Four US bishops sign harmful transphobic letter, denying transgender experience

Four US bishops joined sixteen other religious leaders in signing on to an open letter, published December 15, which described the “deeply troubling” movement to “enforce the false idea – that a man can be or become a woman or vice versa.” The letter goes on to state, “we come together to join our voices on a more fundamental precept of our shared existence, namely, that human beings are male or female and that the sociocultural reality of gender cannot be separated from one’s sex as male or female.” It further claims that children in particular “are harmed when they are told that they can ‘change’ their sex or, further, given hormones that will affect their development and possibly render them infertile as adults.” Stating that societal forces compel people to “go against reason,” it states that “[g]ender ideology harms individuals and societies by sowing confusion and self-doubt.”

Members of the Equally Blessed coalition have called the letter harmful and transphobic, and called for the removal of the letter from the USCCB website.

Call To Action

“These four bishops– and their fellow co-signers– are speaking either in willful ignorance or flagrant mean spiritedness regarding transgender Catholics. Either way, this is an inexcusable, and sinfully routine display of oppression,” said Zachary Johnson, Call To Action’s Executive Director. … “The majority of Catholics celebrate our transgender loved ones and are grateful for their contributions to our community,” says Johnson. “Transgender Catholics deserve a church that will listen to their wisdom, honor their truth and speak out for their rights. Catholics across the United States are committed to building that church, and we hope that the bishops will join us.” Full statement from Call To Action

DignityUSA

“This is a heinous and immensely damaging letter that we condemn in the strongest terms,” stated DignityUSA Executive Director Marianne Duddy-Burke.  “At best, those who have signed and promoted it do not appreciate the tremendous harm that it could inflict.  At worst, they are cynically and callously disregarding the emerging scientific and social understanding of transgender people and their identities in the service of outdated and inaccurate ideas.  In any case, the damage that this letter could cause to transgender people, their families, and their communities is immeasurable.” … “All of the bishops who signed the letter,” Duddy-Burke concluded, “represent the most extreme right wing of the US Catholic Church, which consistently tries to rebuke Pope Francis for his more pastorally oriented leadership on many issues.  It is shameful that the USCCB would validate this destructive, ill-informed, and mean-spirited extremism by posting a letter signed by less than 2% of its membership on its website.  We have not only asked the USCCB to take the letter down from its website, but to disavow it.” Full statement from DignityUSA

New Ways Ministry

Reading this statement makes one wonder if any of these leaders have ever listened to the journey of transgender people.  If they had, they would find that transgender people often experience their transition as not only a psychologically beneficial step, but one that also involves important spiritual dimensions.  Transitioning helps people become closer to God.  That is something religious people should support. Full statement from New Ways Ministry

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