Sex Without Bodies
Image: Craig F. Walker / Denver Post / Getty

Even as our culture has swiftly moved toward accepting same-sex marriage, the term "homosexual" has already disappeared among those who have taken the time to listen and learn from gay and lesbian neighbors and friends. For good reasons, the preferred language among those neighbors has become "LGBT"—"Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered" (or "Transsexual").

We should welcome this shift, because it actually helps clarify the multiple sexualities whose representatives have banded together to seek legal recognition and relief from stigma and shame. Indeed, the initialism LGBT is increasingly augmented by references to Queer (or Questioning) and Asexual persons—thus including those who find their sexuality ill-defined by the existing heterosexual or homosexual categories. It also often seeks to include Intersex individuals, the small but real number of persons whose bodies are born gender-ambiguous.

The proliferation of initials signals the formation of a powerful coalition. But it also reminds us of the important differences between the members of that coalition. Christians cannot simply accept or reject "same-sex marriage" and think we have settled our sexual ethics. The LGBTQIA coalition has other challenges for the church.

Begin just with those who identify as lesbian and as gay. Patterns of sexual expression, relationship formation, and identity discovery are markedly different between gay men and lesbian women. Statistically speaking, gay sexual orientation seems most often to emerge early, definitively, and persistently; lesbian orientation is more fluid and ambiguous. (This has implications, too, for claims of "recovery" from homosexuality, ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

May
Subscribe to CT and get one year free.
From Issue:
Read These Next
Also in this IssueThe Spirit Sweeps Over Bali
The Spirit Sweeps Over Bali Subscriber Access Only
Charismatic churches surge in growth amid a devout—and sometimes violent—Hindu majority.
Current IssueOur May Issue: Social Science and Spiritual Formation
Our May Issue: Social Science and Spiritual Formation
Can research about the fruit of the spirit make you a better Christian?
Current Issue5 Books More Christian High Schoolers Should Read
5 Books More Christian High Schoolers Should Read Subscriber Access Only
Matthew Farrelly recommends some overlooked classics.
RecommendedThe Neglected History of Women in the Early Church
The Neglected History of Women in the Early ChurchSubscriber Access Only
A number of prominent leaders, scholars, and benefactors of the early church were women and—despite neglect by many modern historians—the diligent researcher can still uncover a rich history.
TrendingThe Theology Beneath the Trump-Comey Conflict
The Theology Beneath the Trump-Comey Conflict
How the former FBI director’s interest in Reinhold Niebuhr shaped his approach to political power.
Editor's PickThe Greatest Threat to the Church Isn’t Islam—It’s Us
The Greatest Threat to the Church Isn’t Islam—It’s Us
A leading Nigerian theologian believes the real danger to Christianity in Africa is in the church.
Christianity Today
Sex Without Bodies
hide thisJuly/August July/August

In the Magazine

July/August 2013

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.