Title IX policies contradict our Catholic identity

The UD administration faces a dilemma in choosing between honoring new policies or adhering to Catholic teaching. Photo by Kathleen Miller.

Transphobic. Anti-queer. Extremist. Conspiratorial. Dangerous. Bigoted toward gay people.

These probably aren’t the words that come to mind when you think of Pope Francis.

But they are the words activists and journalists have used to describe the pope when he’s spoken about Catholic teaching on gender ideology.

Pope Francis has been clear about two core Catholic beliefs.

First, all people are made in God’s image and deserve to be treated with love and compassion.

Second, it’s wrong to believe that humans have God-like power over creation to change men into women or women into men.

Is Pope Francis a bigot? Of course not. But smearing political opponents as bigots has become a go-to tactic for the political left when they want to silence those who disagree.

It’s a nasty strategy tactic that’s destructive to political discourse. It’s also effective.

Which brings me to the University of Dallas.

For those who haven’t heard, UD is one of more than 100 colleges and universities to request a religious exemption from the Obama administration’s new interpretation of Title IX.

Title IX bans discrimination on the basis of sex in education. It’s served valuable purposes, such as making women’s NCAA sports what it is today.

Under the Obama administration’s new interpretation of the law, however, the term “sex” now includes sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression.

Under the Obama administration’s interpretation of Title IX, referring to someone by the “wrong” pronouns could be treated as sexual harassment.

Policies that say biological men can’t use women’s bathrooms regardless of their self-defined gender identity will also become verboten.

Offering single-stall bathrooms as a compromise isn’t acceptable under the new Title IX interpretation either.

If a biological male claims to sincerely identify as a woman, he must be allowed to use the women’s bathrooms and locker rooms and reside in women’s dormitories.

If that biological male wants to be called feminine pronouns (she/her/herself) or gender neutral pronouns (ze/zir/zirself), the university must comply.

These are just a few examples of what compliance with this new interpretation of Title IX looks like.

Many conservatives have made the transgender debate about bathrooms and women’s safety.

While there is an argument to be made there (just Google “voyeurism in Target changing room”), making the transgender issue about bathroom use obfuscates why the issue is important.

This isn’t a bathroom issue; it’s a truth issue.

The Obama administration’s interpretation of Title IX prohibits speaking or recognizing the truth about gender and sex.

The Title IX exemption isn’t about seeking license to persecute; it’s about remaining free to pursue truth as a university community.

As noted in last week’s edition of The University News, Campus Pride, a far-left activist organization, added UD to its “Shame List” of the “Absolutely Worst Campuses for LGBTQ Youth.”

Any school that requested a religious exemption to Title IX is on the list, including many seminaries.

According to the organization’s website, the “Shame List” was created “for the purpose of calling out the harmful and shameful acts of religion-based prejudice and bigotry.”

At the top of the “Shame List” is a quote from the organization’s executive director, Shane Windmeyer.

“Religion-based bigotry is careless and life-threatening,” Windmeyer said.

Of course, this is the same language used to portray Pope Francis as a mean-spirited bigot anytime he speaks on the issue.

Ever wonder what a university must do to be considered inclusive of LGBTQ students? Campus Pride has got you covered.

In addition to “safe space training” and crackdown on “bias” (disagreement), Campus Pride makes clear that universities have to change their curriculums in order to be properly “inclusive.”

“Issues relating to LGBTQ people should be formally and permanently integrated into existing courses across the curriculum,” lists a Campus Pride page titled “Effective LGBTQ Strategies for a Safer, More Welcoming Campus.” “Courses dealing specifically with LGBTQ issues in the humanities, natural sciences, education, social sciences, and other disciplines should be established … A visiting scholar position in LGBTQ studies should be created and supported on a continuing basis.”

UD will never do these things, nor should we if we want to remain a university dedicated to the pursuit of Catholic virtues.

If we want to be a university dedicated to the pursuit of feelings and ignorance, fine.

But that’s not who we are, that’s not why we’re here. We’re here to pursue truth, wisdom and virtue.

If the price of pursuing truth is being labeled a bigot by authoritarian bullies, then so be it.

“If the world hates you, realize that it hated me first,” Christ tells us in John 15:18-19. “If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world but I have chosen you out of the world, the world hates you.”

If we stay committed to pursuing truth, many people will hate us. But that doesn’t change the fact that we have an obligation, both to the world and to ourselves, to speak the truth and do so fearlessly.



  1. A response to the Commentary Article on Title IX exemptions and UD
    As an alumna of UD (’03 BA theology) who went on to get an MA in Theology at Boston College and also an out lesbian, I think it is fair to say that I am well versed in both sides of this argument. I was shocked at Mr. Hasson’s characterization of the LGBTQ movement as hostile toward Pope Francis. No Pope in history has been more accepting of my community. Mr. Hasson simply wants to hide his own LGBTQ directed bigotry behind the Holy Father.
    I too saw the Title IX shame list. I also remember a commencement speaker in the not too distant past who slammed LGBTQ individuals, and not in a way that indicated he believed they were also created in the image and likeness of God but might have a different ordering principle in their personal relationships. That, by the way, was when I stopped donating to UD as an Alumna and I made the University aware that until such time as it is off all of these anti-LGBTQ lists, I will not donate another cent.
    I’ve always known that my peers at UD might have a difference of opinion with me on LGBTQ rights, although many of my classmates can make the distinction between secular and religious privileges for LGBTQ individuals, but it was never divisive for us. But now, if Mr. Hasson typifies the student body, I fear my UD experience would have been far different.
    We are not asking the church to change her teachings or require inclusion in sacraments. But what we are asking is the same protections as other minority groups. You could not deny a person admission because of race, or gender, so why sexuality or gender identity. Mr. Hasson’s depiction of gender identity lacks any understanding of the actual situation, and possesses the nuance of a sledge hammer.
    I do not feel an institution founded on the principles of the church should exclude anyone who meets admission requirements. Was not the lesson of Christ to embrace all, to love all, to welcome all?
    Kat Cook
    BA in Theology 2003

    Note: I was the commentary editor from 2001-2002 and the Features Editor from 2002-2003, so I hope, even if you disagree with this, you’ll print it as a courtesy to a former University News Editor.

    • Hi Kat,

      As the Director of Admission, I can tell you that we do not discriminate based on gender identity for admission. We have admitted openly transgender students (and I imagine some who weren’t) and will continue to do so provided they meet admission requirements.

      Please feel free to e-mail me at egriffin@udallas.edu if you have any questions-I would welcome the opportunity to continue a conversation with you.

  2. LOL. What an ignorant, condescending article. Did you really compare non-binary individuals to voyeurs in a Target dressing room?! Did you really change the definition for “bias?”
    Pro tip: insert the words “black” or “women” or “refugees” in place of your smug references to non-binary individuals. Are you uncomfortable yet, or just busy making excuses for how that’s somehow a different issue?

    I’m proud to have lived with a non-binary (pronouns: they) individual in the UD dorms. Though they were not yet presenting that way at that time, it doesn’t negate the fact that they identified that way already, and had since childhood. Interesting how uncomfortable and frightened they were of coming out during their time at UD. How telling that they feel no more comfortable or supported by their alma mater now.

    The church and UD are in the midst of a another Galileo moment. Science and research already support the genetic explanation for gender and sexual fluidity. This isn’t about feelings. This isn’t about theology. This is about the safety and affirmation of real people- people who are no more likely to be sexual predators than any other good Catholic UD student or professor (and Lord knows there are a couple predators there). I hope that centuries from now, church officials will condemn their rejection of the rights of non heteronormative individuals. But really, I’d prefer if it happened a little more expeditiously.

    UD already has, does, and will continue to educate students who are LGBT/ non-binary. I can think of close to 30 alumni who identify as such, either publicly or privately (and some well loved professors, wink, wink). It might have been your Rome suite mate. It might be your best friend’s sister. It might even be you! You know… I have never ceased to be amazed at who exactly turned out to be LGBT from that school!!

    In any case, all I know is that I refuse to support a university that will not accommodate all students. I will join a small but growing group of people who will not lend their time or financial resources to UD’s fading, and yes, bigoted causes.


    • Can you provide credible evidence to support your claim that “science and research support THE genetic explanation for gender and sexual fluidity,” whatever these two are? (When I was younger, I always assumed there was a shared understanding as to what gender was, but apparently that’s not the case; as to sexual fluidity, I’m listening). The way I see it, your Hassons and your LGBTQ-sympathizers differ intensely on the facts; and until there’s a consensus here, each side will always be ignorant, bigoted, condescending, and preachy relative to the other.


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