The meeting commenced with a brief yet thorough history from Robert Kirby, a member of Acies, relating from where the issue of transgenderism originated and how it eventually sprung up and took root in modern society. Kirby first addressed the issue from a natural standpoint, taking his listeners down to the most basic principles on marriage and how it increasingly deteriorated after the fall of Adam and Eve; the union of marriage plunging from its God ordained bondage of love to a bondage of servitude. Thus the roles of men and women greatly deteriorated with the corruption of marriage throughout ancient history, the role of man proving to be a constant battle between tyranny and effeminacy, while the role of woman descended to that of mere servant. With the dawn of Christianity came the restoration of human dignity as a creature of God, the union of marriage being restored to a bond of love rather than servitude.
Granting the imperfections of humanity, marriage still suffered great abuse even following its restoration, and thus did the proper roles of its participants suffer. Kirby went on to explain that the mismatch of gender distinction began to increase with the dawn of the Industrial Revolution and the Victorian era. The former event was a great cause of the separation of man and woman, “tear(ing) the entire structure (of the family) apart”, said Kirby, and the latter was an era of a “puritanical imposition” of sterilization of roles, sexuality, and gender, clearly stemming from a Protestant “distortion of reality”. In these eras which appealed to man’s sense of equality and greatness of self without any credit to or recognition of the supernatural, it is no wonder that tyranny and effeminacy, gender equality, and woman’s rights have spurred on the confusion of the sexes altogether. “Gender roles are so ambiguous”, Kirby said, that people just choose their own gender now. He concluded by stating that the crux of the problem lies with the Protestant Reformation, which was the great beginning of the rebellion which indeed has led even to a rebellion against one’s very identity as a man or woman.
Following Robert Kirby’s discourse, Fr. Patrick Rutledge took the podium to present the Catholic stance on the topic and how a Catholic should best approach a transgender individual. Father began by explaining why many of these transgender people choose such a lifestyle. Often the cause is that many of these individuals want to dissociate themselves from their person due to previous trauma, bad child rearing, or other similar causes. Father went on to explain that this problem really begins with Rousseau’s philosophy of the noble savage; man in his natural state is good, and society imposes certain ways for men to think and act. This understanding has led men to eventually determine their own reality. Thus the very term “gender” versus the term “sex” implies a disconnect from nature and hence from reality, as “gender” refers to a societal construct as opposed to a biological construct. Given this denial of nature the best approach, Father explained, cannot be on the lofty level of a theological or philosophical argument, but rather on the level of the absurd; for example, identifying oneself as something even more ridiculous than the opposite sex. Identifying as a six-and-a-half-foot Chinese woman, when in reality the initiator of this argument is a five-and-a-half-foot white male, is an effective means of illustrating the absurdity of the transgender position.
When speaking to anyone on such a controversial subject as this, Father gave two key points upon which to always rely: charity and grace. He concluded his discourse with a brief question-and-answer session and these words, so crucial to a truly Catholic apologist: “A good apologist is concerned not with winning the argument but winning the soul.”