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Brother Christian Matson, a diocesan hermit in Kentucky, recently came out as a transgender man, making him potentially the first openly trans person in his role in the Catholic Church. He transitioned while in college, and converted to Catholicism four years later. Matson, who also has a doctorate in religious studies, believes that the church needs to accept transgender individuals as they are, without compromising their identity for their faith. He has written to the Vatican multiple times in an effort to engage with more trans individuals and spark meaningful conversations within the community.

Matson’s coming out as transgender comes on the heels of the Vatican issuing a 20-page treatise called “Infinite Dignity,” which condemned gender theory as an attack on humanity’s connection with God. Matson expressed disappointment with the church’s official stance on trans issues, as he believes they have failed to engage with the science behind them. Despite facing rejection from several communities, Matson is now based in Kentucky where Bishop John Stowe of the Diocese of Lexington oversaw his vows in 2022. Stowe, a leading voice for LGBTQ+ people in the Catholic Church, recognized Matson’s sincere desire to serve the church.

After spending a year in prayer and local theater work, Matson renewed his vows in 2023, emphasizing that his only agenda is to serve the church. He has faced resistance and discrimination within the church, with some community members refusing to meet with him despite recognizing his religious vocation. Matson highlighted the need for the church to acknowledge and accept individuals like himself, who have a deep connection to their faith while also being a part of the transgender community. He believes that God has called trans individuals into the church, and they should not be excluded because of their gender identity.

Matson’s decision to come out as a transgender man has sparked a conversation within the Catholic Church about the inclusion of LGBTQ+ individuals. He is determined to serve the church without compromise, pushing for greater acceptance and understanding of transgender Catholics. Matson’s story sheds light on the struggles faced by trans individuals within religious communities and the importance of recognizing their identity and calling to serve. As a diocesan hermit, Matson hopes to contribute to a more inclusive and welcoming environment for all members of the church, regardless of their gender identity.

Brother Christian Matson’s journey as an openly transgender man in the Catholic Church reflects the ongoing challenges and progress in LGBTQ+ acceptance within religious institutions. His advocacy for greater engagement with trans issues and the inclusion of all individuals, regardless of gender identity, serves as an important reminder of the diverse voices and experiences within the faith community. Matson’s commitment to serving the church with sincerity and dedication demonstrates the resilience and determination of LGBTQ+ individuals to be seen, heard, and accepted within their religious communities. As he continues to navigate his path as a trans man in the Catholic Church, Matson’s story serves as an inspiration and a call-to-action for greater acceptance, understanding, and compassion towards all individuals within the church.

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