Letters – October 12, 2017

| October 12, 2017 | 8 Comments

Transgender article marginalizing

My heart broke reading “Switching sexes: Transgender ideology and the Church” (Sept. 28). Tragically, your paper published this article the same week that Ally Steinfeld, a transgender teenager in Missouri, was tortured and murdered, becoming the 21st transgender person killed in 2017. Despite what the Minnesota Catholic Conference would like us to believe, it is empirically true that transgender individuals are a persecuted minority. In light of the real physical danger that trans people face, it’s hard to see validity in the “fear” and “confusion” of Catholics in the article. The torture endured by Ally is not comparable to the discomfort experienced by Emily Zinos and her family. Any Church that calls itself “pro-life” should do everything in its power to protect the sacred lives of transgender people. Publishing an anti-transgender article full of marginal psychology is decidedly not pro-life. This rhetoric fuels an ostracization of trans people that has repeatedly proven to be lethal.

Joe Kruse
Minneapolis Catholic Worker

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Category: From Readers

  • Paula Ruddy

    Thank you for this letter, Joe. Eloquent prophetic voice.

  • Jae Bates

    This is my very feeling. Thank You, Joe!

  • saintteresa

    None of us want anyone to be tortured, murdered, or even bullied, but as Catholics we also have a richness of teaching that tells us that God, in His goodness, made us biologically male and female, and that is a deep and real part of who we are that cannot be changed with any amount of medical effort. JPIIs Theology of the Body, Laudato Si, the Catechism all affirm the truth that we uphold – God knew what He was doing when He made us and He doesn’t make mistakes. Do some people struggle with gender dysphoria? Of course, and we should welcome those people with love, but that doesn’t mean telling them that they would be better off loading their body full of hormones and having drastic surgery, or lying and saying they were successful in changing their sex. The studies show that those medical “solutions” don’t improve the suicide rate – and more and more trans people are coming forward to say that they regret their decision to seek medical intervention rather than seeking psychological help to come to terms with the body God gave them. I think we can be pro-life, and love those who struggle with identity, while still upholding the truth that sometimes God’s choices for us are not what we would choose for ourselves, but His way is always the right way.

  • Tesomas

    It’s awful and evil that she was murdered. Any persecution they face is wrong. Joe makes an unsupportable leap though when he claims that their horrible mistreatment at the hands of a few means the Church should stop speaking out against the errors of the their ideology. Publically speaking out against an ideology doesn’t automatically make you guilty if some nuts decide to murder It’s proponents. Anyone remotely familiar with Catholic teaching would be aware that, while the Church disagrees with transgenderism, the Catechism also commands us to treat transgender individuals with love and respect. That fairly definitively rules out torture and murder

  • Dominic Deus


    Dominic Deus here. Tesomas and sainteresa thank you for your comments.

    I am reminded of how the best of us can be corrupted by teaching from the Church that focuses on what is “right” rather than what is merciful, what shelters, what embraces, what lifts up. When a child of God is tortured then killed, there is no “but” in expressing human outrage.Rarely should we judge but in some cases, the challenge is not to judgment but to our basic humanity.

    Scripture me this: Where does Jesus set down the conditions under which a child can be tortured and murdered?

    Ahh, I hear it coming: “It was the errors in [her] ideology.” Well, that doesn’t convince me but apparently is does convince torturing murderers so I suggest that perhaps the Church and its Faithful should refrain from proclamations of faith and righteousness that lead those under the influence of Darkness to torture and murder. Is that so difficult?

    “Oh, but the Catechism.” Indeed, perhaps the Magesterim should have read it before it launched itself into a judgmental vortex on the most tender and intimate feelings of a child God trying to find grace and beauty as it grows. I suspect that torturers and murders seldom cross check their catechism before they act just as many Catholics before they speak.

    What difference does it make anyway? Should not a Catholic with even the most minimally formed conscience recognize that any declaration for or against an “ideology”spoken or written must be prohibited if it endangers the lives of innocents? Do we forget who acted otherwise? Allow me to help by paraphrasing: “It was…regrettable, but they had to die for the greater good.” Yes, right you are! Herod on the Massacre of the Innocents, in the interests of the Roman Empire. How history (and geography) repeats itself–

    The there is Truth. We can always take refuge in it because, well, it’s true.


  • Dominic Deus

    Dominic Deus here: Joe Kruse–well done.

  • Charles C.

    “The Texas County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the murder, but authorities didn’t say why it wasn’t considered a hate crime. A motive for the killing still hasn’t been revealed.

    “Sheriff James Sigman and prosecutor Parke Stevens Jr. indicated that Steinfeld’s gender identity didn’t play a role in her death.”

  • Charles C.

    Some numbers. Because numbers can draw our attention to problems in general, while an individual case can cause emotional “thinking.” “Hard cases make bad law.”

    The FBI reported 5.3 murders per 100,000 inhabitants in 2016.

    Nobody knows how many “trans” there are in the country, but I’ve seen estimates of 0.3% (most common) to 1%. Let’s assume that the correct number is somewhere between, say 0.5%. If that’s correct, that would mean there are (about) 1.2 million adult “trans” in the country.

    If “trans” were being murdered at the same rate as citizens as a whole, we would expect to find that about 64 “trans” are being murdered each year. Twenty-one have been murdered this year? The “Trans Day of Remembrance” web site indicates 21 were killed last year, and 27 in the year before that.

    Certainly, every murder is an evil act, but it appears wrong to claim that “trans” are being killed as often as anyone else, let alone that they are being killed more often. And how many murders are related to identity issues? Probably not all of them.