ACBC Guide for Catholic schools on identity and gender

The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference has released a guide on identity and gender to support Catholic schools in caring for those students experiencing gender dysphoria.

The 12-page document, Created & Loved: A guide for Catholic schools on identity & gender, first outlines Catholic teaching in relation to biological sex and gender and then discusses how these principles should apply to caring for those experiencing dysphoria.  

“This is an important document, which will provide guidance for our Catholic schools as they deal with these complex and sensitive issues.” Archbishop Julian said.

“Our schools and colleges seek to embody God’s love for all people, this document will help them accompany and support those students experiencing gender dysphoria in a way that is fully consistent with Catholic teaching.”

The document makes clear that the Church does not endorse or support “the gender affirmation model”, which seeks to settle the dysphoria through “affirming and normalising the child’s self-belief”, and involves the use of direct medical intervention such as puberty blockers and cross sex hormones.

It notes that up to 90% has cases of gender dysphoria resolve naturally with “supportive psychological care”. The bishops instead commend what has been referred to as the ‘Biopsychosocial’ approach, which is more holistic and seeks to provide psychological support which engages the family and family dynamic.  

In preparing the document the bishops consulted widely with specialists in education, including principals and teachers; sought advice from parents with children facing various gender questions; heard from bioethicists and other experts in the field, and from the international Church community.

Chair of the Bishops Commission for Life, Family and Public Engagement, Archbishop Peter A Comensoli, said Created and Loved is grounded in Christian anthropology, which values the worth and dignity of every person, and sees each person holistically, rather than defining that person by any single characteristic.

Christian Schools Australia Director of Public Policy Mark Spencer, was quick to praise the document saying ‘the thoughtful, comprehensively researched and deeply caring response in the Guide reflects the commitment to best practice in responding to these issues found across Christian schools.’

Created and Loved can be accessed at

To read Archbishop Julian’s reflection upon the release of the guide, click here.

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