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May 20, 2016

From Bishop Timothy L. Doherty on the Obama administration’s May 13 directive on transgender access to bathrooms

In response to a media request for reaction about the May 13 directive and its effect on Catholic schools, Bishop Timothy L. Doherty released this statement:

Today’s published regulation is directed at public schools. It is a regulation rather than a law.

At first glance, it will not apply to Catholic- sponsored primary and secondary schools.

Our first thought is that our Catholic schools are caring for other people’s children. Our Church-sponsored institutions (health care, universities, Catholic Charities) are rightfully upset when government agencies do not account for our concerns prior to issuing regulations. By the same token, Church leadership understands how upset our school parents might be if we changed important practices before accounting for their concerns.

We should be cautious about the unintended effects that can arise when certain aspects of student sexuality or gender traits are spotlighted at ages where this might not be helpful to them. Given that both science and law are still hunting for adequate definitions of gender identity, it appears that the government is asking educators and parents to go along with a “best guess” strategy.

Some of us come from a generation where we learned that our children should not become “footballs” in the adult conversation that is divorce. While some choose to look at the new regulation as being in the best interest of children, others can only see the schoolyard as being a surrogate for a disagreement between well-meaning adults.

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