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The Policy on Transgender/Gender Non-Conforming Students the Archdiocese of Indianapolis Doesn’t Want You to See

July 8, 2020. DignityUSA has obtained a copy of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis’ “Policy and Norms on Sexual Identity in School Ministry”—a document that was sent to key Archdiocesan staff in June 2020, but that was to be kept secret from the public.

We believe this policy needs to be exposed, so parents, families, mental health professionals, and the general public can understand the Archdiocese’s beliefs and approach to transgender, nonbinary and gender non-conforming students. We believe that ideas and policies that Archdiocese outlines in this document are extremely dangerous and hurtful. It espouses a simplistic and outdated ideology of biological determinism that is out-of-step with modern science. As the trans community fights for survival and acceptance, policies like these are a dangerous obstacle to progress.

The Archdiocese’s language is dismissive and invalidating of the lived experience of transgender and gender non-conforming people, referring to “so-called ‘gender-identity’” and “gender theory” in the policy. The Archdiocese goes so far as to demand that “the term ‘gender’ is in general to be avoided in official documents,” stifling employees who may wish to support their trans students.

While the Archdiocese expresses its commitment to “a culture of transparency and understanding,” the secrecy with which it guarded this document reveals both the Archdiocese’s hypocrisy and knowledge that these policies are out of step with what most Catholics believe. This document reveals that the Archdiocese is both unable and unwilling to support the trans children in its care, seeing them only as potential sources of “disruption and confusion.” Please see DignityUSA’s full response to this document.

The Archdiocese’s document references “Male and Female He Created Them: Toward a Path of Dialogue on the Question of Gender Theory in Education,” a similarly dangerous and uninformed document released by the Congregation for Catholic Education in 2019. Please see DignityUSA’s response to this document as well.