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Catholic diocese shrugs as Catholic college passes out ‘chest binders’ to female students


Devices are used by transgender individuals to change their bodies’ appearance

Local Catholic Church leaders are declining to comment as a Catholic college distributes “chest binders” to its students free of charge. These devices are meant to flatten women’s breasts to make their chests appear more like men’s. That program possibly runs afoul of Catholic Church teaching.

“Chest binders” are devices often used by women who identify as men to alter their bodies’ appearance. The practice is meant to compress and ultimately hide the appearance of a woman’s breasts in order to make her appear to be male.

The program at the College of Saint Rose was first reported on by the student newspaper The Chronicle. The newspaper stated that the program was first drafted by on-campus students, who then took the plan to the student government; after that body approved it, another student “worked with the counseling center to plan a way to distribute the binders in a confidential way comfortable for students.” The binders are distributed through the school’s counseling center.

Neither the college nor the counseling center responded to repeated requests from The College Fix regarding the program, including how popular it is and whether or not there have been any negative reactions to it on campus.

Reached for comment, Diocese of Albany spokeswoman Mary Poust told The College Fix: “The College of St. Rose is not a Catholic college of the Diocese of Albany and so it would not be appropriate for us to comment on the school’s policies.”

The Catholic Church’s Catechism indicates that “mutilations” are “against the moral law,” though it is unclear if potentially deforming one’s breasts qualifies as such.

Pope Francis has criticized transgender ideology for attempting to eliminate the differences between men and women, slamming the “techniques and practices that render [those differences] irrelevant for human development and relations.”

Taylor Casey, the executive editor of The Chronicle, said via email that the chest binder service “has been in place since the beginning of the Spring semester.” She said that there have been “no public adverse reactions” to the program.

“College is a time for students to express themselves and become their own person. We at The Chronicle believe that everyone deserves a chance to have the freedom to express themselves as they wish,” Casey told The College Fix.

“Saint Rose is a very diverse and accepting community where students are encouraged to be their best selves,” she added.

The College of Saint Rose describes itself on its website as “a progressive community.” The school has multiple opportunities for students to get involved with the LGBT community on campus.

One such opportunity is the “LGBTQ+ and Ally Theme House,” which the school describes as “a safe housing space for the LGBTQ+ community, and allies to this community, to make their own.”

Editor’s Note: The headline and body of the article have been amended to clarify that the Catholic Church entity referred to in this story is the Diocese of Albany.

Because of an editorial miscommunication, the Diocese of Albany had not been contacted prior to publication of this article. The Fix subsequently reached out to the diocese; the article has been updated with the diocese’s response. We regret the error.

MORE: Mothers in shock as daughters come home from college with breasts removed

MORE: University bans research on transsexuals who reverse their surgery

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About the Author
Chase Watkins -- Utah Valley University