Are gender identity and gender expression really that important?

To God they are. Knowing who we are and expressing it are exactly what God would love us humans focused on.

To begin with, however, gender is not the top priority. By God’s definition in Genesis, ‘who and what we are’ is not primarily about being male and female. Our true identity – socially, culturally, physically, mentally, emotionally and any other word ending in ‘ally’ – boils down first of all to: we are human.

That’s how God introduces us in Genesis 1:27. He starts off with, “God created humans.” So when we look at each other we know that – no matter what shape, colour, social construct or genetic soup we’ve ended up with – we’re all related. It means I’ve got all these humans who easily recognize me as ‘one of them’, and when they see me that way it’s a grand start to us getting along. We can share all sorts of things together that we can’t with dogs, goldfish, or turnips.

So first of all we identify and express ourselves as fellow humans.

But God goes one step further because he also says in that same verse we can identify and express ourselves as little likenesses of him. Oh. So when I look at you and you look at me, what we’re actually seeing in each other is a little image of God. But really that’s just as obvious as the fact we’re human, because what other creatures on this planet have the powers of a god? My cat doesn’t, even if it thinks it does. But in one minute I can come up with ideas and thoughts that chimpanzees and dolphins would never come up with in a lifetime.

Wow, so I can identify as a mini-image of God. I have no trouble, then, expressing God-like thoughts too, some of which, I happily notice, have a powerful effect on people when they’re God-like loving thoughts. It seems, then, that if I realize who and what I am on this level, and I express it wherever I go, I am a positive power to be reckoned with.

It’s only then – after God identifies us as human mini-images of him – that he says he created us male and female. It doesn’t change the fact that we all share exactly the same identity, but it does enable us to reproduce and have families. And that really does make gender identity and gender expression important because without the active and continuing contribution of both male and female we cannot reproduce as humans, and if we can’t reproduce we become extinct, in which case we’d be better off being dogs, goldfish, or turnips.

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