The Congregation for Catholic Education has published a document titled: Male and Female He Created Them: Towards a path of dialogue on the question of gender theory in education. It is intended to be an instrument to “help guide Catholic contributions to the ongoing debate about human sexuality, and to address the challenges that emerge from gender ideology.” Unfortunately, it seems to have been written by people who know nothing about trans people other than that which they have read in the transphobic tabloid press.
The key claims made in this document are:
that the debate about gender identity aims to “annihilate the concept of nature” and creating an educational crisis and destabilising the family as an institution. However, far from seeking to annihilate the concept of nature I believe that we are expressing and living the reality of gender diversity which exists in nature.
the debate around gender is designed to challenge traditional understandings of family life. “This oscillation between male and female becomes, at the end of the day, only a provocative display against so-called traditional frameworks and one which ignores the suffering of those who have live situations of sexual indeterminacy. I suspect that I would challenge the writers of the document’s traditional understanding of family life. It is up to each family to develop its own notion of family life – which I hope would be based on love and mutual respect, not on any concept imposed by others. Why should any of us be bound to present ourselves in any particular way? I don’t know if those of us who enjoy the ambiguity and freedom to present as male on some occasions, female at others or androgynously would describe themselves as ‘oscillating’. What does it matter to anyone else if they do? The Beaumont Society exists to support those who are suffering because of their sexual or gender ‘indeterminacy’. This is a suffering caused by those who espouse the views within this Vatican document.
those who promote discussion of gender identity are being unquestioning and absolutist. “While the ideologies of gender claim to respond, as Pope Francis has indicated, to what are at times understandable aspirations, they also seek to assert themselves as absolute and unquestionable, even dictating how children should be raised.” I really do not understand where the Vatican gets this idea. At the Beaumont Society we recognise that there are many ways to be trans. We are keen to explore and celebrate the diversity of gender identity. We would certainly not ‘dictate’ how children should be raised – other than with love, respect and encouragement.
post-modern ideology means that human identity “has become the choice of the individual, one which can also change over time”. “This has led to calls for public recognition of the right to choose one’s gender.” Rejecting the notion that gender is a matter of choice, it says “The view of both sexual identity and the family become subject to the same liquidity and fluidity that characterise other aspects of post-modern culture, often founded on nothing more than a confused concept of freedom in the realm of feelings and wants.” I was interviewed by Martin Bashir for Radio 4’s 6 o’clock News on 10th June on this issue and my reply was, “No-one I know chooses to be trans. Why would they. It must be so much easier to be cisgender. The only choice that trans people have is whether to hide it from other people and endure the torments alone, or to talk about it and risk rejection by family and friends.”
gender is not decided upon by individuals but imputed by God. “The Holy Scripture reveals the wisdom of the Creator’s design, which has assigned as a task to man his body, his masculinity and femininity.” “The family is the natural place for the relationship of reciprocity and communion and defines the family as between man and woman.” Actually, I would suggest that if there is a Creator, their design is far more sophisticated than that recognised by the early prophets. We know that there is a great diversity of gender identities and sexualities. Quite clearly that there are many different ways that loving families can be presented.
the church has long tolerated discriminatory conduct. “Indeed it cannot be denied that through the centuries forms of unjust discrimination have been a sad fact of history and have also had an influence within the church.” I cannot argue with this statement. Unfortunately, the writers do not seem to realise that they are continuing in this tradition by advocating that their followers should perpetuate this discrimination in the case of trans people.