Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Reconsidering Gender, Part V - Gender is Eternal

The Proclamation on the Family states that "gender is an essential characteristic of premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose." This isn't in conflict at all with the thoughts I've been outlining on gender as an important part of our identities, but one that isn't always so easy to fit into strictly defined categories with clearly delineated boundaries.

The sentence before that potentially presents a bit more trouble. It states that everyone "is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents." Seems like we have a solid binary there, though interestingly enough one drawn on a spiritual and not necessarily physical level (not sure if that difference ends up being important, mind you, but it could be). One possible reconciliation is that this statement reflects the culture it was written in and isn't meant to convey the ultimate understanding of gender. Or it could be referring just to biological sex and mean something like the generally accepted biological definition of male, which is anyone who has at least one Y chromosome and everyone else is considered female. Or maybe I'm just completely on the wrong path--I certainly wouldn't discount that theory.

It feels like getting down into the details of harmonizing less rigidly binary theories of gender with Mormon theology is speculation on top of speculation. While one level is interesting enough, it seems to me that adding layers of admitted speculation on top of each other is just building on sandy foundations. So, on that note, I'll more or less punt on the issue that was supposed to be the conclusion of this series. Lame, I know. Sorry. Just like a man to run out on his responsibilities though, isn't it?

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