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Concerns expressed over wellbeing of trans pupils in Catholic schools following Cardinal’s comments

At a meeting of Catholic school headteachers in London, Cardinal Vincent Nichols has warned against the promotion of trans identities, it has been reported. Cardinal Nichols, Britain’s most senior Catholic official, reportedly stated that if children are questioning their gender identity, schools should stress that ‘there are “givens” which come with birth’. Humanists UK has expressed concern about the wellbeing of trans pupils in Catholic schools across the UK.

The Cardinal is reported as having told Catholic school leaders:

‘At a time of great confusion about the rules of sexual behaviour, about exploitation and abuse in every part of society, some firm points of reference already built into our humanity at its best are of vital importance…

‘In an age of fluidity, even in gender identity, and at a time when the response to “difference” is to become closed in a self-selecting world of the like-minded… such foundations are so important. They affirm that there are “givens” which come with birth…

‘They help us keep hold of the reality that we are not single, self-determining individuals but members of a great family, with all its trials, diversities and struggles, and within that family, not alone, will we find our greatest joy.’

Ten percent of state-funded schools in England and Wales are Catholic.

Responding to the comments, Humanists UK Education Campaigns Manager Jay Harman said, ‘It clearly isn’t right for schools to take an approach that dismisses out-of-hand the situation where some of their pupils express a gender identity other than their biological sex..

‘This places rigid dogmatism over both the evidence and the needs of pupils, and if reports are accurate, it is a very troubling position for Britain’s top Catholic cardinal to take. We can only hope that that the Catholic Bishops’ Conference takes a more evidence-led, inclusive, and empathetic stance when it meets to discuss trans issues next month.’


For further comment or information please contact Humanists UK Education Campaigns Manager Jay Harman on

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At Humanists UK, we advance free thinking and promote humanism to create a tolerant society where rational thinking and kindness prevail. Our work brings non-religious people together to develop their own views, helping people be happier and more fulfilled in the one life we have. Through our ceremonies, education services, and community and campaigning work, we strive to create a fair and equal society for all.

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