Shared from the 6/12/2019 The Age Digital Edition eEdition

Church rejects idea of gender fluidity

VATICAN CITY: The Vatican has issued an official document rejecting the idea that people can choose or change their gender and insisting on the sexual ‘‘complementarity’’ of men and women to make babies.

It said the idea of gender being determined by personal feeling rather than biology was an attempt to ‘‘annihilate nature’’.

Pope Francis has repeatedly argued the position that people cannot choose their gender. But the document represents the first attempt to put the Vatican’s position, first articulated fully by Pope Benedict XVI in a 2012 speech, into a comprehensive, official text.

The document, published during LGBT Pride Month, was immediately denounced by LGBT Catholics as contributing to bigotry and violence against gay and transgender people. Advocacy group New Ways Ministry said it would further confuse individuals questioning their gender identity or sexual orientation and at risk of self-harm.

The text, Male and Female He Created Them, was intended to help Catholic teachers, parents, students and clergy address what the Vatican’s Congregation for Catholic Education called an ‘‘educational crisis’’ in the field of sex education.

It called for a ‘‘path of dialogue’’ and listening on the issue of ‘‘gender theory’’ in education. But even priestly advocates for LGBT Catholics noted that the text appeared to have relied entirely on previous papal pronouncements, Vatican documents and philosophers and theologians.

Jay Brown of the Human Rights Campaign – the largest LGBTrights group in the US – said the Vatican’s stance ‘‘sends a dangerous message that anybody who experiences gender diversity is somehow less worthy’’.

AP, The Washington Post

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