Transgender Student's Identity Meets With Opposition at Catholic High School

A Catholic high school in Indianapolis is refusing to call a female-to-male transgender student by his male name.

WISH-TV reports:

“Officials at Cathedral High School say last spring a female student and her parents met with administrators. The student had decided to change genders and wanted to be referred to as a male.

Principal Dave Worland

“ ‘They asked the school where we stood on it. We explained we were there to care for her, love her, and we still wanted her to be a student in full standing,’ said Principal Dave Worland.

“But, after consulting with the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, the school made it clear its teachers and staff would not address the student by a male name.

“ ‘We wanted to make sure they would realize we still recognize her as a female, call her by the name she used when she enrolled as a freshman, and treat her throughout the day as a female student,’ said Worland.”

Students at the school showed public support for their transgender classmate on October 11, International Coming Out Day.   The Daily Kos reports one of the students’ comments on the issue:

“As a student at Cathedral I believe that the administration is taking this way too far. Sending students home for supporting a classmate is ridiculous. On a daily basis we are told by the administration to ‘be yourself’ and accept yourself for who you are, but they won’t even give him a chance to do that. When it comes down to it cathedral doesn’t really care about us, it just has a name to uphold.”

As more and more transgender youth decide to live their gender identity publicly, Catholic schools are going to have to come up with a better response to them than just saying “No.”    Since there are no magisterial statements about transgender people, any response from diocesan officials comes from their own opinions on the matter.

As in so many areas of sexuality and gender, church officials would do well to first listen to people’s stories before making judgements.

–Francis DeBernardo, New Ways Ministry

5 replies
  1. Anne Underwood
    Anne Underwood says:

    Francis — your last paragraph says it all: listen before judging —- and after listening, demonstrate Jesus’ all-inclusive love. When was the last time we had a hierarch do either?

  2. Tim MacGeorge
    Tim MacGeorge says:

    Frank and Anne — I was just about to make the exact same comment: It’s only by truly being aware of our own and openly listening to others’ experience that we come to the know Truth. Either we believe that God is at work in human lives or we don’t. If we do, then the lived experience of God’s children must be seen and respected for what it is.

  3. Rita
    Rita says:

    My son is transgender and we obtained advice from priests regarding his upcoming sex change operations. They replied that, absolutely go ahead, there are no teachings regarding transgendered or intersexed people in the bible or in Church law. My son was born with body parts from both sexes but, they were internal and not visible until he had major surgery as a teenager. He realized this was why he had always felt like he was in the wrong body and should have been born a man. However, even without visible differences, autopsies on many gay men have shown that their brains are often ‘wired’ more like the female brain (and there are many differences). Therefore, I believe the Church’s teachings on homosexuality are wrong and that they have no business judging something they can’t see and don’t understand. the sciences of sexuality, psychology, neurology and psychiatry have evolved beyond the Church’s current ability to keep up evidently. Much like when they imprisoned Galileo for life for proving the Earth does indeed revolve around the sun. The Church couldn’t accept reality because it disagreed with their current interpretation of the Bible. A couple hundred years later, Pope John Paul II found himself apologizing for this massive miscarriage of justice. I don’t feel gay people should have to wait imprisoned in celibate loneliness for another couple hundred years while they wait for the Church to once again apologize for the misery it put them through..


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