The Slatest

Vatican Releases Global Educational Guide to Sexuality That Calls Nonbinary Gender “Fictitious”

A demonstrator waves a rainbow flag during a Gay Pride Parade at the Colosseum in Rome.
A demonstrator waves a rainbow flag during a Gay Pride Parade at the Colosseum in Rome on June 10, 2017.
Filippo Monteforte/Getty Images

The Vatican released the church’s 31-page guide to sexuality Monday—titled Male and Female He Created Them—designed to help Catholics and Catholic schools around the world teach and talk about individual sexuality. Sexuality is more and more a topic of open discussion across North America and western Europe, with increasing acceptance of more fluid definitions of individual identity. This development prompted the Vatican to release its first extensive paper on the topic, coinciding with Pride month, which finds that we, the world, are in the midst of an “educational crisis” surrounding sexuality. As you may have guessed from the title of the report, the Vatican is not big on nonbinary thinking.

The report described the idea that a spectrum might exist on human sexuality as a fictitious construct and “nothing more than a confused concept of freedom in the realm of feelings and wants.”

The process of identifying sexual identity is made more difficult by the fictitious construct known as “gender neuter” or “third gender”, which has the effect of obscuring the fact that a person’s sex is a structural determinant of male or female identity. Efforts to go beyond the constitutive male-female sexual difference, such as the ideas of “intersex” or “transgender”, lead to a masculinity or feminity that is ambiguous, even though (in a self-contradictory way), these concepts themselves actually presuppose the very sexual difference that they propose to negate or supersede. …

An overall perspective on the situation of contemporary society must form a part of the educational process. The transformation of social and interpersonal relationships “has often waved ‘the flag of freedom’, but it has, in reality, brought spiritual and material devastation to countless human beings, especially the poorest and most vulnerable.

“[F]or some Catholic advocates for a more inclusive and understanding approach to L.G.B.T. people, the Vatican document represented a significant step backward,” the New York Times reports. “They warned that the church was inviting discrimination, and that in delivering an anachronistic message on human sexuality, it had apparently decided to take on esoteric theories rather than the lived experiences of L.G.B.T. people.”