Roy Moore and his Unnatural Agenda
The white door with peeling paint closed in my face as my mother and aunt retreated into the room. I was caught off guard by my banishment. As an only child, visiting my aunts and uncles, who had dozens of children, was always fun for me. Lots of playmates and lots of people to blame when things went awry. I looked at my twelve-year-old cousin Wendy. She shrugged. “No one is allowed to change Amy’s diaper except mama,” she said. As the second oldest of ten, it was obvious that she was relieved at having one less bottom to clean. When visiting my cousins, my mother had always insisted that I help with diaper duty. Just in case God blessed her with another child, she wanted me to be ready. I was puzzled that Amy was an exception to this routine. Many years passed before I understood.
Recently, Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore once again asserted the supremacy of state law over federal law. It’s like he never heard of the Civil War. Excuse me . . . the war of Northern Aggression. He is using his judicial position as a pulpit in trying to prevent gay marriage. His stance of defying the federal courts is reminiscent of George Wallace and raises important questions about the law, separation of church and state, and why air conditioning hasn’t improved the level of rational discourse in the South. However, I’ll leave these questions to people who are legal experts and psychologists. What I want to know about, and what I want Chief Justice Moore or other conservatives to explain, is my cousin Amy.
If Moore doesn’t have the bumper sticker on his car that says, “God created Adam and Eve not Adam and Steve,” he at least strongly approves of the message. His rants against the feds and gays are filled with references to the bible, unnatural behavior, and sins against nature. Judge Moore and I can never come to an agreement on the meaning of scripture. Exhibit A is that he thinks the bible is inerrant except when it is. What I mean by that is, when pressed, he is likely to quote Leviticus in condemning homosexual behavior. But as many biblical scholars have pointed out, the same passage warns against eating shell fish, crustaceans, and wearing broadcloth. Since I can see in photographs that Moore wears broadcloth, he must not take the clothing part as seriously as the gay sex part. And I don’t know about his eating habits, but I would bet that he has never condemned Alabamians for eating shrimp or cooking up gumbo. Moore is an elected official, and such a proclamation would be political suicide.
I would like to have a serious discussion with Judge Moore on the notion of natural and unnatural. To me, whatever occurs in nature is natural. It seems sort of self-evident. But to antigay folks, any sexual behavior that doesn’t only involve a man’s penis and woman’s vagina is unnatural and deviant behavior. The fact that many species of insects, lizards, snakes, and fish procreate differently doesn’t seem to affect the antigay paradigm. Hundreds of documented cases of homosexual behavior in both individual animals and entire species are also dismissed. And while I don’t agree, I can understand their argument that people are people and animals are animals, so one has nothing to do with the other. But I still want to know about Amy.
To most conservatives, every child is a gift from God. Every fertilized egg, even those resulting from rape, is to be cherished, nurtured, and brought into the world. Who are we to question God’s judgment when it comes to pregnancy, they ask? When Amy was fifteen, she came to live with my parents. My aunt was dying and Amy, along with two younger siblings, needed more supervision than my uncle and cousins could provide. Although I no longer lived at home, my mother finally confided in me. Amy was inter-gendered. She was neither male nor female. Hence my banishment from diaper changing duties.
Actually, mother called her a hermaphrodite, which I later learned was incorrect. Hermaphrodites have complete sets of both male and female reproductive organs. Snails and earthworms are hermaphrodites. That’s why you can put one snail in your aquarium and two months later have fifty. When a snail engages in self pleasure, it doesn’t violate Catholic doctrine. Amy was inter-gendered. She was neither male nor female. She was born without ovaries, fallopian tubes, or testicles. She had a uterus and an external organ that surrounded her urethra. Although I never changed Amy’s diaper, I researched the topic, and I have seen many photos of these external organs. It turns out that odds of having an inter-gendered child are somewhere between those of having twins and those of having triplets. About 1 in 3 to 4 thousand births. The external organ of these children is hard to describe, but it resembles a cross between the proboscis of a star nosed mole and a pink cauliflower.
When she was 18 months old, doctors decide to surgically turn Amy into a girl. I suspect it was both cheaper and easier to remove the fleshy appendage than sculpt it into something that resembled a male member. Again, research reveals that to be a common practice. The only problem was that Amy never felt like a girl. She always felt like a boy. And at age fifteen, that created more than the usual teen-aged angst. I had many long conversations with my mother on how to help Amy. She eventually accepted the role the doctors gave her. She became a nanny since she loved kids but couldn’t have any. She even married eventually. I wish I could say more, but I don’t have direct conversations with her, only through my father. She’s had enough curiosity seekers bother her. She doesn’t need a nosy cousin as well.
With a little bit of math, we can calculate that there are at least 60,000 Amys in the U.S. That’s a lot of God’s children who were not born “Adam or Eve.” Judge Moore has some serious ‘splaining to do. At the very least, he has to admit that God has created three genders: male, female, and neither. I sympathize with Judge Moore regarding his confusion over LGBT or LSMFT or whatever acronym is in use at the moment. It turns out that freedom and allowing people to be the individual that God made them is a lot messier than checking off one of two boxes on a form. It’s confusing, but if we are serious about freedom, “pursuit of happiness,” and the “E Pluribus,” as well as the other values of our founders, we have to accept an evolving idea of gender.
What is normal and natural is that everybody is different. A continuum of sexuality may be hard to reconcile with the bible, but it is a reality whether Moore wants to believe it or not. History has not been kind to those who choose religious belief over natural law. MRI scans show differences in the brains of homosexuals and heterosexuals. My cousin Amy proves that everyone is not male or female. The animal kingdom is filled hermaphroditic, unisex, bisexual, and homosexual species. The only unnatural behavior, the only crime against natural law that is being committed in Alabama, is Judge Moore’s insistence that what is natural is not.