The Nebraska National School Activities Association has voted—against the express will of a majority of its districts—to allow transgender participation in high school sports and other activities. The three Nebraska Catholic bishops are opposed to this decision, and are asking the association’s representative assembly to overturn it on April 8.
If the ruling is not overturned, it would mean that boys who think they are girls could compete against girls in sports, and vice versa. The bishops called attention to the undemocratic nature of the decision, but their most pithy remarks addressed the core issue: gender dysphoria.
“Any person who experiences gender dysphoria is entitled to the respect and dignity that is the right of every human person,” the bishops said. But they added that such concerns “must be provided with due consideration to fairness and the safety, privacy, and rights of all students.” They did not avoid what is really at stake.
Referring to the ruling, the bishops said, “It would be unjust to allow a harmful and deceptive gender ideology to shape either what is taught or how activities are conducted in our schools.” They said it would have a “negative impact” on students, especially their attitudes towards “the fundamental nature of the human person and the family.”
The bishops are right: This ruling transcends sports. It invites boys and girls to think that their sexual differences, grounded in nature, are malleable. They are not—they are constitutive of who we are. “Gender” refers to socially learned roles governing the sexes, cues which are taken from nature, and are largely ratified by culture. To wit: It is not culture that makes boys more aggressive than girls—it’s their testosterone level.
Pope Francis has said, “Gender ideology is demonic!” Yes, by confusing boys and girls about what nature, and nature’s God, has ordained, only trouble can follow.