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GMHC Responds to Pope Francis Comments on Gender








August 1, 2016
Contact: Danielle Filson |646-335-0443|


New York, New York – GMHC released the following statement after the release of transcripts from a closed-door meeting last week between Pope Francis and bishops from Poland. The Vatican released a transcript Tuesday. Francis said: “Today, in schools they are teaching this to children — to children! —that everyone can choose their gender.” Without specifying, he blamed this on textbooks supplied by “persons and institutions who donate money.” The pope blamed what he called “ideological colonizing” backed by “very influential countries” which he didn’t identify. One such “colonization” he said — “I’ll say it clearly with its first and last name — is gender.”



“Gay Men’s Health Crisis is saddened and disturbed by Pope Francis’ declaration that it is terrible for schools to be teaching children that they can choose their gender. Our nation just witnessed the single deadliest mass shooting at Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, specifically targeting the LGBT community, and what we need now is for our world leaders to spread messages of tolerance and acceptance.

Our children deserve to know that of course they have the right to choose, and GMHC applauds all schools that teach students not to oppress who they are, but instead live the life as the gender they most identify with. We stand with all transgender and gender non-conforming individuals and will continue our work combatting the stigma, discrimination, harassment and obstacles this community faces every single day.”




About Gay Men's Health Crisis 

Gay Men's Health Crisis (GMHC) is the nation's leading provider of HIV and AIDS care, prevention services and advocacy, serving nearly 10,000 people living with and affected by HIV and AIDS in New York City, the epicenter of the epidemic in the U.S. As the world's first HIV and AIDS service organization, GMHC is an expert in providing services that every person affected by the epidemic deserves. GMHC is on the front lines caring for people who are both HIV negative and positive, including: testing, nutrition, legal, mental health and education services. GMHC also advocates for stronger public policies at the local, state and federal level with the goal of ending AIDS as an epidemic in New York State by 2020. Most recently, GMHC and other HIV and AIDS organizations successfully persuaded the federal government to recommend widespread use of PrEP, a new daily treatment that is over 90% effective in preventing HIV infection. For more information, visit