Community responds to Vatican's condemnation of gender-affirming surgery and surrogacy

LGBTQ+ activists from all over the world are voicing their outrage at the Vatican's declaration on gender-affirming surgery and surrogacy.

This article is about the Vatican's declaration condemning gender-affirming theory. In the photo, Pope Francis during a mass in a church.
Image: Via X - @rwpopefrancis

On Monday, April 8, the Vatican published a declaration setting out “grave violations of human dignity”, which included gender-affirming surgery and surrogacy alongside war, poverty, human trafficking and more. LGBTQ+ activists from all over the world are speaking out against the document, condemning the Vatican’s position on matters that directly impact the lives of queer people.

Titled ‘Dignitas Infinita’, the declaration was released by the Vatican’s Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith, the department in charge of religious discipline of the Catholic Church. The document has been five years in the making and has undergone extensive revision before being approved by Pope Francis in March. It comes four months after the Vatican released another document supporting blessings of same-sex couples, sparking international debate and conservative pushback.

The declaration lists what the Catholic Church perceives as threats to human dignity, such as poverty, the situation of migrants, violence against women, human trafficking and war. It also calls for respect for human dignity regardless of “the person’s ability to understand and act freely”, referring to the Vatican’s longstanding position against abortion and euthanasia.

However, in the document, the Vatican also forcefully denounced so-called “gender theory” for the first time in such specific terms. On the topic, the declaration states that “desiring a personal self-determination (…) amounts to a concession to the age-old temptation to make oneself God, entering into competition with the true God of love revealed to us in the Gospel”.

The declaration adds that “any sex-change intervention, as a rule, risks threatening the unique dignity the person has received from the moment of conception”. However, it seems to allow for the possibility of surgery to resolve “genital abnormalities”, stating that “such a medical procedure would not constitute a sex change in the sense intended here”.

In addition, the document denounces having a child via surrogacy, stating that the practice violates the dignity of the surrogate mother and the child. Earlier in January, Pope Francis condemned surrogacy as “deplorable”, sparking backlash from LGBTQ+ organisations advocating for the rights of same-sex parents.

At the time, LGBT Ireland, Irish Gay Dads and Equality for Children responded with a joint statement, saying: “The desire to create and have a family is a universal one which includes people from the LGBTQI+ community.

“In many examples of family planning, infertility, whether medical or social, can lead people to look to routes such as adoption, assisted donor conception and surrogacy to build their family,” the statement further read.

“We support the right of people to do this. We also support legislation that will protect and ensure the highest of standards are upheld to benefit all involved: the surrogate mother, the child and the intending parents.”

The Vatican’s declaration condemning gender-affirming surgery and surrogacy has sparked outrage from LGBTQ+ activists and organisations all over the world. In Ireland, TENI spoke out about the document, saying: “Transgender Equality Network Ireland (TENI) believes that healthcare should be accessible to everyone regardless of religious belief or identity. Whether it’s reproductive health or gender-affirming care, an individual’s personal needs and international standards of care should drive these decisions, rather than religious commentary.”

Speaking to the Associated Press, Francis DeBernardo of New Ways Ministry, an advocacy group for LGBTQ+ Catholics, criticised the declaration and called it “outdated theology”. DeBernardo stated that “while it lays out a wonderful rationale for why each human being, regardless of condition in life, must be respected, honored, and loved,” the document “does not apply this principle to gender-diverse people.”

Also condemning the declaration, Berlin-based activist Mara Klein said: “The suggestion that gender-affirming health care — which has saved the lives of so many wonderful trans people and enabled them to live in harmony with their bodies, their communities and (God) — might risk or diminish trans people’s dignity is not only hurtful but dangerously ignorant.”

Klein added, “Seeing that, in contrast, surgical interventions on intersex people — which if performed without consent especially on minors often cause immense physical and psychological harm for many intersex people to date — are assessed positively just seems to expose the underlying hypocrisy further.”

© 2024 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.

Support GCN

GCN has been a vital, free-of-charge information service for Ireland’s LGBTQ+ community since 1988.

During this global COVID pandemic, we like many other organisations have been impacted greatly in the way we can do business and produce. This means a temporary pause to our print publication and live events and so now more than ever we need your help to continue providing this community resource digitally.

GCN is a registered charity with a not-for-profit business model and we need your support. If you value having an independent LGBTQ+ media in Ireland, you can help from as little as €1.99 per month. Support Ireland’s free, independent LGBTQ+ media.

0 comments. Please sign in to comment.