Formerly Known as Male and Female

God, Beauty, and the Gender Unicorn

She came to small group on the verge of tears. Following a mandatory LBGTQ+ & Intersectional Equity Training, she laid out the materials.

They first gave instruction on why education equity matters. From it, the teachers were instructed to oppose “educational trauma” by creating an environment where nonconforming students are safe from stigma, prejudice, and discrimination. Ways to decrease intersectional inequity included:

  • Aim to make every LGBTQ+ student feel seen and celebrated.
  • Provide advocacy and resources to LGBTQ+ youth, educators, and allies.
  • Facilitate self-reflection (of one’s own prejudice); and assist with policy changes.

Page two contributed definitions for key terms regarding sexual orientation (such as gay, lesbian, pansexual, asexual, bisexual), as well as gender identity (transgender, queer, two-spirited, genderfluid, genderqueer). Along with proper definitions were ways each teacher ought to increase LGBTQ+ equity, including:

  • Use gender inclusive language (like folks, humans, and learners).
  • Introduce yourself with affirmed pronouns and do so for others.
  • Avoid gendering students in activities (like making them line up with girls first).
  • Display posters and art that represent LGBTQ+ culture (to be discussed below).
  • On the first day, read each student’s last name and ask what name they would like you to use.

Page three, the pinnacle of the presentation, displayed a picture to be posted in the classroom. What of? The Gender Unicorn, a colorful, child-friendly cartoon with two hearts, think dots that lead to a rainbow, and a DNA strand in the place of genitalia. Next to this cartoon stood five multiple-choice categories for children to use as a way to self-explore:

  • Gender Identity: Female/Male/Other Gender(s)
  • Gender Expression: Feminine/Masculine/Other
  • Sex Assigned at Birth: Female/Male/Other or Intersex
  • Physically Attracted to: Women/Men/Other Gender(s)
  • Emotionally Attracted to: Women/Men/Other Gender(s)

Her hands sensibly shook as she held out each page before us.

Statue in the Secular City

My generation grew up with a purple dinosaur, singing, “I love you, you love me, we’re a happy family.” This generation is growing up with a sexualized purple unicorn, singing similar lyrics with much different meaning. How far down does this well go?

The Gender Unicorn appears to be the new mascot of the sexual madness of our day. The sinful fantasy, in a sing-song voice, beckons children towards self-determination, self-mutilation, and self-expression that defies their Creator. We, not our Creator, decide who we will be. Flying in the face of science (Biology 101, among others), this agenda exerts pressure to ensure that its dissenters endorse, celebrate, and advocate that for which the wrath of God is coming (Colossians 3:5–6).

We have come to despise what brings the angels wonder. From the very beginning, God, preferring the most vibrant colors to paint with, cast away the drab gray of uniformity, the monotony of sameness, and the colorlessness of autonomous unicorns. Instead, with utmost poetry, beauty, and goodness — breathtakingly and breathgivingly — he made us male and female, to display his glory in his world:

God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them. (Genesis 1:27)

From the dust, God himself molded the first man and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and Adam became a living creature, a living statue of the Creator, marking the earth as his Sovereign’s domain, exercising his dominion through his king (and soon-to-be-made queen) of creation.

He made them male and female: the man, male; his wife; female. And to ensure that Adam apprehended its intoxicating splendor, God took his time. He spaced it out. He could have created male and female all at once. But Adam needed to learn from the start the very lesson that we, newly quarantined in a Gender Unicorn world, need to learn again: the glory of God-designed binary, the beauty of divinely-given asymmetry, the hard-and-fast and awe-inspiring distinctions between male and female. Alike, yet different. Similar, yet dissimilar. Adam, yet Eve.

What’s more, God thought it worth repeating in the opening chapters that we might never lose our awe. After the creation narrative in Genesis 1, here it comes again — now in song! — in chapter 2. In the creation of woman, we are awakened (or reawakened) to the glory of God-made male and female as they tower over the man-made crudity of cartoon unicorns.

Dream Strayed into Daylight

Imagine Adam staring at the duck, and the duck staring back. With God’s voice still ringing in his ears, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him” (Genesis 2:18), God brought him one animal after another. With each, the man wondered, hoped, anticipated that this might finally be the helper God would provide. With each misfit, his longing must have intensified.

The “duck,” however he named it, would not do. Neither would the rhinoceros. Nor the eagle, the panther, the horse, or the cheetah — though each, he imagined, could be helpful in their own limited ways. He kept naming — dolphin, otter, butterfly — but none of these was a fit for him.

So, God himself, having kindled the desire in man he meant to fulfill, put Adam into a deep sleep. The surgery performed, God woke Adam and brought him one last creature.

There she stood, his “dream strayed into daylight.” Here, his rib adorned by Divinity’s touch, was of him, yet not him. Her fingers, more slender, fell like stems of the most enchanting flower — he too had fingers, thicker, stronger, and yet these fit his perfectly.

Her eyes beckoned as deepest caves yet unexplored. Her lips dripped a nectar not found among Eden’s trees. Adam bade all nature be silent to hear the music of her speech. Her hair draped down her undressed back, which sloped speckled with the sun’s rays peeking through the trees. Softer, fairer, gentler, hers was a quiet forte that did not flex or plume, yet held an unseen magnetism. Were he not the king of this land, he would have joined the rest of creation and knelt. Perhaps he did fall to one knee.

His entranced soul made lips to dance,

“This at last is bone of my bones
and flesh of my flesh;
she shall be called Woman,
because she was taken out of Man.” (Genesis 2:23)

Emitting heat, no sun could equal; a fairness no moon could blush; an elegance no eagle soaring could rival; a grace no dolphin swimming could match; the most beautiful flower in paradise stood before him — a garden unto herself to bear fruit unknown to Eden. Here sparkled his crown, his queen, his companion. Her hands finally embraced his. Adam’s strength now enlisted for her wellbeing. She given by God to establish dominion.

She was a helper “fit for him.” She complemented him like the moon to the sun, the sea to the land, the night to the day. Two distinct notes that struck together the pleasant sound of harmony. They were different, stamped all the way down to each individual cell. And yet, they shared the same humanness, comprised the same bone, shared the same divine image, worshiped the same God — and could gloriously become “one flesh.”

At last, God brought Adam his wife. He named her Eve, mother of all the living (Genesis 3:20).

Trembling Hands

God created them male and female. Yet modern man shakes his head at the obvious, and hangs up posters of a gender unicorn, like blind men sighing at sunsets.

The Gender Unicorn is a tragic parody, graffiti on the masterpiece of creation, an attempt to replace God’s glorious image with a cartoon. We should tremble to promote such lies. The effacing of his image is not going unnoticed by the Almighty.

As confused men, women, and children in our fallen world are pressured into dysphoria, celebrated instead of helped, the world hands out new flavors of self-identity like cherry, strawberry, and grape popsicles. Meanwhile, the one who made us male and female abominates the smearing of his design (Deuteronomy 22:5). We too, as his people, must confront such lies, longing for the same wholeness for those trapped in bondage that we are finding in Christ for our broken sexual histories.

Perhaps ground will be reclaimed as we learn to do more than denounce and argue, and instead put on display the beauty of divine design, as God himself did in the beginning.