Caitlyn Jenner Unites Old Time Religionists and Gender Feminists in Wroth

For those who cling to rigid categories, transgender is a nightmare. Just look at how Caitlyn Jenner’s splash on the cover of Vanity Fair has freaked out such strange bedfellows. Evidently, the category of people who need rigid categories is itself quite flexible. It includes, among others, the pope, evangelical preachers, and certain starchy feminists.

Earlier this year, Pope Francis sputtered in fury about the idea that gender is fluid, changeable, and an issue of self-determination. “With this attitude, man commits a new sin, that against God the Creator,” the pope declared. “God has placed man and woman at the summit of creation.” Last week, the pope urged Bishops “to promote the family as a gift of God for the creation of man and woman created in his image.” To his credit, Pope Francis has at least met with some transgender individuals. The pontiff is positively laid back compared with prominent evangelical leaders.

After Jenner’s photoshoot appeared, furious fundies threw open the hatches and let their cannons roar. (The Atlantic conveniently catalogs some of them here.) Christian blogger Matt Walsh proclaimed, “Bruce Jenner Is Not a Woman. He Is a Sick and Delusional Man,” going on to reproach to the rest of us: “In response, our depraved and insane country has hailed him as something approaching a god.”

Really? A god? I lack experience with worship, but I’d have thought Jenner came closest to deification as an Olympian decathelete.

Anyway, a most interesting aspect of this is the crossover (you should pardon the term!) with feminism. Now, let me be clear: just as there are diverse reactions to Jenner in the religious sphere, so there are in feminism. But for those who find clear lines important, Jenner is an affront.

Most prominent among these is Elinor Burkett, whose —> Read More