February 22, 2016

I would like to respond to the three public letters from some of our bishops sent to Catholic school trustees and the Catholics of Alberta in relation to the Department of Education bulletin on school board policy on the question of student gender and school practices.

Bishop Henry, Archbishop Smith and Bishop Terrio all make reference to the Catholic position that God created humankind male and female. I am, however, concerned that there does not seem to be any consideration given to those human beings who are born with an ambiguous sexuality.

I am sure our bishops understand there are people, created by God, who do not possess the singular gender as implied in the Catholic understanding of creation.

I would suggest that all human beings were created in the image and likeness of God. This includes all humans born with physical differences which, in some cases, many refer to as deficiencies or simply differences.

Our problem is to decide how we are to act in relation to this tenet of our faith.

I would propose accepting Bishop Terrio's position that "Certainly , most people interested in education today in North America will agree that 'self-identification' in sexual orientation has to be respectfully taken into account and to recognize that today nobody can be ostracized or rejected because they have difficulty accepting their biological gender."

This is indeed a great beginning but these are just words without meaning if we do not outline what it is that we are going to do about this situation. How are we, the Christian community, going to actively include these persons in our community?

Let's move on and demonstrate loving and accepting community in our schools.

Tom Turner