The move not only provides clarity for school staff and families, it puts governments on notice. The Catholics will not be intimidated or bullied on gender ideology.
Catholic schools will be told they should “respectfully avoid” endorsing concepts that say gender is assigned at birth.
Staff should not endorse the idea that gender is fluid.
Staff should not endorse the idea that gender is separate from biological sex.
If only the associations representing independent Christian schools were as courageous.
Yesterday’s Australian newspaper reports that Catholic school leaders will be told puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones and/or surgery for children identifying as trans is unhealthy.
Such treatments can cause infertility, “unnecessary damage” and limit “future possibilities for healthy human growth”.
Most children identifying as trans will overcome the condition with supportive psychological care.
Schools should not assist in efforts to affirm gender transition for students.
School staff will be told that, while popular culture believes each person’s innermost concept of themselves determines their gender identity, this is “in conflict with the Catholic understanding of creation”.
At the same time, staff will be encouraged to do what they can to make school comfortable for gender incongruent students. (Catholics will be encouraged to use this term rather than ‘transgender’.)
Schools should provide uni-sex toilets for students who want them, and they should allow some modifications to uniforms.
There is no suggestion that trans students should not be allowed to attend Catholic schools.
All school documentation is to record students’ biological sex at enrolment.
There are more than 1700 Catholic schools educating about 780,000 students in Australia.
I have little doubt that activists will now call for government funding to be cut from the Catholic sector. But, of course, governments know they cannot do this.
If Catholic schools suddenly closed, flooding the state system with three-quarters of a million extra students, the state system would collapse overnight.
That the bodies representing independent Christian schools have not put out a statement like this is to their shame, and to their members hurt.
If they had done this, then schools like Citipointe in Brisbane would not have been smashed in the press and former principal Brian Mulheran would likely still have his job.
If the independent Christian schools don’t issue a statement immediately, so as to take advantage of the strength of the Catholics, then they are not doing their job for schools, or for the Christian families they represent.
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