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

Mary Rice Hasson - MA Transgender Public School

\"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.

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202 thoughts on “Will ‘Transgender’ Rights Drive Catholics Out of Public Schools?”

  1. You have a lot more to fear from your own priests than gentle transgender people, how many catholic priests have been involved in paedopholic related scandals over the last 30 years? loads and loads, the hypocrisy of the catholic faith astounds me it really does.

    1. Right on, Lucy…even Benedict 16 agrees:

      “Today we see in a truly terrifying way that the greatest persecution of the Church does not come from enemies on the outside, but is born of the sin within the Church” May 10, 2010

  2. “My last comment on this–”

    so…my perfectly reasonable questions go unanswered.

    UI wish I could say this surprises me.Frankly, it’s a poor witness. I spend literally HOURS trying to respond to various assertions on this thread, correcting misrepresentations, pouring my heart out…

    And I ask a few very basic questions and none dares accept the intellectual challenge of engaging me on those points.THIS, ladies, is why the skeptics don’t respect you. You show yourselves unwilling to give fair consideration to opposing points. it gives the appearance of “don’t confuse me with the facts”

    I pray that by and by, your minds and hearts may be opened. One day it might be your own child who says “Mom, I think I’m…” and I hope you have the wisdom to deal with it.

    1. It seems to me that Mary Rice Hasson did answer your question:

      “Hey kids, look: not everyone is alike, not everyone believes the same things, not everyone is going to be or do as you think they should. but if they are not hurting anyone, let’s respect each other’s differences and be kind.”

      With:

      “If only it were so simple, but that’s not the only scenario…”

      This law mandates a lot more than being kind. It mandates that boys be able to use the girls’ bathroom. It mandates that all the kids be taught a worldview that might be foreign to them, their families, and religions, and their natural instincts. It mandates they be taught that the body is not an essential part of a person’s nature.

      We don’t need laws to teach people to be kind. Presumably there are already school rules against teasing, bullying, and violent behavior. This law gives privileges to a tiny minority of students that it denies to everyone else.

    2. “We don’t need laws to teach people to be kind.” Oh, well. the anti-bullying programs in MA. were mandated by law. Oh, well. laws which made beating up gays, blacks, etc a hate crime, were based on laws.Oh, yeah, MA laws which made hazing a crime, were based on laws. On yeah, MA has a load of hate crimes laws on the books which land kids in jail. Oh, yeah, we need laws to make dating violence, stalking, rape, etc.
      Kindness is not part and parcel of human nature….WE DO NEED LAWS TO TEACH PEOPLE TO BE KIND and that there are limits to socially acceptable and appropriate behavior.

    3. Connie – I’m afraid you are thinking of the wrong question. the one I mean is the one about the logical reasoning that being transsexual is a birth condition no different than, say, autism.

      As to the rest, I’ll repeat what I aid earlier: as a parent, MY responsibility is to teach MY kids the best worldview I know, and to defend it intellectually with enough sound reasoning that it can STAND against the presentation of an inferior one. I choose to homeschool my kids in large part for just that reason.

      A parent who whines about the public schools presenting a view they do not share is a parent who’s either (a) conceded THEIR role to the government; or (b) worried that the view they taught their kids cannot stand in the arena of ideas.

      A well educated child is not taught WHAT to think but HOW to think, and if they have been given the latter then IF your worldview is worthy, it will stand the test in the arena of ideas and be strengthened by the battle.

      So – are YOUR views strong enough to win that battle, or not? If not, you shouldn’t want your child saddled with them.

  3. We must have Separation of School and State. Reasons of conscience require it.

    P.S. If you’ve been voting for any funding of government-controlled, politician-run, taxpayer-financed schooling then you’re part of the problem.

  4. Racheal Campbell

    Throughout this conversation the common element among those that wish to deny transgender children their basic human rights is denial of their gender identity. You are being told that someone is female, for example, and your opinion based on observation of characteristics that you associate with males is that the person is male. It doesn’t matter what the characteristics you observe are but let us assume that no one is exposing genitalia in school, so it isn’t a penis. Does hair on one’s upper lip identify someone as male? Perhaps interest in auto mechanics? Genitalia alone does not answer the question, we know that people have been, and are born with the chromosomes of a male and the genitalia of a female (and visa versa). Its all very complicated and even among professionals there isn’t 100% agreement. If you ask 100 people you might get 100 different answers on what makes one person male and another female. So what is the precedent we follow, legally? Isn’t it the individual’s own medical professionals? People who need glasses often look just like people who do not need glasses, but we take the word of the professionals and let people who need glasses wear them. There are physical education requirements in school but a note from a doctor can exempt a child from them and we don’t challenge that assertion. You are certainly allowed to believe that one child doesn’t really need glasses or another child is capable of playing basketball or another child is male, but if that child’s medical professionals say otherwise the school has a legal imperative to accept it at fact and all of us, children and parents, have a moral imperative not to discriminate against the child or bully.

  5. Racheal Campbell

    Your point is valid, but I wonder if you have followed the chain of dominoes that falls when you take it into account. You are saying that the entire concept of segregated bathrooms is discriminatory. that may be true, but are we even ready to have that conversation?

    1. Racheal, I believe you were replying to my comment above. If so, you misunderstood me (my fault, not yours–I was in a hurry). I’m afraid you’ll no longer find my point valid when you understand it!

      The proponents of the law say a boy who identifies as a girl (for example) is traumatized by having to share a bathroom with other boys. But they either dismiss or disregard the trauma girls naturally feel at having said boy share a bathroom with them. One of the other commenters said .3% of the population identifies as the opposite sex. If that is accurate, then in a school of 1000 students, you might have 3 such boys. So, we are now making a law to accommodate them, but disregarding the shock, embarrassment, and even sense of violation the 500 girls in the school might naturally feel when meeting a boy in their bathroom. More than that, the law says these girls can’t even protest without being labeled bigots and bullies who need to be disciplined in an unspecified manner. Why would anyone advocate this? The only reason I can come up with is the LGBTQ… community’s tendency to force the rest of us to accept their worldview.

      If this were really about the needs of children, the needs of the 500 girls would not be brushed aside. The law could demand that unisex private (note that word) restrooms be built to accommodate children who identify as the opposite gender. Or, it might mandate unisex private bathrooms for all students. By this I mean what you sometimes see in kindergartens, or what we have in our homes: one toilet and sink with a door that locks, which children can only enter one at a time.

      Also, you and many others who are arguing for the law are assuming that the kids who make use of it will fit one specific profile which the law itself does not demand. As far as I can tell, no doctor’s slip, no parental agreement, no history or evidence of any kind beyond a child’s word is needed for kids above a certain age to be treated as though they were the opposite sex. So a child could obviously be a boy, have always called himself and been treated as a boy, then one day say he’s a girl and get permission to use the girls’ locker room and restroom. You might protest that a person who really self-identifies this way would never do that. I could reply that you are a bigot and a bully for making the boy fit your definition of what it means to be “really” transgendered. I’m just kidding, of course, in order to show how ridiculous this whole thing is.

      I’m not dismissing the real suffering of these children. I’m just saying this law is a ridiculous response to it.

  6. I read through most of these comments, and it seems to me that the real issue got lost along the way. The Massachusetts law is saying that children who self-identify as the opposite sex are so traumatized by sharing a bathroom with members of the same sex, that they shouldn’t be made to do it. The solution? Send them to the opposite sex bathroom. And when parents protest about the right of their daughters, for example, not to have to share a bathroom with boys, their concerns are interpreted as bigotry, What happened to the trauma? If it’s so serious for kids in one instance, why not in the second? Why should the .3% be accommodated, but not the rest of us? Why is a separate bathroom for these children not an option? Forcing the kids who see themselves according to their God-given sex to share a bathroom with members of the opposite sex seems to me a way to advance a political agenda, rather than help children. If everyone in the school already knows about the identity issues a child has–as they would have to for the use of the opposite-sex bathroom, how could it be degrading for them to have their own private bathroom? Or to only have unisex private bathrooms? It seems to me this law is really about forcing everyone to accept the GLBTQ… (can’t keep up with the latest letters) worldview–not about helping kids. You don’t help a tiny minority by forcing the majority to put themselves in the situation that the minority says is traumatic.

    Sorry if this was addressed already and I missed it.

    1. You’re assuming that a trans girl looks like a boy, but most look like girls – unremarkable in the girls’ bathroom, but an anomaly in the boys’.

    2. the argument is not that they would be traumatized but that they would be stigmatized. It reinforces the sense of “otherness” both for the trans child and for her classmates.

      No one is claiming to be traumatized. Furthermore, the only reason cis-kids would be traumatized is because they have been indoctrinated into a fear-based mindset by their parents.

      Kids “get it” – left to their own instincts they don’t have a problem with their trans classmates, and this is more true the younger you get. It only becomes an issue when the parents get worked up.

      Folks get all a twitter because a young girl my see a young male penis. you know what? Kids are curious, kids “play doctor” even in pre-school. the great majority of them have already seen the dreaded penis. It’s no big deal. Until you start teaching your kids to be fearful and suspicious and create trauma where none existed before.

      But then, if we didn’t do that where would the next generation of Zealots come from.

    3. Jill, does the law define what “trans” means? And if it is a medical definition, why is no doctor’s confirmation needed for a student to get these privileges?

    4. TammyBeth,

      The problem remains, if you change the word “traumatized” to “stigmatized.” Aren’t the 500 girls being stigmatized as bigots and bullies, or at least people who need to be re-educated? Their natural fears and self-preservation instincts are not only being brushed aside, but also labeled as wrong.

      Are you suggesting that in a society where we are told 25% of female college students experience some kind of sexual assault, and where child sexual abuse is so much in the news (and brought up in every conversation where someone disagrees with the Catholic Church–see below) we should teach our girls not to pay attention to their feelings of discomfort? That if we were raising them right those feelings would not even exist? That they are social constructs? That it’s “no big deal” when a boy or man reveals himself to her?

      I also have an unanswered question: why can’t we have private bathrooms as a solution?

    5. “The problem remains, if you change the word “traumatized” to “stigmatized.” Aren’t the 500 girls being stigmatized as bigots and bullies, or at least people who need to be re-educated?”

      Oh please. I don’t mean to be disrespectful but that’s flat out silly. I sympathize with (though disagree) the argument that there’s going to be a lot of discomfort, but stigma? nonsense.

      “Their natural fears and self-preservation instincts are not only being brushed aside, but also labeled as wrong.”

      A great deal of what is “natural” is often labeled as “wrong” – most notoriously by the Church itself. Catholics are hardly in a position to criticize anyone for labeling a natural instinct as wrong.

      “Are you suggesting that in a society where we are told 25% of female college students experience some kind of sexual assault, and where child sexual abuse is so much in the news (and brought up in every conversation where someone disagrees with the Catholic Church–see below) we should teach our girls not to pay attention to their feelings of discomfort?”

      Nope – I’m suggesting wisdom and discernment. Care to point out how many of those assaults are committed by transsexual folk? The number approaches ZERO..
      on the other hand, a goodly number happen at school, yet no one suggests teaching girls to fear school, a goodly number happen at church, and again, we encourage your young ladies to go to church. Selective outrage is not convincing argument.

      ” That if we were raising them right those feelings would not even exist? That they are social constructs? That it’s “no big deal” when a boy or man reveals himself to her?”

      Context matters. Discernment matters. If a woman is a nurse and a man in her office exposes his penis, is she in danger? Probably not – context matters. Ham-fisted thinking to assume ANY penis in ANY context is to be feared.

      “I also have an unanswered question: why can’t we have private bathrooms as a solution?”

      You can. Feel free to advocate to the proper authorities for the considerable spending necessary to retrofit all school building with such restrooms (as one school in Oregon did – you don’t hear trans people protesting that move do you?)

      Thing is, if WE had proposed that your lot would be yelling that no way should we be spending so much money to “cater to” so few. It’s a rigged game when your mind is not open.

  7. no time beforework to get into any point by point replies but I wanted to add a general comment. A lot of this discussion seems to “major on the minor”

    for instance, the idea that requiring kids to be respectful of those who are different is tantamount to indoctrinating them to acceptance. The message being sent is not “you can pick your gender if you want and we’ll back you” – rather it’s “not all of us are the same, or believe the same, but we all owe each other respect”

    I’m quite certain that if a Catholic child privately views a transgirl as, in fact, a boy that this will in no way incur any correction from the school. All the school would ask is that such a child exercise discretion and not disrespect the trans student. It’s a reasonable request.

    Likewise the obsession with pronouns. It’s not that difficult.

    Let’s recognize that they vast majority of the time, the disapproving student would have no reason to refer to the trans student by a pronoun AT ALL. Unless they are specifically asked by a teacher or some such something about that child, they would simply elect not to refer to that person.

    for instance: someone is running in the hall. Teacher looks out and sees Catholic kid and says “Did someone just run through here?”

    Catholic:. Yeah, it was Susie”
    Teacher: which way didshe go?”
    Catholic: (pointing) “That way”

    (as opposed to SHE or HE went that way)

    It’s also not improper to use a generic pronoun when appropriate such as they or them.

    bottom line, the school would not be insisting on “she”, just asking that you withhold the use of “he” (or vice versa)

    And therein lies the false assumption behind most of this conversation. if the policy said “we are going to insist that all students respect the religious differences of other students and that no one make a person feel bad for being a Catholic” then the wisdom of that would be obvious. The policy is self evidently not trying to make kids think that being Catholic is the best or only option or even right – some of the kids might be Muslim or Jewish or even Baptist and find that sort of message offensive.

    Rather, the message is very simple and straightforward, whomever is mention as in need of consideration:

    Hey kids, look: not everyone is alike, not everyone believes the same things, not everyone is going to be or do as you think they should. but if they are not hurting anyone, let’s respect each other’s differences and be kind.”

    HOW is that a bad thing?

    1. Mary Rice Hasson

      Tammy Beth,

      If only it were so simple, but that’s not the only scenario–the schools are supposed to “create a culture” that supports and welcomes transgender children–and the “guidance” from the state Board of Education clearly takes a stand on gender (self-determined and unconnected to the body), human nature (denied), and what it means to be male or female. It’s not a question of children (or adults) being polite and respectful–we all agree that’s a good thing–it’s a question of teaching (indoctrinating) children in false ideas of the human person, human sexuality, and gender. It’s the “dogma” of the left and it’s not backed up by science at all. It’s nothing more than “gender theory.”

      My last comment on this–Dr. Zucker has not backed off his views. I interviewed him at length about 8 months ago. He is not proceeding from a religious standpoint, but from a clinical one. He’s looking to make people feel better (which is why he approves of sex reassignment surgery for adults, as it can lessen a ‘transgendered’ person’ inner pain) and, in his experience, most little children who are confused about gender present with a host of problems and family therapy is indicated. And for most of those children, with therapy, alignment between their self-perception and their bodily reality is achieved. His work is respected worldwide—except by those who posit gender theory that is not supported by science.

      I wish you well. You’ve been through a lot. Most of all, I hope you find God, who loves each of us in our own brokenness and imperfections, and that you will experience the love that is never conditional, never diminishes, and never ends.

    2. “human nature (denied)”: It appears that the bone of contention navigates around the words “human nature”. The questions of what these characteristics are, what causes them, and how fixed human nature is, are amongst the oldest and most important questions in western philosophy.

      The words human nature reveal an insight into whether we consider them fluid or fixed. I believe that primate evolution involves a constant, slow change of the human genome. So I would believe human nature is a fluid, evolving concept; others may rightly believe it is fixed. Conflicts arise as a matter of definition….. resolution is either one is fixed in one’s position or open to dialogue about what defines human nature.

    3. Human nature is something that the Catholic Church is far more qualified to define than psychiatrists, or other social scientists, because it goes to the very soul of humans and God’s purpose in creating them. And God gave the Catholic Church the task of preserving His Truths about humans, without error. And the Catholic church clearly teaches that one’s sex is PERMANENT and transgenderism is a LIE. No amount of surgery, hormones, etc will change the sex God assigned a human. It is just another attempt of man trying to play God. Please read pope Benedict XVI’s recent pronouncement on the subject of transgenderism.

  8. okay, it’s almost 5 am and I tire of this conversation, though I’m curious to finish reading it when I have time. The obvious overweening arc of the thread though, from the OP and those who hold forth that side of the issue, is a “not as subtle as it tries to be” attempt to claim the mantle of victim-hood.

    “What is to be done to us?”

    Could it be ANY more obvious. Scare tactics, paranoia, fear mongering and the pretense of victim-hood.

    there are over 25 million (if my stats are correct) Americans who profess to be professing Catholics, and at least that many more conservative evangelicals, Jews, Muslims, etc (combined) and yet all these multiple millions of folks are somehow going to be victimized by few thousand marginalized folks with a rare medical condition?

    Seriously? Yall need to relax just a bit.

  9. here we are talking about being required not to do something that violates another person’s right to exist

    Wait, wha…? When the Catholic Church talks about treating transgendered persons with dignity, you translate that as “they have no right to exist”?

    How can we have a dialogue if this is what you claim the Church teaches? Perhaps I am misunderstanding. I am happy to listen to a clarification. Thanks!

  10. Racheal Campbell

    The book of Maccabees example does not apply because being required to do something against one’s faith is not allowed, here we are talking about being required not to do something that violates another person’s right to exist.

    Ah, the pronoun issue. We’ve actually seen this one before, 60/70 years ago when the right for interracial couples to marry was gaining leverage over the old bigoted ways. Then, as in now, the bigots did not believe themselves to be bigots, then, as in now, the bigots’ twisted their concept of God and nature to support their bigotry, then, as in now, they were wrong. In tie people learned and today we can look back , and say, yes, that was bigoted and no, it was not a threat to God or Nature, nor was it a lie to use the proper pronouns. In that case it was a percentage of Christians and Catholics that refused to call woman newly legally married in an interracial marriage Mrs. Rather than Miss. People said, “They ain’t married in the eyes of God” but guess what? They were. And people got used to it and Catholicism survived.

    1. Racheal, you completely confusing “being” with “doing”. Race is a passive state of being that has no moral meaning or implication. The Catholic Church has been marrying folks of different races for 2,000 years. If a bigoted priest refused it, it was not due to any Church teaching.

      Homosexual acts, on the other hand, are actions. They are things folks choose to do (as opposed to having same-sex attraction, which is not a sin). The orthodox of every single major world religion has taught the sinfulness of homosexual acts. It is not a Catholic thing. And there is no “bigotry” in proclaiming the Natural Law (the universal moral law). You may think that race (“being”) and illicit sexual acts (“doing”) are analogous, but they are not. If you think Catholicism will ever change on this or any other moral issue, you are going to be sorely disappointed. She will never change the moral law, because she cannot.

      More on that here:

      http://littlecatholicbubble.blogspot.com/2012/06/sorry-youre-not-allowed-to-do-that.html

  11. The problem is that the Mass. Regs require the schools to “create a culture” that supports the transgender -theory-of-reality. That means teachers, administrators, and even the curriculum take a stand that teaches that there is no human nature and that a person ‘s body gives no clue whether he or she is really a boy or a girl, because “truth ” depends on what the individual perceives. Children will be taught– and forced to accept–the belief that “gender” is fluid, is in the mind but not connected to bodily reality, and that being transgender is but a normal variation on the spectrum of identities a person might choose for him or herself. It would be one thing if the school simply said”treat everyone w / respect” and all bathrooms were private, unisex facilities but they didn’t do that — instead, the school system has taken a stand and is forcing the ‘progressive’ LGBT “truth” on kids, whether or not they or their parents agree.
    That’s not respect. That’s imposing a viewpoint and insisting kids accept it or face “discipline” ( punishment).

    1. Hi Mary, Could you link to something from the Mass. Regs that would explain all of this or at least, hint towards it? It sounds to me like you’re polarizing what these schools are probably actually doing into something a bit more demonic.

      It sounds to me like you’re bitter that a school would promote an open environment where children are accepted for being transgendered or LGB, and you’re extrapolating a lot on what a “transgender-theory-of-reality” is, because even I know trans* individuals who would disagree with you about what that means.

  12. Stacy said, “Yes, it is denying the truth to call a female a he or a male a she. I’m not going to do it. I’m not going to teach my children to do it. You disagree and want me to teach them otherwise, I understand that, but I’m not going to do it. ”

    I think you are in hot water here. These days the decision of when to reassign a gender to a child born with real deformities of the genitals is being delayed until at least puberty by many experts. A child might have been born intersex but be genetically female. If this child identifies as male from an early age, and desires to be called “he”, how can you or your children know the truth unless you stand over him/her in a bathroom stall? It seems to be prudent to tell your children that there are some people born a bit different, but we still love them and care about them and treat them nicely. It seems a small thing to ask. You could even bring up Jesus’ description of eunuchs in the bible.

    Now, if this becomes a catchy and trendy thing…I can see where problems would arise. Let’s say that an attention-seeking girl who likes to start drama declares she is a he and starts wearing boys clothes and insisting on playing on boys teams and using boys bathrooms. Your children would be at risk for trouble if they persisted in calling “her” “him”. But don’t you think that most sensible teachers and administrators would know the difference?

    Growing up I constantly heard gay slurs at school. Heck, we even played “Smear the Queer” at school!!! People openly mocked effeminate boys. This was NOT GOOD. These kids were and probably are still at a high risk of being bullied. I am so ashamed I did not stand up and protect these people when I was a kid. Trying to prevent this is not a bad thing today.

    1. Mary,

      That’s the point. If it’s such a small minority, such a rare case, then they don’t need to turn it into this big huge deal. We all know what bullying is (I hope). If a child means no harm and innocently calls a transgender boy a boy, where is the sense of pursuit of peace in punishing that child?

  13. I’m an atheist, but I’ve been reading a bit of the Bible lately, and I’m pretty sure this following passage may address the things in this comment section. The passage is 1 Corinthians, Chapter 8 (http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+Corinthians+8&version=NIV).

    Essentially, what Paul is saying is that even though it’s not wrong for Christians, by their religion, to eat this meat offered to pagans, they probably shouldn’t do it, because the pagan members of their community will find it upsetting. Even Paul is a little PC! He’s saying that if the Corinthians are going and eating this meat that has been offered to idols just because they can, then their ego is being placed before their respect for others.

    It is pragmatic and Machiavellian for Christians to respect the gender pronouns that people wish to be called me. That being said, I know Catholics love the truth, and the truth in your eyes trumps pragmaticism (as truth always should). However, I make this point because if you decide to be stubborn and call trans* children and persons by a gender identity they do not identify with, their hurt and anger will drive them away from YOU and, ultimately, even further away from your church.

    We live in a multifaith society and should expect this type of tension but that doesn’t mean we need to polarize ourselves the way you guys are right now. Just like you should be able to teach your kids your values, many parents wish to teach their children that gender is relatively arbitrary, it is a social construct that does not need to be determined by their sex, and we should respect those parents just as much as I respect your Catholic views.

    So, in this cultural battle, where should you be drawing the lines. Just because your Pope says that a person’s sex and gender is an integral part of their identity certainly doesn’t mean the next logical step is making sure boys and girls of certain sexes go into certain bathrooms! This is about our children being able to be normal in school. You can teach your children that you don’t agree with the liberals about their views on gender, but you should be teaching your children that love and respect should trump being uncomfortable about another person being a gender you don’t think they are.

    I’m with Mary on this one. These are bathrooms, with stalls. Men and women have probably been sharing restrooms for most of history.

    1. Zach, I totally agree with meeting people where they are, absolutely, but I can’t take it all the way to the point of lying about things. But on most of this, I agree.

      Also, why do you use an asterisk after the words “trans”? I’ve seen it more than once. Thanks!

    2. I don’t think it’s a lie.

      One example that might be relevant (and one I admit isn’t the strongest analogy) is how my real name is Zachary, but I ask nearly all people to call me Zach. That’s not my legal name, and it’s a lie in a sense if people refer to me to other people as Zach and not Zachary. But, since I identify more with Zach, it’s okay. Some people know my legal name is Zachary, but they still choose to call me Zach. Other people don’t know my legal name is Zachary, so it’s no difference to them.

      Although we may disagree about a trans* person’s gender identity, for those who are trans*, pronouns are important. Each individual knows themself, and you know them to the extent that you do. If they prefer to go by a set of pronouns, I think we should respect that in the same way we respect nicknames, which–if we consider things grammatically–I do believe are also pronouns! It’s a courtesy we extend to people regardless of our knowledge of what kind of chromosomes they may have.

      It’s not my place, at all, to try and make compromises on the behalf of the trans* community, but I want to make this concession as something I think may be reasonable, but I’m certain some of my trans* friends might label me a bigot for: it should be okay for anyone to approach someone they personally know and are close to and express concern over their gender identity, but it’s only polite to use the pronouns someone picked for themselves.

      Names and pronouns are important, and I know that that’s why you persist. Do you think if you were to call a trans* female by male pronouns you would be doing it with love and respect? I mean, if someone called me a “faggot” they may be telling the total truth (after all, while I may not be effeminate I certainly am in a long-term relationship with another man), I still would not allow them to call me that again (either by taking them out of my social circle or talking to them seriously). I’m sure you understand the levity of someone calling someone else a faggot. Although your motivation may be compassionate, and I believe it is, for many trans* persons being referred to by something other than their chosen name and pronouns can be of the same situation.

      Trans* is an umbrella term for people who are gender non-conforming in the most general term.

      A dept. at our school is actually working on a trans* awareness project, and I lifted this from their website (http://www.transawareness.org/what-is-trans.html , take the site as you will, it stands for itself):

      “Trans* is an umbrella term that attempts to capture the complexity and diversity of gender identity and expression by those who transgress gender boundaries. The term trans* may encompass (but is not limited to) those who identify as transgender, genderqueer, trans, transsexual, androgynous, agender, bigender, two spirit, and gender non-conforming.”

    3. And, for that matter, Leila, I do think there is a difference between men and women (I know I have a reputation for mostly saying otherwise), and I want to concede that to you, and there are people in the LGBT community who would as well. BUT, I want to have that conversation somewhere else.

    4. Zach, I have a friend (you know her, JoAnna) who does use the pronoun that the transgendered person requests. She does it out of courtesy, even though she knows that the person we are dialoguing with is not a man but a woman. I can’t bring myself to do that, as I think it’s a denial of what God has done in gifting this woman with her female body (which, again, is not incidental to her). But I can see why JoAnna does acquiesce. To me, it feels like a lie, rather than just a courtesy, but that’s me. I would not ever teach my children that a girl was a boy, or vice versa, so I would just have to tell them to use whatever proper name this person goes by.

      I don’t know… I can’t equate pronouns to someone calling you a “f****t”… I truly hate that word and I would blast my children for using it, even for “levity”. By contrast, I don’t blast anyone for using a pronoun.

      To me, the concession will have to be that I only speak proper names (which I have done with the person I am dialoguing with privately). And actually, I have told her that she is actually still a woman, and she didn’t get furious with me. Somewhere deep down, I wonder if she knows that she is?

      I truly appreciate your thoughtful comments, Zach, and also thank you for telling me about trans*. Honestly, it’s a whole new world than when I went to college, and we thought we were all pretty edgy back then. 🙂 A lot of promiscuity, drugs, drinking, etc. But the gay stuff, even 25 years ago, was not an issue. I can’t imagine what things will be like in 25 more years.

  14. “Why aren’t they told that the world is not going to always be able to accommodate their personal feelings and that others have rights, too?”

    Bingo. So you do get it, you’re just pretending not to. That’s exactly it – not everyone has to accomodate your personal feelings. Non-Catholics have rights, too.

    You don’t have to indoctrinate your kids – don’t make things up. You can tell them that trans* kids may appear to be male/female, but that they identify with the opposite sex, and that to treat them otherwise is akin to telling your redheaded sons that they have no soul (although it’s much worse, but a kid would understand it that way). You can help them find ways to coexist without violating your religious beliefs and without mistreating others. If pronouns are an issue, they can use the neutral “they/their”. But under no circumstances should your kids feel the need to point out the discord between a trans* kid’s body and identified sex, or be vocal about your beliefs on the issue. You seem to believe that it’s either trans* kids are left to the wolves, or your kids are forced into jail for being Catholic – it’s really not that hard to accomodate them while still not violating your conscience. If Christians are really supposed to have the moral high ground, don’t cry foul every time someone asks you to do a little more (really, nothing at all) so that others can be comfortable.

    1. So basically, Stacy, I think your kid who repeatedly and deliberately uses a pronoun that incorrectly matches a child’s identified sex should be disciplined how any other bully would be. I don’t know what the exact punishment is because I am not a school administrator or someone who was disciplined for bullying as a child. That said, I don’t think your kid should ever have to worry about it, because it takes very little effort to work around the issue.

    2. Estelle,

      My kids have never encountered a transgender person. They’ve been around homosexuals, but those people respected us just as we respected them. They didn’t demand that we parent according to their desires. If our children knew of a child that thought he was a she, we’d just explain that the child had a disorder and should be treated kindly, and that since pronouns are so upsetting, then just use proper nouns. Always.

    3. Stacy, no one’s telling you to parent according to anything. Just that, like you said, your kids should be taught to treat people respectfully, and the onus is on you to make sure that happens – not on the parents of the trans* kids to tell their kids not to be offended.

    4. Estelle, so basically you are saying to do what we would teach our children to do anyway. Treat others with respect. That is a given, and that should be the basis for ALL children and all school policy. If only that were the case, and it were that simple. I don’t tolerate my children being rude to anyone (nor do I allow them to wallow in any victimhood).

      But you and I both know that there is an agenda not simply to be respectful of all children, but to accept LGBT as perfectly good and normal and moral. But we cannot comply with that. There is a belief now that to disagree is to “persecute”. I have heard it so many times. My Church, simply by teaching the moral law as she always has, for millennia, is by virtue of that teaching (and nothing more) “persecuting” LGBT folks. Disagreement is now persecution.

      Yes, there are ways around the pronoun issues, and that is what I would do (like Stacy said, always use a proper name, not a pronoun). I am privately having a fb convo with a young woman who believes she is a man, and I always call her by the name she has given me to use (a male name). But I will not use a masculine pronoun. It would be denying her dignity and it would be denying how God made her, beautifully and wonderfully.

      The fact that there is a punishment for children who object to men using the little girls’ room, and government penalties, is bizarre and frightening for Catholics. We see where the momentum is going on these types of laws, and the days where “we just want tolerance, not acceptance” are long over. I’m old enough to have watched it evolve, and the “accept or be punished” philosophy is growing stronger by the day. How this will end in a united, peaceful populace is beyond me.

      I think we have a very troubled, divisive road ahead. And it’s unnecessary.

    5. “…your kids should be taught to treat people respectfully, and the onus is on you to make sure that happens – not on the parents of the trans* kids to tell their kids not to be offended.”

      Actually, Estelle, the onus is on parents to do both. We teach our kids to be respectful always, and we also teach them that there will be people in life who are not nice to them, or who do not agree with them. There will be nasty, ugly people out there, no matter how we try to shield them. They have to learn not to take it personally, or at least be tough enough to let it roll off their backs, or they will crumble in life, whether transgendered or anything else. This earth is not Utopia, people are sinful, human nature is not going to suddenly change, and we can not force perfection on earth. It is a fallen, sinful world. If we don’t teach our children to get along in a cruel world, and that they are not victims, then we are falling down on the job. So, it’s not an either/or, it’s a both/and. Hope you will agree.

      Bottom line, if we all taught our children to be virtuous (yes, virtue is still a concept that is alive and well), things would be a lot better for all of our children.

    6. Well, to be fair, it wasn’t exactly clear what constituted being respectful – the title of this post does imply that Catholics don’t intend to be any kind of accommodating, but I’m glad that that’s not the case.

      I do think there is an agenda, just as you have an agenda for others to believe what you believe (or at least conform legally to what you believe). But you do need to understand, that it’s not just a matter of disagreement. We do disagree, but when one’s beliefs impact another group of people, it becomes more serious than a disagreement; it becomes something where we need to really debate and figure out which viewpoint brings out a better and more just society.

      As for teaching our kids, yes, resilience and respect are both very important. I think, though, that it’s more complicated than that – it’s one thing for your redheads to be bullied (I hope they aren’t!) but still understand that in every other way they’re equal to the rest of society, it’s another thing entirely for a trans* kid to be bullied and have the prospect of a lifetime of marginalization ahead of them. In any case, it’s not quite as easy as telling kids not to be victims when they actually ARE victims, you know? Like I said, resilience is important, but we agree – people can be cruel, and whether someone feels themselves to be a victim is one tiny part a matter of resilience and one much bigger part a matter of others’ actions.

      One last thing – this: “The fact that there is a punishment for children who object to men using the little girls’ room, and government penalties, is bizarre and frightening for Catholics.” …what? When was this ever an issue?

  15. I would like to state that I have known two females who were adamant they were boys as young children. Their parents fought them for a while, but one even was allowed to wear a suitjacket and tie to her 8th grade graduation, and the other was allowed to wear a boys bathing suit (with nothing on top) until she was 11! BOTH these girls transitioned back to a female identity through puberty, and one even has children and is happily married today, and the other is about 18 and dating boys. So, I believe Dr. Zucker knows something worthwhile about using extreme caution when dealing with children with gender identity disorder.

    That said, there probably are a small minority of folks who are mentally the other gender due to hormone imbalances etc. If it is such a small number (0.3%), why do we care so much about forcing them to use bathrooms that correspond to their anatomy? Public restrooms have stalls. If these folks are discrete, what is the issue? If a child is not being overly dramatic and attracting attention to their difference for the sake of getting attention, then I don’t think there is a problem.
    If my boys came home and said there was a child in their class who was “a boy who thinks they are a girl”, I would tell them to be nice and kind to them and treat them with respect, and leave it to their parents and teachers to worry about. I would NOT tell them that it is their job to correct this person or make an issue about their actions at all.

    I am traditional about a great many things, but this seems like making a mountain out of a molehill.

    1. Elizabeth Jenkins

      I agree.

      I am going to leave the conversation. I don’t seem to be getting any responses to my replies that aren’t sending me to sites that are propaganda. I knew that coming into these discussions I would not change anyone’s viewpoint, but as a transgender person I had hoped for a bit more attempt at understanding, by giving people a view odf what it is like from my side.

      Too many are caught up in a dogged misunderstanding of what gender dysphoria is like. I cannot wish it away, I cannot “fix it” with prayer, I cannot really even get much understanding, apparently. As I posted – I am at peace with the CREATOR – it’s people that have forsaken me.

      Peace be with you.

    2. Mary, the problem is not about treating folks with respect. That is a given. It’s that we are being forced by the government to “accept” what we believe is wrong, and pretend that boys are girls. Lying is a sin in my faith (in all faiths, I hope!) and I am not going to lie and tell my children that a boy is a girl simply because he “believes” he is, despite reality. And no government or school should insist on playing this charade, because it is lying.

      When did it become okay to tell our kids an untruth? Even if you believe that boys can be girls, many of us are not going to tell what we believe to be an untruth.

      I hope you can understand and respect that diverse point of view.

  16. Wow! You must be a joy to be around in real life. My sincerest apologies for asking you a question I did not know the answer to. I won’t do it again.

    Well, if you’re in a public school where the right of trans* kids to feel safe and accepted is considered important, then anyone who persists in treating them as though they are the sex they do not identify with should be disciplined as would any other bully. I don’t see how it could be otherwise. See, what we’re talking about is not polite discourse on natural law or theological arguments against transitioning, but about real children who go to school every day feeling marginalized and unsafe. If we don’t put in place some protections against bullying to create the best learning environment possible for all children (not just yours), we’re doing everyone a disservice. Even if you believe that God is going to smite you down for treating trans* people as the sex they identify with, you should still be able to find ways to work with them so they aren’t left feeling mistreated. The world is never going to be full of straight, cisgender Catholics (I recall you had an issue with gay people being out in public during daylight hours…), and if you’re uncomfortable and cry persecution in a world where everyone but your kind is forced into the closet, then I don’t know what to tell you.

    1. So if I didn’t indoctrinate my kid to your dogma, you’d have him disciplined and labelled a bully.

      Disciplined how? Be specific. What should be done to my child for using a pronoun you disapprove of?

    2. Stacy, here is a stolen article from the Boston Globe 2/15/2013 which outlines the history, rationale, advisory (not only bathrooms, but all activities) development, implementation and student consequences. The article is accurate while the Advisory is 11 pages. Should hopefully answer all your questions…I’m not seeking any degree of agreement, just passing on a good summary:

      BOSTON (AP) — The Massachusetts Department of Education on Friday issued directives for handling transgender students, including allowing them to use the bathrooms or play on the sports teams that correspond to the gender with which they identify.

      The guidance was issued at the request of state board of education to help schools follow the state’s 2011 anti-discrimination law protecting transgender people.

      ‘‘These students, because of widespread misunderstanding and lack of knowledge about their lives, are at a higher risk for peer ostracism, victimization, and bullying,’’ the document read.

      Gunner Scott of Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition the welcomed the guidance, saying it would be ‘‘immensely helpful to those parents who have been struggling with making sure that the school environment is safe and welcoming of their child.’’

      But the Massachusetts Family Institute said allowing transgender boys to use girls’ bathrooms, and vice versa, endangers other students and violates their privacy.

      ‘‘Fundamentally, boys need to be use boys’ rooms and girls need to be using the girls’ rooms, and we base that on their anatomical sex, not some sort of internalized gender identity,’’ said Andrew Beckwith, general counsel for the institute.

      The education department said it prepared the 11-page document after consulting policies in several states, as well as advocacy groups, parents and students.

      The document said whether a student identifies as a boy or girl is up to the student or, in the case of younger students, the parents.

      In all cases, ‘‘the student may access the restroom, locker room, and changing facility that corresponds to the student’s gender identity,’’ it said.

      The guidance said some students may feel uncomfortable sharing those facilities with a transgender student but this ‘‘discomfort is not a reason to deny access to the transgender student.’’ It urges administrators to resolve issues on a case-by-case basis, and recommends sufficient sex-neutral restrooms and changing areas.

      The guidance also addresses what to do if other students consistently and intentionally refuse to refer to a transgendered student by the name or sex they identify as: ‘‘It should not be tolerated and can be grounds for student discipline.’’

      Beckwith said the guidance forces students to ignore ‘‘a basic truth of anatomy’’ or face punishment. He also said the guidance is an end run around the state Legislature, which specifically excluded public accommodations, such as rest rooms and locker rooms, from the 2011 bill.

      But education department spokesman JC Considine said school restrooms aren’t public accommodations.

      ‘‘We’re talking about the use of school facilities by students who have no choice but to be in a school building,’’ Considine said. ‘‘Kids have to have restroom access.’’

      Scott said disciplining students who won’t acknowledge a student’s gender identity is appropriate because it amounts to bullying. He said the directives simply aim to create a safe learning place for a group that’s statistically far more likely to be harassed.

      ‘‘The reality is that it’s about creating an inclusive environment for all students to learn,’’ he said.

    3. So, we have to tell our kids to lie so that other kids won’t feel offended? Why don’t the parents of the transgendered child tell him that the Catholic children are not able to say something they don’t believe to be true? Why aren’t they told that the world is not going to always be able to accommodate their personal feelings and that others have rights, too? Like the right of Catholics not to be forced to lie, or else be disciplined and labelled a bully?

      And yes, Stacy is a sweetheart in real life! Kinder lady you could not meet. Did you ever read her back story? She has a heart of gold and has lived a very diverse life.

  17. “What should be done to us?”

    I’d really like an answer to this too.

    I was just reading (at the suggestion of another writer) today in the book of Maccabees (2 Maccabees 7).

    There was a Greek dictator who had conquered the Jewish people, and to force equality among all people (the pagans and the Jews) he ordered a set of progressive reforms. The pagans were required to change nothing, the Jews were required to stop practicing their faith in public so as not to upset the pagans.

    Seven brothers and their mother were arrested because they refused to eat pork against their beliefs.

    “Why dost thou put us to the question? What secret wouldst thou learn? Of this be sure, we had rather die than break the divine law given to our fathers.”

    So they were tortured by the king to try to make them conform.

    “Tongue of him should be cut out, scalp torn off, hands and feet mutilated, while mother and brethren stood by to see it; 5 then, so maimed, he was for the fire; they should roast him alive in a caldron. Long time he suffered, and there stood the rest with their mother, each heartening other to die bravely…”

    After the first brother died, the king only grew angrier because the others wouldn’t comply and eat pork — mind you — just so the pagans wouldn’t feel bad.

    So the king continued. The sons were scalped, mutilated limb by limb as the mother watched. None would deny Divine Law. Even down to the youngest son, torture was imposed the worst as the mother watched because the king grew so angry. And then he killed the mother too.

    See, we answer to a higher law and no man’s law will force us to deny it. Our kids are already being pushed out of the schools, they already are in danger if they practice their faith openly. All for what? Because people are trying force equality. You can’t do that. It’s not the way.

    So, yes, Phil and Elizabeth and Estelle and Rachel — I want you to answer that question. What should be done to us? We are not going to deny our Church.

    1. Answer the question Estelle. If you are confused about our position, reread the article. You already know the answer to your question, you are dodging.

      Yes, it is denying the truth to call a female a he or a male a she. I’m not going to do it. I’m not going to teach my children to do it. You disagree and want me to teach them otherwise, I understand that, but I’m not going to do it.

      Now, what should be done to us? I want a direct answer this time.

  18. Racheal Campbell

    There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. — Galatians 3:28

    1. Context. This means that, unlike in the Old Testament, when only Jews were part of the covenant, now all are invited into New Covenant. It does not mean we are genderless or sexless.

  19. Racheal Campbell

    This is a Catholic forum. As far as I know everyone here is Catholic, but even if some are not, its the most absurd straw man argument I have seen in some time to say that Phil is attacking Catholics when he calls you, Leila, out on your ignorant, hateful, bigoted dogma. God didn’t make you a hateful bigot, you did that on your own. God is not a hateful bigot, that is all on you.

    1. Mary Rice Hasson

      Racheal,

      You are out of line to be calling us bigots. No one here commenting has any hatred or ill will towards any of you and we are not condemning in any way.

      However, we have a clear disagreement about human nature–the transgender folks on this thread seem unwilling to grant that there is such a thing–and about the prudence of requiring some children to go along with another child’s insistence that he or she is ‘transgendered.’Consider what would happen if we were talking about race instead of sex and gender. If a white child were to decide that he really is black, because that’s how he perceives himself, does he get to apply for scholarships reserved for African-Americans? Does he get to insist that all the other kids describe him as black? No. There’s a reality that exists independent of his feelings about himself. The same is true here.)
      We disagree about the centrality of bodily identity in determining who we are–but that doesn’t make anyone here a bigot. What’s with the judgmental attitude and name-calling from your side?

    2. “If a white child were to decide that he really is black, …”

      One of the classic features that is always presented in these discussions is the non-existent analogy. You want to create such an analogy, go out and find ONE case in which a white child legitimately thought of themselves as black…absent that, you might as well say “what if a child thought he was a flyswatter”

      the reality is that there is no scientific evidence of a physiological distinction between the Caucasian brain and the negroid brain and absent that, no evidence that such a self-perception might be legitimate.

      furthermore, there’s a fairly well understood physical process in the womb which creates the different sexual distinctions during pre-natal development and science has a good grasp of how those processes can occasionally go awry and leader to ambiguity of sexual traits.

      there is no equivalent process for race distinction (or, for those wise-acres who say “what if I say I’m a dog” is there is there a similar process which makes one either human or some other species.

      so you see, there is a perfectly reasonable science based rebuttal for your non-existent analogy.

      One thing that never fails to appear in these discussions: poorly reasoned arguments from the unaccepting, based on myths and cliches. This hardly ever means the poster is, in fact, incapable of sound reasoning. Only that they – as i did for so much of my life – allowed their religious tradition to trump their reasoning skills. they look for arguments which sound good while not challenging their preferred views, rather than whether those arguments are objectively rational.

      Let me ask you three most vocal ladies here – are ANY of you willing to consider the POSSIBILITY that MAYBE what you’ve been taught to believe on this subject is incorrect?
      is there ANY openness in your mind to new information and fresh perspective? Or are you slaves to “The Church Unchanging”?

  20. Elizabeth, it is not a sin to have a disorder. No one in the Church says it is.

    It is a sin to act on one’s disorder by mutilating one’s body, or by willfully denying one’s own bodily identity (we are not souls who happen to have a body; humans are both body and soul, and God gifted us with our bodies, male or female).

    We truly do, as Catholics, make a distinction between a person and his or her actions:

    http://littlecatholicbubble.blogspot.com/2011/01/answering-miss-gwen-distinction-between.html

    So having a disorder is NOT a sin.

    However, where sin does occur, we can absolutely love the sinner and hate the sin, as Jesus commands. We are all sinners, and we must all carry the crosses we were given, for our own sanctification. But we can never condone sin, as it is not good for any human person.

    1. Elizabeth Jenkins

      I had that same concern, but I was told by the Holy Mother that I was fine in my need to transition and GOD did say it was what was needed to make me complete.

      This was the argument my sisters said to me before they called me, in their ‘Christian” way, “an abomination in the eyes of GOD.” When I said HE told me I was okay in His eyes, they countered, “How do you know it was GOD speaking to ypu?” (I have no doubts, the revelation was crystal clear) So I replied, “How do you know it was not?” They said they believed GOD did not want my transitioning, and I asked how did they know. They quoted several religious leaders they believe in, in their the Fundamentalist Christian Church. (They also had condemned me for being Catholic, not “born again,” but that was years earlier).

      So I asked, “Who to believe? GOD himself, or what someone told you they ‘thought’ GOD meant?”

      I haven’t seen them, their family or their friends in four years. They abandoned me in my most desperate time of need, and I will tell you it was very very difficult to transition. My family is now the CHURCH and I am accepted and loved there, where I am just me, the real me.

      I am at peace with the CREATOR.

    2. Elizabeth Jenkins

      The Holy Mother – in Sicilian Catholicism tradition (obviously not everywhere) is Mary, mother of Jesus, and Her statue shows Her in blue and white vestments, with the infant Jesus, a crown on his head. The statue is usually in a grotto or small chapel located away from the main church, usually several miles, in a peaceful and secluded area. Once a year the statue representing The Holy Mother and the Christ Child, is carried in a procession to the main church, where it is blessed and returned the following day. The procession is solemn and very spiritual journey taken by the faithful, in each direction. It is accompanied by a brass and drum band, and the priest, who leads the followers reciting the Rosary. As it is held in the first weekend in July, it is usually very very hot, as we live in Louisiana. So it is also a sort of repentance of your sins. The women walk barefooted.

    3. Elizabeth, I understand now. But the real Blessed Virgin would never be at odds with Holy Mother Church. You have been misled. She is Queen of Heaven and Earth, but also put herself under the obedience of the Apostles (the Church) and their successors. So it is today. I hope you read the link that I supplied about discerning private revelation.

    4. “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?

  21. Elizabeth Jenkins

    Directed to Mary Rice Hasson. I do hope this discussion stays civil, and it seems to be doing so in a general manner. I think it is educational to hear both side of any controversial subject, and I applaud your patience. And as a transsexual woman who has completed her transition, and as an advocate for the human rights of all, including the gender dysphoric, I just have a few final comments and I will sign off this topic.

    First of all I wanted to refer to a comment you made, and I went back to the earlier posts to find it as I wasn’t certain who had said it. It turned out is was yours, and that told me you were very much in hard support of the ideas of “changing behavior” if you happen to be gender dysphoric. You wrote… ” Jesus didn’t either–he told the adulterous woman to change her behavior.”

    Adulterous woman – hummmm, to me that infers a moral decision or choice of life style, made by the woman Jesus was speaking with. Gender dysphoria is not something a person chooses. I hate being gender dysphoric and would not wish it on my worst enemy. And, it is certainly not a life style choice. I did not wake up one morning and decide to lose everything -wife, children, family, job, career, house and savings – just to become my real self. And all that (except my children) did result when I decided to transition.

    So I have to say, being in the Catholic Faith – the Americanized version we all tend to follow, but practiced in the old Sicilian ways – what was I to do? I transitioned late in life, you see, terrified my entire lifetime that I was horribly perverse, perhaps insane, and at the best, with feelings that would doom me for all eternity.

    I talked to GOD. At the Blessed Mother Ceremony in 2008, I asked for an intercession – simply asked for resolution. I was told that GOD made me the way I am (gender dysphoric) and it was HIS plan. So I accepted that and began the quest for resolution.

    So why did GOD make me transsexual? I have had this condition since I was born.

    I now understand it was to help other lost souls with the same condition, who fight to survive in this world. We estimate there are 400,000 of us in America alone. about 30,000 have already fully transitioned. Last year just the known murder and horrible torture of transsexual women in the world was 236. The suicide rate among the gender dysphoric is endemic, with 51% of us attempting it before the age of 20. And the list of inequities and social problems goes on and on.

    Let those babies use the restroom. They are just trying to be themselves. The other children don’t notice or really care. The puberty blockers children with GDC use keep them from ever having sexual development – especially to the point of being promiscuous. And frankly, the adult school administration and staff of public schools having an interest in a child’s genitalia is really creepy.

    I will stop at that. We need compassionate people in the world to help us. PLEASE don’t choose to be on the side of the misinformed, the prejudiced, and yes… the bigoted.

  22. Thank you, TammyBeth, for being the voice of reason here. Reading some of the comments here (particularly from Leila and Stacy) has been like a punch in the gut. Affirming the dignity of all human beings…as long as they’re just like you or aspire to be just like you. I wish you guys could see what your comments look like to someone on the “other side” – prioritizing your cisgendered children over trans* children, trivializing very real bullying and marginalization in society, deciding (arbitrarily) that a penis or vagina a man or woman makes. To us, that’s what’s chilling. A world in which trans* people are the group the most likely to be victims of violence, and you propose a world where it’d be even worse for them.

    I think, even if you won’t change your opinions (and I am under no illusions that you will), you should read these, if only to understand where we’re coming from:
    http://freethoughtblogs.com/nataliereed/2012/03/27/13-myths-and-misconceptions-about-trans-women/ (the last point addresses your concerns about bathrooms)
    and
    http://skepchick.org/2011/12/bilaterally-gynandromorphic-chickens-and-why-im-not-scientifically-male/

    Give them an honest read, please. A lot of us go through and read what you write in order to understand where you’re coming from; it would be good for you to do the same.

    1. Violence and bullying should not be tolerated ever, by anyone, regardless of the reason for the bullying. I have redheaded boys, and redheaded boys have been bullied mercilessly in this world, sometimes to the point of committing suicide.

      So please do not confuse the issues. Bullying of anyone, for any reason, should not be tolerated. But that is a separate issue from forcing conformity of thought, or an admission that boys are girls, and silencing any other viewpoint.

    2. Sure, anyone can get bullied. But that’s a common trope bandied out by people who are more concerned about their freedom to offend (by, for instance, calling someone clearly presenting as a girl a boy) than they are concerned about the mental and physical wellbeing of those being bullied.

      Keep in mind, no one is forcing conformity of thought. You can believe whatever the heck you want about anybody. But basic human decency? Yeah, that should be forced upon the unwilling.

      Question: are you hurt more by treating someone as the sex they know themselves to be (regardless of physical attributes), or are they hurt more by you telling them and treating them as the sex they know themselves not to be?

    3. Estelle, “trope”? Seriously? That is how you answer my comment that NO ONE should be bullied? Okay, then.

      Look, there is a distinction that the PC crowd has forgotten. There is a difference between being bullied and being disagreed with. Unfortunately, we live in an age where if one makes a comment that merely bothers someone else, it’s considered bullying! I can hardly believe we have arrived at this place.

      So your question at the end needs clarification: What, for instance, is being done to the child in question? What is the offense you are suggesting? Then I can tell you whether I think bullying or disagreement is occurring. Thanks!

    4. And frankly, this is a little scary: “But basic human decency? Yeah, that should be forced upon the unwilling.”

      Who defines “basic human decency” and how would it be “forced upon the unwilling” exactly?

      No one ever actually answers my questions on this matter when pressed. How should the government deal with practicing Catholics who refuse to acknowledge that boys are girls? What should be done to us?

    5. See, this theme I hear more and more is freaking me out. I read an LGBT meme on facebook that had a ton of illogical stuff, but this one was just chilling:

      “It is no longer your personal religious view if it is bothering someone else”

      Does that stop you in your tracks? If a religious view “is bothering” someone else, you don’t get to have that view in public? The standard is “bothering” now? Which is like “annoying” someone? So, if my Catholic views “bother” you, then I must be silent?

      How does this fit with free speech protections, exactly?

      Your “right” not to be “bothered” trumps my religious freedom? Is this where the left stands? Goodness, I teach my kids that if someone doesn’t like Arabs or Jews and makes nasty comments about them (yes, my kids are of Arab and Jewish descent), that’s the other person’s issue. I never, ever, ever, ever teach my children to be victims, or to be so sensitive that if a comment “bothers” them, their “rights” have been violated and the speaker must be silenced! What are we coming to?

      Seems awfully totalitarian to me.

      There is no “right” not be be offended.

    6. Yes, Leila. I’m not going to applaud you for saying that no one should be bullied, because that should go without saying.

      Deliberately using pronouns the person doesn’t identify with, splitting them up by sex (such as for class/PE games) and putting them with the sex they don’t identify with – any of the gendered things we do without thinking, that’s what I’m thinking of. Does it hurt you more to treat them as they want to be treated, or does it hurt them more to be treated as the sex they know themselves not to be?

      As for “It is no longer your personal religious view if it is bothering someone else”…to a certain extent, yes. No one is saying you can’t be openly Catholic, but you can believe that someone’s genitals are the end-all-be-all of their sex while still using the correct pronouns (the pronouns someone identifies with) and treating people with respect. It doesn’t hurt you at all to use a pronoun you feel is wrong, but it’s just one more reminder to trans* people that society views them as outcasts when you can’t be sensitive about this. Religious freedom is the ability to worship as you please, it’s not a free license to gratuitously offend when it doesn’t hurt you to be respectful.

    7. It doesn’t hurt you at all to use a pronoun you feel is wrong, but it’s just one more reminder to trans* people that society views them as outcasts when you can’t be sensitive about this. Religious freedom is the ability to worship as you please, it’s not a free license to gratuitously offend when it doesn’t hurt you to be respectful.

      Actually, you are asking me to lie, and lying is a sin. So yes, it hurts me to tell my children that they must say a boy is a girl. That is a lie, and it’s wrong for my children to lie. I am sorry, but that is a tenet of my faith.

      No, religious freedom is not about mere “freedom of worship” as the left tries to say (that is the new phrase). Even the Soviets allowed “freedom of worship” but not freedom to actual live as a Catholic. I don’t leave my faith at Mass on Sunday. It is part of every action of my life, and I will not relegate it to “worship” so that no one will be “offended”. The country is actually founded on the premise that the state cannot abridge my religious expression. That’s why the Founders fled Europe, if you remember. The Establishment Clause actually facilitates the Free Exercise Clause. They are not in tension or competition. The point was to protect the churches from the state, not the other way around.

      Of course my religion is going to offend people (the Romans hated it so much they fed us to the lions), but that is precisely why (and for no other reason) that we have an enshrined right to religious liberty (given by God, not man, and protected by the state). You have no right to abridge that, simply because you feel “offended” by Catholicism. I am offended by a million different things every single day, believe me, but never once have I thought to use the power of the government to silence anyone’s religious or political speech or expression.

    8. “Your “right” not to be “bothered” trumps my…”

      Ironically, that is PRECISELY the argument that is used to insist that transwomen must continue to use the mens room…that we “bother” the”normal” women.

      Perhaps you can empathize?

  23. Rachael,

    “They suffer from bullying, which is what the school board is sensibly trying to resolve.”

    Labeling kids as bullies just because they are confused and use the wrong pronoun is not going to help.

    Kids need parents, a father and a mother, not government.

    1. @Stacy
      “Labeling kids as bullies just because they are confused and use the wrong pronoun is not going to help.”

      A truly ignorant, solipsistic comment. Thirty years as a public school administrator and I can tell you bullying of transgender kids has nothing to do with using a wrong pronoun. It has to do with demeaning behavior, words directed at someone different which are not suitable for print, sarcasm, hitting, pushing, cyber threats, isolation, exclusion. And where to these kids learn bullying behavior and confusion toward the diversity of mankind? Their parents….

      Public schools protect the public good and act as a model for acceptance and the embrace of diversity. That is their job…schools are not a function of the Christian agenda and self-righteous bigotry. Anyone who does not take the side of transgender kids takes the side of the oppressor. Given the attitude of some of the oppressors on this post, yes, we do need government which protects kids civil rights.

    2. Phil, ah, the language of “oppressor”. The mommies and scientists and teachers and Americans here are “oppressors”. Okay.

      Let me guess. You view the world through the lens of race, class, gender. Catholics (and many others) view the world through the lens of truth, goodness, and beauty. Your lens necessarily divides humanity into “oppressed and oppressor”. Our lens necessarily unites humanity, as truth, goodness, beauty are for all people at all times and eras. They are the basis of our common human dignity.

      It is disconcerting but not surprising that you use the oppressor model as an educator and administrator.

      What would you have the government do to us “oppressors” who disagree with your worldview?

      Thanks, I’m truly curious what should become of us who do not think or label as you do.

    3. Well, I think that the oppressors should learn to love and wholeheartedly embrace all of God’s children, accepting the things which are a human’s civil rights: “God, give me grace to accept with serenity
      the things that cannot be changed.”

    4. Phil, but you agree that I am an “oppressor” because I am a devout Catholic, right? I am oppressing people, because I will never say that sin is good. What should be done to me? And, what do you do with your Catholic families and their children in your care?

      If you know anything about Catholicism, you know that the basis for all her moral teachings is precisely love and dignity of every human being. We serve and love ALL people. We want ALL people to know how much the Lord loves them, and that they were made in His image and likeness. We want ALL people to be in heaven, forever. We will the highest good for every human soul, without exception.

      By contrast, when I debate homosexual activists, they often mock and curse and wish evil upon anyone who disagrees. Frankly, they (many, not all) are quite hateful. Even in this thread, one person thanked “God” that people like me would soon be dead or phased out.

      Is that love?

    5. I’m checking out of this discussion…to answer your one question, what would I as an ed administrator in a public school do to protect the rights of children of Catholics…make sure that everyone’s civil rights are respected regardless of religion or non-religion.

    6. And why bow out when I am asking very specific, pointed questions? When we are getting somewhere? I find this pattern all the time. Bow out just when we are getting some clarity and answers. Frustrating. I have never bowed out of answering questions, and I don’t know why those on the left seem to do it repeatedly.

    7. Phil,

      “What would you have the government do to us “oppressors” who disagree with your worldview?”

      I was hoping for an answer to that, and I’m sure I’m not the only one.

      You have called us oppressors and you have stated the government needs to protect others from us. As a citizen and a parent, I very much want to know what you think they should do to our families.

      Thank you Leila for asking that question.

    8. I would have the government use whatever sanctions are available to those who willfully violate the civil rights of others…you have a right to an opinion protected by the 1st amendment and are allowed to voice your opinion as you usually do. You have a right to assemble and protest this MA advisory and try to convince others of your views. You do not have a right to make a black sit in the back of a bus; you do not have a right to prevent a disabled kid from being included in a regular classroom; you do not have a right from disallowing a gay kid from participating in school activities; you do not have a right to bar a transgender kid from using a bathroom as directed by the Advisory. If you actually tried to prevent this, I would get a civil injunction to bar you from the school. I imagine a civil rights suit could be initiated…frankly, Stacy, short of deporting you to the Vatican there really aren’t many viable sanctions available (that’s a joke).

    9. you do not have a right to bar a transgender kid from using a bathroom as directed by the Advisory. If you actually tried to prevent this, I would get a civil injunction to bar you from the school. I imagine a civil rights suit could be initiated

      Thanks, Phil! And just to be clear, the law states that anyone who says (he/she) is a woman can walk into a girls’ bathroom at a school, right? In Massachusetts we now are, legally, whatever “gender” we say we are, and people have to agree with it, no matter what the anatomy objectively is, correct? Any man, any woman, right?

      And if we tell our daughters that they are unfortunately “going to have to share their school bathroom with men and boys now, although those men and boys believe themselves to be women”, then we are bullying and subject to penalty for speaking those words, correct? Or if our children speak such words, correct? The kids and parents have to acknowledge that these people are the “gender” they claim to be, or else we are afoul of the law? It’s against the law to say what is biologically, ontologically, scientifically true, because it is illegal to “offend” someone with such words, correct?

      That is my understanding of the Mass. law, but I could be wrong. No doctor need be consulted, no therapist. We just must agree that a man is a woman if he tells us he is, no questions asked. Am I right on that part of the law?

    10. All the info about the MA DOE Advisory…I stole this from the Boston Globe (2/15/2013) but it’s on target in terms of the advisory, the intent and consequences for non compliant students:

      “The Massachusetts Department of Education on Friday issued directives for handling transgender students, including allowing them to use the bathrooms or play on the sports teams that correspond to the gender with which they identify.

      The guidance was issued at the request of state board of education to help schools follow the state’s 2011 anti-discrimination law protecting transgender people.

      ‘‘These students, because of widespread misunderstanding and lack of knowledge about their lives, are at a higher risk for peer ostracism, victimization, and bullying,’’ the document read.

      Gunner Scott of Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition the welcomed the guidance, saying it would be ‘‘immensely helpful to those parents who have been struggling with making sure that the school environment is safe and welcoming of their child.’’

      But the Massachusetts Family Institute said allowing transgender boys to use girls’ bathrooms, and vice versa, endangers other students and violates their privacy.

      ‘‘Fundamentally, boys need to be use boys’ rooms and girls need to be using the girls’ rooms, and we base that on their anatomical sex, not some sort of internalized gender identity,’’ said Andrew Beckwith, general counsel for the institute.

      The education department said it prepared the 11-page document after consulting policies in several states, as well as advocacy groups, parents and students.

      The document said whether a student identifies as a boy or girl is up to the student or, in the case of younger students, the parents.

      In all cases, ‘‘the student may access the restroom, locker room, and changing facility that corresponds to the student’s gender identity,’’ it said.

      The guidance said some students may feel uncomfortable sharing those facilities with a transgender student but this ‘‘discomfort is not a reason to deny access to the transgender student.’’ It urges administrators to resolve issues on a case-by-case basis, and recommends sufficient sex-neutral restrooms and changing areas.

      The guidance also addresses what to do if other students consistently and intentionally refuse to refer to a transgendered student by the name or sex they identify as: ‘‘It should not be tolerated and can be grounds for student discipline.’’

      Beckwith said the guidance forces students to ignore ‘‘a basic truth of anatomy’’ or face punishment. He also said the guidance is an end run around the state Legislature, which specifically excluded public accommodations, such as rest rooms and locker rooms, from the 2011 bill.

      But education department spokesman JC Considine said school restrooms aren’t public accommodations.

      ‘‘We’re talking about the use of school facilities by students who have no choice but to be in a school building,’’ Considine said. ‘‘Kids have to have restroom access.’’

      Scott said disciplining students who won’t acknowledge a student’s gender identity is appropriate because it amounts to bullying. He said the directives simply aim to create a safe learning place for a group that’s statistically far more likely to be harassed.

      ‘‘The reality is that it’s about creating an inclusive environment for all students to learn,’’ he said.”

    11. So in other words, everything I said was true. And non-compliance will not be tolerated and will be punished.

      Any man who wants to use a little girls’ bathroom now can, legally, in the state of Mass., as long as he claims he’s a woman, and if you try to object, you will be the one afoul of the law. Phil, if you wanted to use a little girls’ room, you could, correct? Any man could?

      If only the public had any clue. We have such apathy now, and I promise you the average American has no clue what is happening.

    12. No I could not…I am not trans. I am a 65 year old male, married and have spent the last 15 years caring 24/7 for a non-verbal, non-mobile, non-everything 27 year old son who was under water for 25 minutes at a summer camp when he was 12. Also, if it helps I am not a Christian but am committed to living a life which is morally good without the need for a anthropomorphic god.

    13. Phil, God bless you for your heroic service to your son. That is a beautiful witness to his dignity and to the love you have for him.

      But as to the Mass. law, it does appear that all one would have to do (trans or not, who could prove it?) is say that one identifies as a female, and then may have full access to a girls’ bathroom. How are you reading it otherwise? I can’t see where it says that someone has to somehow verify that you are transgendered? In fact, I read the opposite. That all depends on what the person himself says.

    14. “anthropomorphic god”

      We don’t make God in our image, He made us in His. You may have many common misunderstandings about the Christian God.

    15. Leila,
      It is an unfair assumption that I have many misunderstandings about a Christian god. I was a member of a Roman Catholic religious order for 8 years (heard the talk and lived the life). My experience, my research, my education and observation have led me to reject what I believe is a god that man has tailored to his phantasm..hence I use the word anthropomorphic god. Again, please do not accuse me of misunderstanding; accuse me of rejection.

    16. Phil, then how about I accuse you of misrepresentation? What you have concluded that the Church believes is not what the Church actually believes. So, it’s a misrepresentation.

      It’s like this ex-Catholic Baptist seminary professor that I’ve been in dialogue with for fourteen years now. He is positive (from his observation, study, etc.) that Catholics literally worship plaster statues. It doesn’t matter to him, apparently, that the Church actually teaches that it would be a mortal sin to worship statues as gods. No matter how many times I tell him we do not worship statues (or Mary), and cite official Church teaching, he refuses to concede the point, because “he believes” we do.

      That is another example of misrepresentation, and it’s wrong.

      You may disagree with or reject Catholicism, but you may not misrepresent it.

      Thanks!

    17. “Phil, but you agree that I am an “oppressor” because I am a devout Catholic, right? I am oppressing people, because I will never say that sin is good. What should be done to me? ”

      This seems a blatant tactic to claim the role of victim and it is obviously manipulative.

      No, you are not an oppressor by believing gender transition is sinful.
      No, you are not an oppressor when your opinion is sought and you voice it.

      NO OWE IS ASKING YOU TO “say that sin is good”

      What IS being asked is that you live your life and raise your family according to YOUR faith and not require that anyone outside your home feel obliged to comply with your views.

      Gender transition is sin? fine – don’t do it then. I happen to believe differently and frankly, i do not have any need to even know, let alone submit to, your opinion. Nor do I require you to submit to mine. On ANY subject.

      when you DO become an oppressor is when you (a) attempt to employ the power of the state to make policy in accordance with your dogma; and(b) when you indoctrinate your circle of influence to be intolerant of those with different beliefs.

      You yourself invoke the language of the oppressed earlier in the thread on the birth control issue, so it is disingenuous for you to now pretend that a claim to the oppressed/oppressor paradigm is not legitimate.

      Please don’t play word games, particularly not with our lives.

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