Gender identity is something many people struggle with and celebrate every day. From coming to terms with how they feel about their own place on the spectrum to just learning that confusion and variance are normal things to feel — all conversations surrounding gender fluidity have increased, which is great for raising awareness for those working through their own gender or have someone in their family or community who is.
And yet, increased awareness inevitably reveals all the people and institutions stuck in their backward ideals. Among the most prominent and influential institutions with this backward mindset? The Vatican, whose Catholic education department just released this document basically saying that there is no choice in gender. Great. Just in time for Pride month!
The church’s first official document on the topic is called “Male and Female: He Created Them,” so you know it’s already off to a bad start. It’s apparently an effort “towards a path of dialogue on the question of gender theory in education” which is sort of ironic, because I don’t really remember dialogue ever be described as “hey, we printed this and it’s our facts. Try Sears.” The report’s authors claim that “gender is determined solely by visible genitalia,” which reminds me of the logic of flat-Earthers who think the Earth is flat because they can’t see it curving at all. The document also posits that the concept of gender being a spectrum is “nothing more than a confused concept of freedom in the realm of feelings and wants” — I can’t eye roll hard enough.
The Vatican has declared that gender fluidity doesn’t exist. Cool! As long as we're making complex realities magically disappear let’s do child sexual abuse next?
— The Betches Sup (@Betches_Sup) June 11, 2019
Their main concern? That this would mess up the patriarchal vibe of marriage between a man and a woman and threaten traditional marriage. Yeah, because The Patriarchy has been so great for everyone. They’re also worried that gender theory could cause confusion among young people and the erosion of families; because nothing brings a family closer than someone suppressing who they are!
Don’t worry, though, the authors wrote in their document that they really hope people don’t get marginalized or bullied over this. That’s basically like throwing fish juice on someone and then throwing them in a shark tank just to be like, “omg wait, no don’t get eaten!” Though Pope Francis did not himself sign the document, he is quoted in it affirming that people cannot choose their gender.
This is a major step backward this era of Catholic leadership, given that Francis has been considered one of the more progressive leaders in his position (bring back #WokePope, please?). Pope Francis was famously quoted as saying “who am I to judge?” in response to a question about if he found out a priest was gay and celebrated for meeting with a Spanish transgender man who was ostracized by his priest — major moves for the spiritual leader of the world’s 1 billion Catholics. Now we’re just wondering where all that progress went.