Source: The Conversation – UK – By Marta Marchlewska, Adjunct assistant professor, Head of the Political Cognition Lab, Institute of Psychology, Polish Academy of Sciences
Gender identity cannot be fluid, according to the Catholic church. Its first extensive document on so-called “gender ideology”, published in June 2019, stated that there are only two genders which are constituted biologically and cannot be “individually chosen”. It also warned that flexible ideas about gender may pose a threat to traditional Catholic values.
Even though many Catholics were concerned about the document’s potential to promote transphobia and homophobia, it resonated with many people’s fears of what we can call a gender conspiracy. This is a broader conviction that gender theory and gender studies represent an ideology that is a threat to society – an idea that is becoming increasingly widespread across the world.
Our new research gives insights into this conspiracy theory and how it relates to religion. It is based on a survey from Poland, where there’s plenty of support for the conspiracy theory and the Roman Catholic church holds a strong position. Right now, there’s even a debate about whether the coronavirus pandemic is a punishment for gender theory.
People who believe in the gender conspiracy theory think that a gender ideology is a secret plot by powerful people to hurt their in-group – for example, the Catholic church. This is in fact how most conspiracy theories work. In line with this reasoning, academics and activists who emphasise that gender is not only a biological phenomenon, but also a psychological one, are seen as enemies of human nature.