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‘Transgender children’ course offered by Catholic medical school

Course includes education on ‘transgender children/adolescents healthcare’

Medical students at Loyola University Chicago, a Catholic school, can learn how to treat “transgender children” as part of a “family medicine” course.

“LGBTQ+ Health” will “teach students the evidence-based treatment of LGBTQ+ patients in medicine.”

“The topics may include, but are not limited to, the following: health disparities, mental health, initiation and maintenance of PrEP, initiation and maintenance of hormones for transgender patients, transgender children/adolescents healthcare, and gender confirmation surgery,” according to the course description.

It will be offered twice in the upcoming 2023-24 school year.

The idea that someone can change their gender is at odds with the teachings of the Catholic Church, which teaches that there are only two sexes. Pope Francis has also called gender ideology “one of the most dangerous ideological colonizations.” The Catechism of the Catholic Church, as well as papal encyclicals from Pope Francis, reinforce the teaching on the immutability of sex.

The College Fix reached out to Margaret Higgins, the department contact, and Naomi Gitlin, the Stritch School of Medicine associate director of marketing communications, for comment twice in the past two weeks, along with course supervisors Eugene Lee and Camilla Larson. None responded to inquiries.

The Fix asked for information and an explanation of the process and creation of the course and the motives that prompted it at a Catholic university. The Fix asked if there were any setbacks by the administration or students in the creation of the course due to the Catholic Church’s teaching on gender.

The goal for students is to “comfortably discuss of the pros and cons of various treatments and approaches to LGBTQ+ health with patients and colleagues,” according to the course description. The Fix asked for an explanation of these pros and cons.

MORE: Loyola ‘diversity’ program requires photos of applicants

An ethicist at the Ethics and Public Policy Center criticized the course and explained how he believes gender issues should be taught to medical students.

“Psychological distress should be treated through therapy, not radical body modification into a facsimile of the opposite sex,” Nathanael Blake told The Fix. “Chemical and surgical transition procedures have many side effects and a high rate of often-serious complications.”

“Though this course promises to ‘teach students the evidence-based treatment of LGBTQ+ patients’ we know that transition, especially for children, is not evidence based, which is why there has been a wave of European nations restricting pediatric transition after reviewing the evidence,” Blake said.

“The Catholic Church, like all orthodox Christians, recognizes the reality of human embodiment as male and female, and rejects as superstitious nonsense the notion that someone can be born into the wrong body,” Blake said, in response to a question about the appropriateness of a Catholic university teaching gender ideology.

“Pope Francis has been clear in his condemnation of gender ideology, and Catholic universities should follow his instruction,” the ethicist said.

The Fix also asked Blake about individuals who struggle with gender dysphoria and what medical students should learn about how to treat them.

“Medical students should be taught that gender dysphoria should be compassionately treated with therapy to help reconcile patients to their natural, healthy bodies,” he said. “This will require addressing the comorbidities that patients with gender dysphoria often have, as well as the trauma they have often experienced.”

This course is not the only way the university goes against Catholic Church teaching – it also offers its students abortions through the student health plan, as previously reported by The Fix.

MORE: Loyola med school becomes first to accept illegal immigrants

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About the Author
College Fix contributor MJ Cadman is a graduate student at Franciscan University of Steubenville, where she is studying theology.