Last Saturday, Bondings 2.0 posted about Jesuit Fr. James Martin’s positive tweets about transgender people in the wake of the announcement that the Trump administration was rescinding federal guidelines for how schools can support transgender youth.
Fr. Martin’s tweets landed him in the middle of a Twitter exchange, initiated by another priest who challenged the Jesuit’s comments. Gay Star News reported that in response to one Martin’s supportive messages, Fr. Matt Bozovsky, an associate pastor of St. Joseph parish, Wilmette, Illinois, tweeted:
“Um… this is a joke, right? Someone please tell me this is a parody account and not actually coming from a Catholic priest.”
Martin responded to Bozovsky’s challenge:
“No, I’m an actual Catholic priest in good standing who stands with the marginalized. Some charity is in order here, Father.”
Gay Star News commented that Martin’s comment was “the perfect response” to a “transphobic” clergyman. They added that Martin “responded as calmly and as perfectly as possible.”
In Buzzfeed’s coverage of the exchange, they offered a compilation of Fr. Martin’s series of tweets last week in support of transgender youth:
“Trans students endure so many indignities already. They should be able to use whatever bathrooms they choose. It’s doesn’t hurt anybody.”
“It saddens me that a #trans student cannot choose what bathrooms to use. A basic need. It’s an affront to their dignity as human beings.”
“And who is harmed by a #trans student using a bathroom? I’ve seen women using men’s rooms when the ladies’ rooms were full. Who is harmed?”
“As usual, the one who is made to suffer indignities is the one on the margins, the one seen as ‘other,’ the one seen as ‘them.’ “
“But for Jesus, there is no ‘other.’ There is no ‘them.’ There is only ‘us.’ So we must be about openness, acceptance and inclusion. #trans”
The Daily Mail reported that since the exchange, Bozovsky changed his Twitter account to private. The newspaper also reported that many Twitter users came to Martin’s defense with addtitional tweets:
“The exchange has lead to dozens of users to reach out in support of Martin, calling his comeback a ‘holy mic drop’ and others cheering for Martin to ‘drag him with kindness, father.’
“One user called it ‘the most polite shade ever’, while another added: ‘No shade like Jesuit shade.’ “
New Ways Ministry is very proud of Fr. Martin! We admire not only his solidarity with transgender people and youth, but also the gentle, but firm, way he responded to criticism. We are delighted that we presented him with New Ways Ministry’s Bridge Building Award last October. He continues to build bridges, not only with LGBT people but with those who oppose them.
—Francis DeBernardo, New Ways Ministry, March 2, 2017
New Ways Ministry’s Eighth National Symposium, Justice and Mercy Shall Kiss: LGBT Catholics in the Age of Pope Francis, is scheduled for April 28-30, 2017, Chicago, Illinois. Plenary speakers: Lisa Fullam, Leslie Griffin, Rev. Bryan Massingale, Frank Mugisha. Prayer leaders: Bishop Thomas Gumbleton, Bishop John Stowe, OFM, Conv. Pre-Symposium Retreat Leader: Sr. Simone Campbell, SSS. For more information and to register, visit www.Symposium2017.org.