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14 November 2008

Nancy Ledins (1932 - ) priest, electrologist.

William Griglak was raised in Cleveland, Ohio. He became a Catholic priest and earned a PhD in Psychology at The Catholic University in Washington D.C..

William resigned the priesthood in 1969, and transitioned surgically to Nancy in 1979 with surgery from Dr Biber.

She never returned officially to lay status, and thus is claimed as the first female Roman Catholic priest.

Afterwards Nancy became a noted electrologist, and served as the educational director for the American Electrology Association.

Of course there are other candidates for 'the first female Roman Catholic priest'. I seem to remember an Italian priest who transitioned around the same time, but I cannot find any details any more.


  1. I was indoctrinated in Catholic theology as an undergraduate, and it is my understanding that (1) the church does not recognize even postoperative transsexuals as their new gender, and (2) although a priest can be defrocked, his sacramental powers can not be reversed: "once a priest always a priest". In their view, then, she is indeed still a priest, but also still a man, so there is no "woman priest".

  2. Hello Onesime,

    Then the Catholic Church will need to make up their mind, then if they consider her a man to explain why she can be a priest, how do they explain the fact that they let a transsexual woman become a nun? Or is she a Cross-dressing lay priest in their eyes?

    Sister Mary Elizabeth started the AIDS Education Global Information Service (AEGIS).

    A 1996 news report said; The American Catholic nun runs "the largest HIV/AIDS Web site in the world" ( ) from a room in her parents' San Juan Capistrano home.

    She was also unique in being the only Openly known Transsexual woman who joined (actually rejoined) and served in the US Navy as a post-op Transwoman.

    She had served 17 years as a man and rose to Chief Petty Officer, then left for SRS then rejoined (with full disclosure of her previous male service and TS status) and served as a Female, she served a brief tour as a Sargent First Class Joanna Clark.

    She ensured (due to her open policy of honesty) that she told her superiors and recruiters of her TS past and had no problems until one senior officer decided she was in his eyes a gay man in a dress and moved to discriminate against her.

    Her case resulted in the Military's policy of "Don't ask, Don't tell!"

    When she left the forces she became a nun (ALSO with full disclosure "Do Prey and Do Tell!")

    In 1988, she made her vows as an Episcopalian nun as part of the order of Saint Elizabeth of Hungary. Later Sister Mary Elizabeth changed affiliation to the American Catholic Church, Due to being discriminated against in the Episcopalian order, which after she left fell apart.

    As Joanna Clark she lobbied successfully in 1977 for a law that allowed replacement birth certificates in the state of California. She later wrote Legal Aspects of Transsexualism, an important early document on the subject, still referenced twenty years later. She founded the ACLU Transsexual Rights Committee, serving as chair for several years, seemingly tirelessly working to improve the legal status of TS persons.

    You can find out more about her in many different articles written about her or retained (after original news reports are long deleted) in the Yahoo Transhistory group.



  3. So now another surprise:

    Onesime said... "I was indoctrinated in Catholic theology as an undergraduate, and it is my understanding that (1) the church does not recognize ..."

    And so what do you then think their policy is on same sex marriage?

    It may shake your understanding a bit? It also shows how they are willing to change their official position when caught out...

    UK/Vatican: Catholic Press Office says Church supports same sex marriage

    original article about this amazing 2001 declaration and a few weeks before that, that the Catholic Church had blessed hundreds of Gay pairs and Lesbian Pairs was made by the Vatican to the British Newspaper "The Telegraph".

    Details in Eurotransgender message no. 55

    from Fri Aug 10, 2001 11:17 pm

    A later report in Eurotransgender said: After a Catholic Ecclesiastical Historical researcher discovered evidence that the Church had conducted hundreds, possibly thousands of same sex marriages in a report made in 2001, the Catholic Media Office, said that "the (Catholic) Church had always supported same-sex relationships..." adding the proviso "...that were chaste."



  4. The American Catholic Church is not the Roman Catholic Church. They have extremely different policies on gays and transies.

    To claim that Joanna Clarke's case with the US military in the mid 1970s resulted in the US military's 'Don't Ask ..." in the 1990s, a generation later, is really pushing your position. The dates alone make it very unlikely. requires an id and a password to even read it. I cannot read it, nor can the vast majority of readers of this blog. Please cite sources that are open to the public.


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