Hateful, Anti-Transgender language and policies from an Archbishop that we need to speak out against
By Lauren Carpenter
More and more media attention has been coming to the fact that on February 18th, Archbishop Robert Carlson, the Archbishop of St. Louis, Missouri, issued a letter to his archdiocese urging them to stop providing and supporting Girl Scout programs in their parishes. He cites a number of reasons, including that their “inclusion of transgender and homosexual individuals is proving problematic.” In the letter the Archbishop directs people to visit the archdiocese scouting website for more information. I think it is particularly important to note that “concern” that gets the most attention on the website is the Girl Scout’s inclusive policy on transgender girls. The website includes incredibly transphobic statements that demonstrates a total lack of understanding about what it means to be transgender. It goes so far as to cite a “statement of inclusivity” on the Girl Scouts of Eastern Missouri website as a reason for alarm. It is extremely disheartening to me that a church which is supposed to be inclusive of all people uses an inclusivity statement as a reason not to support an organization.
The Archdiocese of St. Louis is saying that they are doing this to “protect girls” but it is instead sending an extremely harmful message to all children, especially transgender children. It is telling transgender people that not only are they not welcome, but organizations that do support and nurture them are not welcome. They seem to be saying, “We don’t support and we don’t think anyone else should either.” This is the kind of language that fuels the many anti-trans bills in legislatures across the country and makes so many places still unsafe for trans people. As members of DignityUSA, we should make sure that we are aware of the hateful language being used against transgender people by the Church and speak up against it. Whether that means writing a letter to your local bishop, or bringing up the issue with friends, family, and co-workers to talk about how harmful it is for these anti-trans directives to be coming from a church. The Church needs to stop these hateful practices and acknowledge that they contribute to death, not life, as the Church is supposed to promote.