Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity

Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity


The foundation of Catholic teaching about life and relationships is respect for the human person. “The equality of men rests essentially on their dignity as persons and the rights that flow from it” (Catechism of the Catholic Church 1935). For this reason a person who self-identifies as lesbian, homosexual, “bi-sexual,” “transgendered” or “queer” is to be respected as a person. (CCC 2358).
From Catholic Independent Schools of Vancouver Archdiocese Anti-Bullying Policy

Why this issue?

Since the late 1960’s, sexual orientation and gender identity have become major social and political issues in the Western world. The Church is being challenged to extend Catholic anthropology to explain them and to develop pastoral support for those experiencing these conditions. Below are links to various sources that provide a background for the Church’s developing understanding of these complex issues. The rights of LGBTI persons as well as those of Catholic institutions and also the larger society need to be respected. Pastoral decisions should be made on the basis of a sound understanding of human nature, the latest objective psychological and biological research, respect for individual freedom, and avoidance of ideological bias.

The order of the sections in this bibliography reflects the strong conviction that the Church’s position on sexual orientation and gender identity issues is most effectively presented to most people by starting with the human experiences and then progressing to Catholic doctrine.


    1. Definitions
    2. Testimonials
    3. Pastoral Best Practices
    4. Research Results
    5. Magisterial Statements
    6. Canon Law
    7. History of the sexual revolution
    8. Catholic Education
    9. Transgender & Intersex Websites
    10. Popular Publications

A. Definitions

Sex – the sexual act; the state of being biologically male or female; determined by chromosomes; binary and stable; not contradicted by exceptions or altered by social/cultural conditioning or surgery.

Sexual orientation – a pattern of romantic or sexual attraction to another person; homosexual (gay) / heterosexual.

Gender identity – a person’s self representation as male or female; the conformity or lack thereof with biological sex; transgender / cisgender.

Gender theory – a recent academic discipline which examines the ways in which historical, cultural, and social events shape the role of gender in different societies; looks at sexual differences and less binary definitions of gender categorization; denies that there are two biologically determined sexes (“binary essentialism”); has no scientific basis.

Gender – originally meant “class” or “sort;” later, classes of nouns in grammar (masculine, feminine, neuter); today often synonymous with biological sex; there are said to be a fluid range of multiple genders.

Transgender – an umbrella term including transsexuals, cross dressers and drag queens.

Transsexual – more commonly referred to as “transgender;” a person born with male or female sexual organs and chromosomes, with a gender identity of the opposite sex – “a boy in a girl’s body” or vv.; primarily a psychological condition; sometimes the term is used to refer to someone who has undergone surgery to alleviate gender dysphoria.

Gender dysphoria – (confusion)/GD; formerly called “gender identity disorder/GID;” “the presence of clinically significant distress” associated with transsexualism (DSM-V).

Intersexual – Previously called hermaphroditism, now called intersex or Disorders of Sexual Development (DSD); a group of conditions in which sexual identity is ambiguous due to factors such as a discrepancy between external and internal genitals or chromosomal abnormalities, e.g., 47 XXY or 45 XO.

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