Virginia Catholic Bishop: ‘No One’ Is Transgender

A transsexual waits outside the Congress while the Senate debates the bill of gender identity in Buenos Aires, on May 9, 2012. The bill, already passed in the Chamber of Deputies, allows citizens to officially change their name and sex without needing to request a court permission. AFP PHOTO/Daniel GARCIA …
DANIEL GARCIA/AFP/Getty

Arlington Bishop Michael Burbidge has written a letter denouncing gender ideology and insisting that “no one” is transgender, NBC News reported this weekend.

In his “controversial” letter, Bishop Burbidge condemns transgender ideology because it “presents a view of the human person contrary to the truth” by disconnecting the idea of gender from that of the biological sex of a person.

The human person “is created male or female,” the bishop writes, and a person’s sex “is an immutable biological reality, determined at conception, which “reveals God’s design” for each individual person.

What is new in our times “is the growing cultural acceptance of the erroneous claim that some people, including children and adolescents, are ‘in’ the ‘wrong body’ and therefore must undergo ‘gender transition,’ either to relieve distress or as an expression of personal autonomy,” Burbidge notes, which contradicts everything that science teaches us about human sexuality.

Leon Weiler, of Cambridge, Mass., top, holds a flag while standing with other protesters in support of transgender rights beside the "Free Speech Bus," painted with the words "boys are boys" and "girls are girls," in the Harvard Square neighborhood of Cambridge, Thursday, March 30, 2017. A spokesman for the group behind the bus said organizers are pushing back against greater acceptance of transgender people. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

Leon Weiler, of Cambridge, Mass., top, holds a flag while standing with other protesters in support of transgender rights beside the “Free Speech Bus,” painted with the words “boys are boys” and “girls are girls,” in the Harvard Square neighborhood of Cambridge (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

“At its core, this belief in a ‘transgender’ identity rejects the significance of the sexed body and seeks cultural, medical, and legal validation of the person’s self-defined identity-an approach called ‘gender affirmation,’” he adds.

According to biology, “a person’s sex is genetically determined at conception and present in every cell of the body,” he observes, and thus “our biological sex does in fact indicate our inalienable identity as male or female.”

This reality underscores the fundamental lie at the heart of transgender ideology, the bishop suggests.

So-called “transitioning” might change a person’s appearance and physical traits but “does not in fact change the truth of the person’s identity as male or female, a truth reflected in every cell of the body,” he states. “Indeed, no amount of ‘masculinizing’ or ‘feminizing’ hormones or surgery can make a man into a woman, or a woman into a man.”

Christians need to remember that true compassion for others, especially if they are confused about their own reality, ultimately rests on the truth.

Shariyah Meade, photographed on Monday, June 21, 2021 in downtown Knoxville, is a Black transgender woman living in Knoxville. "I'm Black first, but add LGBTQ and trans to that and some people just aren't ready to accept all of that,” said Meade. “We are used to being discriminated against for our names, the color of our skin, but when you add our trans identity to the mix, a lot of people aren't ready.”

Shariyah Meade, photographed in downtown Knoxville, is a Black transgender woman living in Knoxville. “I’m Black first, but add LGBTQ and trans to that and some people just aren’t ready to accept all of that,” said Meade.  (Brianna Paciorka/News Sentinel via Imagn Content Services, LLC)

Since the claim to “be transgender” “rests on a mistaken view of the human person, rejects the body as a gift from God, and leads to grave harm,” he declares, to affirm someone in an identity at odds with biological sex “is to mislead that person. It involves speaking and interacting with that person in an untruthful manner.”
“The faithful should avoid using ‘gender-affirming’ terms or pronouns that convey approval of or reinforce the person’s rejection of the truth,” Burbidge writes. “It is not harsh or judgmental to decline to use such language.”

In point of fact, he insists: “No one ‘is’ transgender. A person who identifies as transgender may experience troubling feelings, confusion, or a mistaken belief that he or she is or can ‘become’ someone different,” but this contradicts reality.

In his document, the bishop also warns parents of the complicity of the U.S. public education system in promoting a false view of human sexuality.

In this May 29, 2014 photo, Denee Mallon, second from left, takes part in the Trans March to Morningside Park in Albuquerque, N.M. A U.S. Department of Health and Services review board ruled Friday, May 30, in favor of Mallon, a 74-year-old Army veteran, whose request to have Medicare pay for her genital reconstruction was denied two years ago. The decision recognizes sex reassignment surgeries as a medically necessary and effective treatment for individuals who do not identify with their biological sex. (AP Photo/Craig Fritz)

Denee Mallon, second from left, takes part in the Trans March to Morningside Park in Albuquerque, N.M. (AP Photo/Craig Fritz)

A “strong source of misinformation about the nature of the person, and the meaning of the body is, regrettably, the public education system,” he states, and many “aggressively promote a false understanding of the human person in their advocacy of gender ideology.”

“Parents with children in public school must therefore discuss specific Catholic teaching on these issues with their children and be even more vigilant and vocal against this false and harmful ideology,” he adds.

The bishop concludes by directly addressing those who experience gender dysphoria, assuring them of God’s love for them and urging them not to adopt “simplistic solutions that promise relief from your struggles by the change of name, pronouns, or even the appearance of your body.”

“There are many who have walked that path before you only to regret it,” he states.

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