Transgender child on Nat. Geographic cover

NASHVILLE (BP) -- A 9-year-old boy who considers himself female is featured on the cover of the January 2017 National Geographic. The entire issue is dedicated to subjective gender identity primarily through the eyes of children while excluding biblical authority.

Two different covers of the Jan. 2017 issue of National Geographic feature several children and young adults said to be classified under a range of descriptors related to the two genders.
National Geographic photo
But the idea of transgenderism or gender fluidity is itself a fallacy void not only of Scripture but also of science, Christian commentators told Baptist Press.

Glenn Stanton, director of family formation studies at Focus on the Family, and apologist Ken Ham, founder of Answers in Genesis (AiG), said the idea of gender fluidity is based in part on a person's flawed mental state. One Million Moms (1MM), an advocacy group aimed at protecting children from exploitation, has started a petition against the National Geographic issue.

National Geographic's special "Gender Revolution" issue pictures the transgender child on the cover of the subscription copy available online since Dec. 19. The newsstand copy, available Dec. 27, has the same inside content as the subscription edition, but features a group of seven youth on its cover who identify with such descriptors as "intersex nonbinary," "transgender female, "androgynous" and "bi-gender."

"It's just simply absolutely false and pure ideology that gender is fluid," Stanton said. "Across human culture and history there are males and females. ... There is no science whatsoever that has determined a 3rd or 4th or 5th gender."

Nearly all pre-adolescent kids who are "gender dysphoric" or confused about their gender revert back to their biological sex by puberty, Stanton said, citing the statistic of 75 percent to 98 percent, based on studies. Clinicians recommend that parents do not facilitate the transition of pre-adolescent children to the other gender, said Stanton, who has written and spoken extensively on gender identity.

Ham said he's not surprised National Geographic does not explore God's Word in the magazine.

"They're really not out to discuss all the different views and to put in what the biblical view is," Ham told BP, "because they really want to impose a particular view on the culture, and the particular view they want to impose is you can be anything you want, and ... nobody can tell you that it's definitely male and female.... What they're really saying is we're going to tell you you can be anything you want to be."

1MM condemns National Geographic's use of children in promoting a belief in gender fluidity.

"Advocates for sexual confusion have quickly moved from using adults to promote their agenda to exploiting children as the face of their cause," 1MM said in a Dec. 21 press release. "Susan Goldberg, the National Geographic editor, should be ashamed of herself for using a young child in such an abusive manner. The overwhelming majority of doctors and psychiatrists label what this child is going through as 'gender dysphoria' and National Geographic is praising it as 'beautiful.'"

National Geographic has received numerous comments about the issue, Goldberg said on the magazine's website.

"Since we shared photos of the cover of our special issue on gender on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, tens of thousands of people have weighed in with opinions, from expressions of pride and gratitude to utter fury," Goldberg said. "More than a few have vowed to cancel their subscriptions."

Goldberg describes the biological boy on the cover as having "lived as an openly transgender girl since age 5" and having "captured the complexity of the conversation around gender. ... Today, we're not only talking about gender roles for boys and girls -- we're talking about our evolving understanding of people on the gender spectrum." The magazine promotes its special issue as looking at the "cultural, social, biological and personal aspects of gender," and includes interviews with children in 80 homes on four continents, according to a Dec. 15 press release.

Ham said the growing acceptance of gender fluidity is a symptom of a culture that has taken the Bible out of public schools and promoted the theory of evolution, and also the result of the church being lax in teaching the truth of creation.

"The devil knows if you can get the education system," you can lead astray generations of children who are by nature susceptible and impressionable.

"I believe what we're seeing is as a whole, the culture has abandoned God's Word. God is turning this culture over to judgment and unfortunately there are tremendous consequences," Ham said. "Romans 1 makes it very, very clear that a sign God is turning a culture over to judgment is this increasing rejection of your fundamental sexual nature and not even just a rejection of it, but basically a celebration of [that rejection] because Romans 1 says they approve of these things."

1MM's online petition is at http://www.onemillionmoms.com/current-campaigns/national-geographic-attacks-most-vulnerable/.

National Geographic television will air a two-hour documentary Feb. 6, 2017, at 8 p.m. Central Time, titled "Gender Revolution: A Journey With Katie Couric," the magazine said.

Diana Chandler is Baptist Press' general assignment writer/editor. BP reports on missions, ministry and witness advanced through the Cooperative Program and on news related to Southern Baptists' concerns nationally and globally.
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