Two chairmen representing the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) have released an official statement in response to President Barack Obama’s “transgender bathroom” decree. The new guidance was issued by the country’s Department of Justice and the Department of Education urging government-run schools to let students use bathrooms and locker rooms based on their gender identity.
According to Bishop Richard Malone of Buffalo, New York, and Archbishop George Lucas of Omaha, Nebraska, they have nothing against expressing compassion for transgender people. However, what they find displeasing is the infringement of the privacy rights of other children.
“Children, youth, and parents in these difficult situations deserve compassion, sensitivity, and respect. All of these can be expressed without infringing on legitimate concerns about privacy and security on the part of the other young students and parents.”
The letter’s authors have also emphasized the apostolic exhortation of Pope Francis last March where he condemned the world’s progressive gender ideology. They believe that the federal regulatory guidance contradicted Pope Francis’ stand that “the young need to be helped to accept their own body as it was created.”
As per the letter, the new directive did not try to achieve a balance. Instead of considering the political discussions being done to wholly address the sensitive issue, the guidance reportedly “short-circuited” those efforts and ignored the stand of other people.
“We pray that the government make room for more just and compassionate approaches and policies in this sensitive area, in order to serve the good of all students and parents, as well as the common good. We will be studying the guidance further to understand the full extent of its implications.”
Governor Pat McCrory of North Carolina also expressed skepticism over Obama’s transgender bathroom guidance saying that private sectors must be able to set their own bathroom policies. He sued the Department of Justice, but hours later, the federal agency also responded with a suit against the state. The DOJ said that the state is in violation of federal civil rights laws that forbid gender-based discrimination in the workplace.
While Obama is aware of the lawsuits, he told Buzzfeed that transgender students have increased chances of being bullied, that’s why it is society’s obligation to protect them and ensure that their dignity is upheld.
“We’re talking about kids. Anybody who has been in school, in high school, who has been a parent should realize that kids who are sometimes in the minority, kids who have a different sexual orientation or are transgender are subject to a lot of bullying, potentially. They’re vulnerable.”
The White House has been deflecting backlash from different conservative groups following the new directive. The White House said that the guidance only came to fruition because school administrators are continuously raising questions on how they will handle the issue.
Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick previously said that the new directive is the “most damaging domestic policy” that “will be the end of public education” because more parents will start choosing homeschooling and private schools. For him, parents won’t allow their daughters into bathrooms with “boys.” Despite being warned that schools that won’t comply may lose their federal aid, Patrick won’t “yield to blackmail from the President of the United States.”
[Image via Sara D. Davis/Getty Images]