Catholic monk comes out as trans man: ‘Deal with us’

A Catholic monk has come out as transgender, saying the church “must deal with” transgender people in the community who refuse to sacrifice their identity for their faith.

Brother Christian Matson, a Kentucky diocesan hermit, officially came out Sunday with permission from Bishop John Stowe of the Diocese of Lexington. he told Religion News Service..

In a media interview, he warned the Catholic Church, “It is not your church that is driving us out. This is God’s church, and He has called us and grafted us into it.”

Matson added that he may be the first openly transgender person in a role in the Catholic Church, but Religion News Service could not verify that claim.

Matson, 39, explained that he converted in college and converted to Catholicism four years later.

He hoped his coming out would spark meaningful dialogue about particularly difficult issues in the community.

In a message to the church about transgender Catholics, Matson, who also has a doctorate in religious studies, said: “God called us into this church, so you have to deal with us.” It must be done,” he said.

Matson came out just a month later. The Vatican has published “Infinite Dignity.” The 20-page paper described gender theory, as well as abortion and surrogacy, as an attack on humanity’s connection to God.

Matson (right) appeared with permission from Bishop John Stowe of Lexington. Brother Christian Matson / Facebook

“The documents that have come out on this matter at the Vatican level have nothing to do with science,” Matson said, lamenting the church’s official stance on transgender issues.

He added that he has sent multiple letters to the Vatican asking it to engage with more transgender people.

Matson recalled to RNS that when he felt called to serve the church, he consulted the church’s attorney about his options.

Although her lawyer advised that her best bet was to become a hermit in a gender-neutral parish, Matson was rejected by several communities until she finally found a home in Kentucky.

“People who knew me said, ‘You obviously have a religious mission,’ and they were all people who knew my medical history,” Matson said. .

“But when I went to the people in the community responsible for making those decisions, they often refused to even meet with me.”

Stowe, a leading advocate for LGBTQ+ people in the Catholic Church, received a letter from Matson in 2020 and oversaw his vows in 2022.

“I want to be open to him because this is a sincere person who is seeking a way to serve the church. A hermit is rarely used as a form of religious life…but… They can be male or female,” Stowe told RNS.

After spending almost all of his first year in prayer or working at a local theater, Matson renewed his vows in 2023.

“I have no hidden agenda. I just want to serve the church,” Matson said. “People may believe it or not.”

Brother Christian Matson did not immediately respond to The Washington Post’s request for comment.