MELBOURNE (ChurchMilitant.com) - Catholic schools in the state of Victoria, Australia are recent targets of a transgender agenda sweeping the globe.
While Melbourne archbishop Denis Hart is dealing with gay students wanting to bring same-sex dates to formal Catholic high school dances, the state government is preparing strict guidelines dictating that all Victoria schools must allow transgender students to participate on sports teams aligned with their self-identified gender.
Transgenderism is plaguing Catholic schools around the world. ChurchMilitant.com reported Thursday how transgender legislation is affecting Alberta Catholic Schools and, in addition, reported on how transgender norms are influencing Catholic schools in Nebraska.
As ChurchMilitant.com revealed last fall, Abp. Denis Hart was then battling the Labour government’s attempt to force Catholic adoption agencies to adopt out children to homosexuals. Hart called the legislation a violation of fundamental human rights and a "fundamental attack on religious freedom."
But in the recent gay date affair, Hart seems to be softening his tone, urging Catholic schools to be sensitive and respectful to students who want to bring same-sex dates to formal school dances.
Asked about this issue by Fairfax Media, Hart responded, "Students in a secondary school are growing up and in developmental stages where these relationships are more like strong friendships and are not usually permanent; they are not in a situation where they are committing."
He continued, "These are quite often emotional situations and it's very important that we always have respect for the dignity of the human being involved."
This issue began when a female student at the Academy of Mary Immaculate, in the diocese of Melbourne, wanted to bring a female "date" to their formal high school dance. The policy of the school originally banning such activity has since been changed to allow same-sex couples to attend school formals.
Archbishop Hart said he appreciated the school's turnabout and believed it had "shown great sensitivity in what is an unusual scenario."
Some say the change was a long time in coming as it’s been eight years since Victoria's Education Department directed all state schools to let gay couples attend school events together.
The largest LGBTI group in Australia, "Minus18," warmly received Abp. Hart's recent comments, but now wants schools to allow transgender students to dress according to their preferred gender.
Meanwhile, as ChurchMilitant.com reported, nearby Tasmanian archbishop Julian Porteous is under attack from the state's Antidiscrimination Commissioner for distributing a pro-traditional marriage booklet called "Don't Mess With Marriage" to the families of students in Catholic schools.
But bigger problems may be ahead for Abp. Hart, with the new transgender guidelines being prepared by the Victoria's Safe Schools Coalition concerning transgender students' participation in sports.
Roz Ward, co-founder of Victoria's Safe Schools Coalition, has been working with the Education Department to update the inclusion policy for School Sport Victoria, the peak body for school sport in the state. The guidelines now explicitly reference transgender students for the first time.
In Victoria, it is illegal to discriminate against a person in sport on the basis of gender identity except in a few situations. Single-sex sporting competitions may lawfully discriminate on the basis of a person's sex or gender identity if "strength, stamina or physique is relevant."
An Education Department spokesman said the department was working to make schools "more inclusive for same-sex attracted and sex and gender diverse students, primarily through sport."
Even these guidelines are currently in force for secular schools, and if the pattern set in Alberta and Nebraska are any indication, Catholic schools in the Australian state of Victoria may soon feel the effects of the transgender agenda as well.