Tag Archives: Transsexualism

Catholic Bishops, on Transgender Equality

In a draft document on British equality legislation and its implications for the Catholic Church, is included a brief but important reference to trans equality.

At the catholic transgender, Anna Magdalena comments:


On the subject of gender transition, The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales seems encouragingly positive. A year ago they released a draft of guidelines instructing Catholics on how far to comply with England’s Equality Act 2010, which will provide increased civil protection for a number of minority groups, including transsexuals. Their document says that:

Transsexual people face many difficulties before, during and after transitioning to another gender. As such it is recommended to seek guidance on how to make the transitional process as easy as possible. This could include training for co-workers, as well as reference to medical and social advice.

The implication of this quote seems to be that Catholics in Britain are expected to fully abide by the law’s prohibition of anti-trans discrimination, and more significantly to cooperate or at least be supportive of a transgender person in the process of transitioning.

Read the full text here.

New Ways Ministry has also reported on this document, and says about it

This may be the most positive and pastoral statement about transgender people to come from the Catholic hierarchy.  (If anyone knows anything equally or more positive, please let us know about it in the “Comments” section of this post.)  Let’s hope that it remains in place through the drafting process.

(In fact, nobody has yet noted in the New Ways comments section any evidence of anything similarly positive, from anywhere).

Catholicism and Transgender

At Catholic Transgender, Anna Magdalena has a useful analysis of “What Does the Catholic Church Actually Say About Transgenderism?

Here’s her introduction (reproduced with permission).

Despite what many people assume, the Catholic Church does not have an official teaching on transgenderism or transsexuality. The internet is ripe with very definite opinions from every corner of Catholicism denouncing a certain mythical conception of what transgenderism is, but on the Magisterial level the Church is frustratingly silent. (The Church is also silent about intersexed individuals).

There are three instances where the Church supposedly taught on the issue, and skeptical Catholics put these forward again and again as evidence for what they view as the incompatibility between transsexed individuals and Catholicism. I’ll address each instance separately. They are:

  1. Pope Benedict’s Christmas greeting
  2. The Catholic Catechism verse 2297
  3. “Sub-Secretum” document

Follow the links listed above for her presentation of these three instances, and also here  for her thoughts on the required dialog ahead.

Also, check out her extensive “bibliography” (more accurately, list of internet sources):


Cornwall, Susannah Sex and Uncertainty in the Body of Christ: Intersex Conditions and Christian Theology 

Dzmura, NoachBalancing on the Mechitza: Transgender in Jewish Community

Isherwood, Lisa, and Marcella Althaus-ReidTrans/formations  (SCM Press)

McNaught, Brian: “Sex Camp”

Mollenknott, Virginia Ramey Omnigender: A Trans-Religious Approach

Tanis, Justin Edward. Trans-Gendered: Theology, Ministry, and Communities of Faith . Cleveland, Ohio: Pilgrim Press.