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DignityUSA “Disappointed and Saddened” by Lansing Diocese Policy on Transgender People

February 10, 2021. DignityUSA, the organization of Catholics committed to justice, equality and full inclusion of LGBTQI* people in our Church and society strongly objects to a new policy issued by the Diocese of Lansing, Michigan, that denies the reality of transgender and nonbinary people, and insists they be treated as being the gender assigned to them at birth.

“We are disappointed and saddened by the new ‘Policy on the Human Body’ promulgated by Bishop Earl Boyea of Lansing,” said Linda Roberts, Chair of DignityUSA’s Transgender Support Caucus. “It ignores the science that recognizes transgender people and gender dysphoria, and worse, prescribes that transgender people be erased and treated exclusively as the gender they were assigned at birth. We cannot say it more clearly: this policy is harmful to transgender people and to their families. It is well known that transgender people have much higher rates of suicide than cisgender people, but it should be emphasized that this is because they face family and societal rejection, the same type of rejection the bishop is imposing throughout his diocese.”

Roberts continued, “The bishop’s policy and its accompanying ‘Theological Guide: The Human Person and Gender Dysphoria,’ cite no scientific references for its assertions. That is because science clearly points the opposite direction: A small but significant number of people identify – persistently, consistently and insistently – as other as the gender they were assigned at birth. For transgender and nonbinary people, attempts to repress their gender identity are fraught with psychological peril. Aimee Stephens, the Michigan transgender woman whose discrimination case was decided at the Supreme Court last year, tried for decades to suppress her gender identity before she came out to her employer, which cost Aimee her job and her health. Aimee did not live to see the Supreme Court decision that extended her federal protection from employment discrimination. 

One DignityUSA member from Michigan who has a transgender child, said, “Policies like this tell my son and my whole family that we are not understood or truly welcomed in our Church.  We ask all Catholics to condemn discrimination and this policy, and we ask that Bishop Boyea take the time to listen to and walk with the people of his diocese, as all Catholics are called to do, and to show the compassion, discernment and pastoral concern his office requires.”

DignityUSA will actively challenge any Catholic Church authority who seeks to disrespect and alienate any of us and will actively work to engage Catholics and people of good faith to join us in the work of inclusion.

 

* Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Intersex