The Vatican Educational Paper on Gender Theory – A Confused Concept!

Back to all Motions

2019 National LGBT+ Conference
25 July 2019

Conference believes that since the repeal of Section 28 in 2003 educators on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Plus (LGBT+) inclusive education in schools have made an essential contribution in the fight for equality rights for the LGBT+ community.

However in recent years we have seen a backlash to this from the far right and some religious and anti LGBT+ groups. This backlash comes at a time when many religious organisations had started to make inroads into embracing LGBT+ people.

Conference notes that in June of this year the Vatican released a paper on gender theory in education titled ‘Male and Female He Created Them’ which it described as an aid for Catholic schoolteachers and parents. This has clearly demonstrated that those responsible for overseeing Catholic educational institutions do not see inclusion of trans people as the way forward.

The paper makes many claims about trans people, such as;

The notion of an individual’s gender identity existing along a spectrum as being “nothing more than a confused concept of freedom in the realm of feelings and wants” and claims that modern gender theory “is a move away from nature and towards an absolute option for the decision of the feelings of the human subject”.

The paper does not stop at critiquing gender identity theory, it also makes negative references to single sex family units, claiming ‘in vitro’ fertilization reduces “a baby to an object in the hands of science and technology” and stereotypes the role of women in society as carers, talking about their ‘capacity for the other’ which then leads on to how they “exhibit a kind of effective, cultural and spiritual motherhood”.

Although the paper does call for listening and a dialogue, it seems that it will only enter into this with theologians and philosophers whilst ignoring LGBT+ people and disregarding the growing body of scientific knowledge about trans identities.

Conference believes this paper to be damaging to the work carried out by educational LGBT+ campaigners since the repeal of Section 28 and those working with the aim of delivering inclusive education, and that if adopted by Catholic schools and other educational establishments this paper has the potential to damage trans equality for generations to come.

It will take away the opportunity for young people to learn about and accept difference and have a balanced social education while also placing young trans people in fear of being their true self, something that LGBT+ inclusive educators have worked hard to eradicate.

Conference calls on the National LGBT+ Committee to:

1)Work with the Local Government Service Group Executive and Schools Sector Committee to create resources for school staff covering issues around trans equality that affect pupils and staff in schools, and to raise the issue with the wider schools membership.

2)Liaise with LGBT+ activists in teaching unions to coordinate campaigning against this paper and to publicise e-sources which promote LGBT+ inclusive education