Catholic Diocese of Worcester under fire from LGBTQ+ leaders for new policy at schools

The U.S. flag, the rainbow pride flag and a Black Lives Matter flag fly over The Nativity School of Worcester. Bishop Robert J. McManus stripped the school of its right to call itself Catholic over its refusal to take down the flags in 2022. (Jonathan Wiggs/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
The U.S. flag, the rainbow pride flag and a Black Lives Matter flag fly over The Nativity School of Worcester, which was stripped of its Catholic identity by the bishop over its refusal to take down the flags in 2022. (Jonathan Wiggs/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

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Well, that's one way to promote an album. Here's hoping your Friday is a little less controversial. To the news.

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Worcester is under fire from local LGBTQ+ rights leaders for a new policy at schools under its purview. The policy — announced earlier this week ahead of the school year — prohibits students and staff in the diocese school system from using pronouns, clothing, bathrooms or locker rooms that don't align with the sex they were assigned at birth. "All students are expected to conduct themselves at school in a manner consistent with their biological sex," the policy says.

  • Why? WBUR's Fausto Menard reports the diocese says it's trying to ensure uniformity, since some schools had policies on the subject and others didn't. At the same time, the diocese says schools will not tolerate any harassment, threats or violence against students based on their perceived sex, sexual orientation or gender identity.
  • The backlash: A local Catholic group that supports LGBTQ+ rights is calling for the policy to be rescinded. Marianne Duddy-Burke, the head of Boston-based organization Dignity USA, says the new Worcester policy singles out children who identify as transgender or nonbinary. Duddy-Burke added LGBTQ+ children are already more likely to be bullied or depressed, and the new policy could make things worse. "As children do the very important work of identity formation, many are going to question sexual orientation or gender identity," she told Menard. "And they have to know that they are going to be respected and loved no matter who they finally determine themselves to be."
  • Meanwhile, in Boston: A spokesperson for the Boston Archdiocese told The Boston Globe they have no similar policy for their schools currently, but it is being considered for the future.

After a rainy summer in New England, get ready for a hot fall. WBUR's Barbara Moran reports federal forecasters are predicting warmer-than-average temperatures for New England this autumn.

  • We'll let you guess the reason. (Yes, we mean climate change.) National Climate Prediction Center meteorologist Dan Collins says the global warming trend is "a significant factor in the outlook for September, October and November."
  • The big picture: New England temperatures are warming faster than the national average, according to researchers. And a recent study found southern New England is losing its snow cover at one of the fastest rates in the world.
  • ICYMI: In addition to all the rain, last month was also the fourth warmest July on record in Massachusetts.

Massachusetts officials want your feedback on a new state seal and motto. The Massachusetts Seal and Motto commission has been working on a full redesign since May 2022, after the current version was condemned as racist to the state's Native Peoples. (The original seal, which has been in place since 1898, portrays a Native man with a detached arm holding sword poised over his head.)

  • How to weigh in: You just take this online survey. That's it! It's available in a variety of languages, too. To get a range of feedback, the commission also plans to share the digital survey with Native American communities in Massachusetts and veterans’ groups, and plans to mail physical questionnaires to a random sample of Massachusetts households, according to The Boston Herald.
  • What's next: Once the results are in, the Commission should make final recommendations to the Legislature in November.

This weekend's weather looks ideal for Open Streets Allston-Brighton. Stretches of Harvard and Brighton avenues will be closed to car traffic tomorrow for the pedestrian-only event. It runs from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

  • Wait, what's happening? The newly expanded Boston program closes down specific streets in selected neighborhoods throughout the summer. Pedestrians takeover and it becomes a block party of sorts, with food trucks, performances and art installations.


Nik DeCosta-Klipa Newsletter Editor
Nik DeCosta-Klipa is the newsletter editor for WBUR.


Meagan McGinnes Assistant Managing Editor, Newsletters
Meagan is the assistant managing editor of newsletters.



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