament society a man usually had much more economic and political power than a woman, although there were some isolated exceptions. In the New Testament apostle Paul teaches that the man should be the leader in the family[104], and wives should be quiet in meetings of the congregation.[105] The New Testament possibly mentions some isolated exceptions to this rule, women who participated in teaching or leadership in some way.[106]
104 New Testament. Letter to Ephesians 5:22–24.
105 New Testament. 1st letter to Corinthians 34–35.
106 Influence Magazine staff 2019. Ten Women Leaders in the Bible. https://influencemagazine.com/en/Practice/Ten-Women-Leaders-in-the-Bible [4.11.2022].
When I was collecting background data for this book, I discussed with people at Christian online forums, and asked what they think about gender roles in a love relationship. Is man the head of the family? Majority of the answers didn’t follow the style of apostle Paul, that the highest decision power in the family belongs to the man. Most of the respondents described areas of the daily life or housekeeping, in which “the man knows and the man decides”, or in which “the woman knows and the woman decides”.
These convictional Christians didn’t describe a clear power hierarchy, in which the man would be the undisputed leader in the family, and the woman would be an obedient subordinate to him in everything — even though I mentioned this principle instructed by apostle Paul, and asked people’s opinions and experiences particularly concerning this, how it is followed in reality. People described instead stereotypical and predictable roles, in which matters “the woman knows and decides”, and in which matters “the man can do this, so let the woman not mess with it”.
There are professions and business sectors in the society, which attract nearly solely female students and workers, and there are professions that attract nearly solely men. This is another subject of dispute between conservative Christianity and feminism, that in the opinion of many feminists, nearly any established roles between men and women in the family or society are proof of inequality between the genders.
In convictional Christianity it is common to think so that the genders should indeed take care of different roles, both in the family and perhaps in the society too. The gender role dysphoria, which is quite common among feminists, might be rare among conservative women, possibly excluding those who pursue a career in preaching, who may feel a bit anxious if women are told to be quiet in the congregation.
Perception of the Bible about a woman’s role in the society is not as ambitionless as Middle Eastern conservative Islam’s ideal of a housewife, who doesn’t go to school or participate in societal life in any way. The exaltation of a good wife in the book of Proverbs describes a woman who has learned a profession, performs work, and makes products for merchants to sell. She buys a plot of land to her possession with money that she has earned herself, and founds a vineyard. She speaks wisdom and gives trustworthy advice.[107]
107 Old Testament. Proverbs 31:10–26.
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