The following is a statement from Francis DeBernardo, New Ways Ministry’s Executive Director, regarding new anti-transgender guidelines released by the Archdiocese of Milwaukee.
The Archdiocese of Milwaukee’s new anti-transgender guidelines entitled “Catechesis and Policy on Questions Concerning Gender Theory” are not only pastorally ineffective but also personally damaging in so many ways.
The guidelines ignore the enormous amount of scientific and social scientific research showing that supporting people through gender transition promotes well-being and flourishing. The archdiocesan policies, which insist on opposing, blocking, and penalizing a person’s development concerning their gender will certainly lead to mental and emotional problems, forms of self-harm, and lives of confusion, pain, and sorrow.
For example, the final guideline attempts to oppose disrespecting and bullying people who are questioning their gender. This statement rings hollow because the first six guidelines promote policies which are themselves forms of disrespect and bullying. Indeed, when religious institutions issue anti-transgender guidelines such as these, they give permission for others to treat people with disrespect, insults, violence, and even death.
Such diocesan policies are certainly not infallible documents, as the many judgement errors in these guidelines illustrate. Catholics should resist such advice, and instead should follow the church’s more solid teaching to treat all people with equality and respect.
—Francis DeBernardo, New Ways Ministry, January 20, 2022