A Question I Was Asked:

What About "A Third Sex"?

The Question:

Some say there is a "third sex," but surely there can only be male and female? What is your angle?

UK Apologetics Reply:

For sure, God only created men and women - no question about that whatsoever.

But I think we must make an attempt to understand what people mean when they say we should now recognise a 'third sex.' Too often we evangelical Christians seem to have have just screamed about such things without getting all the facts.

It is an undeniable fact that some modern men are very weak in traditionally strongly masculine characteristics; also, some women are not very feminine and could probably play the male role in many aspects of life (if not all). Moreover, it is a fact that several thousand babies are born every year which are 'intersex' babies (formerly called 'hermaphrodite'), that is: they could be raised either as boys or girls, they are sexually ambiguous; sometimes they undergo surgery to push them a little further in one direction or another (it is usually towards the female direction). None of this is new, it has been known about for many years. Funnily enough, the subject of whether one is 'gay' is now frequently discussed but this 'intersex' issue is only very rarely brought out into the open; despite this, some medical experts say that it is these sexually ambiguous children who will later identify themselves as either being 'gay,' or 'bisexual.'

There is also the factor of the crisis in the average sperm count of modern men, especially in the West. Today's men have a far lower sperm count than their grandfathers, that is one immediate area where one cay say that there is definitely a problem. So it might be said that there is a modern masculinity problem; no point in denying it, no point in saying that this is just "unchristian talk," it is a fact. Many years ago I knew a lovely young woman, just a casual acquaitance whom I occasionally worked with, certainly no romantic interest on either side. Later on I met her brother; he told me that this young woman (his sister) was "fully interesex" - at that time I don't think that I even knew what the term meant; apparently she had no womb, but did have a penis. To all apperances, however, she was simply an attractive young lady, despite the fact she was as much a man as a woman.

It is well-established that certain men tend to have too much oestrogen, making them more feminine, and vise-versa. So, although God created men and women as two distinct sexes, He did not form an unbreakable barrier between the two sexes. As just one example, I am told that the mammary glands (breasts) of both sexes are identical in every way; only the levels of oestrogen/testosterone will dictate whether a typical woman's breasts are formed or not - nothing else! Likewise, a man's penis is only a larger form of a woman's clitoris (with slightly different plumbing!). In fact, a man going under the knife in order to become a woman in a transgender operation, goes through what is now a remarkably simple operation; the main difference is in how the hormonal levels need to be adjusted. Yet if a man does nothing else except for taking a large quantity of oestrogen, he will become highly womanly, and often remarkably quickly! He will develop breasts, womanly hips, more shapely legs, and stronger and thicker hair. So there is not - and never has been - some giant unbreakable barrier between masculinity and femininity. The truth is: men and women are surprisingly similar; there is far less of a barrier between the two as is commonly supposed. These medical facts show us that there would always be a few who would be almost of a 'middle sex' - it should be expected. Therefore the term ' bisexual' should be respected. The medical facts show that we should expect many borderline cases - that is, 'men' who are not all that manly and 'women' who are not all that womanly. Why do these issues still seem to surprise us? They should not. Some are still too quick to judge and discriminate, showing no compassion or empathy, when encountering 'borderline sexuality' cases - even when such cases are entirely to be expected. Undoubtedly the usual trivial and shallow media approach to these problems, without considering the science, is one reason for this.

I heard a most interesting case some time ago. A man, secretly believing he was predominantly homosexual but - as a Christian - refusing to accept it, went through a marriage, in which he tried hard to perform his duties. But a few years later his dissatisfied wife left him. Now middle-aged, he finally went to his doctor for a series of tests - he was shocked at the results! Far from being at a mid-sex 'halfway house,' he discovered he was hormonally a woman! About two years later he decided to move to another part of the country and to live the rest of his life as a woman. Can any of us condemn "him" for that?

In the light of such things it is probably understandable why some say we should recognise a 'third sex.' Mostly, of course, we are all either men or women, and quite clearly so, but we should recognise the often major trial of 'intersexism' and the various ways people have to handle it.

Robin A. Brace. January, 2008.