The goals for the Trans Caucus and our approach to achieving positive social change are dynamic and are likely to shift through the years along with the tides of our church and society. Right now we are in a time when social awareness of transgender people is increasing rapidly in the United States. Still, creating human connections while dispelling myths remains one of the most important areas that will lead to lasting change.
The three areas we are working on include:
Support & Advocacy
Through our witness, we aim to uphold the dignity of transgender people as gifts of God. We believe that gender and sexual diversity are part of the wonder and goodness of God’s creation. Gender variation is not a form of brokenness or a product of sin, but rather a positive human reality that calls us to awareness of the inherent goodness and inner truth that has been imparted on all of us at birth.
We hope to provide a safe community in which transgender Catholics and their friends and families can come together for support from around the country and the world. This is achieved through our online discussion group, as well as through video meetings and presentations. Dignity members from across the nation have the chance to meet every two years at the National Dignity Convention. We also hope that the trans presence in local Dignity chapters will grow so that individuals may be able to find support in person locally.
We are here especially to support those who may have questions about their own gender identity in light of their Catholic faith, and we have connections to counselors and Catholic clergy who may be able to help individuals walk through that journey.
Education & Awareness
Media representations of trans people have not often been positive in the past, which has fueled negative stereotypes. One of the best ways to dispel these assumptions is to get to know a trans person and listen to their story. We’d like to be proactive in giving people this opportunity.
Some ways people are achieving awareness is by holding panel presentations or Q&A forums at their churches (infrequently in Catholic parishes, but often through UCC and other Christian congregations). We hope that these kinds of sessions might reach more Catholics by way of social justice gatherings and individual parish initiatives.
We stand for improving the safety and rights of trans people in all areas of society–in their schools, workplaces, and churches, as well as in housing, law, and medical care. Since Catholic organizations form a large part of the medical and educational sectors in many countries, improving safety and care in these areas has the potential to benefit millions of transgender people.
We also strive to educate others about the negative impacts of reparative or conversion therapy, which is spearheaded in the U.S. by Catholic-based organizations such as Courage International and NARTH, and has been deemed dangerous by all major medical and psychological associations.
This area has a special meaning in the Catholic Church, since transgender Catholics are not very publicly present in the church right now. We have the opportunity to reach out to our Catholic leadership, including bishops, clergy, and community leaders, to let them know that transgender Catholics exist in their parishes and communities. We can also reach out in a positive way to countries where LGBT people are at a greater risk of violence, as well as to transgender asylees and those in migrant detention. These individuals are particularly vulnerable to abuse and exploitation. As we are in a relatively safer place to do so, we can serve as advocates and speak up on behalf of their needs.