DignityUSA Announces New Catholic “Trans-Affirmation” Initiative

DignityUSA Announces New Catholic “Trans-Affirmation” Initiative

November 11, 2022. As more states and Catholic dioceses implement policies that discriminate against transgender and nonbinary people, DignityUSA has launched a campaign to make Catholic support for this community visible. Beloved by God: A Catholic Commitment to Trans-Affirmation goes public today, co-sponsored by 18 organizations and a growing list of Catholic leaders.  

“Transgender and nonbinary people are being targeted by our church and society like never before,” said DignityUSA Executive Director Marianne Duddy-Burke. “We believe it is crucial that people of faith take a visible stand against violence and discrimination, and go public about our support for our friends, loved ones, and community members.” 

“At DignityUSA, we have become tired of responding to every new diocesan policy that bans transgender kids from Catholic schools, every hospital directive making it impossible for trans and nonbinary people to get critical care, or every state law that puts trans youth and their families in jeopardy, Duddy-Burke continued, “We are inviting members of our church to join us in proclaiming that we want our church and our world to be safe and affirming for everyone, and that includes transgender and nonbinary people.” 

Beloved by God asks people to sign a declaration stating: “As Catholics, we firmly believe our transgender and nonbinary members are beloved by God. We recognize that these individuals are living into the dream God had for them long before their birth…We pledge to make an open commitment to supporting justice, equity, and affirmation for transgender and nonbinary individuals throughout the Catholic Church and the world.”  

Key elements of the 12-point pledge include: 

  • Calling for an end to all violence against transgender, nonbinary, and gender nonconforming people, for vigorous investigation into any incidents reported to civil authorities, and for perpetrators to be held accountable for their actions. 
  • Urging all medical institutions, including religiously affiliated health care centers, to adopt the WPATH standards of care to better serve our nonbinary and transgender communities, and urging intensive promotion of the 988 National Suicide and Mental Health Lifeline and the Trans Lifeline (877-565-8860) in all settings that serve transgender and nonbinary people. 
  • Pledging to do all we can to further equity and full inclusion in public and community spaces by using language that does not assume a gender binary, ensuring comfortable and safe access to restrooms and dressing rooms, encouraging everyone to state their pronouns in introductions, and actively supporting public policy that protects the civil and human rights of transgender and nonbinary people. 
  • Rejecting any efforts to direct transgender and nonbinary people to counseling programs aimed at coercing them to adopt a cisgender identity. We pledge to work to ban so-called conversion therapies, whether by licensed or unlicensed counselors, including religious counselors. 

“We know of at least 32 transgender people who have been murdered so far this year,” Duddy-Burke said. “These people were our neighbors, and they were killed just because of who they are. This is a tragic sin. We need to do our part to prevent this from becoming something we accept, as a society or as a church. Each of these people is Beloved by God. We have failed them. Let us not fail another nonbinary or transgender soul.” 

Among the 18 initial co-sponsors of the initiative are the Tyler Clementi Foundation, TransCatholic, New Ways Ministry, Call to Action, and Catholics for Choice.  

Individuals and organizations can sign on at https://belovedbygod.faith/ 

DignityUSA represents Catholics committed to justice, equality, and full inclusion of LGBTQIA+ people in our church and society. Founded in 1969, it is the longest-serving Queer Catholic group in the world.