Catholic Church Rules People 'Cannot Change or Choose Their Gender'
Vatican determines that transgenderism is a bid to 'annihilate nature'
The Vatican has released an official document outlining the Catholic Church's stance that people cannot choose or change their own gender.
The document from the Vatican rules that transgenderism is a bid to "annihilate nature."
The Catholic Church argues that being transgender is not possible as only two genders exist - male and female.
The report, titled, "Male And Female - He Created Them" says it's impossible for a person to choose or change their genders and insists on the sexual "complementarity" of women and men to have children.
The publication of the ruling coincides with LGBT Pride Month and was quickly denounced by LGBT Catholics.
Transgender advocates are accusing the Church of contributing to bigotry and violence against gay people, despite the document only discussing gender identity and not homosexuality.
Advocacy group New Ways Ministry argues the text could further confuse individuals questioning their gender identity or sexual orientation and increase the risk of self-harm.
According to the Daily Mail, the new "guidance" is intended to help Catholic teachers, parents, students and clergy address what the Vatican's Congregation for Catholic Education called an "educational crisis" in the field of sex education.
It called for a "path of dialogue" and listening on the issue of "gender theory" in education.
But even priestly advocates for LGBT Catholics noted that the text appeared to have relied entirely on previous papal pronouncements, Vatican documents and philosophers and theologians.
"The real-life experiences of LGBT people seem entirely absent from this document," said Father James Martin, a Jesuit priest who wrote a book on improving Catholic Church outreach to the LGBT community, titled Building A Bridge.
"We should welcome the congregation's call to dialogue and listening on gender, and I hope that conversation will now begin."
Pope Francis has repeatedly argued the position that people cannot choose their genders.
According to Associated Press, the document represents the first attempt to put the Vatican's position, first articulated fully by Pope Benedict XVI in a 2012 speech, into a comprehensive, official text.
The document called for a new alliance among families, schools and society to offer a "positive and prudent sexual education" in Catholic schools so children learn the "full original truth of masculinity and femininity."
It called gender fluidity a symptom of the "confused concept of freedom" and "momentary desires" that characterize post-modern culture.
It rejected terms such as "intersex" and "transgender" and said the purpose of the biological "complementarity" of the male and female sex organs was to ensure procreation.
Francis DeBernardo, head of New Ways Ministry, said such concepts are outdated, misinformed and ignore contemporary science on factors beyond visible genitalia that determine gender.
"Gender is also biologically determined by genetics, hormones and brain chemistry - things not visible at birth," Mr. DeBernardo said in a statement.
"People do not choose their gender, as the Vatican claims, they discover it through their lived experiences."
He said the Catholic Church should encourage this process of discovery, saying it's "a process by which individuals discover the wonderful way that God has created them."