Canada: Catholic school district creates first transgender student policy

Nick Duffy July 20, 2014
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A Catholic school district in Vancouver has become the first to have a specific policy for transgender students.

The policy, enacted by the Catholic Independent Schools of Vancouver Archdiocese, follows a human rights complaint filed by the family of 11-year-old Tracey Wilson, who had to leave Sacred Heart Elementary in Delta after they would not accommodate her gender identity.

It was approved this week by the board, and will apply in at least 16 schools.

The new policy mandates that schools “provide training consistent with the Catholic faith for all teachers and other staff with respect to gender dysphoria and gender expression, and additionally that they “provide resources” to students who experience gender identity.

It recommends that teachers accommodate gender non-confirming students as far as possible, allowing them to change name and pronouns, switch uniform, and use a different changing room.

However, some passages have also been criticized.

It says in part: “The Catholic faith, informed by biblical theology, teaches that the body and soul of the human being are so united that one’s sexual identity is rooted in one’s biological identity as male or female.

“Thus, in Catholic teaching, one’s sexual identity is considered ‘a reality deeply inscribed in man and woman’.

“This means that the Catholic Church teaches that gender is given by God and that the body reveals the divine plan. As such, humans are not free to choose or change their sexual identity.

“The Catholic school has a responsibility for the spiritual development of its students. Gender transitioning is contrary to Catholic teaching, and therefore the Catholic school cannot support any transitioning actions.”

11-year-old Tracey told the Vancouver Sun: “Kids love to take risks and a lot of kids that I know are brave.

“But it’s harder for adults to understand. Sometimes I think they just don’t know what to do and are scared to do the wrong thing.”

Related topics: Americas, Canada, Canada, Catholic, Church, policy, Religion, school, Trans, Vancouver

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