BreakPoint: A Genderless Child?

When Ideology Becomes Abuse

There are many stories these days of government trampling parental rights, but what happens when parents are the ones doing the trampling?

Recently on BreakPoint we talked about the tough case of Charlie Gard—the terminally ill baby whom British courts decided should die in the hospital rather than travel to America with his parents to seek experimental treatment for his rare condition. In that commentary, I said that the government had overstepped its authority, taking away the right of Charlie’s parents to make decisions for their son.

But another story shows that there’s another side to this coin. The parent of a Canadian newborn not only wants to make a crucial life decision for him or her, but also force the government to recognize that decision. Now I say “him or her” because it has been hidden whether little Searyl Doty of British Columbia is a boy or a girl. Only the child’s mother, who identifies as a “non-binary trans person” and is taking male hormones, knows the truth.

Searyl made international news when this baby received what his or her mother is calling the first ever “genderless” document issued by any government. The Gender Free I.D. Coalition, an activist group Searyl’s mother participates in, seeks to “remove all gender/sex designations from identity documents,” and in this case, they appear to have gotten their wish. The card issued by British Columbia lists Searyl’s sex as “U,” presumably for “unknown” or “unclassified.”

Searyl’s mother (who, again, would prefer I call her a “parent,”) said in a statement that “It is up to Searyl to decide how they identify, when they are old enough to develop their own gender identity.”

Doty believes so deeply in liberating children from biological sex that she’s a complainant in a case currently before the province’s Human Rights Tribunal, arguing for genderless government I.D. She’s also applied for judicial review of her child’s birth certificate, which British Columbia still says must list either male or female.

Doty’s lawyer says requiring such a designation violates the baby’s rights “as a Canadian citizen to life, liberty and security of the person.” And by the way—folks, I promise I’m not making this up—this lawyer refuses to use capital letters in her name because it’s oppressive.

Now why am I telling you all of this? Because in contrast to the Charlie Gard case in which the government overstepped its sphere of sovereignty, this is a case of a parent overstepping her sphere of sovereignty as well as crossing the line into abuse.

And no, I don’t think “abuse” is too strong a word for a mother who refuses to acknowledge the biological reality of her child’s sex, and to raise him or her in denial of such reality. The potential for harm here is great, and not only should government officials refuse to accommodate it, they should stop such practices, even if necessary, removing the child from that home.

Of course, I don’t expect for a moment the Canadian authorities will actually do this. But they should. And Christians shouldn’t be afraid to say so.

And just as there are limits to the state’s authority over the family, there are limits of the family’s authority over the state. A parent doesn’t have the right to force the government to violate its responsibility to recognize reality either.

God designed the family before all other institutions to produce, nurture, and protect children. The state isn’t competent to do this, and neither is the market, the academy, or even the church. But when the family fails to fulfill its God-ordained role—when parents try to deny a fundamental and biological truth about who their children are, they’ve failed.

It’s awful to watch governments steamroll one family to end Charlie Gard’s life, while failing to intervene in Searyl Doty’s life. Because children are helpless against our social experimentations, Christians can’t simply retreat from the public square or concede the clash of worldviews. The bad ideas of adults in any sphere of authority often have small victims.


A Genderless Child?: When Ideology Becomes Abuse

Bad ideas and faulty ideologies have consequences, and they also have victims. Children shouldn’t be those victims. As John has urged, let’s not retreat but rather be pro-active in the public square, encouraging families to nurture and protect children, promoting reality and the truth of God’s design.


Canadian baby given health card without sex designation
  • Zamira Rahim | | July 5, 2017

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  • Rod Logsdon

    A sad commentary on how far we have fallen. When a parent places the furtherance of an ideology above the welfare of their own child it is time for the government to step in. I am a Christian Conservative and I abhor government intervention into the lives of its citizens, however, this is a case where action needs to be taken.

  • The Bechtloff

    Absolute child abuse.

  • Brenda

    How pathetic. These parents have doomed their child to live without know whether it is either fish or fowl.

  • ah.1960

    Identifying a person as male or female exposes people to absolute truth.

    Acknowledging gender differences leads to the question of where male and female came from. Evolution has no way at all to explain the change from asexual (single organism reproducing itself) to bisexual reproduction (where male and female are required for reproduction.

    The result is that people are brought face to face with God. The only way to avoid this is to claim that gender distinctions don’t exist.

  • Jesse Bryant

    Imposing confusion? If you talk about your faith and convictions as a Christian, you are forcing your views on those who don’t wish to hear them. If you are — what it certainly seems many of these issues are scientifically/biologically — sexually confused or a sexual deviant (it isn’t exactly rocket science), then the fix is to label all those who disagree with disparaging terms such as ‘bigot’, ‘hater’, ‘religous zealot’, ‘bully’, etc. We supposedly live in the “scientific age”, but when it comes to our “personal” choices, it is all about feelings. [see Scott’s comment] And it is so hard to engage anyone who disagrees — and I start to think that the simple approach, (like Ray Comfort employs) may be the best way to side-step the intellect (insert Colson[?] Quote regarding the human capacity to rationalize here) and go straight to the conscience. We all know somebody who’s been a victim or POW of the sexual revolution and seen all the undo brokenness, pain, suffering, disease, and death that has resulted — all in the name of LOVE. Is our nation so far from Sodom and Gomorrah? Are we? Don’t we live in the midst of it — yet are largely oblivious to it? Maybe the best thing the Christian community can do is to assess their own behaviors, root out the sexual compromise, and show the world what strong, committed, purposeful families look like? We are the ones who are supposed to know — so let’s live it out and ruffle the worlds feathers by showing them what love and family really look like. There are so many temptations and opportunities to compromise in this culture — and I beg God to protect me from them. We all have to start somewhere, and I figure the best place for any of us to start is with ourselves. People who wrestle with SSA and identity issues — they have my sympathy. I simply can’t relate. It’s just that, most of the time, I don’t know how to help… Other than just being willing to be a true friend and pray for opportunities. Come to think of it, maybe that is a pretty good idea! (Just be sure that you’re a leader and not a follower — and that, as a matter of principle, you know where the lines are drawn. Good intentions sometimes lead to disaster…)


    People who promote deviant behavior don’t like it when it comes back to haunt them. Humans are born either male or female, obviously I am not referring to a child born with co-joined twin condition. Human gender is defined by our DNA. The woman is mentally ill and has already started abusing her child by refusing to accept her child biological gender. But since she has refused to accept her own gender no one should be surprised. The woman was probably abused in some way or exposed to chemicals that screwed up her endocrine system.

  • MimiB

    Thank you for addressing this. I agree with your take on both situations but was concerned that my views were inconsistent.

  • Brian Hale

    Another way to approach this issue is examine the way people in legal systems are supposed to define rights. Though rights come from God, their recognition for the sake of legal status must come through people — specifically the people elected (in the US, Britain, and Canada) to define the law. Individuals with complaints have a government process they are supposed to work through so that we do not each become petty dictators. What I find most disturbing here is how little interested the people in power (mostly legislators) are in defending their power from the other people in power (mostly judges). We are engaging as much in translegality as transexuality here.

  • McClever

    The mother is going to raise this child with multiple personalities by calling it they, them and their. What or whom does she think is in the poor, innocent babies brain? So sad.

  • Janet

    From what I understand they are separating biological identity from gender. you get to choose the latter. There is no way to reason -because they will say I was born biologically male yes, but I have chosen to transition. It is about self-actualization and power and they insist many have wanted to do this but weren’t free. Now they are free. From what I get in conversation they do not see that this is being programmed, like propaganda in the former Soviet Union…It truly seems to them as progressive, and right…and we, regressive and suppressed and wrong…If bring up God, the answer I get is this is not a “christian” society based on the Bible anymore -too many religions to be that and those who don’t believe -so I cannot say God says, or God created them male and female in his image. That is just my Christian belief…They will make their own morality as a result, saying we are free to choose our own…but slowly it will be imposed on us all. As a society we need to choose whether we are still a society based on Judeo-Christian ethics even in the diversity -otherwise we will be living the book of Judges here. This takes great wisdom and prayer and love..

    • Scott

      Thanks for the insight… At some point all these immoral choices will render horrific consequences… you are right about great wisdom, prayer and love.

  • lisa johnston

    Hopefully, this child’s extended family and friends can lovingly nurture and educate him or her on the truth of being its own biological sex, against the sick world of it’s its mothers wishes!

  • CircleofTwo

    This article should have been published over at The Onion. You cannot be serious with nonsense like this: “And just as there are limits to the state’s authority over the family, there are limits of the family’s authority over the state.”


    Obviously there are only 2 genders, but to write an article admonishing Christians to encourage the state to take over in the parent/child relationship is completely and utterly ignorant.

    Thankfully you’ve been eloquently chastised about this awful and evil piece of writing by the heroic Becky Akers:

    “The family has no greater enemy than the State, especially in its Progressive manifestation. Government ceaselessly attacks the family as the last and strongest bastion of privacy and of refuge from the public square.”

    • Scott


  • Candace Lazzaro

    Having seen first hand the terrible results of this kind of behavior makes me agree whole heartedly, THIS IS CHILD ABUSE! Refusing to acknowledge a child’s true gender is child abuse. It confused the child and he or she will grow up to be “confused” and a narcissist just like his mother. This kind of thinking is ruining women’s sports, the safety of women in public bathrooms and creating a generation of confused people.