Macy Gray is a singer mostly known for her 1999 song “I Try.” Now she’s back with a new album, for which she’s on a press tour. But her music isn’t what’s making headlines. Her views on gender are.
Last week, on Piers Morgan’s UncensoredGray confidently insisted, “Just because you go change your parts, doesn’t make you a woman.” She explained that while she will use a person’s preferred pronouns, she will not concede that a man is a woman simply because he identifies as one.
Gray’s comments went viral, and she received immediate backlash. Critics slammed her as a “TERF” (a pejorative that stands for a transgender-exclusionary radical feminist) and encouraged people to stop supporting her. Gray too claimed that Twitter users threatened her because of her remarks.
Then, days later, Gray appeared on NBC’s Today show. Asked by host Hoda Kotb to respond to the controversy surrounding her statements, Gray replied that she’d gained a new perspective. Ultimately, she concluded, “Being a woman is a vibe. … If you in your heart feel that’s what you are.”
There are many troubling aspects to this. The first disturbing thing, of course, is the total obliteration of reality that has now become mainstream. That one must deny that two and two make four to be welcomed by polite society is quite incomprehensible. But the nonsense isn’t just mentally confusing, it’s physically harmful. It threatens the rights and safety of women and girls and preys upon the still-forming minds and bodies of adolescents. We have not even begun to see the extent of the damage this ideology will reap in the years to come.
The second and somehow even more frightening part of Gray’s about-face is the obviously contrived nature of her newfound revelation about the legitimacy of gender ideology. Her explanation sounds like the forced confession of an unwilling hostage. Whatever Gray feared the consequences might be for standing her ground—whether physical harm or a reneged record deal—she’d clearly faced some kind of serious pressure in the days between her two contradicting interviews.
If you’ve read George Orwell’s 1984, you’re familiar with a theme common to dystopian novels: mind control. Through relentless indoctrination, scrupulous control of the flow of information, and brutal punishment of “thought crimes,” those in power gain the unfettered ability to define reality for their subjects. This allows them to shape society how they wish without fear of an uprising of free-thinking, autonomous citizens.
This is reflected in history. A study of totalitarian regimes, especially those of the 20th century, will find that these are the same tactics employed by communist and fascist leaders to force their will upon their people. Specifically, in Mao Zedong’s China, soldiers of his Cultural Revolution punished dissidents with “struggle sessions” that were also known as “denunciation rallies.” Those accused of holding thoughts that opposed Mao or his communist vision were publicly humiliated and tortured until they recanted their out-of-bounds position.
Macy Gray endured America’s modern-day struggle session. She endured threats and likely a form of behind-the-scenes pressure to denounce her previous reality-based statements. Her livelihood and relevance were threatened. She learned the hard way that the cost of contradicting the progressive regime is high. She backed down.
Gray wasn’t willing to pay the price of contradicting the regime, just as most aren’t. Few have the courage. But Christians, of all people, must summon that courage because we have not only scientific, cultural, and practical reasons to support the reality of the male-female binary but also theological and eternal reasons.
Genesis 1:27 says God made us in His image, male and female. This truth is reiterated throughout Scripture and repeated by Jesus in Matthew 19:4-5. The male-female marriage union reflects the gospel as a representation of Christ and His Church (Ephesians 5:25-32). This is a fundamental, non-negotiable tenet of Christianity.
This transcendent, eternal truth is a tool that gives Christians immunity against the power of the struggle session and makes us impervious to the totalitarian attempt at mind control. Because we serve a God whose ability to create and define external reality transcends both our minds and any governing authority, we must be unconvinced by the vitriol, pressure, or manipulation we may face for refusing to conform to the secular milieu.
Christians have a far more controversial belief than the reality of male and female: the gospel. And the church has been persecuted for it during its entire existence. If we’re going to defend thatand, by definition, the Christian does, we must surely have the courage to say what men and women are.
Lord-willing, one day, Macy Gray will have that courage again, too.