More than 50 intersex organizations, 130 intersex persons, and 650 allies from all over the world have publicly signed a Joint Statement calling on the Congregation for Catholic Education to review its position on intersex issues as expressed in the recent document “Male and Female He Created Them”.
The document identifies medical science as the key authority to decide and intervene to “fix” intersex people’s bodies. This position has been received with grave concern. Many gross human rights violations perpetrated against intersex people take place in medical settings, including the so-called therapeutic interventions recommended by the Congregation for Catholic Education. Furthermore, the document identifies intersex experiences with suffering, but fails to identify correctly its causes, including pathologization.
Morgan Carpenter (co-executive director of Intersex Human Rights Australia) states:
The Joint Statement demands that the Catholic Church should acknowledge its own history. The existence of people born with variations of sex characteristics has been recognised by the institution since its earliest times. Our existence cannot be associated with any particular contemporary fashion, theory or ideology.
Tony Briffa (co-executive director of Intersex Human Rights Australia) states:
As a Catholic person born with an intersex variation, it is disappointing the Church has taken a position that encourages unnecessary, irreversible, non-consensual and damaging intervention on bodies like mine – all in their need to easily classify people into narrow boxes of what it means to be female or male. God’s diversity does not work in this way. The document will cause harm to children and families.
Lianne Simon and Megan K DeFranza (Intersex and Faith) state:
Our mission is to help communities of faith minister to those born with bodies outside the male-female binary. Often, the most serious issue for parents isn’t having a child whose sex is ambiguous; it’s maintaining a relationship with a church that doesn’t understand the issues they face. Rather than suggesting that an intersex child’s sex or gender be coerced, why not join us in supporting them?
Thank you to all signatories of the Joint Statement! It can be read at https://ihra.org.au/35418/joint-statement-congregation-catholic-education
Ahead of June 24, the Joint Statement will be open for additional signatures at: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSessD76MtvaRN3T47j-siPujHIImHR9dezhBDK6i-KUbb5K0A/viewform
It will be submitted to the Vatican on June 25.