Catholic university teaches 'transphobia' and 'fatphobia' are products of racism perpetuated through religion

Facilitators will make the case that systems of oppression have been implemented through wide-ranging systems, such as religion, eating disorder treatment, and toxic masculinity.

A Catholic Connecticut university is teaching students that supposed societal problems of “fatphobia” and “transphobia” are actually rooted in racism and perpetuated by social institutions like religion.

The seminar, titled “Racism’s Intersectional Impact on Agency & Liberation” is part of Sacred Heart University’s “Continuing Conversations in Antiracism” workshop series, which seeks to tie racism to various forms of oppression and perceived oppression.

The “Continuing Conversations” program is a monthly lecture series offered by Sacred Heart since November 2022 featuring various faculty members, community practitioners in social work, and “other advocates for social and racial justice,” according to the description page.

Those who attend the series will be able to “[r]ecognize and clearly identify institutional barriers experienced by historically marginalized and underrepresented students and faculty” and “[f]oster an environment where allyship groups, collaborative projects and initiatives may be established and potentially funded,” among other learning goals.

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Racism’s Intersectional Impact on Agency & Liberation” is set to take place on Wednesday, July 26, and “will explore the ways that systemic racism creates, co-creates and perpetuates all intersectional forms of oppression and marginalization by systematically limiting access to the agency, autonomy, opportunity, health, information and even pleasure necessary to dismantle oppressive systems.” These “oppressive systems” include 

 The 90 minute seminar will teach students how other forms of “oppression”–including “transphobia,” “fatphobia,” ableism, and ageism– stem from racism and have been implemented through wide-ranging systems, such as religion, eating disorder treatment, and “toxic masculinity.”

Students will be trained to examine “the ways we experience white supremacist thinking internally.” 

One of the presenters for the workshop will be Wednesdae Reim Ifrach, a “Non-Binary Art Therapist & Body Liberation Activist,” according to the presenter’s LinkedIn page. Ifrasch’s bio describes the presenter’s specialties as including “gender-affirming care, fat and body activism, intersectional social justice, complex trauma, and eating disorder treatment.”

[RELATED: Cornell’s ‘Racial Allyship Training’ teaches students to ‘disrupt white spaces’ and ‘decenter whiteness’]

Academics frequently assert that “fatphobia” and other similar concerns stem from a foundation of racism. In 2021, Campus Reform reported that Winthrop University, in an Instagram post, said that “diet culture” and “weight stigma” found their root in “racism and anti-Blackness.”

Other notable workshops offered during the “Continuing Conversations” series touch on topics such as implicit bias, anti-racist relationships, and indoctrinated biases.

Campus Reform contacted all parties mentioned for comment. This story will be updated accordingly.