In my book Meet Generation Z, I highlighted many of the marks that characterize those born between 1995–2010. One that stood out to many readers had to do with being “sexually fluid.
By this, I meant that Generation Z has become sexually and relationally amorphous. Consider the influential statements by outspoken young celebrities such as Kristen Stewart, Miley Cyrus or Cara Delevingne. Stewart, when asked about her sexuality, said: “I think in three or four years, there are going to be a whole lot more people who don’t think it’s necessary to figure out if you’re gay or straight. It’s like, just do your thing.” From Miley Cyrus: “[I don’t] relate to being boy or girl, and I don’t have to have my partner relate to boy or girl.”
They are not alone.
A recent U.K. study revealed that nearly half of all young people don’t think they are exclusively heterosexual. The YouGov survey revealed that 49% of people between the ages of 18 and 24 identified as something other than 100% heterosexual. This despite the repeated findings that only about 4% of the entire adult population are actually homosexual. What is being revealed is an increasing “sexual fluidity” that refuses either the homosexual or heterosexual label. The idea is that both labels are repressive. Sexuality should be set free of any and all restrictions and allowed to follow its desire, moment by moment.
“I always describe my sexuality as: ‘If you’ve got nice hair and pretty eyes, I’m down for it,’” explains Jezz, a 26-year-old editor working in historical publishing. “It’s not that gender doesn’t matter, because it can be important, but it’s a bit of an afterthought. It’s just like: ‘Oh, hello.’”
Why? Because the greatest value for this generation is nothing less than individual freedom. So don’t be misled by the studies reporting that they don’t drink, smoke, take drugs or sleep around (and to be sure, their percentages on each are lower than previous generations). They are not, in any way, socially conservative philosophically.
So where will this lead?
It’s not difficult to assess. As an article in The Guardian noted: “… as Generation Z grow older, and become the dominant cultural influence, their belief that… ‘people have the right to identify however they choose’ is only likely to become more mainstream. Could we eventually reach a point where heterosexuality… is no longer considered the norm and ‘coming out’ as anything else is practically superfluous?”
Tied to this is raising children in a gender neutral way. Actress Kate Hudson recently announced that she and her husband would be raising her third child in a “genderless” way. Meghan Markle and Prince Harry are rumored to be making the same choice, though the Royal Palace has tried to distance itself from the rumor.
I’ve written in other places about the importance of gender, and studies are beginning to reveal that those who change themselves physically from one gender to another can deal with enormous regret when they realize their “fluid” feelings may have been transitory at best. Indeed, there are growing numbers of people seeking to reverse their gender reassignment surgeries and transitions. This is so upsetting to those in favor of fluidity that they are trying to prevent the research on it from even taking place (see source article HERE).
So however the young prince might be raised, one thing is for certain: you can welcome yourself to the new world of sexual fluidity.
And, sadly, the moral anarchy that underlies it.
James Emery White
James Emery White, Meet Generation Z (Baker).
Kristen Stewart, Miley Cyrus and the Rise of Sexual Fluidity,” by Eric Sasson, The Wall Street Journal, August 17, 2015, read online.
“Nearly Half of Young People Don’t Think They Are Exclusively Heterosexual,” by Helena Horton, The Telegraph, August 17, 2015, read online.
Gabby Hinsliff, “The Pansexual Revolution: How Sexual Fluidity Became Mainstream,” The Guardian, February 14, 2019, read online.
Mehera Bonner, “Kensington Palace Just Weighed in on How Meghan Markle and Prince Harry Will Be Raising the Royal Baby,” Cosmopolitan, March 2, 2019, read online.
Joe Shute, “‘Why Are We So Scared to Admit Many People Regret Changing Their Gender?’” The Telegraph, February 17, 2019, read online.
About the Author
James Emery White is the founding and senior pastor of Mecklenburg Community Church in Charlotte, NC, and the ranked adjunctive professor of theology and culture at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, where he also served as their fourth president. His latest book, Meet Generation Z: Understanding and Reaching the New Post-Christian World, is available on Amazon. To enjoy a free subscription to the Church & Culture blog, visit ChurchAndCulture.org, where you can view past blogs in our archive and read the latest church and culture news from around the world. Follow Dr. White on Twitter and Instagram @JamesEmeryWhite.