Archdiocese of Indianapolis policy could bar transgender students from enrollment

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A controversial policy within the Archdiocese of Indianapolis could potentially bar transgender students from enrolling in area Catholic schools.

WISH-TV obtained the policy document. The document is eight pages long and it was signed into effect on June 8.

The final page of the document states in part, “Any student, whose ‘gender’ has been legally changed from their biological sex, or who has chemically and/or surgically altered their given biology, may not be eligible for enrollment.”

“Overall, the policy says the Archdiocese of Indianapolis is fine discriminating against youth who identify as transgender or non-binary,” said Chris Paulsen, CEO of Indiana Youth Group.

Paulsen says 32% of Indiana’s LGBTQ youth identify as transgender or non-binary.

“It (the policy) says to them, that they’re not welcome, and they should not be who they genuinely are, if they don’t conform to what the archdiocese says they should be,” Paulsen said.

The policy also states “utilization of facilities including restrooms and locker rooms will align with a person’s biological sex…” and that “school personnel will address students by the name listed on the official school registration (or its common derivative), and the pronoun correlating to their biological sex.”

“To me, the Archdiocese of Indianapolis is saying they’re not interested in educating students who don’t conform to their standards,” said Paulsen.

In a statement to News 8 Thursday, Greg Otolski, the director of communications for the Archdiocese of Indianapolis said:

“We welcome all students and families with the understanding that the Archdiocese of Indianapolis’ schools are a ministry of the Catholic Church and we strive to integrate our faith and the teachings of the Catholic Church into all aspects of our school culture and curriculum. Some students who attend the Archdiocese’s schools question their sexual identity and we recognize that their struggles have a profound effect on their lives. The Archdiocese’s goal is to always walk in accompaniment with young people and their families. Such accompaniment may result in the provision of resources, accommodations and/or other supports in alignment with Church teaching. The hope is that we can continue to serve the student and their family. The safety and welfare of each student is a priority.”

Greg Otolski

District 32 State Senate candidate Belinda Drake says inclusivity is something all of Indiana should strive for.

“We have to continue to be inclusive, and be mindful of all individuals when we’re thinking about education and make sure that it’s working for everyone. If our money, our public dollars are going to be used to discriminate, then we have a lot of work left to do here in Indiana,” said Drake.

The policy recommends taking a prudent, careful approach on a case-by-case basis about sexual identity.

To read the entire policy for yourself, click here.