Catholic school guidance on gender diversity


The National Centre for Religious Studies is providing guidance to Catholic schools throughout New Zealand on gender complexity.

The guidance, endorsed by the New Zealand Catholic Bishops’ Conference, is for principals, boards of trustees, staff and whānau.

It provides a point of reference in the support and accompaniment of children and young people who may be experiencing gender dysphoria in New Zealand’s Catholic schools.

The director of the National Centre for Religious Studies, Colin MacLeod, says the document is intended to provide appropriate and practical guidance regarding this complex issue in our schools.

“It does not cover every aspect but acknowledges the need to treat every person with love and respect and to support students in their growing self- identity in a kind and sensitive manner,” he said.

Gender Complexity in Schools, guided by faith, spirituality and the sacraments, sets out principles for the Catholic school community which has a responsibility to ensure that all young people are respected and accepted.

Complexity in Schools is available online at

The document looks at the faith and theological context, the sociological context, and the school and cultural context.

It provides some points for consideration and some practical suggestions.

It concludes: “Catholic schools are committed to providing a kind, nurturing, faith-filled environment that respects everyone’s dignity and personhood.

“Every situation is unique and demands caring, prudent and wise accompaniment.

“The example of Jesus, in responding to so many different people with diverse needs and concerns in the Gospels, consistently shows us that love and truth needs to be at the heart of our response – and in a particular way when supporting and accompanying children and young people who may be vulnerable in our schools.”


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