DePaul University, the largest Catholic college in the United States, apparently “jumped at the opportunity” to provide students with at least eight different genders to choose from on official college documents and other student life forms, despite the fact that it likely goes against official Catholic Church teaching on God’s creation of “man” and “woman.” The change comes as DePaul’s Student Government Association (SGA) recently stated that “misgendering” somebody is an “act of violence.”
The College Fix recently flagged that DePaul’s student portal known as “Campus Connect,” a website used for keeping “information on and for students, faculty and staff for communication and other purposes,” now allows students to “choose either: male, female, intersex, non-binary, transgender male, transgender female, cisgender, unspecified and ‘I do not wish to self-identify.'”
The announcement was made on January 4 and Michael Wright, assistant vice president at DePaul’s Registrar Office, said the college wanted to “promote ways for students to express their identity if they choose to do so.”
The school’s student newspaper reported that the information “is only viewable by specific staff within DePaul’s Registrar’s Office, but can be granted to faculty and staff for academic needs.”
“For example, if SGA wanted to share information or opportunities specifically with students who select a certain gender identity, the Office of Student Involvement would coordinate with Information Services to send that information to those students,” Wright explained. “This information is [otherwise] protected under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.”
The Fix also reported that in June 2021, the Catholic university’s LGBTQIA+ Resource Center coordinator in the Office of Multicultural Student Success, Mycall Riley, stated that calling somebody by the gender or pronoun they were born with when they have demanded others not do so is “incredibly harmful.”
“Simply put, misgendering folks is harmful because it allows for trans and gender-expansive folks to be seen as jokes or as less of a person. It can make the person feel like ‘they are not important enough to remember,’ which is incredibly harmful,” Riley stated.
“Furthermore, incorrectly assuming someone’s pronouns also assumes someone’s gender, which can lead to other marginalizing and harmful behavior,” Riley added.
Riley Reed, a student senator representing LGBTQ+ students, also said that misgendering a person is dangerous. Reed told the school paper that it is the SGA’s hope the new gender identity options will limit that from happening.
“Hopefully [this will limit] misgendering, since someone’s identity is represented,” Reed said. “I would hope [students] can feel comfortable being addressed properly and have the choice to disclose this information. It also protects students who would not feel comfortable [publicly] expressing [their identity quite yet].”
DePaul is located in Chicago, Illinois, and considers its mission to be Christ-centered and rooted in the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church.
“Our mission proceeds from the heart of the Church and remains grounded in the values and life example of Jesus of Nazareth,” the school’s website reads. “Our Catholic identity inspires us to offer an education that supports the communal context of integral human development, while also advocating for an integral ecology aware of the interconnectedness of all people and nature.”
It is unclear how DePaul’s promotion of multiple genders falls in line with church teaching that states there are both biological and divine differences between “man” and “woman” that are necessary for God’s plan and the proper order of family and soul. In a 2019 Vatican document titled “Male and Female He Created Them,” the Church sought to provide guidance for educators and members of the Church alike in dealing with “gender theory.”
While calling for love and patience, the Church noted that transgenderism moves individuals away from nature and order and that there is a “need to reaffirm the metaphysical roots of sexual difference, as an anthropological refutation of attempts to negate the male-female duality of human nature, from which the family is generated.”