Darrow Miller and Friends

DEADNAMING and MISGENDERING: Postmodern Taboos that Deny Reality

Two new words, both of which deny reality, are radically altering our world: deadnaming and misgendering.

Manning denies realityTo “deadname” is to refer to someone by their birth name rather than by a name they have chosen to reflect their “new gender.” Famous examples: Bruce is the “deadname” of Caitlyn Jenner; Bradley is the dead name of Chelsea Manning.

The second word, “misgender,” means to use a pronoun that does not reflect one’s chosen gender. To use “he” to speak of a male who now identifies himself as a female is to misgender him.

These two words are the product of postmodern culture. As we have written elsewhere, postmoderns deny reality and reason, arguing that everything is a social construction. To refuse to call a person by their preferred identity is to be unloving, offensive, transphobic and insensitive.

But I submit that the issue is not merely being nice, or woke. The issue is much deeper; it is nothing less than acknowledging reality. Biology and genetics matter. In a post-truth culture delusion has replaced reality.

When individuals are pressured—by peers, society, or even laws—to play this postmodern game, they are being forced to deny reality. They are being denied their freedoms of speech, conscience and religion.

Megan Fox, a journalist and writer, has had enough. She writes,

Bradley Manning is a confused young man who thinks he is a woman and has tried to force everyone to call him Chelsea. That’s not going to work on most of us. Accuracy is something that news people should strive for and calling a man by a woman’s name is confusing. Bruce Jenner might like to be known as Caitlyn, but that doesn’t mean the rest of us have to comply. It’s absurd.

A growing divide

A growing divide is opening within the LGBT community, a wedge that has the potential of breaking the LGB and the T into two movements. The division is rooted deeply in the distinction between modernism and postmodernism. Moderns assume that reality means something while postmoderns deny reality, stating that everything is a social construct.

Buttigieg denies realitySouth Bend, Indiana Mayor, Pete Buttigieg is riding the crest of a wave he hopes will deliver the 2020 Democratic nomination for president of the United States. This young millennial is the second openly homosexual man to seek the nomination for president. (The first was Fred Karger who ran in the 2012 Republican primary.)

Speaking recently at an LGBT gathering, Buttigieg made the point of recognizing his “husband,” Chasten Glezman. He spoke of the importance of his “marriage” to Glezman. Perhaps to make inroads into the faith community and simultaneously challenge the religious right, Buttigieg framed his sexuality in religious and “natural” terms.

If me being gay was a choice, it was a choice that was made far, far above my pay grade. And that’s the thing I wish the Mike Pences [Pence is US Vice President and a committed Christian] of the world would understand: that if you’ve got a problem with who I am, your problem is not with me. Your quarrel, sir, is with my creator.

In other words, Buttigieg was born homosexual. He did not make the choice himself.

Herein lies the divide between the LGB community and the Transgender movement.

Since its inception about 50 years ago, the LGBT umbrella has included transgenders. Homosexuals and transgenders have appeared to be allies. And, in the sense that both communities oppose the moral and metaphysical framework of Judeo-Christian theism, they are allies.

Reality calls for speaking the truth in love

reality isn't fluidBut they are very different in their perspective and orientation. The LGB folks embrace the modern worldview that biology and genetics matter: “I was born this way!” Transgenderism is derived from the postmodern worldview that nothing is “fixed.” Human sexuality does not exist. Reality and reason are dead; biology and genetics do not exist. Gender is a social construct. You decide what you are.

As to morality, both demand license, both deny a moral universe. Absolute tolerance is the ultimate value. However, at the metaphysical level, they are in great disagreement.

As long as they are fighting a common enemy, they have the appearance of unity. But at their metaphysical foundation, they have major disagreement. We have written about that here.

Those who acknowledge reality, must speak the truth in love. We must not be cowed into acknowledging gender identity. It is wise to stand with Megan Fox and other people of courage, to acknowledge, without animus, a person’s birth sex, to refuse to use names or pronouns that pretend they have changed their sex.

Let us lovingly and courageously fight for reality and for the freedom of conscience, speech and religion. These are not small issues.

–          Darrow Miller


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Darrow is co-founder of the Disciple Nations Alliance and a featured author and teacher. For over 30 years, Darrow has been a popular conference speaker on topics that include Christianity and culture, apologetics, worldview, poverty, and the dignity of women. From 1981 to 2007 Darrow served with Food for the Hungry International (now FH association), and from 1994 as Vice President. Before joining FH, Darrow spent three years on staff at L’Abri Fellowship in Switzerland where he was discipled by Francis Schaeffer. He also served as a student pastor at Northern Arizona University and two years as a pastor of Sherman Street Fellowship in urban Denver, CO. In addition to earning his Master’s degree in Adult Education from Arizona State University, Darrow pursued graduate studies in philosophy, theology, Christian apologetics, biblical studies, and missions in the United States, Israel, and Switzerland. Darrow has authored numerous studies, articles, Bible studies and books, including Discipling Nations: The Power of Truth to Transform Culture (YWAM Publishing, 1998), Nurturing the Nations: Reclaiming the Dignity of Women for Building Healthy Cultures (InterVarsity Press, 2008), LifeWork: A Biblical Theology for What You Do Every Day (YWAM, 2009), Rethinking Social Justice: Restoring Biblical Compassion (YWAM, 2015), and more. These resources along with links to free e-books, podcasts, online training programs and more can be found at Disciple Nations Alliance (https://disciplenations.org).