Friday 23rd August 2019

Home » Frontpage » Currently Reading:

Is There A Difference Between Sex And Gender?

May 21, 2019 Frontpage No Comments


The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was a landmark law that was passed by Congress and signed by President Lyndon Johnson. It made it illegal to discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. At the time those terms and their implications were well known and not subject to much debate or controversy.
In 1964 discrimination on the basis of sex was clearly understood to be discrimination against women (or men) because of their status as a woman (or man) — and, of course, it was primarily used to protect women in the workplace or academia.
Fast forward to the 2000s, and as improbable as it may have seemed to those voting on the bill in 1964, the question of what is meant by the word “sex” has baffled lawyers, social scientists, politicians, bureaucrats, and sometimes even doctors.
Now, as parts of society have unbelievably moved to accept the changeable nature of one’s sexual identity, and are thus no longer willing to accept the immutability of maleness or femaleness as established at birth, we are faced with the legal question of whether the concept of “gender” or “gender identity” is covered as a protected class as defined by the word sex in the law.
In simple words, is a cross-dresser protected? Is a transgender protected? Is someone who calls himself or herself “other” protected? Legally these questions become vexing problems in a litigious society where a new wave of progressives are attempting to use the courts, not Congress, to answer these questions. And, there may soon be an answer by the Supreme Court which will anger some, gladden others, and mystify nearly any sane person sitting on the sidelines horrified by the entire spectacle.
Most of you who read this will be familiar with some of the societal problems the transgender movement has caused, such as boys identifying as female being allowed to shower in school gym facilities with girls; a growing number of women’s sports being dominated by men identifying as women; and the list could go on.
Much of this was started by federal bureaucrats who, during the last administration, began using gender identity and sex as synonymous. Thus, if a male employee, claiming to identify as female began to wear women’s clothing to work and was disciplined, that discipline was due to sex and thus the employee was protected under the law. The same went for schoolchildren who identified with the opposite sex — if they could not use the restroom and locker faculties for the sex they identified with, they were protected.
When these cases ended up in court, it was anyone’s guess how the court would decide and, in fact, such cases reaching the federal appellate courts have produced conflicting results. Thus it’s not surprising that the Supreme Court last month agreed to hear several cases in this area to answer the question, “Is gender identity protected as sex or not?”
And, just a not so small technical legal point to consider: On several occasions Congress has had the opportunity to amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to include gender identity, but has declined to do so. Does that reluctance to amend then give authority to the bureaucracy or the courts to do so by interpretation?
The two cases that will be decided by the court, probably this term, are R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes v. EEOC and Altitude Express v. Zarda.
The Zarda case is one in which a gay employee sued his employer for termination due to his sexual orientation, but the facts are kind of interesting. Zarda worked as a skydiving instructor for Altitude Express. As part of his duties, he assisted students in a tandem jump in which he would be strapped hip-to-hip and shoulder-to-shoulder with the student. According to his brief, he would sometimes tell female students he was gay to put them at ease about the bodily closeness. When one of the students complained about some inappropriate touching, Zarda was fired. He sued claiming discrimination due to sexual stereotyping and sexual orientation.
A district court had dismissed most of Zarda’s claims, including that for sexual orientation discrimination as not included in the Civil Rights Act. However, the appeals court disagreed, holding that the law applies “to any practice in which sex is a motivating factor.” It added, “sexual orientation discrimination is a subset of sex discrimination because sexual orientation is defined by one’s sex in relation to the sex of those to whom one is attracted [and] based on assumption of stereotypes about how members of a particular should be…attracted.”
The other case, Harris Funeral Homes, may provide a clearer ruling, since Zarda is handicapped by some problems with factual findings that are not present here, and it also presents some issues that may cut a wider swath. I dealt with this case before in the November 15, 2018 edition of The Wanderer. In short, it is about a devout Christian funeral home owner who had a dress code for all his employees who worked with bereaved family members. The code was sex-specific, men had to wear suits and women had to wear dresses or skirts.
The funeral home had hired Anthony Stephens as a funeral director and during six years of his employment he presented himself as a man, and in fact all his employment records, including his mortuary science license, listed him as male. All went well until 2013 when Stephens notified his employer that he now identified as a female — and went from Anthony to Aimee — and that he intended to have sex-reassignment surgery and that to qualify he had to live, dress, and act as a woman for a year.
Thus, he told the funeral home his plan was to present himself and dress as a woman when dealing with families as part of his job. The owner then, after consulting with an attorney, told Stephens that this would not work out and offered him a financial settlement in a severance package. Stephens declined the offer.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission then took Stephens’ complaint and filed suit in federal court over his “discharge” due to “sex and gender identity.” The district court ruled in favor of the funeral home, stating that the termination “was due to [Stephens’] transgender status or gender identity [and] those are not protected classes” under the Civil Rights Act.
The appeals court saw it otherwise, ruling that employers engage in “unlawful sex stereotyping when they administer sex-specific policies according to their employees’ sex instead of their gender identity.” Thus, according to the funeral home’s brief, “The Sixth Circuit then judicially amended the word ‘sex’ in Title VII [the Civil Rights Act] to mean ‘gender identity’ and held that ‘discrimination on the basis of transgender . . . status violates Title VII’.”
This case has the potential to elicit a broad opinion from the court; however, it must be noted that in most cases courts tend to try to rule as narrowly as possible. It will be interesting to see if the court gives any deference to the funeral home’s argument that Stephens’ newfound wardrobe might be a bit too much for grieving families to bear.
On the other hand, the Zarda case might not be as sweeping since there was a dispute as to the reason for the firing, unlike the funeral home’s termination of Stephens. There’s also the fact that during the pendency of the case Mr. Zarda himself was killed in a skydiving accident and his executor was allowed to replace him as a party.
We’ll keep watching to see how these cases are decided. The ramifications for issues of gender identity could be profound.
(You can contact Mike at:

Share Button

2019 The Wanderer Printing Co.

Twitter Feed

Public Service Announcement:

The devil exists as a personal reality, not as a symbolic reality.

Jesus was not tempted in the desert by a symbol.

Load More...

Leader of Jesuit order: Satan doesn’t exist as ‘personal’ reality, only ‘symbolic’

August 22, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – The devil is a not a personal reality but a symbol for evil, the head of the Jesuit order said this week. Satan, the devil whom the Catholic Church says was behind the fall of…Continue Reading

American Catholics Must Stand with Hong Kong

The autonomous territory of Hong Kong is in a fight for its life. For over two months, the citizens of Hong Kong have persisted in protesting an attempt by the Hong Kong chief executive to impose an amendment to the…Continue Reading

German archbishop in Auschwitz: Stand up against hubris of the politically powerful

Krakow, Poland, Aug 14, 2019 / 02:31 pm (CNA).- On the eve of the 80th anniversary of the German invasion of Poland, a German archbishop has called for a stand against hubris and arrogance of those in political power. Speaking…Continue Reading

Vatican ‘struggling to put out fire’ of public scandal over JPII Institute purge

ROME, August 15, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — The “firefighters for the new direction” being taken at the John Paul II Institute in Rome are “struggling” to put out a blaze of public scandal, as controversy sparked by a recent purge of professors threatens to reach the door of the Pope’s…Continue Reading

Survey on Catholic belief in the Eucharist prompts calls for better catechesis

Washington D.C., Aug 10, 2019 / 03:32 pm (CNA).- After a recent survey found that two-thirds of Catholics do not believe Church teaching about the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist, Catholic commenters are stressing the importance of better…Continue Reading

Apple News bans LifeSite without warning: says it ‘shows intolerance’

July 31, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – A little over one week ago, Apple approved LifeSiteNews’ application to publish our news on their Apple News platform. Today, without warning, Apple News abruptly reversed course, telling LifeSite that they had deleted our channel and all…Continue Reading

Kamala Harris’ “Medicare for All” Plan Will Force Americans to Fund Abortions

Democrat presidential candidate Kamala Harris released her own Medicare-for-all proposal today. Just like the proposal handed down by pro-abortion presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, Harris’s plan would force Americans to fund abortions. Harris confirms her plan will cover abortions in an…Continue Reading

Pew report: Only half of America’s Catholics know what the Church teaches about Communion

WASHINGTON, D.C., July 26, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) ― Do only half of America’s Catholics know what their Church teaches about Holy Communion? In a recent report called “What Americans Know About Religion,” the Pew Research Center suggested that Catholics are divided…Continue Reading

Pro-Life Businessman Michael Lindell, Creator of MyPillow, May Run Against Pro-Abortion Ilhan Omar

Michael Lindell is a pro-life businessman and the creator of MyPillow, a successful invention and company in its own right. Lindell was responsible for helping to fund production of the popular movie “Unplanned,” but now he’s turning his attention to…Continue Reading

Tucker Carlson: big business is now at war against your family

July 15, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – The first thing to note about Tucker Carlson is that when he’s on stage and riffing on his irritations, he is hilarious. He began his keynote speech at the National Conservatism conference in Washington, D.C. on Monday…Continue Reading

Teacher sues Catholic school for firing her over pro-abortion posts on social media

BERKELEY COUNTY, South Carolina, July 10, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – A former teacher filed a wrongful termination suit against a South Carolina Catholic school that fired her for championing legal abortion on social media in violation of long-settled, well-known Catholic doctrine.…Continue Reading

Bombshell Claim: Scientists Find “Man-made Climate Change Doesn’t Exist In Practice”

A new scientific study could bust wide open deeply flawed fundamental assumptions underlying controversial climate legislation and initiatives such as the Green New Deal, namely, the degree to which ‘climate change’ is driven by natural phenomena vs. man-made issues measured as…Continue Reading

Untitled 5 Untitled 2

Attention Readers:

  Welcome to our website. Readers who are familiar with The Wanderer know we have been providing Catholic news and orthodox commentary for 150 years in our weekly print edition.

  Our daily version offers only some of what we publish weekly in print. To take advantage of everything The Wanderer publishes, we encourage you to su
bscribe to our flagship weekly print edition, which is mailed every Friday or, if you want to view it in its entirety online, you can subscribe to the E-edition, which is a replica of the print edition.
  Our daily edition includes: a selection of material from recent issues of our print edition, news stories updated daily from renowned news sources, access to archives from The Wanderer from the past 10 years, available at a minimum charge (this will be expanded as time goes on). Also: regularly updated features where we go back in time and highlight various columns and news items covered in The Wanderer over the past 150 years. And: a comments section in which your remarks are encouraged, both good and bad, including suggestions.
  We encourage you to become a daily visitor to our site. If you appreciate our site, tell your friends. As Catholics we must band together to rediscover our faith and share it with the world if we are to effectively counter a society whose moral culture seems to have no boundaries and a government whose rapidly extending reach threatens to extinguish the rights of people of faith to practice their religion (witness the HHS mandate). Now more than ever, vehicles like The Wanderer are needed for clarification and guidance on the issues of the day.

Catholic, conservative, orthodox, and loyal to the Magisterium have been this journal’s hallmarks for five generations. God willing, our message will continue well into this century and beyond.

Joseph Matt
President, The Wanderer Printing Co.

Untitled 1

Interview With Cardinal Burke . . . Discriminating Mercy: Defending Christ And His Church With True Love


  By DON FIER (Editor’s Note: His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke, Patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta and Founder of the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse, Wis., graciously took time out of his busy schedule to grant The Wanderer a wide-ranging interview during a recent visit to the Shrine. Included among the topics…Continue Reading

Developing Lives Of Peace After The Heart Of Mary

By RAYMOND LEO CARDINAL BURKE (Editor’s Note: His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke delivered the address below at the 32nd Annual Church Teaches Forum, “The Message of Fatima: Peace for the World,” Galt House, Louisville, Ky., July 22, 2017. The address is reprinted here with the kind permission of Cardinal Burke. All rights reserved. This is part one of the…Continue Reading


Today . . .

U.S. Catholic bishops hire a new spokeswoman — one month after another stirred controversy with her pro-Trump tweets

The U.S. Catholic bishops’ organization announced Thursday that it had replaced its public affairs director — a woman who triggered debate last month with tweets enthusiastically backing President Trump and striking out at Democrats, including Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (N.Y.) and Sen. Kamala D. Harris (Calif.). The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops announced Thursday that church and politics veteran Chieko Noguchi is its new head of public affairs, a position that speaks for the Catholic Church…Continue Reading

Thousands of Aussies protest bill to decriminalize abortion in New South Wales

SYDNEY, Australia, August 20, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — As the winter night fell in Sydney, thousands amassed in the heart of the city, protesting a radical proposed new law permitting abortion on demand until birth. The rally began in Martin Place, a pedestrian mall in the center of Sydney’s business district, at 6 PM and lasted until 9 PM. Thousands of protestors marched from Martin Place to the front of New South Wales Pa

Cardinal George Pell loses appeal of sex abuse conviction

Melbourne, Australia, Aug 20, 2019 / 06:31 pm (CNA).- The conviction of Cardinal George Pell has been upheld by the Court of Appeals in Victoria. After an appellate panel announced its decision at a court proceeding Aug. 21, the cardinal was returned to prison. “By majority (2 to 1), the Court of Appeals has dismissed Cardinal George Pell’s appeal against his conviction for the commission of sexual offences. He will continue to serve his sentence…Continue Reading

‘Unplanned’ actress establishes scholarship for pregnant women

Columbus, Ohio, Aug 18, 2019 / 04:55 pm (CNA).- Ashley Bratcher, lead actress in the pro-life movie “Unplanned,” has helped establish a scholarship for women pursing an education during an unexpected pregnancy. “Women can pursue their careers, live out their dreams, and have richer, more fulfilling lives while balancing motherhood. Sometimes, it just takes a little help,” Bratcher said in a recent press release from Heartbeat International. “I wanted to be a part of empowering…Continue Reading

Trump rule to nix Obama order forcing religious contractors to hire LGBT workers

WASHINGTON, D.C., August 15, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – The Trump administration is proposing a rule that would permit government contractors to make employment decisions that are consistent with their sincerely held religious tenets and beliefs, without fear of sanction by the federal government. If adopted, the rule would reverse an Obama-era executive order that restricted religious federal contractors’ ability to consider employees’ adherence to their faith on matters of sexuality and gender. In 2014, former President Ba


Cardinal Pell . . . “Amazon Or No Amazon, The Church Cannot Allow Any Confusion”

By ED CONDON MELBOURNE (CNA) — George Cardinal Pell has written a letter to supporters saying he is “disturbed” by the preparations for the forthcoming synod on the Amazon. The text of the two-page, handwritten letter — images of which were shared with Catholic News Agency and confirmed by sources close to Pell — has…Continue Reading

China’s High-Tech Tyranny

By TERENCE P. JEFFREY (Editor’s Note: Terence P. Jeffrey is the editor-in-chief of Creators Syndicate,, distributed this column.) + + + There are passages in the State Department’s latest reports on human rights and religious freedom in the People’s Republic of China that read as if they ought to be in some futuristic…Continue Reading

A Book Review… Pulling Back The Veil Between Heaven And Earth

By DONAL ANTHONY FOLEY Eucharistic Miracles and Eucharistic Phenomena in the Lives of the Saints, by Joan Carroll Cruz (TAN Books, 330 pages, Paperback and Kindle). Available at This book deals with miracles involving the Eucharist and saintly figures. The text ranges from miracles occurring in the eighth century to those occurring in more…Continue Reading

Diocese of Scranton . . . Launches Investigation Into National Shrine Rector Rossi

By ED CONDON WASHINGTON, D.C. (CNA) — The Diocese of Scranton has begun an investigation into allegations of misconduct on the part of the rector of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C. “Bishop Joseph Bambera, bishop of the Diocese of Scranton, has commenced the process of launching a…Continue Reading

China’s Human Rights Sham

By JOHN J. METZLER PARIS — It’s never polite to question the deteriorating human rights situation in China, but let’s do it anyway. The hidden and systematic repression of ethnic Uighur Muslims in China’s western Xinjiang province and the high-profile crackdown on pro-demonstrators in Hong Kong, many of them Christian, are both rooted in the…Continue Reading


Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

Catholic Replies

Editor’s Note: Are you looking for some solid Catholic books for your high school religious education program, books that have been found to be in conformity with the Catechism of the Catholic Church? Then you should get copies of the five-volume Catholicism Series. The topics covered include the Creed and Apologetics (Catholicism & Reason), the Commandments and Sacraments (Catholicism &…Continue Reading

What’s At Stake… In The Purge At The John Paul II Institute

By FR. SHENAN J. BOQUET (Editor’s Note: Fr. Shenan Boquet is president of Human Life International. Fr. Boquet’s commentary below on the John Paul II Institute first appeared at on August 12 and is reprinted here with permission. All rights reserved.) + + + Essence Of Battle Is Ideological In the past few weeks, a long-brewing skirmish over the…Continue Reading

Enter Through The Narrow Gate

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Twenty-First Sunday In Ordinary Time (YR C) Readings: Isaiah 66:18-21 Heb. 12:5-7, 11-13 Luke 13:22-30 In the first reading today we hear something that would seem unthinkable to the Jewish people who heard these words when Isaiah spoke them seven hundred years before our Lord came into the world. For generations after that these words must…Continue Reading

A Leaven In The World… Spiritual Materialism Cannot Save Your Soul

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK Some call it cafeteria Catholic. It manifests itself as a demand to take one thing Christ handed down in the Church while rejecting others likewise handed down. The Eucharist is the Real Presence of the Lord and it is thus the source and summit of our faith. The sight of the faithful going forward at…Continue Reading

Catholic Replies

Editor’s Note: Regarding a recent discussion in this column of Communism and socialism, and the sway that these collectivist ideologies hold over many Democrat politicians today, D.M. of Virginia sent along an excerpt from Whittaker Chambers’ 1952 book Witness that accurately describes the nature of Communism and its impact on the world over the past century, when its practitioners caused…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Stanislaus Papczynski

By CAROLE BRESLIN New orders of religious are frequently born from existing orders. The discalced Carmelites were born via St. Teresa of Avila, who was inspired to live a more strict observance of religious life: more seclusion, simpler meals, and more prayer time. St. Teresa of Calcutta belonged to a religious order in India, but desired to serve the poorest…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Mariam Baouardy

By CAROLE BRESLIN In the Bible, there are numerous references to Galilee with about 80 in just the New Testament. Galilee is an area in northern Israel and it includes the city of Nazareth, Mt. Tabor, and the site of the Sermon on the Mount. In John 1:46. Nathaniel responds to Philip, who told him of Jesus, “Can anything good…Continue Reading