New Ways Ministry: Gender is Not a Choice

by Brittany Ferrendi

South Florida Gay News

Sunday December 31, 2017

Catholic organization New Ways Ministry released a rebuttal to claims parents should reject their transgender children.

In an open letter through The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, twenty religious leaders condemn transgender people by calling their gender identity "false ideas."

In response written by Executive Director of NWM Francis DeBernando, the organization picks apart the letter's arguments.

"A negative statement on gender identity from 20 U.S. religious leaders shows the continued ignorance of gender awareness that exists among people who shape church teaching and policy," NWM stated.

"This statement is dangerous because it distributes false information which can lead to attitudes, policies, and practices which will do physical and emotional harm to transgender people, a community already with a high risk of becoming victims of hate crimes."

They continue on by reaffirming that gender is determined by more than just genitalia.

"The main problem with the statement is that it claims that gender is determined only by genitalia, a view which modern science and people's experience have shown to be insufficient. Gender is also determined by other biological factors, often not immediately visible, such as hormones, genetics, brain composition, and internal self-understanding."

NWM also takes issue bishops claiming socio-cultural norms about gender affect gender identities.

"Cultural history shows that in every society people have always existed who do not fit the male-female binary system of categorizing gender," the organization wrote.

"Gender identity questions are not a modern phenomenon brought on by what some people see as a permissive culture. If anything, modern attitudes about gender are allowing people who do not fit the gender binary to live authentically and truthfully the way that God has created them."

NWM also points out gender is not a choice. It calls it a discovery as people develop "both biologically and socio-culturally" in the same way that sexual orientation "is self-discovered by an individual."

"To force someone to live inauthentically is neither healthy nor holy."

To conclude their rebuttal, NWM points out that only 20 religious leaders in the US signed it, which "indicates that the overwhelming majority of religious leaders did not support the statement's message."

NVM encourages readers to write to these bishops to "express your points of view about transgender acceptance."

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