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Champions of biology

A look at the defense of Biblical sexuality and gender in 2020

From left, Abigail Shrier, Keira Bell, and J.K. Rowling Getty Images/Shrier photo by Joe Kohen; Associated Press/Bell photo by Sam Tobin, PA/Rowling photo by Evan Agostini, Invision

Champions of biology

The coronavirus pandemic put strains on families and marriages but also proved their resilience. The fight to redefine gender and sexuality posed an even more dangerous threat to children this year, but compelling voices emerged and organized to defend the God’s established order for creation. Here are some of the top stories from the marriage, family, and sexuality beat in 2020.

Battling biology

The transgender movement sought to change the definition of a woman, literally, and erase biological realities in public school curriculum, school restrooms and sports, and treatment for gender-confused children.

Three female Connecticut high school runners took legal action against their state’s transgender policy, which they said cost them athletic titles and opportunities since they have to compete against male runners who identify as girls. Their challenge set off state and nationwide legislative efforts to protect women’s sports. Idaho became the first state to pass a law barring men from competing in girls and women’s sports, but a judge temporarily blocked it.

The debate over biology extended to the public schools, where parents in several states fought against new comprehensive sex-ed programs that instruct young children to choose their gender. Across the United States, judges sided with transgender students to allow them to use restrooms and locker rooms of their choice.

Meanwhile, activist parents and physicians are pushing a growing number of children with gender dysphoria to use puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones despite the irreversible effects of those experimental treatments. Bold champions such as Keira Bell, a 23-year-old British woman who embraced her biological sex after taking the harmful drugs, and author Abigail Shrier brought attention to the number of girls, in particular, who are being fast-tracked into hormone-altering drugs.

The concerns Bell, Shrier, and others—including Harry Potter creator and author J.K. Rowling have raised are making a difference: The U.K. High Court issued a landmark ruling on Dec. 1 that doctors must seek a court order before administering puberty-blocking drugs to children younger than 16. —Mary Jackson

Doctrinal stumbling block

Mainline denominations continued to drift further from Biblical orthodoxy on sexuality, prompting more pastors and congregations to break away and contributing to declining membership. Denominations such as the Episcopal Church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), and the Mennonite Church (MC) USA continued to push out church leaders and congregations who hold Biblical views of homosexuality.

In New York, for example, William Love, one of the few remaining orthodox bishops in the Episcopal Church, announced he would resign in the face of disciplinary action for prohibiting clergy from participating in same-sex wedding ceremonies.

Meanwhile, the MC USA indicated it could retire its membership guidelines to usher in a more laissez-faire approach to same-sex marriage and LGBT pastors.

The ELCA grew more outspoken about its support for LGBT lifestyles, putting conservative groups like Dennis Nelson’s Lutheran Coalition for Renewal at a difficult crossroads. —M.J.

Sexual abuse comes into the light

In the post-MeToo era, the Boy Scouts of America and Pornhub are just a few major organizations facing a public reckoning amid claims of sexual abuse.

Laila Mickelwait of the anti-trafficking group Exodus Cry began circulating a petition earlier this year to shut down Pornhub for its rampant exploitation of women and children. The petition garnered 2 million signatures and widespread attention. After a recent New York Times report shed more light on how Pornhub profits from abuse, rape, and sex trafficking, two major credit card companies cut ties with the website and 40 trafficking victims filed a lawsuit against it.

Earlier this year, the Boy Scouts of America opened the door for alleged victims of sexual abuse to file claims as part of its bankruptcy case. The organization received a staggering 98,000 sex abuse complaints. Now the bankruptcy case faces the enormous task of vetting and negotiating the size of a victims compensation fund. Whether the beleaguered organization will emerge intact remains to be seen. —M.J.

COVID-19 affects families

The coronavirus pandemic brought some families closer together, but others suffered alone. As the number of COVID-19 deaths rose, many families said goodbye to loved ones during lockdowns and grieved in isolation without the comfort and closure of traditional memorial services. Others struggled to support ailing family members amid strict hospital protocols.

Some women and children faced an increased risk of violence. Lockdowns made it more difficult for social workers and other mandatory reporters to have face-to-face interactions with vulnerable children, and some experts warned of hidden abuse.

Meanwhile, some families banded together, forming microcommunities with friends and neighbors, calling themselves “COVID bubbles,” or “quaran-teams,” meeting outdoors or in each other’s homes in an attempt to stave off loneliness and depression. —M.J.

Mary Jackson

Mary is a book reviewer and reporter for WORLD. She is a World Journalism Institute and Greenville University graduate who previously worked for the Lansing (Mich.) State Journal. Mary resides with her family in the San Francisco Bay area.



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