FIRST-PERSON: Boys allowed in girls' restrooms?

ALEXANDRIA, La. (BP) -- According to a recent directive issued by the Massachusetts Department of Education, public schools in the Bay State must allow boys and girls who identify as the opposite sex to utilize whichever restroom and/or locker room they feel most comfortable using. And they won't need a doctor's note to do so.

Additionally, if a boy believes himself to be a girl, or is more comfortable identifying himself as a female, he must also be allowed to participate on girls' sports teams. The same would hold true for a girl who chooses to identify as a male.

So, in Massachusetts, if a boy starts singing with conviction, "Man, I feel like a woman," (with apologies to country singer Shania Twain) then he should, if he wants, be able to use girls' facilities and play on female sports teams.

Of course, in the case of a little girl, if she identifies more with country crooner Brad Paisley's "I'm Still a Guy," then, of course, she should, if she so desires, be able to use the bathroom and shower with boys.

Welcome to the convoluted and confused world of gender identity. According to the Internet site Medscape Reference, gender identity is defined as "a personal conception of oneself as male or female (or rarely, both or neither).... Gender identity, in nearly all instances, is self-identified...."

According to that description, gender identity is completely subjective. The description indicates it is based solely on "personal conception" and it is "self-identified." Objectivity is dismissed and even rejected.

The definition of "conception" that would apply here, according to the Concise English Oxford Dictionary, is "the ability to imagine or understand." So, a male who imagines or understands himself to be female is to be treated as a female.

If a male imagines or understands himself to be both male and female, is he then to be treated as both? Or is he to be treated as a male on odd days and a female on even days, or vice versa? How, pray tell, is a person to be treated who imagines or understands himself/herself to be neither?

Let me say that I am sympathetic to people who are, for whatever the reason, confused about their gender identity. I will not pretend to understand their plight, but I believe they would benefit more from counseling and prayer than by being encouraged to pretend they are something that they obviously are not -- especially if they are children.

Children and teenagers rarely have the good sense to come in out of the rain. They are also very impressionable. To promote and encourage gender identity that is opposite of the sex God gave them at birth is, at best, naive.

The only thing that is worse is parents who give prepubescent children hormone blockers in order to delay puberty so that their gender-confused offspring have more time to decide if they want to have a sex change operation. Yes, there are parents who are, in fact, doing just this.

If a kid pretends he or she is a spider monkey, we accept this as exploring the imagination. But if the same kid insists he or she is a monkey and begins using the bathroom on the floor, eating fleas and swinging on the light fixture, it's time to start looking for a counselor, not encouraging the behavior.

"Thirty years ago, in 1976," U.S. Rep. Robert Brady observed in 2006, "the notion of organized activity to combat discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity was an extremely controversial one."

The Democrat from Pennsylvania is right. The idea of accommodating so-called gender identity is no longer considered controversial. It is, in fact, being promoted and encouraged even among children by a state department of education. Those who believe the whole idea is misguided are the ones who are now considered controversial.

What has happened in America? As Brady's quote points out, in 1976 someone who believed he or she was born the wrong gender, both genders or no gender would be a prime candidate for psychological help. And those who encouraged them to act out their confused state were deemed out of the mainstream.

What has happened is that in recent decades more and more secular psychologists and psychiatrists have come to reject the idea of a divine Creator. This leads to the outright rejection of the Bible and the idea of God creating human beings as male or female.

In "The Brothers Karamazov," the classic work by Russian author Fyodor Dostoyevsky, one of the book's main characters, Ivan Karamazov, contends that if there is no God, everything is permitted. Proverbs 29:18 in the Bible succinctly says, "Without revelation [of God] people run wild ...."

Dostoyevsky's understanding as expressed through his character is correct. If there is no God, everything is permissible. And, as the Bible states, when people have no understanding of God they are morally unrestrained, even to the point of promoting and encouraging the convoluted and confused idea of gender identity expression to children.


Kelly Boggs is a weekly columnist for Baptist Press, director of the Louisiana Baptist Convention's office of public affairs, and editor of the Baptist Message, www.baptistmessage.com, newsjournal of the Louisiana Baptist Convention. Get Baptist Press headlines and breaking news on Twitter (@BaptistPress), Facebook (Facebook.com/BaptistPress ) and in your email ( baptistpress.com/SubscribeBP.asp).