DOJ signals that U.S. prisons must adopt transgender policies for prisoners — By: Catholic News Agency

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CNA Staff, Mar 13, 2024 / 14:00 pm (CNA).

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) this week signaled that prisons throughout the United States must provide prisoners with transgender-related medical care, including “hormone therapy” and other gender-related requests. 

The department said in a press release on Tuesday that the Utah Department of Corrections (UDOC) had “violated the Americans with Disabilities Act” when it “failed to provide” a male prisoner with access to “hormone therapy.” 

The prisoner in question had claimed to identify as a woman and had “repeatedly requested” access to female hormones as well as special accommodations such as “female clothing” and the modification of “pat search policies.” The individual’s gender dysphoria “worsened during [his] incarceration” at UDOC, the DOJ said. 

The department in its finding ordered UDOC to “adopt, revise, and implement relevant policies, practices, and procedures” in order to bring its practices in line with the DOJ’s preferences, including “providing health care services for gender dysphoria consistent with UDOC’s treatment of other medical conditions.”

The DOJ indicated in its announcement that its findings apply to all U.S. prisons. 

Prison facilities, the press release said, “violate the Eighth Amendment when they categorically refuse to provide medically necessary gender-affirming care to incarcerated individuals with gender dysphoria.”

Catholic leaders increasingly critical of gender ideology 

Leaders in the Catholic Church have in recent years become increasingly critical of transgenderism and gender ideology. Those beliefs hold that men and women must be treated as the opposite sex if they simply “identify” as such. 

Pope Francis last year called gender ideology “one of the most dangerous ideological colonizations” because it “blurs differences and the value of men and women” and “[makes] the world the same, all dull, all alike.”

The Holy Father earlier this month reiterated his criticism of transgenderism, calling gender ideology “the ugliest danger.”

The ideology “makes everything the same,” Francis said, with the pope adding: “Erasing differences is erasing humanity.”

The U.S. bishops last year voted to move forward with a significant revision to their document offering guidance to Catholic health care institutions on the issue of transgender surgeries and hormone treatments.

The bishops’ Committee on Doctrine at that time began the process of updating a portion of its Ethical and Religious Directives in order to emphasize that transgender surgeries and procedures are incompatible with the Church’s teaching on sex and the dignity of the human person.

In a joint letter to Catholics last year, meanwhile, two California bishops acknowledged that the “influence of gender ideology” has “become pervasive in contemporary society” and urged Catholics to respond to the zeitgeist with both “truth and charity.”

Oklahoma City Archbishop Paul Coakley composed a similar letter earlier in the year, while the Diocese of Cleveland said in a guidance document in August that Catholic institutions there must respond to those suffering from gender dysphoria by offering “a loving environment” while also “upholding the truth of God’s created reality.”  

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