Green Bay Catholic Diocese updates school policy on gender and pronouns

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Published: Jul. 13, 2022 at 4:51 PM CDT|Updated: Jul. 13, 2022 at 6:33 PM CDT
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - The Catholic Diocese of Green Bay updated its school policy on gender issues for the upcoming school year.

The new Catholic Foundation for Human Sexuality policy took effect on July 1. It affects what the diocese calls a wide range of gender-related issues, including gender identity, pronouns, and same-sex attraction.

We reached out to the diocese, which provided us with a written statement. The Family and Schools of Discipleship Formation mission team leader, Father John Griotti, wrote, “It is the policy of the diocese to interact with students according to their biological sex based upon physical differences at birth.”

Students and parents across the school district will be addressed and referred to with pronouns in accord with their sex at birth.

They will participate in competitive athletics in accord with their biological sex.

And they will be encouraged to shy away from same-sex attractions.

The policy also states schools will not permit the administration of puberty-blocking or cross-sex hormones on school property for students who transition.

They state that while some young people might feel drawn to dress, act and even manipulate their physical bodies in ways contrary to God’s plan, they advocate that young people, working with their parents, bring these issues to their pastor or other trained Christian professional to assist them in clarifying and defining God’s plan.

Griotti went on to say students will not be denied admission to a Catholic school as long as the student and his or her parents agree that the child will abide by the policy.

The diocese said these changes come after a year of research and discernment of the issues.

The director of Diversity & Resilience, an advocacy group in Appleton, says these changes put the diocese on the wrong side of history. “It’s sad to see that this is the direction the Green Bay ciocese is choosing to go when we see so many churches trying to do the right thing,” Kathy Flores said.

Flores said a policy like this isolates and hurts the mental health of young people struggling with their identity.

“My first thoughts were about the high suicide rates of the LGBTQIA+ youth and how we have seen study after study that suicide risk decreases and depression decreases when we use a student’s name and pronoun that they have asked us to use,” Flores said.

“An organization that claims to be pro-life, this is the opposite of pro-life. This is pro-death, this is pro-harm,” she added.

The policy covers student gender, pronouns, sports, and same-sex attractions

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