Cleveland Mayor Justin Bibb took a strong stance against the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland’s new policies concerning LGBTQ rights in their educational institutions.

Mayor Bibb, a Christian, shared his concerns on Instagram: “The new Catholic Diocese of Cleveland anti-LGBTQ+ policy feels like a direct contradiction to the teachings of love and acceptance I grew up with.”

The policy changes in 84 private Catholic schools restrict LGBTQ expression, mandate sex-specific dress codes, and only recognize bathrooms and pronouns that align with the student’s biological sex.

The Diocese justified their stance as a response to “societal trends” and said the policy is founded on Church teachings and scripture. They emphasize that, despite the policies, everyone is still welcome in the Church. Their statement assures: “like Christ, the Church meets each one of us where we are.”

A comprehensive document from the Diocese of Cleveland, made public on August 31, details the policies which include notifying parents about students experiencing gender dysphoria and prohibiting the use of “preferred pronouns.” The document states: “Our bodies, created male and female, are part of God’s intentional design.”

Non-diocesan schools, like Walsh Jesuit High School, aren’t obligated to adhere to the diocese’s policies, howeever.

Anthony Burke, their director of communications, mentions the school’s principle of ‘cura personalis,’ which translates to ‘care of the entire person’. He elaborated, “Every person is made in God’s image and likeness, and our aim is to help everyone realize their God-given potential.”

The ultimate objective for Walsh Jesuit is to uphold the Catholic Church’s teachings but ensure inclusivity. Burke summarized their mission, stating that they’re devoted to recognizing every human’s intrinsic worth as a creation “in the image and likeness of God.”

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