This graduation season marked positive signs in Catholic education for transgender students.
As reported by New Way Ministry's, a high school in Los Angeles run by the Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary allowed a transgender student to participate in graduation earlier this month. The student was able to walk in a suit, instead of a dress, respecting his preferred gender identity. A post in the Facebook group for Immaculate Heart High School’s Class of 1970 stated, “Meet our alumni brother. This was not an easy decision for the administrators to make, but they did the right thing as Immaculate Heart does. Elliot is the first transgender graduate but probably won't be the last. He loves the school as much as the rest of us and that's all that matters. ‘Every loyal daughter and son...’”
A transgender woman, Andy Bowman, was chosen as one of the commencement speakers at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. She spoke at the at the Master of Social Work graduation ceremony. In her speech Andy said, “Maybe it is because I’m a transgender woman who is engaged to another woman and I’ve had to come out of the closet like three or four times, but I’ve always been attracted to the principle that all human beings have inherent human dignity…” This was a huge step forward for the University, which refused to recognize an LGBT student group on campus in 2012.
HRC applauds these institutions for creating a safe and equal space for transgender students. Learn more about what HRC is doing across the country to empower students to fight for LGBT equality on campus and beyond here.