As I mentioned previously, I am taking lay ministry classes on Tuesday nights for my local Archdiocese and am completing the lay certification in May. For this absence, I took time to celebrate my beloved husband’s birthday, the love of my life, who I have been married to for nearly 29 years. Out family is shown in the featured image of this article. My husband is the handsome man in the white Spanish shirt.
So here is the make-up assignment. “Per on the the effects of daily life, family, and community when a person chooses to live a Life in Christ. Please include references from the class to support your position.”
For this assignment and Patheos piece today, I went into the course outline and pasted the primary objectives here although there are other objectives Dignity (CCC 1700-1709, 1929-1933; GS 12, 14-15; CSD 108, 144-148), Freedom (CCC 1730-1742; GS 17; CSD 130-137) of the Human Person, Natural Law (CCC 1954-1960; CSD 138-143), Grace (CCC 1996-2011), Sin (CCC 1846-1869; GS 13; CSD 115, 120), Moral Conscience, and Conscience formation (CCC 1776-1794; GS 16).
I will also copy and paste what I do here again which is listed on my biography page for Patheos Catholic.
“Julie Nichols is a practicing Catholic, a Native Texan, wife of 28 years, a mother of young adults, and has a daughter-in-law.
She is a pediatric Academic Language Therapist/ Associate of Educational Therapy who serves children with developmental, learning disabilities, and cognitive disabilities, a part-time advocate for disabled and LBGTQ youth and their families, an early-onset Parkinson’s Disease patient, and was the first recipient of Advanced Deep Brain Stimulation Surgery in South Texas in 2017.
Julie loves modern-day theological challenges, walks with the dogs, attending Mass/Church, and eating Mexican food on the San Antonio Riverwalk with her family.
Dear Representative/Bishop/Mr./Ms. _________________ 4-19-2023
Hello, my name is Julie Nichols. I am a specialty practitioner (see below), a wife of 28 years, a mother of young adults, and a Native Texan. I am also a practicing contemporary Catholic with some lay ministerial training.
I am writing today to address the endangerment of LGBTQIA+ children and their families, particularly transgender youth. Just as there are variances in neurology, psychology, and biology in a certain percentage of the population, there are likewise variances in gender and sexuality for a certain percentage of the population. As a Catholic-Christian mother of neurodivergent children, as a practitioner, and my experiences over many years, I can deeply relate to the parents of transgender children in states like Texas, Florida, and Ohio.
Throughout my letter, I am going to combine both ministerial and scientific components of advocacy because both significantly apply in the case of transgender children and their families.
Right now, many parents of transgender children from all over the country are having to move to other states and even out of the country because of anti-trans laws that we all can see in plain view. Many who do not understand science are politically weaponizing legislation to harm and endanger LGBTQIA+ youth and their families, especially transgender youth.
Sexual orientation and gender identity are typically fixed by the age of 18, cannot be changed, typically show starting signs in early childhood for many cases, but biologically start to form in the third trimester of pregnancy. The vast majority of medical organizations say to fully support a child’s gender identity and sexual orientation. When one parent fully supports their LBGTQIA+ kids, the suicide rate dramatically drops over 40%, especially for a transgender child which drops by over 75%. Any effort to coerce or change an LBGTQIA+ child’s identity such as through gay conversion or reparative therapy is deeply damaging and many times leads to suicide. Most transgender youth require nothing permanent under the age of 18 such as the simple and correct use of pronouns, names, and the child’s clothing. Sometimes in pre-adolescent and adolescent years, the child may or may not need puberty blockers and/or hormone replacement therapy which are reversible. Very few transgender children require surgery under the age of 18. However, this is a private family decision where the family must have access to gender-affirming care in some cases to save their child’s life, health, and well-being. Denying gender-affirming care for a transgender child would be the equivalent to denying insulin to a diabetic child who may or may not need insulin to live and thrive. Each case is unique and is addressed individually.
The lives and health of LGBTQIA+ youth, especially trans youth, depend on at least one parent fully-affirming and supporting their child. Therefore, my Catholic-Christian faith helps me place the sanctity of life and the dignity of the human person above any other doctrinal struggles I might have as a practitioner. I hold clinical LGBTQIA+ Inclusion in Healthcare certification because the Right-to-Life and Human Dignity matter most to me both in my faith and practice.
From Scripture, I am going to quote the Parable of the Tree adapted for LGBTQIA+ kids from Freedhearts (LBGTQ+ support group ministry). I added some of my own good and bad fruit which I have personally experienced as a professional and as a parent.
“Jesus’ parable to answer his disciples’ question about how to know if something is true. Jesus’ answer was, “Look at the fruit. If a tree bears good fruit, then you know it is a good tree. If it bears bad fruit, it should be chopped up and used for the fire.”
When we look at the consequences (the “fruit”) of not supporting and rejecting the LGBTQIA+ and/or neurodivergent child in the family, church, and society, we find depression, anxiety, self-hatred, shame, self-harm, substance abuse, separation, isolation, anger, serious mental illness, and even suicide.
But when we teach that God, the Church, the family, the school, and community loves and accepts LGBTQIA+ and neurodivergent people unconditionally, the fruit is health, healing, love, joy, peace, self-acceptance, stable relationships, reconciliation, unity, wholeness, health, and life.
Fully accepting and including a transgender child would be no different than fully including and accepting a child with a disability and/or neurodiversity like Autism. Although the LGBITQA+ spectrum is not a disability or neurodiversity identity, it is still a natural psychological spectrum intrinsic to being human. Transgender youth need unconditional love and support, especially from other Christians for their right-to-life and human dignity. Love and support from other Christians are seen and love and acceptance from God. Rejection or trying to change who they are from other Christians is seen as rejection and abuse from God. Jesus and the Gospels were all about love, inclusivity, and defending the marginalized. Jesus came for the disenfranchised, the ones society rejected. If we claim Christ’s name, we need to follow His example to love the Lord our God with all of our mind, soul, and strength and love our neighbor as ourselves.
Please remove attacks on transgender children and their families and include them as full members of society. Jesus would never do such a thing to anyone, nor should His Church. Following the science of every major medical association in the world by accepting and including transgender children is about the right-to-life, human dignity, and loving our neighbor as ourselves.
With Christian Love and Concern for Transgender Children and Their Families,
Julie Nichols, MEd, CALT/AET
Master of Education
Certified Academic Language Therapist/Associate of Educational Therapy
Autism, Dyslexia, Cognition, and Tele-practice Specialist
LGBTQIA+ Inclusion in Healthcare Certified