University to sponsor ‘Transgender Moment’

STEUBENVILLE — The claims of gender identity activists will be analyzed during a conference sponsored by the Veritas Center for Ethics in Public Life at Franciscan University of Steubenville on April 5-6.

“The Transgender Moment: Understanding and Responding to Gender Identity in Contemporary Culture” will bring together scholars and experts from law, medicine, philosophy, psychology and theology to examine the causes behind gender dysphoria and the increasingly radical nature of gender identity political activists, officials said.

Interdisciplinary panels will include topics ranging from the philosophical contradictions behind gender identity activism to the dubious science and scholarship backing those claims. With a focus on the application of natural law, panelists also will explore how gender identity activism threatens fundamental rights such as free speech and the free exercise of religion, and how gender identity activists will go to extreme lengths to silence reasoned dissent.

The keynote speaker will be Ryan T. Anderson, author of “When Harry Became Sally: Responding to the Transgender Moment,” which directly addresses the contradictions between the mainstream media’s flattering portrayal of transgender persons and the real effects that gender dysphoria has on families and individuals, officials said.

“This national conference will bring together the leading voices on the topic of gender identity,” said Anne Hendershott, professor of sociology at the university and director of the Veritas Center. “We are grateful to Veritas associate Ryan Anderson for his willingness to help us host this important conference.”

Anderson, the William E. Simon Senior Research Fellow at the Heritage Foundation, is also a visiting fellow at the Veritas Center and the editor of Public Discourse, a journal of the Witherspoon Institute.

He will be joined by speakers including Anthony Esolen, professor of English at Thomas More College; Dr. Michelle Cretella, president of the American College of Pediatricians; and Mary Hasson, the Kate O’Beirne Fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center. Additional speakers include Walt Heyer, a former transgender individual who since has de-transitioned and works on offering hope for others who regret their sex change.

The weekend will conclude with a panel discussion with the undergraduate members of the Veritas Center fellowship, who are students at the university.

Created in 2013, the Veritas Center has hosted annual conferences in an effort to promote the center’s mission of bringing faithful Catholic scholarly reflection to bear on the most pressing ethical questions in contemporary culture, according to officials.

“The Transgender Moment: Understanding and Responding to Gender Identity in Contemporary Culture” will take place April 5-6 on the Steubenville campus. Registration is $50 for guests, and free for university students, staff and faculty. For a schedule, speaker biographies, a schedule of events and to register, visit