Nine-year-old Cady Mansell, a girl who lives in St. John, Indiana, was told by an official at her Catholic school that she would not be able to join other children in receiving her First Communion, a major rite of passage among Catholics. It was when the school learned that Cady was choosing to wear a boy’s suit that her parents were told that should would not be allowed to participate unless she wore a skirt or dress, as is customary with girls and women.

Since the disagreement, the Mansell family have pulled Cady and her sister out of the school. who has a strong sense of fashion, an all-white suit was the perfect choice for her First Communion, a major event for the nine-year-old. The priest at the parish, Rev. Sammie Maletta, told the Mansells that a deacon was authorized to give Cady the Eucharist, but added that she would not be allowed to attend the Mass at which her classmates would receive their First Communion unless she adheres to school rules. The school’s dress code plainly states that boys must wear dark slacks and a white shirt and girls must wear a white dress or skirt. Girls are not allowed to wear boys clothing.

Cady’s mother, Chris Mansell, said that she did not want the Church to give the Communion “like in secret.” She claimed that the priest told her husband that they are not raising Cady appropriately. The family has decided to leave the parish. Chris Mansell has quit her job at the school. According to the mother, Cady identifies as a girl even though she wears her hair short. The mother said that Cady had donated her hair to a nonprofit that makes wigs for patients who lose their hair to disease.

Cady is now enrolled in another Catholic school where the children in the girl’s cohort have already received their First Communion. Her parents are looking for a parish who will give Holy Communion to Cady. Chris Mansell has posted a photograph of her daughter on the Facebook page of Pantsuit Nation, a feminist political action group that supported Hillary Clinton’s presidential bid. Chris has since posted a photograph of Cady in her suit in the Facebook group Pantsuit Nation, a group of feminists who supported pantsuit wearer Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election. The Mansell family plans to sue the school.



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Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat and the editor of Spero News.

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