This article is the first in a three-part series featuring remarks from the Discovery Institute’s Dallas Conference on Science & Faith, hosted by Park Cities Presbyterian Church on Feb. 17, 2024. To read part two, click here. To read part three, click here.

Dr. Jay W. Richards is a philosopher who serves as the William E. Simon Senior Research Fellow in the DeVos Center for Religion and Civil Society at The Heritage Foundation. He is also an adjunct professor in the School of Business at the Catholic University of America and a senior fellow at the Discovery Institute.

Dr. Richards spoke at the Discovery Institute’s Dallas Conference on the topic of Gender Ideology – now pervasive in our culture – in a very important outbreak session titled, “How Science & Faith Can Defeat Gender Ideology.”

The following is a brief recap of his remarks.

They’re Coming for Your Children

“I want you to understand something,” Richards started, “They are coming for your children and grandchildren, absolutely explicitly.”

He added:

The reason is because they’re going after something that is directly available to natural reason, to everyone, in every time and in every place. Everyone has direct experience of there being boys and girls. Every culture knows this, every child knows this, everyone knows this.

So, to disrupt those categories, you have to get kids young. That’s what this is about.

As evidence of this, Dr. Richards cited three “children’s books,” designed for kindergarteners, that teach Gender Ideology, including:

  • Who Are You? The Kid’s Guide to Gender Identity
  • It Feels Good to be Yourself: A Book About Gender Identity
  • They, She, He, Me: Free to Be!

In It Feels Good to be Yourself, children read, “Some people are boys. Some people are girls. Some people are both, neither or somewhere in between.”

Richards explained, “That’s the propositional claim of Gender Ideology – it teaches 5-year-olds to think of their peers not only as boys and girls. Some are neither, or in-between, or both.”

What is Gender Ideology?

So, what exactly is Gender Ideology?

Richards said Gender Ideology makes this central claim: “Sex as an observed external reality does not accurately explain human experience and existence. Human experience and existence are better explained by two different concepts, including ‘gender identity’ and ‘sex assigned at birth.’”

He noted that gender idealogues believe “Gender Identity is an internal sense of gender.” However, this definition is inherently confusing because the word “gender” is being used to describe itself. Yet, that is the claim that gender activists make.

“It’s a subjective, self-referencing state that is independent of the body, and can be contrary to the body,” Richards said of this definition. “A consistent gender idealogue will never, ever use the word sex. They will immediately switch to ‘gender’ or ‘sex assigned at birth.’”

He added:

That’s happening. That is the view. It sounds completely radical and crazy because it is. But that is it. It is fundamentally incompatible with basic biology and knowledge.

Richards went on to cite the two “most popular” examples of this ideology, which are being used as educational aids in schools to indoctrinate children today. Richards advised parents and grandparents, “They are being used in your children and grandchildren’s school, unless you’re paying attention and have verified that they’re not. Assume that they are.”

The first example is The Genderbread Person (version 3.3).

Note that one’s “Gender Identity” – located in the brain – is completely disconnected from one’s sex.

However, the Genderbread Person quickly became outdated among transgender activists, for two reasons.

First, because it looks like genderbread man, which is “obviously transgressive,” Richards said. Also, because it still refers to one’s biological “sex” as “the physical sex characteristics you’re born with.” This, according to transgender activists, is incorrect.

Therefore, a “more accurate” educational aid has been developed – the Gender Unicorn.

The Gender Unicorn is completely androgenous – you can’t tell if it’s a male or female. Additionally, the brain has been replaced with a rainbow. Note that “biological sex” has also been removed and replaced with “sex assigned at birth.”

“You’re teaching kindergartners this stuff,” Richards said, adding,

This is all completely detached from any kind of biological reality. That’s where we are.

Dr. Richards also observed that the fight against Gender Ideology is unlike any other political debate.

There are the usual traditional conservative people on the side of basic biology – including Catholics, Mormons, evangelicals, and orthodox Jews – but joining them are also lesbians, atheist evolutionary biologists, and formerly apathetic parents who have been “red pilled” because transgender activists have targeted their children.

“It’s a completely different thing than I’ve ever experienced,” Dr. Richards remarked, adding,

They all see it as an absolute civilizational fight to the death because that’s what it is.

I see this as an opportunity to build alliances with people who thought I was a bigot 18 months ago.

Part two of the Daily Citizen’s recap of the Discovery Institute’s Dallas Conference will cover Dr. Richard’s proposed solution to Gender Ideology.

Focus on the Family exists to help families, and that includes help navigating the issues of homosexuality and transgenderism. Focus offers a free, one-time counseling consultation with a licensed or pastoral counselor. To request a counseling consultation, call 1-855-771-HELP (4357) or fill out our Counseling Consultation Request Form.

Related articles and resources:

Counseling Consultation & Referrals

Transgender Resources

Addressing Gender Identity with Honesty and Compassion

The Journey Back to My True Identity

What is ‘Gender Identity’

Transgenderism and Minors: What Does the Research Really Show?