Pope Francis has recently criticized the use of technological advances to choose one's gender. New technologies are making it easier for people to change their genders and Pope Francis says this "utopia of the neutral" jeopardizes the creation of new life. He made these comments to the Pontifical Academy for Life, the Vatican's bioethics advisory board. He said that such advances in "biomedical technology risk dismantling the source of energy that fuels the alliance between men and women and renders them fertile."
“Rather than contrast negative interpretations of sexual differences ... they want to cancel these differences out altogether, proposing techniques and practices that render them irrelevant for human development and relations," Francis said.
Francis kept to the church's hard line against gender theory which replaced or challenged ideas of masculinity and femininity and of men and women as operating in history according to fixed biological determinants. He believes that today's exaltation of individual choice extends to one's gender thanks to technological advances and it is definitely something that he is against.
"In his comments about gender identity, Francis has shown that he does not really understand the biology or the psychology of gender identity," DeBernardo, executive director of New Ways Ministry, an LGBTQ-affirming Catholic advocacy organization, told NBC News in response to the pontiff comments. "He and others in the Vatican really need to educate themselves about new scientific developments in the area of gender before making any statements about technologies that help people transition."
Francis has in the past spoken out against transgender people and he even compared gender transition to nuclear weapon once. "Let's think of the nuclear arms, of the possibility to annihilate in a few instants a very high number of human beings," Francis told the National Catholic Reporter in 2015. "Let's think also of genetic manipulation, of the manipulation of life, or of the gender theory, that does not recognize the order of creation."
Pope Francis is considered to be more progressive than previous popes but he certainly has room to grow on issues pertaining to the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer community.
Photo Credits: AACRAO Advancing Global Higher Education