During a meeting with Polish bishops while attending World Youth Day, Pope Francis concluded his remarks by complaining that children are being taught “that everyone can choose their gender.” He also called this “ideological colonization” by “very influential countries.”
Members of the Equally Blessed Coalition had this to say, following the Pope’s remarks.
Call To Action
Call To Action is not only disappointed and dismayed by his remarks, but believe his willful ignorance is dangerous to those in the transgender community.
“As I’ve gotten to know those in the transgender community better, I’ve learned that not only are they not terrible, but that they, too, are beautifully and wonderfully made in God’s image and likeness. They have something very sacred to teach our Church about what it means to be human” says Ryan Hoffmann, Co-Executive Director. Full statement from Call To Action
What many, including Pope Francis, do not yet understand is that people do not ‘choose’ their genders. A gender is assigned at birth, and some people discover that they were incorrectly classified. The narratives of many transgender and gender nonconforming people show that this often begins long before they go to school. For most, the reality of their identity not matching their assigned gender persists despite incredible social, cultural, familial, and, yes, religious pressures to conform.
It is interesting that until recently, the prevailing belief was that people chose their sexual orientation. Now, even the Catechism of the Catholic Church acknowledges that there are some people ‘who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex’ and that this is a ‘deep-seated’ reality. It seems that we will have to undergo the same kind of conversion in our thinking about gender. Full statement from DignityUSA
New Ways Ministry
The pontiff’s remarks are further evidence that church officials need desperately to educate themselves about the lives and experiences of LGBT people. Church leaders need to update their understandings of gender identity and sexual orientation. The best way they can do this is for the Vatican to establish a commission to look into these topics with an open and objective approach. The commission should include scientific and theological experts, but also LGBT people themselves so that they can share their stories of joy, struggle, and faith with church leaders. Full statement from New Ways Ministry