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Old 06-24-2017, 07:47 PM   #1
Rob
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Baha'i teachings on gender identity

I could not find any way to post a question. Okay, I found it.
My question is this:
Since, as I understand it, only males can become members of the UHJ, the question has arisen in recent years, what is a male? While this may have been a preposterous question when the UHJ was first formed, social and legal definitions have changed. For example, surgical procedures can be done to alter one's physical appearance from one sex to another. Also, personalized definitions of gender include how one identifies or "presents" as a member of a particular gender. What is/are the Baha'i teachings on this subject?
Thanks.
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Old 06-25-2017, 01:11 AM   #2
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Oh dear, what a subject for a first posting! I am pefectly satisfied with a ruling from the Universal House of Justice on this subject.

Best

from

gnat

Last edited by gnat; 06-25-2017 at 01:14 AM.
 
Old 06-25-2017, 05:15 AM   #3
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Interesting question Rob and welcome to the forum:

there is the law in Islam that says only "men" can be the governors/kings of a country; there are no further explanations. but when we go to mystic teachings of people like Rumi, they have a very novel view on who is a man and who is a woman. they say that woman can physically be a man or a woman, but spiritually she is mild and worldlier, a bit timid. moreover in mystic symbolism "woman" is used as a symbol for people who lack strength to walk the path of spirituality. thus Rumi mentions that that Islamic law I mentioned at the beginning should not be interpreted superficially.

but now, about the law in Bahai faith, there are some points that makes it clear that Bahaullah and Abdul Baha had been using the term "woman" in its most common use. someone with physical and spiritual feminine qualities. Universal House of Justice says that the surgeries to change one's sex must be taken under the exact diagnosis and medical advises of the experts in the field. that is, if a woman is really to be a man based on some hormone problems or other biological matters, then it is accepted. and then, when she turns completely into a man, (in my personal opinion) he can be a member of the UHJ; why not? but if a Bahai woman changes her sex ONLY to be a member of th Universal House of Justice, I do not think it is accepted at all.
anyway, this is a very rare case I think. how many Bahai women do you know, who have undergone such a surgery, now are men, and want to be the members of the UHJ?
 
Old 06-25-2017, 03:31 PM   #4
Rob
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Thank you for a thoughtful and interesting response to a complex question.
I’d like to add in a few more thoughts.

First, no one’s sex has ever actually been changed. Surgery only changes the superficial appearance.

Secondly, the problem with gender identity disorder is in the brain, not the lower body. A comparable problem is called apotemnophilia, or a very similar thing, body integrity identity disorder. In those cases, the affected individual seeks to amputate arms or legs that are healthy and fully functional. If one reads the literature, this seems very much like gender identity disorder.

Third, a major problem that I already addressed is the increasingly amorphous definitions of gender, according to certain courts of law and other institutions of society. For example, does one’s gender change from day to day? So I guess I am asking what the Baha’i teachings on these matters are, if any. For example, what guidance do you give to Baha’is who may come to you expressing concerns with any gender confusions they (or a loved one) may have.

To wait until a crisis arises may be unwise. Current public policy on gender has the potential to undermine the social order, and to adversely influence the thinking of a generation of youth.

I apologize if this is not the correct forum for such issues.
.
 
Old 06-26-2017, 04:05 AM   #5
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Rob,

These are very good and timely questions. I have some observations on the subject. There are many variations in people that cause them to not identify completely with one gender or the other. In an extreme case, there are some people who have XXY chromosomes, so even at the genetic level they are both male and female, not any more one than the other. There are other people who are genetically male but their bodies are completely unresponsive to testosterone, as a result they grow up with 100% female appearance. This is the case with some Olympic athletes that have been in the news recently. There may be intermediate cases where this is partly true.

As far as the majority of transgender people, there is apparently no genetic or hormonal cause, but presumably psychological differences. Recent research has indicated that certain structural differences may exist in the brain of some transgender or homosexual people. So little is understood about the brain at the present time that it is hard to say definitively what those differences are and what they signify.

From a Baha'i perspective, it's important to realize a couple of things. First, that we are essentially spiritual beings that can have eternal life, and our physical existence is temporary. The soul is neither male nor female. The Baha'i Faith teaches absolute equality of the sexes, although there are roles within the family where male and female have somewhat different responsibilities. For instance, the mother is the first educator of the children. That doesn't mean the father is not also an educator, they are both equal educators, but due to childbirth and feeding, etc. the mother is the first educator. As far as membership on the Universal House of Justice, that is not a position of superiority in any way, it is a position of service and sacrifice.

The Baha'i teachings specify that marriage is between one man and one woman. There is no explicit teaching of Baha'u'llah to my knowledge that indicates how to determine who is male or female, so in the cases mentioned above, it will be the responsibility of the Universal House of Justice to decide. At present, legal definitions are followed, but the House of Justice may need to legislate in the Baha'i context where civil definitions are not adequate, including the case of homosexual and transgender people that are apparently "normal" biologically.
 
Old 06-26-2017, 05:16 AM   #6
Rob
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This was another good response.

In the current social climate, a large number of Americans view homosexuality, and other sexual identities, as being perfectly normal, that is, to be not only accepted, but celebrated. Indeed, the law sometimes goes even further, requiring affirmative endorsement, moral objections notwithstanding.

You are probably aware that in some court cases, bakers, printers and photographers have been successfully sued for refusing to provide services--not to homosexual people per se--but to celebrations, weddings and the like.
There is a distinct difference between providing essential services to one and all alike, and indirectly participating in a ceremony when one's legitimate moral standards would forbid it.

I point this out simply to show that, in America at least, we are approaching a crisis point, in which either religious morals, or secular morals (so to speak) will apply. Currently, secular morals are either mandatory or becoming so.

While I am not a Baha'i, I feel that all religious people are under threat. This includes certain Moslems who refuse to handle pork products in their food industry jobs.

I think you have done well in explaining the Baha'i position from an unofficial perspective, and I wish you well. While I will check in for responses, I do not anticipate continuing the thread, unless something very compelling is added.

Thank you again for your time and attention.
.
 
Old 06-28-2017, 08:04 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob View Post
First, no one’s sex has ever actually been changed. Surgery only changes the superficial appearance.
. . . Leaves the door open for future technology to do so.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob View Post
Secondly, the problem with gender identity disorder is in the brain, not the lower body. A comparable problem is called apotemnophilia, or a very similar thing, body integrity identity disorder. In those cases, the affected individual seeks to amputate arms or legs that are healthy and fully functional. If one reads the literature, this seems very much like gender identity disorder.
Okay. Unlike GID, apotemnophilia disables a person.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob View Post
Third, a major problem that I already addressed is the increasingly amorphous definitions of gender, according to certain courts of law and other institutions of society. For example, does one’s gender change from day to day? So I guess I am asking what the Baha’i teachings on these matters are, if any. For example, what guidance do you give to Baha’is who may come to you expressing concerns with any gender confusions they (or a loved one) may have.
I have never encountered any Baha'is with gender "confusion". Were I ever to use this term with such an individual, I suspect he or she would be offended by the term itself. I would simply tell them: "I don't know."

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob View Post
To wait until a crisis arises may be unwise. Current public policy on gender has the potential to undermine the social order, and to adversely influence the thinking of a generation of youth.
Examples? Historically speaking, Native Americans seemed to do fine with it, as our Two Spirit tradition indicates. At the moment, I think apotemnophilia has the potential to be dangerous, mainly because of what a bioethicist mentioned about the issue in a widely shared article:
It doesn't seem far-fetched to imagine that amputated limbs could come to be more widely seen as erotic, or that given the right set of social conditions, the desire for amputation could spread. For a thousand years Chinese mothers broke the bones in their daughters' feet and wrapped them in bandages, making the feet grow twisted and disfigured. To a modern Western eye, these feet look grotesquely deformed. But for centuries Chinese men found them erotic.

Last edited by ahanu; 06-28-2017 at 09:38 AM.
 
Old 06-28-2017, 02:36 PM   #8
Rob
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I generally avoid discussions in which every word is parsed. Those seem to go down convoluted paths that end in an impasse. I hope this one leads to a mutual understanding of each other's perspectives.

I made the point about apotemnophilia (and a similar condition called BIID) to demonstrate that the brain and the body do not always match, so to speak. When they do not, it is inappropriate to surgically alter the body to fit the brain, at least not until sufficient research and effort has been made to correct the problem at its source. If my brain tells me to cut off an arm, the problem is not my arm.

Does this apply to gender identity disorder? I am by no means an authority on the matter, but my first resort is to what many people consider commonsense. Commonsense is not always the final correct answer, but if one begins elsewhere, one may never get anywhere.

Your point about being offended is well suited to the modern culture, in which feelings seem to override truth. The old saying, "truth hurts," seems to have been abandoned. Yet, if we speak not truth (as best we can), then in attempting to please everyone, we will offend everyone.

As to the reference to other cultures accepting what we consider to be unconventional gender roles, I think there is an over-reliance on that argument. Yes, the ancient Greeks accepted homosexuality. But they never went so far as to institutionalize same-sex marriage. Likewise with the indigenous cultures in North America. They properly tolerated people who had gender difficulties, but they did not go to the extremes which western society is now moving toward.

Can harm be done? I read recently that very young children are being diagnosed as having GID, and then being "treated" for it, beginning with drugs. However, statistics show that a great many children experience a temporary form of GID, then outgrow it when given the chance. What happens if they are not given the chance? I don't know, but it seems to me that we are endangering a lot of young kids.

Surely, society will continue along its increasingly secularized path. Sooner or later, the end results will inevitably be made manifest. That will tell the tale.

Until then, each of us must make the best moral decisions we can, and hope that God forgives our mistakes and protects us from their consequences.

Along that way, it might behoove each of us not to regard the other as evil, but merely mistaken.
.
 
Old 06-29-2017, 06:16 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob View Post
I generally avoid discussions in which every word is parsed. Those seem to go down convoluted paths that end in an impasse. I hope this one leads to a mutual understanding of each other's perspectives.
Hi Rob,

Parsing each and every word is impractical and futile. Parsing labels, on the other hand, is a fruitful endeavor. See below for an example.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob View Post
Can harm be done? I read recently that very young children are being diagnosed as having GID, and then being "treated" for it, beginning with drugs. However, statistics show that a great many children experience a temporary form of GID, then outgrow it when given the chance. What happens if they are not given the chance? I don't know, but it seems to me that we are endangering a lot of young kids.
Please show us the statistics. Provide a source for your information--that is, show us what you have "read recently".

From my search online, the scientific community now uses the term gender dysphoria (formerly gender identity disorder). The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders changed it in 2012, and for obvious reasons:
"Jack Drescher, a member of the APA group dedicated to considering this issue, explained to the Daily Beast back in 2010 that his subcommittee’s recommendation came from a desire to stop 'pathologiz[ing] all expressions of gender variance just because they were not common or made someone uncomfortable.'"
You said "statistics show that a great many children experience a temporary form of GID, then outgrow it when given the chance". My sources say otherwise. See "Gender Cognition in Transgender Children" here. One often-quoted source titled "Gender Ideology Harms Children" incorrectly states:
"5. According to the DSM-V, as many as 98% of gender confused boys and 88% of gender confused girls eventually accept their biological sex after naturally passing through puberty.5"
These statistics are false. See here and here. The term "gender confusion" is used to help preserve the desistance myth, the idea most "gender confused" children "eventually accept their biological sex after naturally passing through puberty".

Last edited by ahanu; 06-29-2017 at 07:47 PM. Reason: grammar
 
Old 06-29-2017, 03:59 PM   #10
Rob
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It seems that I may have touched raw nerve here. Your tone seems angry, and your arguments are more of an advocacy nature than they are a mutually respectful discussion. My initial disposition is to withdraw from the thread. (Ooh, he's threatening us, the coward.)

However, since you imply that my resources are inferior to yours, or perhaps you may be accusing me of misrepresentation, allow me to direct you to

Child Healing: Gender Identity Disorder

The site contains a link to a 2016 professional and scholarly review of the subject matter, including [quoting from the linked site]

"Dr. Lawrence Mayer, professor of statistics and biostatistics at Arizona State University and a self-described liberal citizen who supports LGBQT rights..."

Quoting from the Mayer Report referenced in the link:

"In the course of their development, many children explore the idea of being of the opposite sex. Some children may have improved psychological well-being if they are encouraged and supported in their cross-gender identification, particularly if the identification is strong and persistent over time. But nearly all children ultimately identify with their biological sex. The notion that a two-year-old, having expressed thoughts or behaviors identified with the opposite sex, can be labeled for life as transgender has absolutely no support in science. Indeed, it is iniquitous to believe that all children who have gender-atypical thoughts or behavior at some point in their development, particularly before puberty, should be encouraged to become transgender. As citizens, scholars, and clinicians concerned with the problems facing LGBT people, we should not be dogmatically committed to any particular views about the nature of sexuality or gender identity; rather, we should be guided first and foremost by the needs of struggling patients, and we should seek with open minds for ways to help them lead meaningful, dignified lives."

There is a great deal more that I could say on the subject, but I will do so only in a context of mutual respect, and a desire by each to understand the other's point of view, even if opposing it.

If I have misinterpreted your tone, then of course I apologize. My present impression, however, is that when someone disagrees with you on an emotion-laden subject, you project a hostile reaction.

This, sadly, has become the norm among many academicians, and I for one, find it to be, as Churchill so eloquently phrased it, something "up with which I shall not put."

Of course a spirited dispute is not something I avoid, but once I sense there is no point in it, and when it seems that only harsh feelings will result, heat not light, then I find a more productive venue in which to discuss matters.

I look forward to the spirited dispute, but not to an acrimonious back-and-forth of accusations.
.
 
Old 06-29-2017, 07:48 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob View Post
It seems that I may have touched raw nerve here. Your tone seems angry, and your arguments are more of an advocacy nature than they are a mutually respectful discussion. My initial disposition is to withdraw from the thread. (Ooh, he's threatening us, the coward.)
This is not how I feel at all, and I will explain why in more detail later. I simply asked you to provide your sources. Thanks. I will look at them later when I have more time.

Last edited by ahanu; 06-29-2017 at 07:55 PM.
 
Old 06-29-2017, 08:17 PM   #12
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A few quick comments about post #8 . . .

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob View Post
Your point about being offended is well suited to the modern culture, in which feelings seem to override truth. The old saying, "truth hurts," seems to have been abandoned. Yet, if we speak not truth (as best we can), then in attempting to please everyone, we will offend everyone.
"They are going the way of modernism", they said. "Their arguments are based on emotions, not the facts of the Bible," they said. These are some of the things pro-slavery Christians said to Christian abolitionists . . . (and I am not saying you are a like a pro-slavery Christian).

Pro-slavery Christians in America believed they had the truth. It did not matter to them if their so-called "truth" offended the other. I have encountered many religious people that have believed that. My point is this: just because someone offends others, it does not follow that they have the truth, and that if the term "gender confusion" is wrong, then . . . yes . . . it is an offensive term for individuals in the transgender community.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob View Post
As to the reference to other cultures accepting what we consider to be unconventional gender roles, I think there is an over-reliance on that argument. Yes, the ancient Greeks accepted homosexuality. But they never went so far as to institutionalize same-sex marriage. Likewise with the indigenous cultures in North America. They properly tolerated people who had gender difficulties, but they did not go to the extremes which western society is now moving toward.
Please provide your sources, Rob.

And a few more comments about post #10 . . .

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob View Post
I look forward to the spirited dispute, but not to an acrimonious back-and-forth of accusations.
I have not made an accusation.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob View Post
Of course a spirited dispute is not something I avoid, but once I sense there is no point in it, and when it seems that only harsh feelings will result, heat not light, then I find a more productive venue in which to discuss matters.
Only heat resulted from #9, Rob? No light shed on the terminology at all?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob View Post
If I have misinterpreted your tone, then of course I apologize. My present impression, however, is that when someone disagrees with you on an emotion-laden subject, you project a hostile reaction.

This, sadly, has become the norm among many academicians, and I for one, find it to be, as Churchill so eloquently phrased it, something "up with which I shall not put."
Others are free to chime in and tell me if my reaction in this thread has been hostile. I welcome constructive feedback.

Last edited by ahanu; 06-29-2017 at 09:52 PM.
 
Old 06-30-2017, 04:39 AM   #13
Rob
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Quote:
just because someone offends others, it does not follow that they have the truth
At least we can agree on something.

Maybe I should just quit there. The remainder of your post challenges me on points of general knowledge, for example, that the ancient Greeks never institutionalized same-sex marriage. They didn't. Had they done so, I am confident that strident LGBT activists (of which you seem to be one) would be all over this. I did provide a link to an extensive report on the general subject of gender identity whatever (confusion, disorder, dysphoria, or whatever the glib term du jour happens to be today). That report was co-authored by an LGBT activist who proves that one can take his position and still consider alternate views in a non-hostile manner.

In a larger context, my self-published book, The God Paradigm, ISBN 978-1-365-22453-9, includes a chapter on the subject of homosexuality, and another on gender identity. Both chapters include the kinds of references which you seem to demand, although the book itself is not about that, but rather, is a challenge to the science philosophy (paradigm) of natural-materialism.

Every complex subject should begin with an overview of the matter. Once we do that, we can see that the conventional ideas, right or wrong, came from a sensible beginning.

In context, the human species is divided into two sexes. There are important biological and social reasons for this, of which I am sure you are aware. They are not arbitrary social constructs designed to oppress women and minorities.

The two sexes constitute the norm. A small percentage of people do not fit into that norm. They should be treated with compassion and respect. In doing so, we err when we make the mistake of thinking that the norm is somehow unjust. It is not.

Compassion for those who do not fit the norm has become a political tool, so much so, that compassion has morphed into legal and civil penalties that punish honest and helpful dissent.

Finally, I will point out that my approach to all of this is spiritual and religious, not political or sociological. I began this thread curious as to what the Baha'i teaching is on this matter. As a Christian, I find that Baha'i views on homosexuality are not all that different from Christian views. I also find that Jews and Moslems are much in accord concerning sexual morality. All four religious categories have elements of patriarchy, which to a commonsense degree, affords structure and function to our most basic and vital institution, the family.

Therefore, I seek not my own wisdom, nor wisdom from the intellectual elite, but from the word of God.

May He enlighten us all.
.
 
Old 06-30-2017, 10:50 AM   #14
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"Tribulation is a horizon unto My Revelation" the fact that a man thinks he or she is a woman is between them and God. Publicly the idea causes aberrations in our society, Baha'u'llah, 'We shrink at the Subject of Boys.' Half the time the idea being offered is offensive.
 
Old 06-30-2017, 08:15 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob View Post
Maybe I should just quit there.
Maybe you should.


"Listen to your heart
there's nothing else you can do.
I don't know where you're going
and I don't know why,
but listen to your heart
before you tell him goodbye."

-Roxette



Anyway, back to your sources . . .

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob View Post
The site contains a link to a 2016 professional and scholarly review of the subject matter, including [quoting from the linked site]

"Dr. Lawrence Mayer, professor of statistics and biostatistics at Arizona State University and a self-described liberal citizen who supports LGBQT rights..."
Lawrence Mayer did not support LGBQT rights in North Carolina. Note the review (also co-authored by Paul McHugh) was published in The New Atlantis, which is not a peer-reviewed journal. The New Atlantis is published by the Ethics and Public Policy Center (EPPC), an institute "dedicated to applying the Judeo-Christian moral tradition to critical issues of public policy." EPPC scholars "have consistently sought to defend and promote our nation's founding principles—respect for the inherent dignity of the human person, individual freedom and responsibility, justice, the rule of law, and limited government.” But I am guessing you already knew this.

Considering Paul McHugh is a former Johns Hopkins professor, I also noted three faculty staff at the school disavowed the report after its publication. They even provided instances of cherry-picking in the review. Paul McHugh and Lawrence Mayer responded to them in "Authors defend controversial report on sexuality", and they added they do not need peer-review, because they "were not making a new scientific contribution (needing peer review) but offering lay people our sense of its literature", so they deemed it an "odd" requirement. But others believe they just cannot make it through the peer-review process, and compare their "no biological basis" logic (since there is no "smoking gun") to the American Tobacco Institute that denies smoking causes cancer. Hundreds of alumni, current students, and thirty professors at Hopkins have called for the school to disassociate itself from the review and authors. Quite the controversy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob View Post
"statistics show that a great many children experience a temporary form of GID, then outgrow it when given the chance"
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob View Post
Quoting from the Mayer Report referenced in the link:

"In the course of their development, many children explore the idea of being of the opposite sex. Some children may have improved psychological well-being if they are encouraged and supported in their cross-gender identification, particularly if the identification is strong and persistent over time. But nearly all children ultimately identify with their biological sex. The notion that a two-year-old, having expressed thoughts or behaviors identified with the opposite sex, can be labeled for life as transgender has absolutely no support in science. Indeed, it is iniquitous to believe that all children who have gender-atypical thoughts or behavior at some point in their development, particularly before puberty, should be encouraged to become transgender. As citizens, scholars, and clinicians concerned with the problems facing LGBT people, we should not be dogmatically committed to any particular views about the nature of sexuality or gender identity; rather, we should be guided first and foremost by the needs of struggling patients, and we should seek with open minds for ways to help them lead meaningful, dignified lives."

DSM-5 addresses this issue
. It says gender non-conformity and gender dysphoria are different:
"Gender dysphoria is not the same as gender nonconformity, which refers to behaviors not matching the gender norms or stereotypes of the gender assigned at birth. Examples of gender nonconformity (also referred to as gender expansiveness or gender creativity) include girls behaving and dressing in ways more socially expected of boys or occasional cross-dressing in adult men. Gender nonconformity is not a mental disorder."
Some studies do not make a distinction between gender non-conformity and gender dysphoria--which skews statistics concerning desistance and raises false alarms . Hence the belief in Mayer's review that "nearly all children ultimately identify with their biological sex".

As a small aside regarding the harm of "gender confusion", I noted both (gender non-conforming and gender dysphoria) were given gender-reparative therapy for decades. These practices have been damaging to these individuals, and they have been abandoned. WPATH no longer considers gender-reparative therapy ethical: "Treatment aimed at trying to change a person’s gender identity and expression to become more congruent with sex assigned at birth has been attempted in the past without success (Gelder & Marks, 1969; Greenson, 1964), particularly in the long term (Cohen-Kettenis & Kuiper, 1984; Pauly, 1965). Such treatment is no longer considered ethical." Back to this in a minute.

Your source here still uses DSM-4 to diagnose "gender identity disorder", so it recognizes these children as mentally ill (see "Diagnosis of GID"). DSM-5's criteria differs. Your source is aware of DSM-5, but they favor "gender identity disorder" or "GID" over the term "gender dysphoria". They rely on research from "the leaders in the field Zucker and Bradley in Toronto. ( Zucker, K. & Bradley, S. (1995) Gender Identity Disorder and Psychosexual Problems in Children and Adolescents. New York: Guilford Publications.)" Info about Zucker was mentioned in the article titled "The End of the Desistance Myth" included in post #9. It appears he practiced gender-reparative therapy. I found the article very informative. But perhaps it is biased info. Any alternative info? Also, his 80% statistic has been discredited in the non-hostile article I referred to previously: "What Alarmist Articles About Transgender Children Get Wrong". It reads:
"Nearly every piece that raises the issue of social transitions among transgender children cites what we call 'the 80 percent statistic,' which refers to a 1995 study by Zucker and Bradley that found that, within a group of 45 gender nonconforming children, 80 percent were not transgender at follow-up (usually in the high-school years) . . .

These findings are used to argue that social transitions should not be encouraged, because according to the logic, around 80 percent of these children who are identified as gender dysphoric will not ultimately be transgender if left alone or given proper therapy. Here, again, the distinction between transgender children and the rest of the spectrum of gender nonconforming children is critical to acknowledge. The studies that found this 80 percent number (or similar numbers) included a broad range of gender nonconforming children. The authors of this particular study, Zucker and Bradley, wrote that it is actually quite rare for children who are brought to gender clinics to believe themselves to be the other gender. Much more common were children who showed cross-gender behaviors, who may have wished they were the other gender at times but still saw themselves as members of their original gender group. Thus, most of the children who are argued to have grown out of their gender dysphoria never claimed a transgender identity to begin with."
So I do not accept "statistics show that a great many children experience a temporary form of GID, then outgrow it when given the chance", because it conflates the issue.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob View Post
The remainder of your post challenges me on points of general knowledge, for example, that the ancient Greeks never institutionalized same-sex marriage. They didn't.
Okay. You are right.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob View Post
I did provide a link to an extensive report on the general subject of gender identity whatever (confusion, disorder, dysphoria, or whatever the glib term du jour happens to be today).
So you do not care if children are labeled with a mental illness (gender identity disorder or gender confusion) or not (gender dysphoria)? If so, this casts doubt on your genuine concern for these children that you shared in post #8. At least that is how I feel about indifference when it comes to labeling people with this or that ("I generally avoid discussions in which every word is parsed."). If we do not care about our labels, how can we have any effective communication? ("I hope this one leads to a mutual understanding of each other's perspectives.").

"If names be not correct, language is not in accordance with the truth of things.
If language be not in accordance with the truth of things, affairs cannot be carried on to success.
When affairs cannot be carried on to success, proprieties and music do not flourish.
When proprieties and music do not flourish, punishments will not be properly awarded.
When punishments are not properly awarded, the people do not know how to move hand or foot.
Therefore a superior man considers it necessary that the names he uses may be spoken appropriately,
and also that what he speaks may be carried out appropriately.
What the superior man requires is just that in his words there may be nothing incorrect."

-Confucius

Last edited by ahanu; 07-01-2017 at 05:45 AM. Reason: Shorten response and add clarification
 
Old 06-30-2017, 10:42 PM   #16
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WHEW! I just spent about an hour editing the above post. I am finally finished. I hope the work pays off.
 
Old 07-01-2017, 04:42 AM   #17
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I hope we can focus on spiritual principles.

While biological, psychological, social and political realities are all relevant, society is doomed to conflict and strife unless spiritual truths are brought to fore, and the harmony of spiritual and material reality is established. In other words, facts matter, but medical and psychological science is not perfect, so we need to avoid making definitive and absolute conclusions based on partial and evolving knowledge.

Likewise, spiritual principles provide another vital view of reality. We must not equate the teachings of specific religious groups with spiritual reality, however, first of all because they are sometimes in conflict. The Baha'i Faith teaches that religious truth is relative, not absolute. That doesn't mean that Truth is relative, it means that religious teachings provide a window on it, and that window can become obscured over time with human interpretation. Furthermore, religious teachings and laws are suited to the age in which they are revealed, according to God's plan.

There are many challenges that humanity faces at the present time, which is the period of humanity's adolescence and transition to maturity. How we must deal with sexuality and gender is a major challenge with many facets, including establishing equality between men and women, preventing sexual abuse, and also how people who don't fit into traditional gender roles can fit into a loving and just society. Spiritual reality must be considered along with material reality when setting attitudes policies and laws.
 
Old 07-01-2017, 05:32 AM   #18
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Thank you, Ahanu. Your extensive drilling down into my sources is commendable. I'll have to dig into the original sources I used before I can reply.

I will compose one today or tomorrow off site. At the moment, I am being committed elsewhere (sounds like a politician talk)

Blessings!
 
Old 07-01-2017, 05:33 AM   #19
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Thanks, JCC.
I will respond soon.
 
Old 07-01-2017, 03:18 PM   #20
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Rob,

FWIW:

The views expressed by individual Baha'i's are neither official nor authoritative. (mine included)

I'm a Baha'i and I find very little to agree with in Ahanu's responses to you. I find very little in those responses that reflects my understanding of scripturally-based Baha'i teaching on the subject.

I also note in these responses the tendency to conflate intersex conditions (which are a physical defect often amaneable to physical remedy) and "transgender" tendencies (which is a mental illness.)

Also, FWIW, I briefly knew and studied under Paul McHugh during my professional training (I was a Baha'i then, too) and from my recollection he was a decent man, kind, wise, and free-of-prejudice.

Peace
 
Old 07-01-2017, 04:48 PM   #21
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Here is a rush job preliminary to a more in depth discussion:

Quoting from Wikipedia ref DSM-5:
Various authorities criticized the fifth edition both before and after it was formally published. Critics assert, for example, that many DSM-5 revisions or additions lack empirical support; inter-rater reliability is low for many disorders; several sections contain poorly written, confusing, or contradictory information; and the psychiatric drug industry unduly influenced the manual's content. Many of the members of work groups for the DSM-5 had conflicting interests, including ties to pharmaceutical companies.[2] Various scientists have argued that the DSM-5 forces clinicians to make distinctions that are not supported by solid evidence, distinctions that have major treatment implications, including drug prescriptions and the availability of health insurance coverage. General criticism of the DSM-5 ultimately resulted in a petition, signed by many mental health organizations, which called for outside review of DSM-5. [End quote]

One matter of concern is the implication, perceived by many health professionals, that big pharma is creating its own demand for certain drugs that may not only not help, but affirmatively harm, patients.

For now, I'll take a more generalized approach.

Your implication that I am insincere in my desire to help people who suffer from gender issues is off the mark. I imagine that it must be a source of great suffering to awaken each day as a man (or woman), but feeling the opposite. Suicides often occur over this. Family trauma can be severe when a young one demands a so-called sex-change. Surgical alteration of the exterior appearance may alleviate that suffering, absent any present cure for the underlying cause, but further consequences, many of which are unforeseeable, are sure to arise.

There are less noticed, very pervasive, implications. One issue is that, because a very small number of people experience severe difficulties, the entire society must be altered, including the imposition of civil and criminal penalties for those who simply express their disagreement with public policy.

Then there is the very ticklish matter of privacy. There have been instances of people going on a date with someone, only to discover that the dated person is not the woman who was portrayed. Do people have the right to avoid dating transgender people? Do they have a right to know? Violent crimes have resulted, including murder. Is it fraud to "string someone along"?

In other words, it is not so simple as, have the operation, no one need know, and life will proceed swimmingly.

I apologize for being so disorganized, but at least I should provide a smattering of what is on my mind.
 
Old 07-01-2017, 04:56 PM   #22
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JCC, your sage advice is appreciated. I wholeheartedly agree that science and spiritual perspectives must work hand-in-hand. Putting that into practice is the hard part. The God Paradigm was written to address that subject in depth.

One central feature of it is that we are not merely arrangements of atoms. We are not accidental byproducts of a mindless universe, but its very purpose. It is not arrogance to say so, but reverence.

God bless you and yours!
 
Old 07-01-2017, 06:16 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob View Post
JCC, your sage advice is appreciated. I wholeheartedly agree that science and spiritual perspectives must work hand-in-hand. Putting that into practice is the hard part. The God Paradigm was written to address that subject in depth.

One central feature of it is that we are not merely arrangements of atoms. We are not accidental byproducts of a mindless universe, but its very purpose. It is not arrogance to say so, but reverence.

God bless you and yours!
Rob, where might we find a copy of your book?
 
Old 07-01-2017, 07:42 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sam001 View Post
Rob,

FWIW:

The views expressed by individual Baha'i's are neither official nor authoritative. (mine included)
Yep.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sam001 View Post
I'm a Baha'i and I find very little to agree with in Ahanu's responses to you. I find very little in those responses that reflects my understanding of scripturally-based Baha'i teaching on the subject.
Which responses and scripture are you referring to?

Quote:
Originally Posted by sam001 View Post
I also note in these responses the tendency to conflate intersex conditions (which are a physical defect often amaneable to physical remedy) and "transgender" tendencies (which is a mental illness.)
Well, I have not studied transgender issues in-depth. Never claimed I am an expert. Are you saying transgender "tendencies" are a mental illness, but being transgender is not? That transgender is not a mental illness reflected my understanding of the Slate article I read online about the reason for the change in terms. But it seems my understanding was incorrect.

I did some more digging on the term and found some new information about whether or not it is a mental illness. The Washington Post states the World Health Organization could soon no longer view being transgender as a mental illness:
"According to the World Health Organization, being transgender is a mental illness.

But that could soon change, as the WHO prepares a new edition of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD), its global codebook that influences disease diagnostic manuals worldwide. The current version, ICD-10, was endorsed in 1990, and ICD-11 is due in 2018.

The proposals to declassify transgender identity as a mental disorder have been approved by each committee that has considered it so far. A study published Tuesday in the journal Lancet Psychiatry, offers up new evidence supporting the change.

A condition is designated as a mental illness when the very fact that you have it causes distress and dysfunction, said Geoffrey Reed, a professor of psychology at the National Autonomous University of Mexico, a consultant on ICD-11 and co-author of the study. The study argues that this is not the case with transgender identity."
The study argues distress and dysfunction were caused by social rejection or violence:
“We found distress and dysfunction were very powerfully predicted by the experiences of social rejection or violence that people had,' he said. 'But they were not actually predicted by gender incongruence itself.'”
This article goes on to say:
"The DSM-5 changed the listing of transgender to 'gender dysphoria,' in 2013 (though it remains classified as a mental illness today)."
Oh well! Looks like I fumbled the ball on this one! But I am learning.

Last edited by ahanu; 07-01-2017 at 09:58 PM. Reason: Shorten response
 
Old 07-02-2017, 07:41 AM   #25
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https://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/27/h...-disorder.html
 
Old 07-02-2017, 02:18 PM   #26
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To JCC who requested info on the book, The God Paradigm:

Self Publishing, Book Printing and Publishing Online - Lulu

An ongoing blog site is at
The God Paradigm
 
Old 07-02-2017, 02:21 PM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob View Post

Then there is the very ticklish matter of privacy. There have been instances of people going on a date with someone, only to discover that the dated person is not the woman who was portrayed. Do people have the right to avoid dating transgender people? Do they have a right to know? Violent crimes have resulted, including murder. Is it fraud to "string someone along"?

In other words, it is not so simple as, have the operation, no one need know, and life will proceed swimmingly.

I apologize for being so disorganized, but at least I should provide a smattering of what is on my mind.
"It's a mixed-up, muddled-up, shook-up world..."

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=l9B3LEqO-cc

To me, a spiritual approach requires more than scripture-based standards of moral behavior but also deep compassion and understanding and lack of any fear or repulsion (homophobia) of those who are different. We need to above all see everyone as human beings, spiritual in nature and loved by God.

Personally, I think the song "Lola" is one of the greatest in Rock and Roll history. If you listen to the story, it helps to humanize the tricky situation you mention and see from a different perspective. As a Baha'i, I'm not about to "drink champagne and dance all night" so I would not recommend to anyone to get themselves into such a situation, but certainly there should be no cause for fear, deception or violence or even looking down on anyone else.

Last edited by Jcc; 07-02-2017 at 02:40 PM.
 
Old 07-03-2017, 12:57 AM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jcc View Post
As a Baha'i, I'm not about to "drink champagne and dance all night" so I would not recommend to anyone
Honestly, I think that we Bahá'ís do too little of "dancing all night".

Best

from

gnat
 
Old 07-03-2017, 03:01 AM   #29
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Quote:
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Honestly, I think that we Bahá'ís do too little of "dancing all night".

Best

from

gnat
I only like Champagne on New Years and Dancing is good. Correct i'm not Bahai.
 
Old 07-03-2017, 03:35 PM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jupitermadcat View Post
I only like Champagne on New Years and Dancing is good. Correct i'm not Bahai.
When I was young I used to do it, drinking "cherry cola"
 
Old 07-04-2017, 10:42 AM   #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jcc View Post
To me, a spiritual approach requires more than scripture-based standards of moral behavior but also deep compassion and understanding and lack of any fear or repulsion (homophobia) of those who are different. We need to above all see everyone as human beings, spiritual in nature and loved by God.
Amen to that!

Very well put, JCC.

I'll add another song to your list here as you appear to like contemporary music. It is more overt, but the baseline that was produced by Herbie Flowers is legendary. Enjoy https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=oG6fayQBm9w

Earth
 
Old 07-05-2017, 05:15 AM   #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob View Post
Your implication that I am insincere in my desire to help people who suffer from gender issues is off the mark. I imagine that it must be a source of great suffering to awaken each day as a man (or woman), but feeling the opposite. Suicides often occur over this. Family trauma can be severe when a young one demands a so-called sex-change. Surgical alteration of the exterior appearance may alleviate that suffering, absent any present cure for the underlying cause, but further consequences, many of which are unforeseeable, are sure to arise.
Is that suffering rooted in transgender people themselves or the stigma they receive from society? Terms like gender confusion or gender identity disorder suggest the former, paving the way for reparative therapy (which was made to turn gender non-conforming children into gender conforming ones). We know children that persistently, consistently, and insistently identify as another gender are unlikely to desist once they reach adulthood. Family trauma can be severe when the mother and father find their child's gender identity unacceptable. Transgender people are much more likely to commit suicide if their family and friends do not accept them, they receive physical abuse, or they experience discrimination. So the issue for me now is what kind of help do you wish to offer?

A journalist named Amy Ellis Nutt wrote a popular book that details a family's journey with a transgender child called Becoming Nicole. It looks like an interesting read. Unfortunately, I do not have the time to dedicate to reading it now; however, there are plenty of articles and reviews out there related to this one family's story. At first, the father was unable to accept Wyatt, who was born a boy, but now identifies as a girl. The arguments he had with a young Wyatt about whether or not to call her a boy or a girl were off-putting for him, being afraid of what others might think about Wyatt wearing a princess gown horrified him, and hoping it was just a passing stage Wyatt was going through occupied his thoughts. Wyatt's father eventually accepted it, however. In an interview on NPR with the author and parents, Nutt sums up the problem for transgender children succinctly, saying the problem "isn't within, it's without. In other words, their trouble with their gender identity comes essentially because others view them one way when they view themselves another." That also sums up our different approaches to the problem - one believes the problem is within; another believes the problem is without.

Another family's example is in National Geographic's documentary called Gender Revolution. After visiting a family with an intersex child, Katie Couric visits a family with a transgender child. The young child recognized she was a girl at the age of four - although she was born a boy. Like the parents of Nicole above, these parents at first had similar fears about how to respond to a child that candidly declares she is not a boy. Thankfully they do not reject their child's gender identity. Katie Couric asks how these children know who they are at such a young age, and then takes a brief look at what scientists think is happening in the mother's womb for these children. According to her, the critical moment is between the 13th week and the 40th week when the brain is rapidly growing. Perhaps if lower levels of testosterone occur in boys in their mother's womb, then their brains rewire, causing them to believe they are girls. What really touched me about this story was the acceptance this family received from their community. This wonderful example of acceptance would be impossible if they believed their child suffers from gender identity disorder or gender confusion, because it would then be viewed from a different perspective: a problem that needs to be "fixed". I have attached the documentary below. Others new to the issue - just like me - will find it helpful for deepening their understanding of transgender children.



Last edited by ahanu; 07-05-2017 at 08:43 PM.
 
Old 07-06-2017, 09:29 AM   #33
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There is a "transgender" issue of a sort that happens naturally, although it is rare. It does happen that an individual is born with both sex organs (hermaphroditism) where medical professionals and the parents make a determination of which gender is most appropriate or evident and then select for one through various surgeries, therapies, etc. So although it is not technically gender reassignment, there are similarities. Probably this has happened to a Baha'i family before, and if not, probably it will. It would also be possible for such an individual to be a Baha'i, and, through the process of Baha'i elections, become elected to the UHJ. If that happened, it seems unlikely that anyone other than the parents and the individual to know anything about it, and perhaps not even the individual, if the parents never divulged it. Therefore, it seems unlikely that any issue would be raised about this individual's eligibility as an elected member. Even if somehow people could or did know, it seems extremely unlikely any issue would be raised, as this would be very much at odds with the character of the Baha'i community as I know it. Perhaps this is a good basis for intellectually exploring your question.


I don't hope to add controversy, but, as to a bona fide transgender serving on the House, I think it is unlikely, and I would not personally be in favor of it. First, I do not believe that soul has gender, and therefore I do not accept the notion of someone being born the wrong gender, and consider that an individual who believes they are or desires to be another gender is probably suffering from some sort of biological and or psychological disorder and than it would be more compassionate and more wise to discover and treat the root of it that to mutilate or transform a person. From this point of view (and it is only my own, I am not advancing it as a Baha'i principle or teaching) the question of a transgender is more a question of whether or not a someone with such a biological and or psychological disorder is fit to serve or not. The same question could be raised about any illness or disorder where in some cases it would be acceptable and in others possibly not. But this is how I would approach the question, rather than by the question of gender, which I see as hopelessly flawed argument to begin with.


Cheers

Last edited by Fadl; 07-06-2017 at 09:39 AM.
 
Old 07-06-2017, 02:13 PM   #34
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Honestly I think looking at the science behind some of this stuff would be fascinating, a look at how human beings work, how human brains work (as there is evidence of differences between male and female brains), and a whole host of other potentially interesting psychological and biological subjects.

But... threads like this make me think it's going to take a very long time before we as humans achieve the emotional distance from these subjects necessary to look at this all from an objective and completely unbiased light.

I don't think I will see this achieved in my lifetime, even though I am rather young. I suspect for at least that time that anyone who wanted to do serious research into the subject would do so starting off with a bias and intending to arrive at a specific conclusion.

It's one of the subjects I hope to learn more about after I die and observe the future world.
 
Old 07-06-2017, 02:46 PM   #35
Rob
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from ahanu
Quote:
Is that suffering rooted in transgender people themselves or the stigma they receive from society?
The suffering originates when a young child notices that his or her sex organs are for a sex that they do not identify with. How could that NOT cause suffering?

Quote:
So the issue for me now is what kind of help do you wish to offer?
In the long term, research is needed, just as is research for other medical conditions that are currently unsolved.

In the short term, while surgical procedures may seem to benefit the individual, they do so at known, and unknown costs, both to the individual and to society at large, as I have described in my earlier posts.

Remember that in BIID (Body Integrity Identity Disorder), a person may believe that his arm does not belong on his body, and he may wish to amputate it. It would be absurd to suggest that the problem is in the arm, and then to promote and celebrate its amputation.

While the situation is not identical to Gender Identity Dysfunction, it is close enough to demand that we seek remedies inside the brain, not in the genitalia, if I may state it so crudely.

In the short term, I am not sure how to alleviate the suffering, and it is great suffering indeed, of people with GID. The same is the case with BIID.

What is disturbing about GID is that there seems to be little research into finding a remedy in the brain. The attitude seems to be, let's just amputate, and not bother any further.

In GID, the surgical so-called remedy, especially in young children, can be devastatingly harmful, especially where hormone and drug therapy are involved.

Like it or not, the human species is comprised of two sexes. There are individuals who do not fit the model, but that does not mean that there is something wrong with the model itself. There are profound reasons, both physical and spiritual, both sociological and psychological, to support that model.

Unfortunately, those who make political (and fundraising hay) from the sliver of the population that suffers from gender abnormality, tend to cloud the issue. Lately, the focus seems to be on eradicating all legal and social distinctions between the sexes, despite that those distinctions underlay the bedrock institution of society, the family.

If we are to be truly tolerant, then we must not only have compassion for those who suffer from this terrible ailment, but also, we must respect the right of individuals to express their various and controversial views on the subject, free from unwarranted accusations of bigotry, and especially free from civil and criminal penalties.

Someday you may find that your viewpoint has fallen into disfavor with the political elite. If you undermine respect for those who disagree with you, then in the long run, you are making yourself vulnerable. Remember the adage, first they came for the Jews . . . .
.
 
Old 07-06-2017, 02:51 PM   #36
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And one thing is for sure, there is no room for a third, fourth or fifth sex in our Faith.

gnat
 
Old 07-07-2017, 02:33 AM   #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob View Post
from ahanu

The suffering originates when a young child notices that his or her sex organs are for a sex that they do not identify with. How could that NOT cause suffering?
Rob,

In my opinion, I think young children are far more concerned with gender expression - what they wear, what kind of toys they tend to play with, and so on - rather than their sex organs - something us adults tend to fixate on in this issue about transgender children. I am not sure. A young child's thinking is quite different from us adults. For example, there is an interesting podcast from a mother with a transgender child, and in one interview with her six year old, she asks her what she would say to someone who says she cannot be a girl because she has a boy's sex organ. Here is how this child responds: "How do you know? It is not a rule." Is the kid - just as some said transgender people are in this thread - or is this an example of out of the mouth of babes come truth and wisdom? We need not answer this question since we have already expressed our views: it is just the question that played over and over again in my head as I listened to the interview with this thread in mind.

As long as they are allowed to socially transition (both at home and in their community), they are no more depressed than gender conforming children. For pioneering research in this area that reflects this view, click here. This 2016 study was the first study to examine the mental health of socially transitioned transgender children. We know so little about this area. My intuition tells me it is when these children encounter those that view their gender identity as a dysfunction - and the discrimination and abuse that tend to materialize and coalesce around such a view - that they suffer most. I guess we will have to wait and see until more light is shed on the issue.

Well, I do not wish to continue this discussion any further. I have nothing new to add. Rob, thanks for sharing your view.

Last edited by ahanu; 07-07-2017 at 05:36 AM.
 
Old 07-07-2017, 04:09 AM   #38
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And all of this stems from a preoccupation with gender. If people would focus more on their identity as human beings, I believe that many problems would be solved. There is much talk, for example, of women being bullied in workplaces. Sorry, but I think the main issue is that of bullying, whether the victims are women or men.

We happen to be born as women and men. Is that such an enormous issue? Our main task, in any case is to try to be decent human beings.

Best

from

a gnat, who is immensely fed up with gender discussions
 
Old 07-08-2017, 08:07 AM   #39
Rob
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I wish to thank Ahanu and others who participated in this discussion. It is not an easy thing to talk about such controversial and emotion-laden subjects without rancor, and I feel that we have achieved that.

Ahanu’s closing remarks were interesting, and I have references that give the other side, but since we are concluding, I wish to do so on a positive note.

Our aim in resolving gender issues should be to do the most good for the most people, with compassion for both the minority view and the majority.

I have little doubt that advances in medical research will go a long way toward alleviating the suffering of the few, while at the same time, protecting the rights of those who hold the majority view.

Until then, we should be tolerant of dissenting views, and open-minded about where to go in solving the problems facing us.

That will of course, not be easy, nothing worthwhile ever is. Loud drumbeats from all sides will tend to drown out productive discussion. We must endure those, and remain steadfast in our basic principles, especially spiritual ones.

I am confident that the people in this discussion will be up to the task.

May God bless us all!
.
 
Old 07-08-2017, 01:02 PM   #40
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:)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob View Post
I could not find any way to post a question. Okay, I found it.
My question is this:
Since, as I understand it, only males can become members of the UHJ, the question has arisen in recent years, what is a male? While this may have been a preposterous question when the UHJ was first formed, social and legal definitions have changed. For example, surgical procedures can be done to alter one's physical appearance from one sex to another. Also, personalized definitions of gender include how one identifies or "presents" as a member of a particular gender. What is/are the Baha'i teachings on this subject?
Thanks.
.
.
Is two class of "Homosexuals"

1. First whose live in celibacy, they will be come to heaven, but God decides what happen with them

2. Second, are that whose didn't observe moral code and they have sex, that kind of people will finish in Hell, I have Hope God forsake them and forgive sinns
 
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