Transgender students ok at Catholic women’s university

transgender students

Transgender students are now permitted to enrol at a women’s-only Catholic college in Indiana

Its board-approved nondiscrimation policy followed the putting together of the College’s “President’s Task Force for Gender Identity and Expression” earlier this year.

St Mary’s Catholic College’s updated policy says it “considers admission for undergraduate applicants whose sex is female or who consistently live and identify as women”.

Among the 32 Board members are six religious sisters from the college’s founding order and two priests.

Confirming its programmes are open to all, the College points to its mission: to ’empower women, through education, at all stages in life’.

“Essential to this mission is fostering a diverse, equitable and inclusive campus experience.”

College president Katie Conboy says admitting men who identify as women “encompasses our commitment to operate as a Catholic women’s college”.

In a Novembr 21 email, she reportedly told students and faculty that the school is “by no means the first Catholic women’s college to adopt a policy with this scope”.

At this stage, how the new policy will work in practice is still being determined.

The President’s Taskforce findings include recommendations for housing policies, the student newspaper reported.

Indiana’s bishop pushes back

Indiana’s Bishop Kevin Rhoades is pushing back against the plan to allow enrolment of transgender students at St Mary’s.

He is urging the College Board to correct its admissions policy “in fidelity to the Catholic identity and mission it is charged to protect”.

The Board should “reject ideologies of gender that contradict the authoritative teachings of the Catholic Church regarding the human person, sex and gender” he said in a 27 November statement.

“The desire of Saint Mary’s College to show hospitality to people who identify as transgender is not the problem. The problem is a Catholic woman’s college embracing a definition of woman that is not Catholic” he added.

Rhoades says he should have been included in the Board’s decision-making regarding the transgender admissions.

“It is disappointing that I, as bishop of the diocese in which Saint Mary’s College is located, was not included or consulted on a matter of important Catholic teaching” he says.

“To call itself a ‘women’s college’ and to admit male students who ‘consistently live and identify as women’ suggests that the college affirms an ideology of gender that separates sex from gender and claims that sexual identity is based on the subjective experience of the individual.”

Online backlash

“Just found out my alma mater [Saint Mary’s] … will be accepting BIOLOGICAL MEN starting next fall” one online post reportedly said.

Online comments are also reported as saying:

“This decision is blasphemous and a complete rejection of the Church and its teachings on gender and sexuality,”

Another post is reported as saying: “We [Catholics] have an issue here!! Don’t allow your child to go to this school!! [Saint Mary’s] Shame on YOU!”.

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