Transgender Catholic Sues Argentine Bishop

News: World News
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by Rodney Pelletier  •  ChurchMilitant.com  •  November 20, 2019   

Alba Rueda wants name changed on baptismal certificate

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SALTA, Argentina (ChurchMilitant.com) - A prominent trans activist is suing the Archbishop of Salta, Argentina, for refusing to change his name on Church documents. 

A man going by the name Alba Rueda, an activist for Trans Men of Argentina and president of Trans and Catholic Women Argentina, is claiming Abp. Mario Cargnello is violating Argentine civil law by refusing to change his name to "Alba" on his baptismal and confirmation records.

Rueda claims in November 2018 he approached Cargnello, demanding his name be changed in Church documents. He claims the archbishop rejected his demand, calling Argentina's trans laws a "legal fiction."

"He told me that 'canon law ignores legal fictions' and treating me in masculine clarified me: you were baptized and that is a historical fact that nobody can change," Rueda remarked.

Rueda told an Argentine news agency, "In principle I was not going to make a complaint, because what I was asking for is only an administrative matter. I changed all my registration data and this was the only one that remained pending."

"Many trans partners are Catholic. They were baptized, they did the catechesis, they took communion, they were confirmed. And then they were expelled from their religious communities because of their gender identity," claims Rueda. "We have the right to participate in the religious life of our churches in conditions of equality and respect. They should not deny us the sacraments for our gender identity."

Rueda afterward took his case to a lower court, but the judge called it a religious matter and refused to hear it.

As a concession, Cargnello added Rueda's trans name to Church records, but refused to change his original name. On November 14, an appeals court confirmed the judge's decision, and now Rueda is taking the matter to Argentina's Supreme Court.

Rueda's lawyer, Alejandro Mamani, says, "The gender identity law says that the registration changes do not have to leave a trace and that the documents have to be replaced by exactly the same ones, they cannot be marginal notes."

Trans activist Julieta Arosteguy slammed Abp. Cargnello's position, declaring, "We all know what the Catholic hierarchy thinks about trans [people]." She continues, "However, nothing in Catholic doctrine or in canon law justifies its position. They have no more doctrinal support than their own prejudices, no matter how much they want to disguise their transphobia of religion."

Arosteguy's organization, the National Campaign for a Lay State, is pushing for the secularization of Argentinian politics, specifically pushing "the Virgin [Mary] out of politics."

"Alba Rueda is demanding equality before the law. And he is demanding the state to consider the church a subject forced to fulfill the law, like you, like all," according to the organization.

It further states, "The Catholic Church in this country has the enormous privilege of disobeying the law ... [and] the huge privilege that the state will allow it."

Several Argentine bishops have been outspoken against transgender ideology.

In September 2018 Bp. Samuel Jofré Giraudo of Villa María was slammed for saying, "God created only man and woman, there are no grays" and "Trans are men dressed as women." 

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