WATCH: Out Trans Students Celebrate Graduation at Catholic Schools
BY Mitch Kellaway
June 25 2014 7:31 PM ET
Last month, the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., achieved a milestone when trans advocate Andy Bowen took the stage to address the graduating class of social work students, according to New Ways Ministry.
Bowen, who works as a policy organizer for the DC Trans Coalition, spoke to the crowd about the importance of social workers addressing all of society's "endemic disadvantages," rather than limiting themselves to just policy work or clinical practice.
"I've always been attracted to the principle that all human beings have inherent worth and dignity. That centers me, and it keeps inspiring me to do work," she said, pointing out that this value is inherent to both Catholic teachings and social work.
"If you center your moral universe on [that principle], you have to work against injustice in all of its forms," she continued. "Our portfolio is heavy, but the principle we have to strive towards is actually quite simple."
In another first, Los Angeles' Immaculate Heart High School, which is an all-girls institution, allowed a transgender male student to attend the ceremony in his affirmed gender identity, according to the same New Ways Ministry report.
The student's experience is a far cry from that of New Mexico student Damian Garcia, who made headlines last year after refusing to walk at his graduation when St. Pius X Catholic High School barred him from wearing male attire.
To watch more of the trend towards affirming transgender students, view all of Bowen's inspiring speech below.