”The worst kind of marginalization, the worst kind of discrimination and the worst kind of hatred is to claim that someone doesn’t exist. ‘No one ‘is’ transgender,’ says the Diocese of Arlington. Transgender people exist and are beloved children of God.” (from an Aug. 19 entry on Twitter by Father James Martin)

From the introduction to the August 12 letter by Bishop Burbidge:

“In the past decade our culture has seen growing acceptance of transgender ideology – that is, the claim that a person’s biological sex and personal identity have no necessary connection and could in fact contradict each other. According to this view, ‘human identity’ is self-defined and ‘becomes the choice of the individual.’ Consequently, our culture is experiencing a rapid rise in the number of persons claiming an identity contrary to their biological sex. Attempts to accommodate such claims already have resulted in tremendous upheavals in our social, legal, and medical systems.

“This situation presents a serious challenge for all members of the Church because it presents a view of the human person contrary to the truth. It is of particular concern for our young people, as Pope Francis has warned:

Today children – children! – are taught in school that everyone can choose his or her sex. Why are they teaching this?

“Let us not play with truths. It’s true that behind all this we find gender ideology. In books, kids learn that it’s possible to change one’s sex. Could gender, to be a woman or to be a man, be an option and not a fact of nature? This leads to this error. Let us call things by their names.

“ ‘Gender dysphoria’ is a psychological condition in which a biological male or female comes to feel that his or her emotional and/or psychological identity does not match his or her biological sex and “experiences clinically significant distress” as a result. Situations involving gender dysphoria must always be addressed with pastoral charity and compassion rooted in the truth. Any unjust discrimination or needless insensitivity in addressing such situations must be avoided and/or corrected.

“At the same time, in responding to this question justly and charitably, one cannot deny or obscure the truth of our created nature and human sexuality. Indeed, charity always requires the clear presentation of the truth. As Pope Saint Paul VI observed, ‘[I]t is an outstanding manifestation of charity toward souls to omit nothing from the saving doctrine of Christ.’ From medicine, natural law, and divine revelation, we know that each person is created either male or female, from the moment of conception. ‘It needs to be emphasized, writes Pope Francis, that ‘biological sex and the socio-cultural role of sex (gender) can be distinguished but not separated … It is one thing to be understanding of human weakness and the complexities of life, and another to accept ideologies that attempt to sunder what are inseparable aspects of reality….’ ”
(Footnotes removed in this excerpt can be seen in the original letter.)