Xtra Weekly
3 min

The Catholic Church rejects the idea that gender is fluid

Botswana, confused Americans and Mayor Pete. Here’s your Xtra Weekly, June 14

Pope Francis, the head of the Catholic Church. Credit: Eric Vandeville/abacapress.com, Francesca Roh/Xtra

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WEEKLY EXPLAINER

The Vatican rejects the idea that people can choose or change their gender.

Here’s the background 👉On Monday, the Vatican — the headquarters of the Catholic Church — confirmed its stance on the fluidity of gender and identity.

In a document titled Male and Female He Created Them, the Vatican said the acceptance of flexible ideas of gender is threatening the family as an institution, and ignores the natural differences between men and women.

Further, it officially rejects the idea that gender moves along a spectrum, saying it’s “nothing more than a confused concept of freedom in the realm of feelings and wants.”

Wild. So what’s the purpose of this document? Here’s the thing: the Catholic Church thinks there’s an “educational crisis” in the field of sex education and that many of today’s curricula are being planned and implemented in ways that are opposed to faith and “right reason.”

The document, which was signed by Cardinal Giuseppe Versaldi, the head of the Vatican’s Congregation for Catholic Education, will be distributed to Catholic schools around the world as a means to help Catholic teachers, parents and students address the “crisis.”

Now what? 👉The new document disappointed advocates who had hoped for acceptance from the Church, since it seemed to be moving towards a more progressive stance in terms of LGBTQ2 rights and acceptance over the past couple of years.

In 2013, when asked during his visit to Brazil about an alleged gay priest working at the Vatican, Pope Francis is quoted as saying “Who am I to judge gay people?”. In 2015, Diego Neria Lejarraga, a Spanish transgender man, said he met with the Pope after writing to him about feeling ostracized by the Church after his gender-affirming surgery.

In an interview with CNN at the time, Lejarraga said Pope Francis “loves the whole world.” Lejarraga was also hopeful that the Church would become more progressive. “I think things will change,” he said.

However, it’s clear from this new document that the Catholic Church doesn’t support trans, non-binary or gender nonconforming people, but rather believes that a person’s assigned gender is immutable.

What are the reactions? The document, which insists that Catholic schools must help teach young people that gender is fixed at birth, was not received favourably by trans Catholics.

In an interview with Vox, several spoke out against the Vatican’s announcement.

One of them, Cameron, said, “I’ve decided not to read [the document] because I know it is not going to change my mind about how I live my life. I’ve been in a better place emotionally recently, and know that reading it would only upset me.”

Another person, Scotty, said, “Every time I start to soften a little bit and think about maybe going back to church, something awful like this happens.”

“I’m sick of being abused by those who are supposed to be my family. I can’t make room in my life for that anymore.”

WORLD AT A GLANCE

🌎 Love wins. Ecuador just became the fifth country in South America to legalize same-sex marriage.

🌎 Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammed Javad Sarif, defends the country’s practice of executing gay people. At a press conference, Sarif said his country sticks to a “moral principle.”

🌎 A major US LGBTQ2 political organization, Victory Fund, plans to endorse a presidential candidate for the first time in its history — and that candidate is (you guessed it) Mayor Pete Buttigieg.

🌎 This calls for a celebration! Botswana becomes the latest country in Africa to decriminalize gay sex.

🌎 Florida Governor Ron DeSantis reissued his remembrance proclamation of the Pulse nightclub shooting after receiving backlash for his original document. The initial statement mentioned that Florida stands boldly against terrorism, but didn’t acknowledge the LGBTQ2 people who died at the shooting.

🌎 Huh? According to a new survey, Americans are confused about the state of LGBTQ2 rights in their country.

🌎 US Vice President Mike Pence defends Trump’s decision to bar US embassies from flying the rainbow flag during Pride Month. He says it was the “right” move. 🙃

🌎 Begging for cancellation. Anti-gay pastors commemorate the Pulse shooting with a “Make America Straight Again” conference.

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