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Diocese of Cleveland’s Gender/Sexuality Policies Betray Essence of Catholicism, May Be Dangerous

September 11, 2023. New policies on sexuality and gender identity impacting all parishes and schools in the Diocese of Cleveland are of great concern to leaders of Dignity Northeast Ohio and DignityUSA. The organizations minister to LGBTQ+ Catholics, their families, and allies.

“The policies that our bishop has recently released send a clear message that welcome in our schools and churches is conditional,” said Susan Russell, President of Dignity Northeast Ohio. “They say people who are LGBTQ+ must hide the reality of who they are to be part of our faith communities or to learn at our schools. This betrays the essence of Catholicism, will alienate many Catholics, and, worse, may pose real dangers, especially for children and teens coming to terms with their identities.”

“Similar to many Catholic dioceses around the country that have released similar statements, the Diocese of Cleveland has adopted policies that violate everything proven to help LGBTQ+ young people grow into healthy, well-adjusted adults,” said Marianne Duddy-Burke, Executive Director of DignityUSA. “Discouraging people from living as who they are can lead to depression, anxiety, and even suicidality. Denying people access to safe bathrooms, refusing to use names and pronouns that correspond to their identities, and forcing them to dress in ways that cause discomfort and self-hatred increases the likelihood that children will stop attending school and experience mental health problems. It is shameful that so many church leaders are supporting the current social and political trend of scapegoating LGBTQ+ people.”

Russell is calling on Catholics in the Diocese of Cleveland to contact the diocese and express their concerns about the policies. “As Catholics, we have a responsibility for what is done in our name,” said Russell. “A majority of Catholics want our church to be fully welcoming of LGBTQ+ people. These are our siblings, our parents, our children, our friends, members of our faith communities. We know they are gifted, and blessings to our faith communities and our society. This type of exclusionary policy wounds the Body of Christ. As Dignity members, we are committed to building a church where all are welcomed and affirmed, just as God created them to be.”


If you are interested in joining our Dignity Northeast Ohio chapter, reach out to the chapter by clicking here.