NAIROBI , 15 March, 2021 / 6:30 PM (ACI Africa).-
Catholic Bishops in Kenya and Ethiopia have raised concerns over the contents of a United Nations’ (UN) report that seems to advocate for the controversial transgender ideology.
The ideology claims that every individual has a “gender identity”, that is, an internal sense of gender, which may not align with their biological sex.
Dubbed the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (SOGI) thematic Report, the document is set to be submitted to the 47th session of the UN Human Rights Council later in the year. It seeks to establish how anti-transgender ideology narratives around the world are being used to fuel violence and discrimination against homosexuals.
The concerns, which members of the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB) express alongside those by members of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Ethiopia (CBCE) are contained in separate submissions sent to the Independent Expert (IE) on SOGI Sunday, March 14.
In their eight-page submission availed to ACI Africa, KCCB members highlight what they term “major concerns” regarding the Report by the IE, Victor Madrigal-Borloz.
The report, KCCB members say, “undermines the very foundation upon which sex-based rights and protections are established,” a situation, they say, that is contrary to the IE’s mandate of advancing the rights of persons to be free from violence or unjust discrimination based on “sexual orientation” or “gender identity.”
“We support the protection of all fundamental human rights of all persons regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity,” KCCB members say.
They add that IE’s report “is clearly aimed at, among other things, advancing radical gender theories and ideologies that seek to erase all differences between men and women and undermine the hard-earned gains for women and children in the area of human rights.”
In the submission signed by the Chairman of KCCB’s Commission for Education and Religious Education (CERE), Bishop Paul Kariuki, Catholic Bishops in Kenya wonder how a “gender identity” policy would be defined if the report is to be adopted, since there are over 112 reported gender identities in the world, with a possibility of more coming up over time.
“If all gender identities were protected under a gender identity policy, it would create great controversy among UN Member States,” KCCB members say in their submission to the UN official.
They add, “While every individual is entitled to basic human rights, imagine the chaos that would ensue if all of the controversial ‘gender identities’ that have been conceptualized are established as part of a protected class.”
The Catholic Bishops in Kenya explain, “The New York City Commission on Human Rights ‘gender identity’ policy now recognizes 31 genders and already multiple complaints have been filed against individuals or businesses accused of discriminating against these ‘identities.’ If found guilty, these individuals or entities could be forced to pay fines up to $250,000.”
The fact that in places where “gender identity” non-discrimination policies are in place, women and girls are being denied their right to privacy in public female spaces such as bathrooms and showers, is a cause for concern for KCCB members who note that some women and girls have been sexually assaulted in such spaces.
“Since both ‘gender identity’ and ‘gender expression’ are based on internal feelings unique to that individual rather than biological realities that can be independently verified, if we adopt a ‘gender identity’ policy, only gender-confused individuals can determine if some policy or action violates the law,” the Catholic Bishops in Kenya say, and add, “There is no other law in the world that functions this way.”
KCCB members are also concerned that “Women cannot opt out of the biological realities that put them at higher risk than men for oppression, sexual harassment, and rape,” differences that “must be acknowledged and protected.”
“We strongly oppose the Independent SOGI Expert’s attempts to undermine the hard-won advancements of women and girls whose rights and private spaces are being violated by men who identify as women,” the Bishops in Kenya emphasize in their March 14 submission shared with ACI Africa.
They recommend, “Instead of trying to create special protections for people based on their internal perceptions of themselves, which can change over time, we should enforce existing laws and policies calling for the elimination of violence against anyone.”
In criticizing the “gender identity” ideology, Catholic Bishops in the East African nation make reference to “troubling examples” indicating how such policies “put women and children at risk.”
They refer to the 2018 incident in West Yorkshire, England where “a biological male inmate with a history of sexual offenses changed his name and dressed as a woman so he could be moved to a female prison where he sexually assaulted four female prisoners.”
They also refer to a 2012 incident in Olympia, Washington where “A 45-year-old man, who self-identified as a woman, used the women’s facilities at the Evergreen State College swimming pool, exposing himself to minor girls who also used the college’s swimming pool.”
“Your conception of a ‘gender framework’, which incorporates radical transgender ideology will lead to discrimination, harassment and violence against women and girls as your proposed framework will erase the very rights and protections designed for them,” KCCB members say in their submission.
The stance of the Catholic Bishops in Kenya against transgender ideology is similar to that of the Catholic Bishops in neighboring Ethiopia who, in a separate submission, “fundamentally disagree with the radical and unscientific transgender ideologies’ that underpin the IE’s Report.”
In addition to the concerns, which KCCB members raise, Catholic Bishops in Ethiopia are concerned that the IE on SOGI is seeking to implement Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) “designed to indoctrinate children.”
CBCE members are also concerned that the UN official is keen on mainstreaming queer theory, which they say is “an unhealthy belief system that encourages children to disassociate from their biological sex in harmful ways.”
In criticizing CSE, the Catholic Bishops in the Horn of Africa nation remind the IE on SOGI that CSE and “sexual orientation and gender identity” concepts were “specifically rejected from the 2030 Agenda by many UN Member States.”
Thus, the Bishops in Ethiopia say, “The establishment of this SOGI’s expert mandate is a deliberate attempt to override the positions of States opposed to such and coerce them into accepting SOGI rights.”
“This is a direct assault on the sovereignty of UN Member States and an abuse of the UN system,” CBCE members say.
They add in their 15-page submission availed to ACI Africa, “We strongly oppose the attempt by the Independent Expert on SOGI to push harmful and ineffective ‘comprehensive sexuality education’ as a major tool to indoctrinate the world’s children and mainstream radical sexual and gender ideologies into the rising generation.”
In the submission signed by CBCE Secretary General, Fr. Teshome Fikre Woldetensae, CBCE members denounce IE on SOGI’s “actions seeking to identify states that are not implementing the harmful ‘comprehensive sexuality education.’”
They further denounce the UN official’s “most recent call to identify political and religious leaders worldwide who speak out publicly against harmful and unscientific ‘gender ideology.’”
As a way forward, CBCE members call on UN Member States to “reject the past and forthcoming reports issued by IE on SOGI and to censure him for aforementioned ultra vires actions that will only serve to denigrate the many hard-won sex-based rights for women and girls, lead to destruction of the natural family, and damage children who will receive harmful CSE designed to indoctrinate them in radical gender and sexual ideologies and queer theories.”
“As Church, we condemn any form of abuse, violence, and discrimination against people based on their gender or any other factor. We hold firmly to the inherent dignity of every human being and support the already agreed on,” Catholic Bishops in Ethiopia say.
They add, “This is a human right already recognized by the UN Charter of Human Rights. This does not need new legislation to be affirmed.”
“From the foregoing, it is our humble request that your Commission will not be used as an advocate to lobby for interests, contrary to the common good of human beings,” CBCE members say.
SOURCE ACI Africa. Published with permission.
PHOTO CREDIT: Ashitaka San
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