The Chicago-based president of Dignity, a national organization of LGBT Catholics, criticized both the message and timing of a June 10 Vatican guidance questioning contemporary understandings of gender identity.
Chris Pett said that the 31-page document, which is titled Male and Female: He Created Them, is symptomatic of institutional hypocrisy, mentioning the need for "dialogue" and "education" when it "restates this medieval, outdated and discounted theory of human nature that's been disproven by science and does not account for human experience."
Clinging to such retrograde ideas, Pett added, "does real harm."
The document maintains that gender is divinely appointed and that contemporary science complicates the idea of gender identity when it pushes against the traditional gender binary.
"It can do real damage to individuals and their familiesboth transgender people and people who are gender-fluid who identify as people of faith," Pett said. "The institutional church says their experience is not even valid from the get-go."
Pett noted that the churchafter issuing such a guidancewould likely never actually provide the forum where there would be a true dialogue. He noted that Dignity and other LGBT groups had been denied opportunities to be officially represented as delegates at international and national church gatherings on multiple occasions.
Pett also viewed the release of the guidance during Pride month as intentional and provocative on the Church's part.
"We have articulated a vision of what we believe the church is meant to be," Pett said of his organization and other similar communities. "As communities and [as] a national organization of those who identify as Catholic and LGBTQ, we continue to live that vision, saying, thiswhat we are living nowis what we believe the church to be."