Solidarity Blog

Lessons in Catholic Healthcare Ethics: Gender Identity                           

catholic teachings on gender identity

What does the Church Teach About Gender Identity?

The teachings of the Catholic Church are at the core of Solidarity HealthShare’s mission to care wholistically for each person. Solidarity Members, whether Catholic or not, are united by the moral principles of the Catholic faith, which provide a consistent framework for which medical costs are Sharable and which are not.  Members all agree that surgeries and medications meant to “affirm” one’s gender identity are contrary to the moral teachings of the Catholic faith. They are antithetical to Solidarity’s mission to truly affirm each patient, body and soul.

The Catholic Church instead affirms the whole person for their identity as a child of a loving God, made in his image and likeness. This approach to understanding sexuality is rooted in love and refuses to restrict patients to a subjective perception of gender.

How is this Different from the Mainstream Understanding?

Mainstream culture and traditional insurance, on the other hand, limit patients struggling with their gender identity to perceive themselves subjectively according to “gender identity theory,” a theory that separates gender from biological sex. This new and widespread view of sexuality ignores the dignity and unity of the human person. It recommends that people struggling with their sexual identity undergo destructive procedures to “transition” into whichever identity they choose. Instructing patients to embrace their gender dysphoria does little to provide them with love, support or healing medical care.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church conveys that every human being is a unity of body and soul. It says that “spirit and matter … are not two natures united, but rather their union forms a single nature.” (The Catechism of the Catholic Church, §365) One aspect of our natural physical existence is sexual difference: maleness and femaleness. Rejection of our physical differences as male and female is also a rejection of God’s design.

Instead of undergoing life-changing, irreversible procedures that reject our integrated personhood, patients should understand that:

  • We should celebrate our individuality rather than rejecting who we are and how God made us.
  • Saints such as St. Joan of Arc and St. Catherine of Siena provide illustrative examples of people who did not conform to gender stereotypes, but who nonetheless embraced the biological sex God gave them.
  • This whole-person affirmation also affirms the uniqueness of the individual.
St. Catherine of Siena
St. Joan of Arc

Further Teachings on Gender Identity

Catholic Church teachings also encourage doctors, parents, friends and counselors to lovingly accompany and mentor those who are struggling with their gender identity, instead of promoting a simplistic, one-size-fits-all surgical “solution” to those who do not need it.

Pope Francis describes accompaniment in his encyclical Evangelii Gaudium as a pilgrimage or a “journey with Christ to the Father.” Not as a “sort of therapy supporting [someone’s] self-absorption.” This type of counseling affirms the whole person. It also supports them in their process of discernment and discovery with a concern for their physical and spiritual wellbeing.

Furthermore, this type of accompaniment is eligible for Sharing with Solidarity HealthShare. Solidarity is the first healthsharing ministry to share into comprehensive, ethical mental health therapy. We encourage any Members who are struggling with their identity to seek out a quality mental health counselor who will accompany them with the dignity and respect due to them as a unique and unrepeatable child of God.

To learn more about Solidarity’s commitment to Catholic healthcare ethics and the wide range of wholistic, life-affirming treatment options available to Members, click the banner below or check out our FAQ page today!