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Will ‘Transgender’ Rights Drive Catholics Out of Public Schools?

March 11, AD2013

\"Mary

The Massachusetts Board of Education recently issued formal “guidance” to the state’s public schools, telling them how to implement new laws protecting against gender identity discrimination. The Board of Education insists that schools must not only provide equal access to educational activities programs but also proactively “create a culture” that would make gender-nonconforming and transgender kids “feel safe, supported, and fully included.”

The result? Transgender children must be allowed to use the restrooms and locker rooms of the opposite sex, if they so choose. Teachers will “work with” other students who object to the invasion of privacy, helping them over come their “discomfort” and embrace the agenda of tolerance. In addition, schools must “eliminate” gendered policies such as dress codes (e.g., rules requiring girls, but not boys, to wear dresses to prom, or traditions that dress boys in blue graduation robes while girls wear white) and classroom management strategies that divide children by gender (e.g., a boys’ line and a girls’ line for the water fountain). Transgender children will have the right to insist on being called by any name or pronoun they choose, regardless of its biological mismatch. And other students must go along with it or face “discipline.”

In its rush to support the ‘progressive’ agenda for transgender rights, the Board of Education has thrown privacy and safety—for the other students—right out the window. That’s bad enough. The full impact of its decision, however, is even worse.

It’s an insidious strategy that promotes a view of the human person utterly incompatible with Christianity.

The Massachusetts policy systematically foists a perverse orthodoxy on every teacher and child within the system. It promotes the core belief that there is no such thing as human nature or natural distinctions of male and female. Instead, the Board of Education embraces the queer gospel that each person is a god unto him or herself, creating a gender identity and sexual expression based on feelings, or one’s “internalized sense” of self, regardless of biology.

The indoctrination (“education and training”) will be part of every Massachusetts school’s “anti-bullying curriculum, student leadership trainings, and staff professional development.” And the Massachusetts Board of Education clearly expects all students and teachers to get with the program. The entire school community must help create a “safe and supportive” culture for transgender and gender non-conforming students.

Catholic parents who send their children to public school in Massachusetts now have to worry not only about the system’s hostility to religious belief but also about its hostility to basic truths about the human person.

Parents in other states have reason to worry as well.  Laws in sixteen states, plus the District of Columbia, prohibit discrimination on the basis of gender identity.  Some states are moving to promote transgender privileges in schools—including access to opposite-gender restroom and locker room facilities. In other places, families with transgendered children are suing to insist on unfettered access to restrooms and locker rooms.

In New York, transgender activists argue that unlawful harassment of a transgendered student occurs if others make “repeated, deliberate use of pronouns and names that are inconsistent with a student’s gender identity…[or ask]…inappropriate, unnecessary questions about their gender identity, anatomy, and / or any medical treatment that is related to their gender identity.” A child who sees a boy in a dress, for example, and calls him “he,” will be guilty of harassment.

In Chicago, the Board of Education is considering new health education standards that teach a non-judgmental attitude towards gender identity, including transgender identity. Chicago’s new policies “align with the new national standards.”  (Although it’s a topic for another day, I wonder how many parents even know that the left has created and is pushing “National Sexuality Education Standards” in every public school district in the country. “Public schools were specifically chosen” as the venue to promote a flawed anthropology and an immoral approach to sexuality.)

Is the growing pushing for transgender rights in schools really a problem for Catholics?  Can’t we all just be nice and get along? Why does it matter how schools approach gender identity?

Pope Benedict answered those questions in December 2012. He said that when “sex is no longer a given element of nature that man has to accept and personally make sense of,” but instead is viewed as “a social role that we choose for ourselves,” human beings lose sight of \”an essential aspect of what being human is all about.\”

When “people dispute the idea that they have a nature, given by their bodily identity, that serves as a defining element of the human being,” then they deny the truth that “male and female He created them.”

The implication, according to Benedict, is that man rejects God as Creator and loses the sense of his own dignity and value. “When freedom to be creative becomes the freedom to create oneself, then necessarily the Maker himself is denied and ultimately man too is stripped of his dignity as a creature of God.\” When human beings deny the truth about themselves, they deny the truth about God.

It’s bad enough that children in public school must learn in an environment that no longer recognizes God. But it’s even worse when that educational environment no longer recognizes basic truths about the human person.

Catholics in the past have been able to opt-out of public school sexuality education classes; it’s impossible to opt-out from a pervasive culture based on a flawed anthropology.

So the question is: What will we, as a Church, do in response?

© 2013. Mary Rice Hasson. All Rights Reserved.

Photography: See our Photographers page.

About the Author:

Mary Rice Hasson is a Fellow in EPPC's Catholic Studies program. Mrs. Hasson is currently working on a book that offers new data on and explores the views of Catholic women on sexual morality and reproduction and on the Catholic Church's teachings on those topics. She recently co-authored an article on media ratings in the June 2011 issue of the professional journal Pediatrics. She writes commentary for the Catholic News Agency, which also distributes her columns to diocesan newspapers throughout the United States. She also writes from a natural law perspective for the international human rights website, MercatorNet.com, and for a variety of Catholic parenting websites. She blogs at Words from Cana. The mother of seven, Mrs. Hasson previously co-authored with Kimberly Hahn the leading book on Catholic homeschooling, Catholic Education Homeward Bound (Ignatius, 1995). She has spoken at numerous family conferences over the past 15 years, and has appeared on CNN, EWTN, and numerous local radio shows. A lawyer and member of the D.C. and Indiana bars, Mrs. Hasson graduated from the University of Notre Dame Law School in 1984 and from the University of Notre Dame in 1981, with a BA in Government.

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  • Foxwelder64

    Stop bashing transgender people. Have you ever even met one? How dare you suggest that we are our own god. You wrongly seem to think that a penis will automatically make a boy want to be man when inside the inner core of the person a female exists. Call it an aberration or whatever, the fact is it exists and all fear mongering and demonising you want to hang on to causes more pain. Transgender people go through much pain and torment long before they express their true selves. Before you write about a subject you clearly have no idea about get out from behind your ivory desk and go and speak with researchers and medical professionals who deal with this every day.

    • Chantal Chauvet

      How does a transgender person change their DNA? When he dies and a scientists years later want to find out who was this person, what would they conclude?

    • Tammy Rainey

      actually, a bone marrow transplant can alter DNA.

      Not, of course, that your point is relevant since their exist in nature XX people who are apparently male (from birth) and XY people who are apparently female from birth, and also XXY, and XYY – in short, DNA does not ALWAYS correspond to apparent gonadal sex.

  • Sue

    Why don’t these Drag Queens have schools of their own and live their life the way they choose instead of trying to cause problems and school and be a very bad influence on young children. I have noticed all the parents that get on tv and are happy having little drag queens look very odd themselves. There will be grave safety issues with them using the same bathrooms as this is only a cover and they are not to be trusted.

    • Tammy Rainey

      Le Sigh.
      Desperate troll is obviously desperate. So I’ll ignore your obvious pleas for outraged replies and simply note quietly, for the record, that in many many places trans people, young and old, routinely use the restroom appropriate for their identified gender, with and without public notice and approval – in numbers of visits that likely run into the tens or hundreds of thousands….

      and YET there are exactly ZERO reports of sexual misbehavior by any actually trans perpetrator. You are free, of course, to wallow in your irrational paranoia. but the track record is quite clear that your delusion bares no resemblance to reality.

    • Chantal Chauvet

      There are no reports, because it is a new issue.

    • Tammy Rainey

      Reading comprehension is your friend. These people did not suddenly start using new restrooms in 2013 were they had not done so before.

      Heck, the LA United School District has had trans friendly bathroom policies in place for almost a DECADE and no misbehavior by a trans student is on record. Thats just one example among thousands.

  • AMichaels

    As a transgender Catholic myself, I feel ashamed. Not of being transgender, but that you people actually hate love. Children need love. Yet because you feel uncomfortable with the idea that the Bible is a 5,000 year old collection of folk stories and may not therefore be appropriate for modern life, you channel that discomfort into an innocent child and abuse them instead.

    Even Islam allows transgnder people to live without persecution. The supposedly barbaric scourge of minorities acknowledges that when a behavior is innate (like gender), there is no blame. Man cannot control what God has planned for them, so why are you fighting God’s plan?

    By the way, have any of you eaten shellfish? If so then, according to the Bible, you have committed a mortal sin (Leviticus 11:12 That without fins nor scales shall be an abomination). And seeing as you think alike, why not have a look at this website: http://www.landoverbaptist.net/showthread.php?t=68675

    • crusader1234

      AMichaels,
      if you are catholic then please take the time to educate yourself correctly as to what the Catholic church teaches. Jesus gave the Catholic church the authority to interpret bible passages as to what is a sin and what is not. He did not give that authority to you. Eating shellfish IS NOT a mortal sin. Ask any catholic priest. The church has the authority to regulate dietary laws, such as forbidding eating meat on Good Friday. Also the Catholic church teaches that the sex you were born with is PERMANENT, and no surgical procedure, hormone treatment, psychological counseling or personal preference will change the sex you were born into. That is TRUTH, The Catholic church teaches TRUTH, whether people like the truth or not.

  • TammyBeth

    While checking in to compliment Hana, I looked over the thread and I noticed another of my posts which posed questions the faithful bible scholars here choose to ignore, so for emphasis I’ll re-eat the post in it’s entirety> Anyone here ABLE to answer?

    ——-
    “It is a sin to act on one’s disorder by mutilating one’s body, or by willfully denying one’s own bodily identity”

    Please cite supporting Scripture that conclusively demonstrates that this is the case.

    (also, after you do that – if you can – I have another question: if we can conclusively be certain of the Bible’s teaching on a given doctrine, with no possibility of error, then why are there so many differing dogmas within the Christian religion? and if the whole body of Christianity cannot agree on, for instance, a central doctrine such as how one is reconciled to God, then what are the odds that we can be so VERY sure about the supposed sinfulness of gender transition?)
    The point is – Christians disagree on virtually EVERYTHING. And the only implication is that SOMEBODY is WRONG. Isn’t it a bit arrogant for any of us to assume that we alone MUST be the ones who have the whole truth?

    • crusader1234

      The only implication is not just that somebody is wrong, but also that only ONE religion is 100% right. The rest are wrong to some degree or another since contradictory teachings can’t be all right at the same time. It is our job to find out the One True Faith. I know which one that is. It is the Roman Catholic Church.

    • Tammy Rainey

      this is the same Catholic Church that repeatedly confronted new scientific FACT with excommunication and worse because, in the opinion of the all-knowing church, the scientist was wrong…right? You know, they church that was CERTAIN that the sun revolved around the earth?

      When did this whole “always right” superpower actually kick in?

  • Hana

    I honestly don’t see much of a problem with this, and here’s why:
    a)Transgenderism isn’t inherently against Catholicism. Why??? Because it doesn’t deny physical differences between men and women. It doesn’t say that penises and vaginas aren’t real. What it denies is the social norms we assign to these genders. For example, dresses are not inherently female. The ideas that dresses can only be worn by girls is a social construct, not something created by God. While our genitals are just as important as any other bodily organ, they don’t define every single trait we have. Therefore, things like gendered pronouns aren’t inherently Catholic either. We use them. They are used in the Bible. However, they don’t define you as a person, and I don’t think God really cares whether you view yourself as a he or a she. Many people forget, God is actually genderless, though we use He for the sake of a non-demeaning pronoun (can you imagine referring to God as it??? Because I surely can’t!!!). We are made in God’s image and likeness. If society’s gender norms don’t apply to God, then why do we assume He wants us to follow them? And how do we account for the changes in gender norms over time (back to the dresses example, men used to wear dress-like garments with no shame)? If gender norms are due to one’s biological sex, then why have those norms changed over time? Why are gender based divisions in schools (lines, uniforms, etc) even so important anyways? What Catholic purpose do they serve? None, of course. They serve a SOCIETAL purpose, which is completely different.

    b) These changes won’t have that much of an impact on other children. Reading people’s comments on the “dangers” of having children with different genitals in the same bathrooms makes me wonder how long it’s been since any of you have actually been in a school bathroom recently. You see, there are these lovely thing called stalls that keep kids from watching each other whilst ‘taking care of business’ (of course, urinals are different, but I doubt any trans children are going to attempt to use those, for obvious reasons). No one will see anything they shouldn’t, I can promise you. The dangers of sexual assault, too, are no higher than they are otherwise. I mean, someone could just as easily go into the wrong bathroom at my school (we don’t have these sorts of protection laws yet) and do inappropriate things. You see, such actions break the rules regardless of the protection laws, and if someone is set on inappropriate sexual conduct, it will be because they want to, not because the bathrooms gave them the opportunity. Once again, you can trust my statements here. I’m in a public high school, and I can assure you that these laws would not in any way change sexual activity, merely the charges against the offenders (ex: focusing more on the act and less on the location).

    c) These laws ultimately prevent transgender children from feeling like outcasts. Their perceptions and beliefs are respected, just as cis children (those whose gender perceptions align with their biological sex). Seeing as God wants us to treat each other with love and respect, regardless of differing beliefs, behaviors, etc., I’d say these laws are positive. Isn’t it good to prevent discrimination (and transgender children do face discrimination, especially in high school, I’ve seen it, I have proof)?

    I’ll leave you all with a final statement. God created transgenders, just as created all of His children. And unless you think He didn’t know what he was doing, I’d say it’s safe to say He intended to create transgenders. For what ultimate purpose? Who knows! However, that shouldn’t stop us from recognizing this part of His creation and respecting transgender children.

    • TammyBeth

      Bravo! Well argued!!

    • crusader1234

      “a)Transgenderism isn’t inherently against Catholicism. Why??”

      Transgenderism is ABSOLUTELY against CAtholicism. Are you not aware of what Pope Benedict XVI said about this subject?; He stated that the sex you are born with is PERMANENT and no surgical procedure, hormone use , counseling, personal preference can ever change that. On fact he said that it is sinful to attempt to change the sex that God gave you, because then YOU are attempting to do what only God can do in choosing your sex.

    • Tammy Rainey

      so you are going to go with the best tradition of Catholicism and completely ignore scientific fact? Have fun with that.

  • CyndiB

    We have to take into consideration what would happen to the male to female transsexual child if she is forced to go to the mens bathroom.
    Who here thinks this child will be able to make it through a school year and not be beaten up by the boys? Think it would happen weekly? Maybe even daily? And it could just stop if the little child would stop being so girly and man up. See where this goes?
    There is no possible way you are going to be able to protect this type of child from male pack violence.
    The girls are not likely to beat this child up for transgresing gender norms.
    It is safer for the transgender male to female child to go to the ladies room.

    As for the other girls seeing the transgender girls penis…this is highly unlikely. If you think transgender females are willing to let anyone see thier penis in a public place, you know nothing about transgender females. The fact that they have a penis is in most cases very traumatic and not something they want others seeing.

    And you do not need to lie to the kids or require them to lie. When they ask you why Johny is now Suzy you tell them the truth. That Billy has a birth defect that makes them have a girl brain in a boy body. That some people have special chalenges and that it is unkind to say anything to the transgender child about being transgender.

    I do not understand why you can not accept that people can be born with an intersex brain, but you have no issues accepting that a child can be born with intersex genitals.

    I know that transgender seems icky and unnatural to you. It is not something you can possibly accept as godly.
    But please do not loose sight that not every one shares this view. Some of us are 100% convinced that transgender/transsexual people have an intersex condition. Furthermore, some of us even go so far as to believe that transgender people are being run through a spiritual crucibal, that it is a personal chalenge from God to transition.

    For me it was a spiritual test of my faith in God to transition. All my life I have had the call in my heart that I should transition. I fought it for years and my life was a misserable failure. Once I embraced the truth God put in my heart I have grown spiritualy and have been the vehicle by which grace has come to others.
    That is a very strong testament to Gods glory in my eyes. So long as I fought what I knew to be Gods will, he turned from me. The minute I accepted that it was my mission in this life to transition, then Gods favor returned to my life. In every way it is obvious to me how God gave me this chalenge of being transsexual to be an instrument of his mercy.

    It literaly harms no one and gives you a chance to minister to your child about love, mercy and compasion when a transgender child enters your life.
    Do not squander that chance.

  • Racheal Campbell

    Connie, thanks for the clarification but you need a clarification too. Just using the wrong bathroom isn’t traumatizing, being bullied in the bathroom, denied your identity, treated like something less than human, that is the problem.