If you haven’t heard, there’s an absolutely crazy thing happening in British Columbia right now. You can read more here, but the long story short is this: Kori Doty had a baby “outside the medical system,” and named her baby “Searyl Atli Doty,” and she will not tell the government whether her baby is a boy or a girl. She wants to avoid assigning gender to her child, and won’t let anyone else acknowledge here child’s sex either. The Canadian government has so far not issued a birth certificate for this child without ascertaining what the child’s sex is. However, the British Columbia Ministry of Health recently mailed the child a health card with the designation “U” for sex, instead of the “M” or “F” on every other health card.
So far, the news item has been the health card arriving from the Ministry of Health. Of course, there are a number of groups who feel that this health card is some sort of government recognition of not assigning sex at birth. But that part of the story isn’t really newsworthy at all. Because of the parent’s decision, no one knows the sex of this child. But the child still needs healthcare. And a just government doesn’t deny an important healthcare tool to a baby because of a parent’s left-field decision.
The issue here is the mother’s decision and it is a HUGE issue. There A few disclaimers though:
- I use the words “sex” and “gender” interchangeably. Because whether you are a man or a woman does not change depending on your opinion of that fact. We’ll talk about why down below.
- Kori Doty identifies as “non-binary trans” and has a stated preference for the pronoun “they.” But she’s only one person, so “they” is factually incorrect. And of course there’s the fact that she’s a woman.
- We don’t know the sex of Searyl Atli Doty. That’s the whole point. I’m calling him a him. But if that turns out to be incorrect, don’t read anything into my use of “he.”
Sex is not a construct. It is a metaphysical reality. “God created mankind in his image; in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” (Genesis 1:27 and 5:2 and Matthew 19:4). It is not your body which is male or female. You are male or female. Human beings don’t spring out of the universe by on accident. God creates human beings. He doesn’t make mistakes. He doesn’t accidentally make “women” with male bodies. He makes women. He doesn’t make “men” with female bodies. He makes men. And he doesn’t make people who aren’t men or women. He makes that clear. You are male or female.
Sex though isn’t merely a religious belief. It is a scientific fact. It can be ascertained whether a person is a man or a woman, and that fact doesn’t change. There are primary and secondary sex characteristics that tell any competent medical professional whether a mammal is male or female. This is true even of medically “intersex” individuals, for whom one or more primary or secondary sex characteristics are ambiguous. The reality of sexual dimorphism is the consistent finding of medical and biological science and is the consistent teaching of the Church.
What is so striking, and so very sad, about the situation in Canada is that this fact is being hidden about a very little child. Who a child is should be celebrated. The first thing you know about a child is that he’s a human, made in the image and likeness of God. The very next thing you know about your child is whether you have a boy or a girl. The world wants to celebrate who this child is, but no one knows it.
But the arch-sadness here is what effect this decision will have on the child. This parent has essentially decided to ignore that her child has a sex. A child gets to see their mother or their father and realize “I look like him” or “I look like her.” When this child asks himself “who do I look like?” this parent wants to the answer to be “That doesn’t really matter.” But the answer so obviously does matter. This parent expects her child to divine an identity out of thin air, while he is still a child. But she won’t tell her child about the world he inhabits, or the body that’s his.
She expects him to author his own self. But that’s not what humans are. Humans are made. And even if you don’t believe in a Creator, you must acknowledge that humans are a part of the world we live in. The world we live in is factual. The person who doesn’t acknowledge those facts has a hard time living in our world. But this woman refuses to acknowledge the facts for her child, and thereby makes life extremely difficult for him. This is an abuse of one’s power as a parent, to harm a child unnecessarily simply by ignoring the obvious. Send up a prayer for the Doty family. They need all the prayers they can get.