More Than a Monologue: Sexual Diversity and the Catholic Church - Vol. 1

By Christine Firer Hinze; J. Patrick Hornbeck II | Go to book overview

10 A Delicate Dance
Utilizing and Challenging the Sexual Doctrine of
the Catholic Church in Support of LGBTIQ Persons

TERESA DELGADO

Iona College

When asked to consider how the Catholic Church’s response to LGBTIQ persons and issues affects my work life, particularly as a person who works at a Catholic institution, my thoughts were drawn to two distinct experiences, the first in relation to a colleague at the college where I teach who underwent genital reassignment surgery and the second in relation to the student group on our campus that advocates on behalf of the LGBTIQ community.

Let me first speak of my faculty colleague whom, for our purposes, I will call Mary. When I met Mary, she was in the latter stages of her genital reassignment. In our brief conversations, she was candid with me about her experience, the physical hurdles that still awaited her, and the concerns she had about returning to the college once most of the final series of surgeries was complete. In this final stage, I believe she took about a year off. When she returned, she was beaming; she looked wonderful, simply beautiful, and seemed genuinely happy to be back. Yet I worried for her. In her absence, there was chatter about “that professor who was trans”; even the first-year students I was advising asked about her with a sense of trepidation. More importantly, I was concerned about the “official” response from the college— an institution founded in the Catholic tradition of higher education by the Christian Brothers— and whether she would be welcomed or, in spite of her tenured status, alienated and isolated.

In an open conversation during that year’s “Coming Out Week” (and the fact that we had a Coming Out Week is a testament to our students, whom I’ll get to in a minute), Mary spoke about her experience: how she knew at an early age that the person she was inside didn’t coalesce with her biology, how she has developed a “new family” since her biological family has rejected her, and how in her work and professional life at a

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