Focus on what really matters

To the editor:

I find it curious that our legislators across the country are focusing on transgender teenagers wanting to play sports. Why, with all that is happening in our country with the pandemic, violence against people of color, and families struggling to make ends meet, are we talking about bathrooms and locker rooms for teenagers.

When my own daughter came out as transgender a few years ago, we found ourselves planning each outing away from our home around safe bathrooms for her because she was aware of this public fear of her. Luckily, her high school, Mankato West, did a beautiful job making sure she could participate in physical education and have access to a bathroom without shame or undue attention. Transgender teenagers have a 50% greater rate of suicide attempts because so many of them do not feel safe, welcomed, or supported. That itself is a crisis, not whether their body is a problem in sports or bathrooms.

Some say that if God meant someone to be a boy or girl, God would have made them so. Well, do you wear glasses? Have you had your wisdom teeth removed? Do you take thyroid medication? Do you object to surgery to repair congenital defects? Did God really mean for every body to be as it was at birth, or does God empower us with wisdom, science, and tools to repair and support our bodies as needed?

I find it curious that some political leaders are focusing on transgender bodies right now. I find it curious because there is a clear pattern showing. Whenever some politicians lose power, they distract the public from the real issues. In the 1950s they told white middle and working class people that people of color were their enemy, not corporations who wouldn’t pay a living wage. In the 1980s morality was raised up as the pertinent issue when big money was increasing its power in politics. And now, when our communities are concerned about the toll of the pandemic, the visible violence against people of color, and the struggle to support our families with living wages, right wing politicians are distracting us with who can play sports and use which bathrooms.

I expect my politicians to govern for the benefit of the community, not to monitor our children’s genitals.

Rev. Michelle Hargrave

North Mankato


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