Catholic Bishops spearhead letter encouraging parents to reject their transgender kids

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Washington, DC – The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has issued a new open letter, signed by many other religious leaders, rejecting the legitimacy of transgender identities. Titled “Created Male and Female,” the open letter asserts that gender and sex “cannot be separated,” calling it a “false idea” that “goes against reason” and “deeply troubling” notion “that a man can be or become a woman or vice versa.”

The letter attempts to simultaneously show compassion to transgender people while simultaneously condemning them. “A person’s discomfort with his or her sex, or the desire to be identified as the other sex, is a complicated reality that needs to be addressed with sensitivity and truth,” the letter states. Trans people deserve “to be heard and treated with respect,” and when they express “concerns” or discuss “wrestling with this challenge,” religious leaders should respond “with compassion, mercy, and honesty” — but not affirmation.

On section of the letter directly encourages parents to reject their transgender children, claiming that they are “harmed” when they are affirmed in their identities:

Children especially 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. Parents deserve better guidance on these important decisions, and we urge our medical institutions to honor the basic medical principle of “first, do no harm.” Gender ideology harms individuals and societies by sowing confusion and self-doubt. The state itself has a compelling interest, therefore, in maintaining policies that uphold the scientific fact of human biology and supporting the social institutions and norms that surround it.

Contrary to these claims, studies have found that how parents respond to their children’s gender identities can have drastic consequences for their mental health. When families reject their children for being transgender, it can significantly increase their depression and suicidal thinking. But when families affirm their kids in their gender identities, it’s one of the strongest buffers against those consequences, allowing them to be as happy and healthy as their peers who aren’t transgender. Trans kids are not full of “confusion and self-doubt,” and treating them like they are, as these religious leaders recommend, can be remarkably damaging.

In addition to several USCCB officials, the open letter was also signed by leaders from the Anglican Church in North America, the North American Lutheran Church, the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, and others. Among the signers was Andrew Walker of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission. Earlier this year, Walker published a book called God and the Transgender Debate, which essentially laid out a series of religious arguments for rejecting transgender people. In it, he claimed that trans people are responsible for their own suffering for rejecting God, which the USCCB letter also implies.

According to the letter, it’s the people who condemn transgender identities who are the true victims. The “movement” to respect transgender people is “deeply troubling” and “compels people to either go against reason — that is, to agree with something that is not true — or face ridicule, marginalization, and other forms of retaliation.” In all of the letter’s talk of compassion, it does not reference the discrimination transgender people experience in employment, housing, health care, education, the justice system, and public accommodations.

This latest rejection of transgender people is not inconsistent with prior Catholic teaching. Last year, Pope Francis called it “ideological colonization to teach that students can “choose their gender.”

Though the Catholic Church and Southern Baptist Convention are the largest denominations in the U.S., there are many religious leaders who advocate on behalf of transgender people, including leaders from both of those denominations.

Article courtesy of Thinkprogress.org

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  1. I’m a former Catholic. I departed from the Church nearly four decades ago because of their rejection of my personhood.

    (1) ‘That a man can be or become a woman or vice versa.’

    Those Catholics present their declaration riddled with own hypocrisy.

    No one is ‘becoming’ in their sense of the word. We already ‘are’. They admit it so in their text that their own god says so in Genesis – their god created all and ‘everything was good’. We are part of their god’s Creation and we are ‘good’.

    Trans and inter-sex are all part of the natural order of Creation as performed by their god.

    Catholics talk about ‘mystery’ of their god’s Creation. We are all part of that ‘mystery’.

    (2) ‘Children especially are harmed when they are told that they can “change” their sex’

    Trans and inter-sex people do not ‘change’ our sex, our innate identity already defined us whoever we are. We employ the science of medicine – a Creation of their god – to enable our opportunity to do the best we can to live as best as we can in our innate identity.

    (3) ‘Given hormones that will affect their development and possibly render them infertile as adults.’

    This is a point the really rankles Catholics. They want their wimin to be barefoot breeders and men to not ‘spill their seed’.

    (4) ‘How parents respond to their children’s gender identities can have drastic consequences for their mental health.’

    My family thought I was ‘so cute’ as an out Transsexual child of the 1950s and 1960s; but when they realised the actuality of my Transsexualism as a teen, they suddenly did everything that they could to deny me. They failed that. I began transition as soon as I was an adult and I had to endure their grind against my mental health.

    (5) ‘Trans kids are not full of “confusion and self-doubt”.

    Precisely!

    No one in our family seemed to question my sister’s identity when she asserted her femalehood. I knew my identity from the earliest of my memory, yet they tried to counter my assertion. They were ‘confused’, not me.

    (6) ‘In all of the letter’s talk of compassion, it does not reference the discrimination transgender people experience in employment, housing, health care, education, the justice system, and public accommodations.’

    Exactly!

    It is legal in the USA to discriminate against a Trans-person.

    • – I was fired from work twice – both times I lost my career and had to start new from scratch.
    • – The courts systems failed to support my claims of discrimination when I grieved my firings.
    • – I have had to fight for my healthcare when doctors dropt me from coverage.
    • – I graduated from a well-known Baptist University in ‘stealth’ – if only they knew – but LGBTIQ is against their policies in employment and education.

    These hits of discrimination also meant a great loss of financial security to me; I can’t be the only one. I calculated my cost being Trans exceeds $2 million of lost income over the course of my work life. Instead, I endured poverty; their politics want to take away from my earned Social Security retirement and MediCare health benefit.

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