When biology matters, sort of


Published July 17, 2023

WORLD Opinions

The recent legal victory in the United Kingdom for the LGB Alliance is most interesting, both from a general political perspective and a more narrow Christian viewpoint. The case was instigated by Mermaids, a British organization committed to promoting transgender children’s rights. Mermaid’s objection to the group was that it rejects the ideology of gender that underlies the transgender movement, specifically as this is being used to promote transgender treatments for children. Mermaids was therefore challenging the action of the U.K. government in granting charitable status to the LGB Alliance, the British equivalent of being a tax-exempt not-for-profit in the USA.

Loss of such status would have been devastating for the group’s fundraising, and the legal move by Mermaids was an attempt to shut down the LGB Alliance. A victory for Mermaids would have been a significant triumph for transgender activists. Their defeat is a heavy blow, and one more sign that the heyday of transgender power in British culture may have peaked and may now be in decline. Only time will tell on that, but the ruling gives some ground for hope.

The case dramatizes what has been clear for some time to thoughtful observers of the LGBTQ scene: the T and the Q are at obvious odds with the LGB, at least as traditionally understood because the lesbian, gay male, and bisexual identity claims all assume as fundamental the importance of biological sex differences. Gay men are not sexually attracted to women pretending to be men, nor lesbians to men pretending to be women. This fault line was hidden for the longest time, given the need for a united front against a common enemy—a society perceived to be dominated by normative notions of white male heterosexuality. However, as so-called ‘heteronormativity’ declines as a cultural and political force, the fault line within the LGBTQ movement is now moving from being an almost invisible hairline fracture to a widening crack through which the public can now see clear daylight.

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Carl R. Trueman taught on the faculties of the Universities of Nottingham and Aberdeen before moving to the United States in 2001 to teach at Westminster Theological Seminary in Pennsylvania. In 2017-18 he was the William E. Simon Visiting Fellow in Religion and Public Life in the James Madison Program at Princeton University.  Since 2018, he has served as a professor at Grove City College. He is also a fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center and a contributing editor at First Things. Trueman’s latest book is the bestselling The Rise and Triumph of the Modern Self. He is married with two adult children and is ordained in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church.

Picture from Unsplash


Carl R. Trueman is a fellow in EPPC’s Evangelicals in Civic Life Program, where his work focuses on helping civic leaders and policy makers better understand the deep roots of our current cultural malaise. In addition to his scholarship on the intellectual foundations of expressive individualism and the sexual revolution, Trueman is also interested in the origins, rise, and current use of critical theory by progressives. He serves as a professor at Grove City College.

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