How to talk to your kids about transgender issues

Conference seeks to empower parents with facts about the gender movement

Aaron Lambert

Emily Zinos may not be a scholar or a doctor, but as a concerned mom who sees the danger of the transgender trend, she brings a unique perspective to the conversation and articulates it better than most.

The St. Paul, Minn., mother of seven (with an eighth on the way) could no longer remain silent on the issue when during the 12th year of her kids attending a local public charter school, the gender issue “landed on my doorstep.”

“We had a kindergartner in school and the parents said that [he] the five-year-old boy was gender-nonconforming,” Zinos told the Denver Catholic. “I really hadn’t heard of the phenomenon of kids identifying as trans or gender-nonconforming until that happened. But when it did, I had really no choice but to speak up.”

Since then, Zinos has equipped herself to dialogue effectively on the transgender issue and wants to give other parents the tools to do the same. Zinos will be a featured speaker at the Made This Way conference Sept. 10 at St. Thomas More Parish in Centennial, hosted by Denver’s Respect Life Office. Joining her will be Alabama-based plastic and reconstructive surgeon Deacon Patrick Lappert, MD, who will explain the medical and psychological consequences resulting from cross-sex hormones and surgeries.

Zinos is the author of the National Parent Resource Guide, an adopted version of the Minnesota Parent Resource Guide, which she also wrote. The guide seeks to clarify confusing terminology, describe the health consequences of the transgender trend, debunk myths and provide parents with the tools to advocate for a “genuinely inclusive environment” in their kids’ own schools.

“Most everything people are reading or hearing about transgender-identified kids is going from advocacy groups who have an interest in people coming to a very particular conclusion,” Zinos said. “Unfortunately, that [means] that thousands of kids across the country are losing their fertility and losing their heathy body parts. I really think that needs to stop.”

The guide was vetted by experts in law, medicine and education, Zinos said, and it is also co-branded by five different organizations that “come from across the political spectrum.”

Zinos’ efforts do not come from a place of hate or bigotry, as some critics might be quick to accuse her of. Rather, she is simply a mom who is trying to lovingly communicate the truth about the human person as created by God and present the dangers of this trend as it becomes more accepted. However, it must be done charitably, she stressed.

“The way we communicate in public, the way we maintain relationships with people in our lives [who] identify as trans have to be infused with charity,” Zinos said. “And charity doesn’t exist outside of truth.”

Made This Way
Tuesday, Sept. 10, 6:30 p.m., $10
St. Thomas More, McCallin Hall
8035 S. Quebec St., Englewood, CO 80112
Register at respectlifedenver.org

To request a link to the National Parent Resource Guide once it’s released in September, send an email to [email protected].

 

COMING UP: The bullies and that book 

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Immediately after news broke on January 12 that Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI and Cardinal Robert Sarah had written a book on the crisis of the priesthood in the 21st-century Church, online hysteria erupted — which rather underscored the prudence of a New Year’s resolution I had recommended to concerned Catholics in a January 1 column: “Resolve to limit your exposure to the Catholic blogosphere.”  

The extraordinary venom spewed at the pope emeritus and the cardinal by more than a few commentators did not advance the Church’s discussion of the reform of the priesthood one jot or tittle. It actually retarded that urgent discussion, diverting attention from some urgent issues (including the deep roots of the abuse crisis and the meaning of clerical celibacy) by treating a serious book as if it were a partisan political tract.  

Yet the cacophony over the Benedict/Sarah book, From the Depths of Our Hearts, did serve two useful purposes: it spoke volumes about the character of the venomous, and it clarified some of the dynamics roiling the Church as the pontificate of Pope Francis approaches its seventh anniversary on March 13. 

The attack on Pope Emeritus Benedict was exceptionally nasty — and deeply ill-informed. One prominent partisan of the current pontificate opined that Benedict is “conscious barely half an hour at a time;” another wizard from the left field bleachers had it that Benedict was “incapacitated.” Neither man has the faintest idea of what he’s talking about. I spent a full 45 minutes with Pope Emeritus Benedict this past October 19, discussing a broad range of issues. He was quite frail physically, but in the early evening of what I assume had been a normal day, he was completely lucid, quite well-informed, eager for new information, full of good humor, and able to recall themes and personalities from conversations we had had decades earlier. The pope emeritus seemed clear as a bell, intellectually, at age 92; can the same be said for those who, relying on “reports,” dismiss him as a senile old man, out of touch with events and perhaps even reality? 

The attack on Cardinal Sarah was equally vicious and just as ill-informed. I have had the honor of knowing the Guinean cardinal for several years and, like anyone who has spent significant time with him, I have found him a man of profound holiness: a truly converted disciple of Jesus Christ whose ministry flows from his radical fidelity to the Lord. Despite the caricatures perpetrated by those who evidently fear his present and future influence in the Church, Cardinal Sarah has also struck me as a man of Christian joy, still amazed at the grace of God that has been at work in his life, and therefore able to laugh (in that robust way that only Africans can) at the human foibles of the moment. Cardinal Sarah was not laughing, however, at the claim that he had lied about the origin and nature of From the Depths of Our Hearts and his righteous, if controlled, anger confirmed what those who actually know him understand: this is an honest man.  

These calumnies against Benedict and Sarah were amplified by another absurd charge: that by discharging their minds and consciences on what is necessary for an authentic reform of the priesthood, the pope emeritus and the cardinal were somehow interfering with Pope Francis’s “discernment” after the Amazonian synod of this past October. So it has now come down (and I do mean down) to this: the partisans of openness and dialogue are now telling two of Catholicism’s most distinguished sons that their views are unwelcome; that the theological and pastoral defense of clerical celibacy is an act of disloyalty to Pope Francis; and that they should just shut up.  

These are not the tactics of advocates convinced that they have won the substantive argument and are likely to continue winning. These are the tactics of those who, fearful that time is running out, imagine that their only recourse is to resort to bullying.  

There is nothing of churchmanship in this, nor is there anything of Christian charity. The reform of the priesthood is essential for the evangelizing mission of the Church. Those who dismissed a serious proposal for such reform, in large part by vilifying its authors, branded themselves as less interested in reforming the priesthood of the New Covenant than in ecclesiastical power-games. 

Featured image: © L’Osservatore Romano