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Bishops: Obama administration’s transgender letter ‘deeply disturbing’

May 17, 2016

Bishop Richard Malone of Buffalo, who chairs the US bishops’ Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth, and Archbishop George Lucas of Omaha, who chairs the US bishops’ Committee on Catholic Education, have characterized the Obama administration’s recent letter on transgendered students and civil rights law as “deeply disturbing.”

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In the letter, the US Department of Justice and the US Department of Education told public schools that a 1972 civil rights law forbidding sex discrimination also applies to “gender identity.”

“The Departments interpret Title IX to require that when a student or the student’s parent or guardian, as appropriate, notifies the school administration that the student will assert a gender identity that differs from previous representations or records, the school will begin treating the student consistent with the student’s gender identity,” the administration stated.

Warning public schools that their federal funding at stake, the administration made clear that its determination applied to restrooms, locker rooms, athletics, overnight accommodations on field trips, and school dances.

Stating that “the Catholic Church consistently affirms the inherent dignity of each and every human person and advocates for the wellbeing of all people, particularly the most vulnerable,” the bishops said:

The guidance issued May 13 by the U.S. Department of Justice and U.S. Department of Education that treats "a student's gender identity as the student's sex" is deeply disturbing.

The guidance fails to address a number of important concerns and contradicts a basic understanding of human formation so well expressed by Pope Francis: that "the young need to be helped to accept their own body as it was created" (Amoris Laetitia [AL], no. 285).

Children, youth, and parents in these difficult situations deserve compassion, sensitivity, and respect. All of these can be expressed without infringing on legitimate concerns about privacy and security on the part of the other young students and parents. The federal regulatory guidance issued on May 13 does not even attempt to achieve this balance. It unfortunately does not respect the ongoing political discussion at the state and local levels and in Congress, or the broader cultural discussion, about how best to address these sensitive issues. Rather, the guidance short-circuits those discussions entirely.


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Show 3 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: k_cusick1963 - May. 18, 2016 8:20 AM ET USA

    All I can see coming out of this egregious government infringement, is that it is our children who will suffer most. This Administration is tearing our country apart. The cement that has held us together and made us the greatest nation on earth was based on Christian Judeo principles. This Administration is determined to throw those principles on the rubbish heap of history. The Bishops should be very concerned, but then, so should we all.

  • Posted by: Bernadette - May. 17, 2016 6:48 PM ET USA

    We must fight back, fight this unjust and unreasonable (to out it mildly) demand from the DOJ/Obama Administration concerning so-called "transgenders" and their so-called "rights." What is needed is help for these people suffering from mental dysphoria or brought on by desire for attention or certain ideology encouraged by school authorities and others. From what I have read, it is fairly "easy" to help them in understanding and acknowledging their true biological identity.

  • Posted by: dover beachcomber - May. 17, 2016 6:45 PM ET USA

    It's very safe to say that if the laws on which the government relies -- Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 -- had been understood to include "gender identity" when they were presented to Congress, they wouldn't have passed. No one would even have taken seriously any proposal to accommodate transvestites. The government has now simply decreed that the word "sex" in Title IX now includes things that it was never intended to.