Priests Exchange Opposing Tweets on Transgender Equality

Last Saturday, Bondings 2.0 posted about Jesuit Fr. James Martin’s positive tweets about transgender people in the wake of the announcement that the Trump administration was rescinding federal guidelines for how schools can support transgender youth.

screen-shot-2017-02-24-at-16-20-50Fr. Martin’s tweets landed him in the middle of a Twitter exchange, initiated by another priest who challenged the Jesuit’s comments. Gay  Star News  reported that in response to one Martin’s supportive messages, Fr. Matt Bozovsky, an associate pastor of St. Joseph parish, Wilmette, Illinois, tweeted:

“Um… this is a joke, right? Someone please tell me this is a parody account and not actually coming from a Catholic priest.”

Martin responded to Bozovsky’s challenge:

“No, I’m an actual Catholic priest in good standing who stands with the marginalized. Some charity is in order here, Father.”

Gay Star News commented that Martin’s comment was “the perfect response” to a “transphobic” clergyman.  They added that Martin “responded as calmly and as perfectly as possible.”

In Buzzfeed’s coverage of the exchange, they offered a compilation of Fr. Martin’s series of tweets last week in support of transgender youth:

“Trans students endure so many indignities already. They should be able to use whatever bathrooms they choose. It’s doesn’t hurt anybody.”

“It saddens me that a #trans student cannot choose what bathrooms to use. A basic need. It’s an affront to their dignity as human beings.”

“And who is harmed by a #trans student using a bathroom? I’ve seen women using men’s rooms when the ladies’ rooms were full. Who is harmed?”

“As usual, the one who is made to suffer indignities is the one on the margins, the one seen as ‘other,’ the one seen as ‘them.’ “

“But for Jesus, there is no ‘other.’ There is no ‘them.’ There is only ‘us.’ So we must be about openness, acceptance and inclusion. #trans”

The Daily Mail reported that since the exchange, Bozovsky changed his Twitter account to private. The newspaper also reported that many Twitter users came to Martin’s defense with addtitional tweets:

“The exchange has lead to dozens of users to reach out in support of Martin, calling his comeback a ‘holy mic drop’ and others cheering for Martin to ‘drag him with kindness, father.’

“One user called it ‘the most polite shade ever’, while another added: ‘No shade like Jesuit shade.’ “

New Ways Ministry is very proud of Fr. Martin!  We admire not only his solidarity with transgender people and youth, but also the gentle, but firm, way he responded to criticism. We are delighted that we presented him with New Ways Ministry’s Bridge Building Award last October.  He continues to build bridges, not only with LGBT people but with those who oppose them.

Francis DeBernardo, New Ways Ministry, March 2, 2017

New Ways Ministry’s Eighth National Symposium, Justice and Mercy Shall Kiss: LGBT Catholics in the Age of Pope Francis, is scheduled for April 28-30, 2017, Chicago, Illinois. Plenary speakers:  Lisa Fullam, Leslie Griffin, Rev. Bryan Massingale, Frank Mugisha. Prayer leaders:  Bishop Thomas Gumbleton, Bishop John Stowe, OFM, Conv.  Pre-Symposium Retreat Leader:  Sr. Simone Campbell, SSS.  For more information and to register, visit www.Symposium2017.org.

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10 thoughts on “Priests Exchange Opposing Tweets on Transgender Equality

  1. Friends March 2, 2017 / 1:42 am

    Bozovsky certainly has a strange background and credentials. Just Google his name. It turns out that he didn’t even consider the Catholic priesthood until he had already earned a Ph.D in Biology…at which point he went to seminary for three years, and got himself ordained as a priest. Here’s a Google link which yields lots of information about him:
    https://www.google.com/#q=Fr.+Matthew+Bozovsky&*
    In other words, he’s demonstrably quite intelligent…but you’ve got to wonder what motivates his particular sarcastic animus against gay and lesbian Catholics. I could speculate about an “intra-psychic conflict” within his own personal life, but it would only be speculation. Bottom line: it’s not good to have a Catholic priest expressing such a sarcastic animus against fellow Catholics, whose only “crime” or “sin” is that they love other people, regardless of their gender attributes.

  2. Friends March 2, 2017 / 2:27 am

    Following up on my post above: here’s a genuinely fascinating “back story”. Please listen to this half-hour podcast interview with Fr. Matt Bozovsky himself:

    http://poddirectory.com/episode/8179105/wsfi-spotlight-fr-matt-bozovsky

    Do you “get” from the tone of his voice and his delivery what I’m getting??!! He sounds exactly like one of the original cast members from “The Boys In The Band” movie! Judge for yourself.

    What bugs me (and sort of grieves me) is that he comes across as a genuinely warm and humorous and likeable guy — who also speaks just like a stereotypical gay guy. So what renders him so vehemently and sarcastically anti-gay?

  3. Thomas March 2, 2017 / 4:57 am

    Bozovsky has issues. I have met a few late in life career change priests. I find them a bit more rigid. I prefer to focus on James Martin S.J. We need more priests like him…..maybe in the Vatican.

  4. Carolyn Shalhoub March 2, 2017 / 7:31 am

    It would be so great to have him at the symposium. But the lineup is great as it is.

  5. Fr Anthony March 2, 2017 / 10:11 am

    I wish we would get past this. If one has a penis ,and dressed like a man go in the mens room. If no penis and in a dress go to the ladies room. No one will care or even know. This has become a cause celebre. I believe we are who we psychologically are no matter what the dna says. We focus too much on the body and not enough on the Spirit.

  6. Fr Anthony March 2, 2017 / 10:14 am

    Oh yeah,drag queens to the ladies room

  7. Todd March 2, 2017 / 6:20 pm

    Fr Martin gets more to the heart of the matter. Good for him. This is about bullying and intimidation. And being nosy. People have challenged my view on this, but as a husband and a father to a daughter, I don’t see any problem with a person who happens to be trans using a “female” restroom. They are no threat to my loved ones and my family members feel the same way. Human beings, especially young people, are not often more vulnerable than when using a restroom. Let them alone.

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