Transgender Christians Slam 'Hurtful' New Vatican Document

Declaration approved by Pope Francis says surrogacy, gender-affirming surgery are affronts to human dignity
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 8, 2024 6:47 AM CDT
Vatican Slams Surrogacy, Gender-Affirming Surgery
Pope Francis meets with volunteers of the Italian Red Cross in the Paul VI hall at the Vatican, Saturday, April 6, 2024.   (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

The Vatican on Monday declared gender-affirming surgery and surrogacy as grave threats to human dignity, putting them on par with abortion and euthanasia as practices that violate God's plan for human life. The Vatican's doctrine office issued "Infinite Dignity," a 20-page declaration that's been in the works for five years. After substantial revision in recent months, it was approved March 25 by Pope Francis, per the AP.

  • Gender theory: In its most anticipated section, the Vatican repeated its rejection of "gender theory," or the idea that one's gender can be changed. It said God created man and woman as biologically different, separate beings and noted they must not tinker with that plan or try to "make oneself God." "It follows that any sex-change intervention, as a rule, risks threatening the unique dignity the person has received from the moment of conception," the document said.

  • Abnormalities: It distinguished between gender-affirming surgeries, which it rejected, and "genital abnormalities" that are present at birth or that develop later. Those abnormalities can be "resolved" with health care professionals.
  • Surrogacy: In a newly articulated position, it says surrogacy violates both the dignity of the surrogate mother and the child. While much attention about surrogacy has focused on possible exploitation of poor women, the Vatican puts more focus on the resulting child: "The child has the right to have a fully human (and not artificially induced) origin and to receive the gift of a life that manifests both the dignity of the giver and that of the receiver."
  • Homosexuality: While rejecting gender theory, the document takes pointed aim at countries—including many in Africa—that criminalize homosexuality. It echoed Francis' assertion in a 2023 interview with the AP that "being homosexual is not a crime," making the assertion now part of the Vatican's doctrinal teaching.
  • Reaction: Transgender Christians immediately called the document "hurtful" and devoid of the voices and experiences of real trans people, especially in its distinction between transgender people and intersex people. "The suggestion that gender-affirming health care—which has saved the lives of so many wonderful trans people and enabled them to live in harmony with their bodies, their communities, and [God]—might risk or diminish trans peoples' dignity is not only hurtful but dangerously ignorant," said Mara Klein, a nonbinary transgender activist.

More here.

(More Vatican stories.)

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