Vatican rails against acceptance of trans people

June 13, 2019

The Vatican has this week issued an educational document for Catholics which rejects the ability of people to redefine their gender. The guidance, entitled ‘Male And Female He Created Them‘, frames people choosing or changing gender as a threat to the institution of marriage, to those who conform to gender stereotypes and to family life.

It follows previous criticism by the Pope of schools that accept people self-identifying their gender. This includes in 2015 when Pope Francs described such schools as engaging in ‘ideological colonizing’ and were, according to his predecessor Pope Benedict, committing a ‘sin again God’.

Chair of the Accord Coalition for Inclusive Education, the Revd Stephen Terry, said ‘The document is deeply disappointing. Though in keeping with recent pronouncements, it upholds gender stereotyping and rejects the acceptance of trans people as part of natural human variety. This is damaging, dehumanising, and encourages prejudice towards those who do not conform to traditional gender norms.’

‘The guidance undermines trans Catholics and their allies, and is completely unsuitable for Catholic educators. Schools are entrusted with the welfare of pupils, in closed environments where pupils and staff may be questioning their gender, and where bullying of those who do not conform to gender norms can and does take place. This guidance should be withdrawn forthwith. In the unlikely event of that happening it should be ignored if Catholic schools are to fulfil their moral duty.’

In May 2017 the Catholic Education Service of England and Wales co-published guidance for its schools ‘Made in God’s Image: Challenging homophobic and biphobic bullying in Catholic Schools‘ which largely ignored the issue of transphobia.

Homophobia and transphobia are found to blight many schools. In June 2017 the LGBT equality charity Stonewall issued its third five yearly report into the experience of LGBT pupils at British schools. Of LGBT pupils it found:

  • 22% at non-faith schools said staff never challenged homo, bi and transphobic language, rising to 31% of pupils in faith schools
  • only 41% reported that their school said transphobic bullying was wrong, dropping to only 29% of faith school pupils

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