A Catholic diocese in Louisiana has announced its schools will enforce a diocese-wide “sexual identity policy” that could see violators expelled or asked to leave school, or in the case of employees, fired, for non-compliance.
The policy demands that “students, parents, faculty, and staff” adhere to “each person’s God-given sexual identity and biological sex at birth.”
As such, schools will use that identity to determine students’ name and pronoun usage, dress code standards to which they must conform, access to facilities and overnight accommodations, and eligibility for in-school and extracurricular activities, reports the Lafayette Daily Advisor.
The policy specifically bans “behaviors and expressions” of sexuality and gender identity that “cause disruption or confusion regarding Roman Catholic teachings on human sexuality,” including that a person’s gender is immutable and fixed from birth, and that sex should only occur within the confines of a monogamous marriage between partners of the opposite sex.
The policy also outlines that there will be consequences for students, parents, and staff who do not abide by Church teaching in their daily lives, relationships, and personal expression.
“The full cooperation with this policy of school officials, faculty, parents, and students is required and a condition precedent to the continued enrollment of each student and the continued employment of each employee, and the enforcement of this policy by the school is deemed a spiritual mandate,” the policy states.
The policy has been officially added into the rulebooks of three diocese schools for the upcoming school year — Teurlings Catholic High School, St. Thomas More Catholic High School, and Cathedral-Carmel School.
While the sexual identity policy was not previously listed in the handbooks of any of the schools under diocesan control last year, Blue Rolfes, director of communications for the diocese, told the Daily Advisor that the policy “is not new.” Rather, it is a “written clarification of a policy that’s been in effect for quite some time.”
The handbooks also reference a document published by the Congregation for Catholic Education entitled Male and Female He Created Them: Toward a Path of Dialogue on the Question of Gender Theory in Education.
The document, written by Cardinal Giuseppe Versaldi in 2019, is meant as a guide for how those involved in Catholic education should discuss topics associated with gender identity.
The diocese has received criticism for officially implementing a rule that essentially bans LGBTQ identities.
Ellis Clay, an alumnus of St. Thomas More, told KLFY News that the policy will end up “providing a lot of harm towards these students when the goal [should be] to protect them.”
On Friday, August 5, a group calling themselves “We Demand More” posted a letter of demands on the doors of St. Thomas More High School.
“We ask that the policy be repealed and that the students be allowed to use pronouns, names, uniforms, and facilities according to their gender identity,” the letter reads. “The organization does not wish to challenge the beliefs of the Roman Catholic Church. We demand More…revisit the policy with Christlike compassion and love.
“Policies that allow and encourage peers and mentors to reject and discriminate against [LGBTQ students] students increase their likelihood of experiencing suicidal ideations and feelings of depression and anxiety.”
The group has also started an online petition as a way to “spread the word” about the harmful policy and hopefully bring more attention to what is happening in Lafayette. So far, the petition has around 1,575 signatures.
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