“A French father told me about his ten-year-old son: when asked the question ‘what do you do you want to be when you grow up?’, he replied ‘a girl!’ This father realized that his schoolbooks taught gender theory, and this is against the nature of things. A person who has this tendency, or even changes their sex is rather different from teaching schoolchildren along this line, which means changing their mentality: I call this ideological colonization.” These are the words Pope Francis pronounced during his flight back from Azerbaijan. Prodded by reporters, the Holy Father touches again on the subject of natural family. “The gender indoctrination underway today is nastiness,” he said. Already during his meeting with the priests, religious men and women in the Cathedral of St. Mary of the Assumption in Tbilisi, we had heard him say that today there is a “great enemy” of marriage, which is this theory, and there is a “world war on marriage, “fought not with weapons, but through ideas.
It all started with the LGBT movement born in the early eighties in the United States, to denounce that in our Western culture prevails the tendency to consider acceptable only two types of sexuality: male or female, depending on a person’s looks and on their biological body; according to that movement, these cultural stereotypes are still very common and stiff today. Hence, it defines gender identity based on where a person feels they belong, regardless of their biological sex.
Hence the term “transgender”, which offers an identity to people who do not feel enclosed in “gender stereotypes”, normally identified as “masculine” and “feminine”. According to studies dating back to 1975, the process of gender identity formation occurs after passing through four “gates”, from conception to learning a language. The first three are dependent on the genome, chromosomes and hormones. The fourth and final gate – the psychological – opens after birth and plays a special role in in gender identity building. This closed, around the three years of life with language learning, the child – according to this theory – has finally structured its gender identity defining itself as male or female.
Many people define this knowledge as devastating, because it is disorienting and confusing, denying sexual differences, on the other reciprocity and complementarity between man and woman. In Italy, increasingly alarmed parents even report nurseries where the so-called “genderocracy” is touted through fables or booklets created for toddlers, which explain that the presence of families with two moms or two dads is normal. Those who rebel against it, demanding at least a more detailed explanation on how their children are being educated, is accused of homophobia, insulted and isolated.
Remember – just to cite one of the many examples – the advertisement of a famous company, which launched a new line of diapers, designed differently for boys and girls. “She will try to look good, he will be thinking about goals. She will be looking for tenderness, he will go in search of adventures. She will be running away from him, he will try to catch her. So little, yet so different,” read the advertisement. The “heralds of gender” have strongly condemned this ad for reinforcing “established gender differences instead of fighting them.”
In some primary schools, children play “the game of respect”: when presenting different professions, we show how the two are exactly alike, and the roles (including clothes) of boys and girls can be easily exchanged. In Sweden, gender equality has is a priority of the State: in government agencies and kindergartens, was introduced the term “hen”, to indicate the neutral gender.
There are also other references to this theory, presented in a subtle and insidious way, without people even knowing it. Such is the recent “Good School” decree, whose paragraph 16 refers to the Istanbul Convention full of “gender” ideology. It asserts that we are not men or women from birth, but because our community imposes these role on us, through “roles, behaviors, activities, and attributes”.
Also in the world of fashion there have been “genderless” or “gender free” trends with free clothing and accessories 100% free of gender connotations, neither for men or women, but neutral. Those who follow this trend claim that adults and kids can wear the same clothes, confusing the role of the parents and that of their children even further.
There are traffic lights representing gay couples on some pedestrian crossings in Vienna. In Berlin, billboards in the street make no distinction between men and women; baby boys are no longer marked with blue nor baby girls with pink; images do not represent boys playing with toy cars or girls playing with dolls. Bathrooms in Germany, England, and the United States, follow these guidelines, making no distinction between men and women. Even the White House has a “gender-neutral” bathroom; the pediatric hospital in St. Louis, Missouri, has created the first club for transgender children. Facebook allows users to subscribe selecting among “male”, “female”, and at least 70 more genres.
Faced with all those things, Pope Francis said during his journey to Georgia and Azerbaijan that “gender indoctrination is a wicked thing to do” and it is a “world war aimed at destroying marriage”, which is thought with ideas instead of weapons. According to the Pontiff, “teaching along this line in schools changes children’s mindset”. Hence it is called “ideological colonization.”
In his encyclical Praised be, the Pope did not fail to mention when Benedict XVI affirmed that there is a “human ecology”, because “the man has a nature that he must respect and that he can not manipulate according to one’s won will”. “It is not a healthy approach – he added – when one claims the disappearance of difference because no longer able to deal with it.” On other occasions, he called gender studies a “mistake of human mind that creates a lot of confusion.” Or a “disturbing ideology”, like all the ideologies that impose “a single thought” even in children’s education.
In any case, as Bergoglio has always stressed, the key words of the Church are “welcome, study, discern, and integrate.” People, according to the bishop of Rome, “have to accompany each other, as Jesus did. When a person in this condition comes before Jesus, he will not say ‘go away because you are gay’… It is a human problem, and we have to solve to the best of our ability and always with God’s mercy.”