Gender sensitivity, per se, is easy to understand. It is the ability to recognize issues and problems in the way societies look at gender. It is a pressing issue in places that still treat women inferior to men.
I was invited to speak on this topic by Zonta International. My talk was well-received, and modesty aside, applauded.
This emboldened me to accept an invitation to speak before high school students, their teachers, and some advocates for women. Being an author, I was to focus on the impact of books on gender sensitivity.
In my message, I established parameters: I’d speak only of two genders because I have no opinion on anything outside of those. I avoided getting into issues of the LGBT group, which is using gender sensitivity to leverage their position.
I spoke of the creation and gender bias against women in books. Citing research data and book classics, I said that women still have a long way to go in being viewed as the heroine. Men are typecast in that role and readers in general have accepted this status quo.
I also emphasized that my favorite book, the Bible, makes no distinction between men and women in using God-given talents. “Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith . . .” Romans 12: 6 (ESV)
Was I nonplussed in the Q and A portion when I received written questions (9 out of 10) that dwelt on LGBT, such as:
“How can I stop myself from being gay?”
“Why do you say that there are only two genders, when there are gays and lesbians.”
“What happens when a boy says he is a girl?”
Gender sensitivity is not easy to understand after all.
Trying not to sound frustrated or evasive, I reiterated that I limited my talk to the two genders because I have no opinion nor expertise on anything beyond them. I also said, gay or lesbian is not a gender, they are sexual preferences.
Amidst my discomfort, the 10th sheet of paper came to me hurriedly through one of the teachers: “What makes you write such wonderful books?”
Obviously, it was to sidetrack the other 9 questions and to relieve me of my unease. As I have always experienced, grace takes up the cudgels for us at crunch time.