While it’s no surprise most faiths have not taken into account the identities of certain disenfranchised members of our society, Pope Francis recently reiterated his disagreement with teaching gender theory and identification in Sunday schools.
Pope Francis referred to the teaching as a “war against marriage” and “ideological colonization.” Of course this comes as no surprise after Pope Francis compared the teaching of gender theory to nuclear arms in February 2015.
For those uneducated on the subject, Gender Theory is essentially an umbrella term for the school of thought examining how people come to identify themselves sexually, as well as how they may be forced into certain roles based on societal expectations.
In other words, this is apples and oranges.
It’s one thing to compare nuclear arms with genetic manipulation, as both are forms of human efforts to affect life. However, simply DISCOVERING that traits of sexuality exist along a continuum (something that has been pretty well established, actually) is way different than manipulating anyone’s biology.
Furthermore, the argument stating intersex individuals are unnatural is an unsubstantiated claim.
If anything, the existence of intersex individuals is not necessarily against natural law, but proves there is at least some gray area distinguishing the male/female binary. It would be nice if “natural law” wasn’t used as an excuse to discriminate against or even mutilate these individuals.
The Catholic Church still won’t endorse birth control, so I do not expect the Church to completely grasp the finer points of Gender Theory. But given the Catholic Church’s history, it is completely beyond me why Pope Francis thinks he can be an authoritative voice on anything pertaining to sex and gender.
I’m not expecting the Catholic Church to jump on the proverbial bandwagon and into a social movement, the same way it is unrealistically optimistic to expect the Pope to publicly support something that a relatively few number of people even understand at this point, let alone actually accept.
But Pope Francis has power, and with this power is the ability to, without much effort, persuade the minds of others. Which is why, as a cisgender white man, his nuclear arms statement means absolutely nothing to those disenfranchised by his perspective.
And yet his Papal word can single-handedly sway a huge religious following — and thus Pope Francis needs to constantly evolve in his thinking and understanding on these issues. This is not to say that there are not layers to this issue. A lot of the time people fail to understand gender and the effects of it.
The lack of understanding these issues is closely tied to a misogynistic culture — just like homophobia is closely tied to misogyny — which is also why there are typically more trans women to remember on TDOR (Transgender Day of Remembrance) than transmen. Well, misogyny and people’s deeply held beliefs in heteronormativity.
Our human experiences so often challenge the surface level definitive claims contained in the bible, and evoke the need for nuance and complexity, which needs to not only be understood by the Pope himself, but many members of the church.
Shaun Jackson, Staff Columnist
Shaun is a senior studying psychology. He is a fashion columnist for INK Magazine and radio host for WVCW 102.9. Shaun is really silly and loves to read good books and bad people. He’s always “fashionably” late to the after-work hang-out sessions, but always shows up with the latest tea. Shaun is passionate about feminist hip-hop, pop culture and being the center of attention. His spirit animals are Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn from the DC Comics. You can usually find Shaun playing video games at the front desk of the SMC or next at Velocity Comics.