A Catholic high school in Indianapolis is refusing to call a female-to-male transgender student by his male name.
“Officials at Cathedral High School say last spring a female student and her parents met with administrators. The student had decided to change genders and wanted to be referred to as a male.
“ ‘They asked the school where we stood on it. We explained we were there to care for her, love her, and we still wanted her to be a student in full standing,’ said Principal Dave Worland.
“But, after consulting with the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, the school made it clear its teachers and staff would not address the student by a male name.
“ ‘We wanted to make sure they would realize we still recognize her as a female, call her by the name she used when she enrolled as a freshman, and treat her throughout the day as a female student,’ said Worland.”
Students at the school showed public support for their transgender classmate on October 11, International Coming Out Day. The Daily Kos reports one of the students’ comments on the issue:
“As a student at Cathedral I believe that the administration is taking this way too far. Sending students home for supporting a classmate is ridiculous. On a daily basis we are told by the administration to ‘be yourself’ and accept yourself for who you are, but they won’t even give him a chance to do that. When it comes down to it cathedral doesn’t really care about us, it just has a name to uphold.”
As more and more transgender youth decide to live their gender identity publicly, Catholic schools are going to have to come up with a better response to them than just saying “No.” Since there are no magisterial statements about transgender people, any response from diocesan officials comes from their own opinions on the matter.
As in so many areas of sexuality and gender, church officials would do well to first listen to people’s stories before making judgements.
–Francis DeBernardo, New Ways Ministry