GREEN BAY, Wis. (NBC 26) — The Diocese of Green Bay is implementing a new gender identity policy where people must abide to their biological sex throughout its schools, including pronouns, in bathrooms, locker rooms and athletics.
NBC 26 has learned the new policy went into effect on July 1.
According to the Diocese's policy manual, the purpose of the new policy is to adhere to the teachings of the Church.
"The Church teaches that our identities as male and female are part of God's good design in Creation, that our bodies and sexual identities are gifts from God, and that we should accept and care for our bodies as they were created," the policy says.
According to the policy, all students are required to use pronouns, school bathrooms and locker rooms in accordance to their biological sex. Student-athletes must also participate in sports using their assigned sex at birth.
"Occasionally there may be instances where young people experience conflict between their biological sex and the roles and norms advocated by society," Diocese of Green Bay superintendent of Catholic Schools Todd Blahnik said in a press release. "Some young people might feel drawn to dress, act, and even manipulate their physical bodies in ways contrary to God’s plan. We advocate that young people, working with their parents, bring these issues to their pastor or other trained Christian professionals who might best assist them in clarifying and defining God’s plan.”
But Diverse & Resilient-Appleton director Kathy Flores says the Diocese encouraging students with gender dysphoria to receive counseling qualifies as conversion therapy.
"That's actually harmful to their mental health, so I do not believe that they have LGBTQ youth's mental health in mind," Flores said.
The policy states students who have gender dysphoria won't be denied admission to a school as long as the student and their parents agree to the rules.
The policy also says students who are clinically diagnosed with gender dysphoria may request to use a unisex facility.
"That feels like they're putting them in some sort of like freak category, that they're, that 'so, you have a mental health diagnosis, then we're going to treat you very differently,'" Flores said.
Flores says she is encouraging parents with LGBTQ+ kids who attend schools in the Diocese to withdraw them.
"The Diocese is not going to listen to anything but money, because that's the only thing the Catholic Church has listened to thus far," Flores said.
Vicar General Father John Girotti says in a statement to NBC 26, "As followers of Jesus, we embrace the truth that we are created by God as male and female and that we are loved by Him."
A student who violates the newly implemented rules "may be expelled from the school pursuant to the policy," according to the manual.
Any staff member or volunteer who violates the policy could face termination, as stated in point one of the written guidelines.
A separate policy states that students, staff and faculty are expected to dress in accordance to their biological sex on school grounds or while representing the school.
The full Education Policy Manual as published by the Green Bay Diocese can be read here, gender policy can be found under section 5045.