The publication of the Vatican’s new guidance for schools on gender identity “ignores the real and legitimate experiences of young trans people and their families” said Chair of Transgender Equality Network Ireland (TENI), Sara R. Phillips.
Speaking following the release of the new guidance for schools: ‘Male and Female, He created them: Towards a Path of Dialogue on the Question of Gender Theory in Education’, Ms Phillips described the language in the document as “unhelpful and inflammatory in its portrayal of young trans and intersex people” and “completely at odds with the mature and supportive approach adopted by many schools in Ireland.”
The document is the Vatican’s first on gender theory as an “instruction” to Catholic educators on their stance on the topic of gender identity describing it as part of a “confused concept of freedom”, and that gender being determined by “personal feeling rather than biology” was an attempt to “annihilate nature”.
“Grounded in what appears to be a fundamental misstating of what it means to be transgender or intersex” said Phillips, “the document provides little by way of practical information for schools and families, many of whom are already working successfully and in collaboration with representative organisations such as TENI and BeLong To, to create safe, supportive and welcoming learning environments for trans and gender variant young people to grow and flourish in education.” Ms Philips said.
“We are disappointed both with tone and timing of the release of this document coming at the beginning of a month of celebration and positive visibility for the whole LGBTI+ community,” continued Phillips. “Unfortunately, the rhetoric we see in this document, including references to gender theory as aiming to ‘annihilate the concept of nature’, is consistent with previous inflammatory statements from this papacy, which has compared the impact of so-called ‘gender theory’ with the destruction caused by nuclear arms.
“We will continue to offer tangible assistance and guidance for parents, families and schools faced with this issue and who are seeking meaningful, non-judgmental support,” she added.
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