Pope Francis, the supposedly kinder and gentler Pope, blasted transgender people during a speech yesterday, describing gender confirmation surgery “manipulation” and a “choice.”
“The biological and psychical manipulation of sexual difference, which biomedical technology allows us to perceive as completely available to free choice — which it is not! — thus risks dismantling the source of energy that nurtures the alliance between man and woman and which renders it creative and fruitful,” the Pope told the Pontifical Academy for Life’s general assembly.
“Pope Francis’s statement denouncing technologies that support gender confirmation demonstrates the pontiff’s tragic ignorance on the challenges faced by transgender people, and puts this population at risk of increased discrimination and violence,” said Marianne Duddy-Burke, Executive Director of DignityUSA, a group for LGBT Catholics.
“The reality is that transgender people experience tremendous stress in trying to live as who the world believes them to be. It takes incredible strength and commitment for them to risk living as who they are. Not all transgender people can or want to access technological supports that confirm their true genders. Throughout history, we have seen our transgender neighbors use whatever tools are available to live in their truth. Technology that makes this easier should be embraced as a blessing.”
During his papacy, Pope Francis has attacked gender confirmation surgery before, but has also met with a transgender man who was rejected by his local church. He has also had lunch with gay and transgender prisoners.
In 2016, he said Jesus would never turn away transgender faithful and that priests today should accompany them spiritually, even if they undergo sex change operations, sin and repent.
“These people must be accompanied as Jesus accompanied them,” he said.
Francis drew a firm distinction at the time between the need for priests to minister to transgender Catholics and what he called the “nasty” tendency of schools to “indoctrinate” children with the idea that their gender is something that can be picked and chosen and changed.
“It’s one thing if a person has this tendency and also changes sex. It’s another thing to teach this in school to change mentalities. This is what I call ‘ideological colonization,’” Francis said.