“For Stanton, this is about convincing himself that Stanton-World is in alignment with Jesus-World.”

Glenn T. Stanton

I thought that The Weekly Standard was more discerning. Nevertheless on Wednesday the outlet published a piece by Glenn T. Stanton titled: Four Reasons “Gender Theory” Is Ridiculous. Stanton is a propagandist for Focus on the Family.

Conservative Christians have a very difficult time with non-binary sexuality. For that matter they have a religious objection to valid science: That gender is a separate construct from natal sex and that, for a small minority of people, gender and natal sex are incongruent. Moreover, it is settled science that gender is a continuum with male and female at the extreme ends. However, scripture is binary; men and women. For folks like Stanton, when scripture competes with science, those ancient texts prevail.

So, with that in mind, let us don hip boots and wade into the murky swamp of intellectual mediocrity that is Glenn T. Stanton’s mind. If conservative Christians would stop torturing logic in their attempts to conform medical science to scripture they might look a great deal smarter.

In preliminaries, Stanton attended an academic lecture:

Stanton is aghast that the professor claimed that we could not discern gender just by looking at someone. It is understandable because, due to ancient manuscripts, Stanton does not believe that gender exists. For him gender and sex are synonyms. Eventually (according to Stanton) the professor went into sexism in advertising, presumably to demonstrate how we treat gender roles:

As he [the professor] worked his way through the print advertisements he used to demonstrate his point, he would make remarks like, “Notice this woman in this skimpy bathing suit, down on all fours, and these two men standing over her in a position of dominance and control.” He went through perhaps a dozen such examples showing how women were depicted as being degraded by men, all in the pursuit of commerce. He was right to call out these ads for being unhealthy.

So far, so good.

No one seemed to appreciate the Costco-size contradiction in his presentation. He knew who all the women and men were in the ads. Had he met and heard every one of those models’ stories? The professor’s entire talk was predicated on a whooping violation of his own introductory caution.

It is like dealing with a contrary five-year-old. Those people in advertisements are models, Glenn. Their gender is irrelevant to the job that they do. They are presenting as males and females. They are perceived by consumers as males and females. Regardless of where humans fall on the gender continuum, we tend to present ourselves and identify as male or female.

Transgender people provide the ideal example. They usually present themselves as either male or female in accordance with their gender and discordant with their natal sex.

The only Costco-size contradiction might be between religion and science. Most rational people will prefer the 21st century science over Bronze Age texts.

Stanton felt compelled to publicly express his ignorance:

Being the attentive student, I raised my hand and asked the burning question of his massive inconsistency. If no one was going to bring it up – and obviously they weren’t – I was. The professor’s response? He asked if anyone else had questions. I had to admit it was the most reasonable answer he could have given.

The professor’s response was based on the fact that the question was spectacularly stupid. The professor provided the most reasonable answer because he demonstrated restraint. Mr. Stanton is essentially claiming that he was the smartest person in the room while displaying profound ignorance.

Stanton’s list of four:

(1) Gender is a Spectrum

One of the most basic tenets of gender theory is that human genders are as vast and diverse as the hues of a rainbow. How do we know? Well, there are t-shirts that say so and you can buy them on the internet.

Those t-shirts definitely prove a point. I prefer continuum over spectrum because, in a continuum, adjacent areas are almost indistinguishable but the extremes at the ends offer significant contrast. Gender is, in fact a continuum. On the same theme, Stanton resorts to the theater of the absurd. First he cites part of a profile of Rachel Maddow in the New Yorker:

The hour of the show is the culmination for Maddow of a workday that starts at around 12:30 p.m., when she acquaints herself with the day’s news. At two o’clock, she meets with her staff of twenty young men and women in a room equipped with a whiteboard and two facing rows of identical small desks.

Only men and women? No other genders were present? How could Maddow and MSNBC be so blatantly prejudiced and exclusionary in their hiring practices and why didn’t the New Yorker bust her on her bigotry? Because they don’t even notice when such contradictions arise.

The only point that Stanton is proving is my estimation of the limitations of his intellect. The simple response is that, regardless of gender, most people generally present as either male or female. This is remarkably obvious. Some of Maddow’s “young men and women” might very well be trans or gender nonconforming. We do not know and frankly it is none of our business.

I am trying to decide if Stanton is ineptly attempting to be sarcastic or if he really thinks that he is providing an intellectually stimulating argument.

(2) Binary is Bad, but the “L” “G” “B” and “T” All Require It

If gender theory were a religion, its unforgivable sin is the assumption that gender is binary. Binarity is the root of all evil. But curiously, the LGBT construct requires a binary system. Let me explain.

Oh, do explain Glenn. After a lengthy dissertation on the different letters:

Of course, you will want to ask your professor what the letters and names of the sexual attractions are between all the others in the wonderful rainbow of genders. There would have to be hundreds of possible permutations.

Aside from the fact that Stanton is attempting to mix gender identity with sexual orientation, people identify by convenience. Ask me and I will tell you that I am a gay man. The real truth is that I am, at times, bisexual in terms of attraction. However, I feel most comfortable identifying as a gay man. Continua have infinite points and infinite possibilities.

Stanton cannot cope with the nonbinary paradigm. Not only is nonbinary sexuality too complex for stanton to appreciate but Stanton-World must coincide with his version of Jesus-World. When the two things are not aligned evil forces are at work.

(3) Male and Female Are Not Natural Unless You’re Trans

The next illusion the good gender studies student must overcome is that male and female are natural. They are not. They are merely cultural constructs. You are a male or female merely because your culture dictates that you must look and act according the local definition of what a male or female is. If you insist both actually exist in nature, no soup for you.

Now we all know that male and female are completely natural and that has nothing to do with transgender people. Stanton is deliberately over-simplifying gender. How we present (usually as male or female) is, in part a social construct. Some men tend to overreach for masculinity in appearance. Other men go out of their way to be mysteriously gender ambiguous. Some women want to present in a way that emphasizes their femininity. Gender is how we internalize our sense of male, female or something in between. Gender does not have to be consistent with our presentation. There are too many variables for absolute consistency.

Finally we get to number 4:

(4) Androgyny is Natural

Since male and female are merely cultural or social constructs, gender theory holds that humanity comes from the factory in only one model: androgynous. But have you ever seen a truly androgynous person?

Stanton has a way of claiming that a group of people believe something without any proof (usually they do not). Then he extends the projection with “because they believe [thus and so] then [illogical assumption].” No knowledgeable person believes that gender is merely a social construct and I have never heard anyone speak of androgyny in those terms. I agree that androgyny is perfectly natural but I do not believe the rest of Stanton’s BS. Yes Glenn, I have seen a truly androgynous person or two in my lifetime. What is the point?

What this is really all about is an effort to discount the science regarding gender. In doing so, Stanton disparages transgender people because if they do not have incongruent gender and natal sex then they are just “confused.” Gender confusion is Christian for gender dysphoria which can be cured with reparative therapy.

For Stanton, this is about convincing himself that Stanton-World is in alignment with Jesus-World. The intellectually inept attempt to prove something has no traction with anyone other than Stanton and, of course, fellow scripture alignment freaks. When we start to try to satisfy those folks awful things come to pass.

There is a difference between faith and superstition. Dismissing science to support faith is a very good way of practicing superstition. In that regard, Mr. Stanton is quite accomplished.

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By David Cary Hart

Retired CEO. Formerly a W.E. Deming-trained quality-management consultant. Now just a cranky Jewish queer. Gay cis. He/Him/His.