I am very conscious that the perspective I present at this site is primarily “G”, rather than more broadly LGBT. That’s inevitable: like anyone else, I have more empathy with, and understanding of, my own situation and history than of others’ – but it’s not ideal. I am grateful to those readers who by comments, direct contributions, or email correspondence have helped me to extend my knowledge and understanding of Trans issues in particular, but I remain reluctant to direct comment of my own on a subject so very different to my own experience, even as I acknowledge that there are issues that desperately need raising – in particular, “What is a trans Catholic to do?”
Ideally, the trans situation and personal stories should be told by trans people. It is in this spirit that I present without personal comment, the first in a series of posts based purely on links to material elsewhere on the web (with grateful thanks to Chris Morley, who has fed me many of these links).In the first of these, Joanne Herman at Huffington Posts asks:
A recent article in the Des Moines Register reported on the firing of Susan McIntyre, a transgender social worker, from her job as a housekeeper at the St. Catherine of Siena Catholic Student Center at Drake University.
What interested me about this story was not the fact that McIntyre was fired by the Bishop of Des Moines, but rather that she converted to Catholicism after her transition from male to female.
The teachings of the Catholic Church, as cited in theDes Moines Register article, maintain that Susan is a man regardless of her gender identity, and that her sexual reassignment surgery was an act of mutilation. The Church instructs those who believe their inward gender is different from their outward gender to battle that belief as a psychological problem, not with surgery.
Why then would a transgender person choose to be Catholic?
At Femulate, Joanne Herman’s question is repeated - and responded to in a series of comments. One full response that I found particularly interesting, by Joann Prinzivalli Jan 20, 2010 08:15 PM, begins with some personal history, the reaction of her own parish priest to how her transitionwas said to be causing some “scandal”, and a history of the subsequent Vatican responses.
August 1999. After 15 years in music ministry with the choir and as the cantor for the 8:00 AM Sunday Mass each week, I was told by Rev. David Clifford, the associate pastor of Holy Name of Jesus parish in Valhalla, New York, that my transition was “causing a scandal in the Church” and I was told not to come back.
Some time in 2000, leaked to Catholic News Service (CNS) in early 2003. The RCC Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith issues a “sub secretum” document to papal nuncios all over the world to provide guidance to bishops should any questions arise about how to treat trans people.
In 2003, after it turned out that no bishops ever asked any questions, the Vatican sent a copy, still sub secretum, to all the bishops in the world. One from Australia leaked the document to CNS which resulted in an article that summarized the official teachings
-read the full comment at Femulate
It is one thing to have a local vibrant, loving, Christian and meaningful parish community with a wonderful pastor who cares for the flock, and quite another when the bishops, the Congregation Propaganda Fideii and the Pope get involved. One can only ignore so much before being called to speak up and shake their dust from one;s sandals.
Can a trans person be a Catholci? Yes.
But that brings up another question – SHOULD a trans person be a Catholic? That answer may be very different.
-read the full comment at Femulate
Jones, Cindi: Squirrel Cage
Dzmura,Noach: Balancing on the Mechitza: Transgender in Jewish Community
Salazar, Lisa Transparently: Behind the Scenes of a Good Life
Tanis. Justin Edward: Trans-Gendered: Theology, Ministry, and Communities of Faith
- Go Trans – Figure
- Greg Voakes: Study Finds Increasing Support for Transgender Rights in the U.S.
- Trans in Politics: Some Notes
- Young Gay Catholic Affirms: “And yet, I am still Catholic”.
- Isaiah 56:3-5
- GLAAD & MTPC Launch ‘I AM: Trans People Speak’ (bilerico.com)