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Fri May 13, 2016, 08:23 AM


San Francisco Catholic school teacher comes out as transgender — and finds acceptance

Photo: Michael Macor, The Chronicle Gabriel Bodenheimer, in class on Thurs. May 12, 2016, is a teacher and the English Department chair at Mercy High School for girls in San Francisco, California.

By Jill TuckerMay 12, 2016
Updated: May 12, 2016 5:18pm

Gabriel Bodenheimer could have lost his job when he recently came out as transgender to leaders of a San Francisco Catholic high school. Instead, in what some call a momentous step, the English teacher will remain at Mercy High, fully accepted as a man.

The announcement of support by an order of the Sisters of Mercy, which owns and operates the four-year college preparatory school for girls on 19th Avenue, offers a rare policy position on transgender rights from within an internationally respected Catholic order.

While there is no official Catholic policy or doctrine regarding transgender people, church leaders, including Pope Benedict, have addressed the issue, noting God created males and females and that anatomy defines identity.

“This is significant for us; we did not take this lightly,” said Sister Laura Reicks, president of the 16-state region of the Sisters of Mercy West Midwest Community. “We feel because of our values, the choice was this, but that didn’t mean it was easy.”


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