Pope Francis recently criticized modern views on gender identity, going so far as to compare the basis for transgender rights to nuclear weapons and genetic manipulation.
During an interview in October for the new book, Pope Francis: This Economy Kills, the pope said every historical period has “Herods” that “destroy, that plot designs of death, that disfigure the face of man and woman, destroying creation,” according to the independent National Catholic Reporter.
The pope continued, NCR reported:
“Let’s think of the nuclear arms, of the possibility to annihilate in a few instants a very high number of human beings,” he continues. “Let’s think also of genetic manipulation, of the manipulation of life, or of the gender theory, that does not recognize the order of creation.”
“With this attitude, man commits a new sin, that against God the Creator,” the pope says. “The true custody of creation does not have anything to do with the ideologies that consider man like an accident, like a problem to eliminate.”
“God has placed man and woman and the summit of creation and has entrusted them with the earth,” Francis says. “The design of the Creator is written in nature.”
The “gender theory” Francis is denigrating is the medically and anthropologically supported concept that gender is a construct imposed by society. It is commonly cited in defense of transgender rights, since it shows gender can vary despite society’s expectations.
This isn’t the first time the pope, who’s often characterized as more liberal than his predecessors, has rejected the gender theory, according to NCR. In January, Francis said teaching the gender theory in developing countries is “ideological colonization” by wealthier nations.
Transgender people not only identify with a gender different than the one imposed on them by society, but at least some trans children are wired and able to do so from very early on. A recent study from the TransYouth Project found that transgender children as young as five years old respond to psychological gender-association tests, which evaluate how people view themselves within gender roles, as quickly and consistently as those who don’t identify as trans.