"Pope Francis' statement denouncing technologies that support gender confirmation demonstrates the Pontiff's tragic ignorance on the challenges faced by transgender people, and puts this population at risk of increased discrimination and violence," according to DignityUSA, the organization of Catholics committed to justice, equality and full inclusion of LGBTQI people in the Catholic Church and society. The group noted that transgender people already experience increased hardship, reporting being targets of violence, suicidality, and poverty at rates of two to nine times higher than the general population.
DignityUSA Executive Director Marianne Duddy-Burke expressed profound disappointment about the Pope's remarks. "The reality is that transgender people experience tremendous stress in trying to live as who the world believes them to be. It takes incredible strength and commitment for them to risk living as who they are. Not all transgender people can or want to access technological supports that confirm their true genders. Throughout history, we have seen our transgender neighbors use whatever tools are available to live in their truth. Technology that makes this easier should be embraced as a blessing."
Duddy-Burke continued, "We strongly urge Pope Francis to take time to meet with more transgender people and their families, and to listen to their stories of hope and struggle. Our Church must start from the needs of the people, not from some dogma that more and more is discredited by science and the experience of millions of people. And the Church must immediately end its persecution of sexual minorities in direct contrast to the open fellowship and embracing love Jesus himself would have shown.
Duddy-Burke added, "The Pope's words have real impacts on people's lives. Here in the US, where one in six hospital beds is in a Catholic hospital, it is difficult for transgender people in some areas to get the respectful, informed, appropriate care that they need. This goes beyond rhetoric. DignityUSA pledges to continue to work for equity in access to health care, legal protections, and freedom from violence for God's transgender children."