Pope Francis condemned transgender ideology in a recent interview, declaring that it is “one of the most dangerous ideological colonizations.”
The pontiff, who was born and raised in Argentina, spoke with the Argentine newspaper La Nacion last week, in advance of his 10th anniversary of assuming the papacy.
When asked if he “had been asked to write a document on the subject of gender,” Francis responded that while “no one” had requested that he create such a document, people always seek “clarifications” on the Catholic Church’s views on the matter.
The term “gender ideology” is often defined as a set of beliefs that characterizes gender as a social construct, not based on one’s biological sex, and rejects the gender binary of male and female. It is often associated with the LGBT movement.
In his remarks to La Nacion, Francis suggested that a difference exists between compassion for people who identify as members of the LGBT community and adherence to gender ideology.
“I always distinguish between what pastoral care is for people who have a different sexual orientation and what gender ideology is,” he said. “They are two different things. Gender ideology, at this time, is one of the most dangerous ideological colonizations.”
Francis said he views gender ideology as “dangerous,” lamenting that “it dilutes differences” between men and women. He described “the tension of differences” as “the richness of men and women and all of humanity” and stressed that “growing through the tension of differences” constitutes an important part of humanity.
Francis also decried gender ideology for “diluting the differences and creating an equal world” that is “all blunt, all the same” and “goes against the human vocation.”
According to the pontiff, “there are somewhat naive people who believe that it is the path of progress and do not distinguish what is respect for sexual diversity or various sexual options from what is already an anthropology of gender, which is extremely dangerous because it annuls differences, and that it annuls humanity, the richness of humanity, personal type, as cultural and social, the differences and the tensions between the differences.”
While gender ideology is known to be particularly prevalent in the United States, it also exists to an extent in Argentina, as the South American nation decided in 2021 to allow citizens to identify as nonbinary on their national ID card.
The embrace of gender ideology in the U.S. has led to policies enabling athletes to compete on sports teams that correspond with their gender identity as opposed to their biological sex, allowing people to use bathrooms and locker rooms that align with their stated gender identity and permitting trans-identified youth to undergo gender transition procedures.
Concerns about the short-term and long-term impact of these policies have led to pushback and the enactment of laws intended to counter those effects.
In defining its policies USA Powerlifting said that, on average, men have “increased body and muscle mass, bone density, bone structure, and connective tissue.”
The biological differences between the sexes have led to fairness concerns about the impact of allowing trans-identified males to compete against women.
In December 2020, the British Journal of Sports Medicine published a study that found that biological males, on average, retain certain competitive advantages over females even after two years of taking feminizing hormones.
At present, 18 states require athletes to compete on sports teams that correspond with their biological sex rather than their stated gender identity: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah and West Virginia.
Additionally, gender ideology is tied to the promotion of puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones and gender reassignment surgeries for trans-identified youth.
The conservative group the American College of Pediatricians warns that puberty blockers can cause “osteoporosis, mood disorders, seizures, [and] cognitive impairment” while cross-sex hormones give users “an increased risk of heart attacks, stroke, diabetes, blood clots and cancers across their lifespan.”
A smaller but growing number of states have implemented laws that restrict the performance of some or all gender transition procedures on trans-identified youth: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Mississippi, South Dakota and Tennessee.