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Understand and accept transgender youth

To the editor:

The New Ulm Human Rights Commission would like to respond to the letter by Gigi Rysdahl published on 9/22 addressing transgender youth. Transgender individuals are protected from discrimination under the 1964 Civil Rights Act. So much damage can be done with words, and this letter disparaging LGBTQ youth and those supporting them only serves to jeopardize their safety.

Let’s look at the real, measurable damage to children. According to The Trevor Project, transgender youth have significantly increased rates of depression and suicide compared to peers. Not because there is anything wrong with these individuals, but because they are members of a society that villianizes their existence. Simple acceptance is all it takes to literally save lives. More research can be found here: https://williamsinstitute.law.ucla.edu/publications/suicidality-transgender-adults/

There is plenty of science to demonstrate gender is not simply male and female but is instead a spectrum. Ms. Rysdahl stated that it is wrong to “dictate the emotional and physical future of our offspring.” That is 100% correct. By forcing a person into a gender role that you feel is appropriate for them, that is precisely what is being done. Every human being has the innate right to be treated equally based on who they are, not who others think they should be.

It is part of human nature to fear or be skeptical of things we do not understand. There is a wealth of information out there that may help you. Start with Human Rights Campaign at hrc.org/resources/transgender. Mayo Systems also have information at www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/in-depth/transgender-facts. Understanding is the first step towards true human rights for all.

At best, transphobia serves only to divide us and see others as something less than incredible human beings. At worst, it results in avoidable tragedy and the potential loss of a life.

To the transgendered citizens of New Ulm: you are valued; you are guaranteed the same rights as everyone else in our community; you are loved. If you are in need of support, please reach out.

Counselors at The Trevor Project are available to support you 24/7. If you are in crisis, feeling suicidal, or in need of a safe and judgment-free place to talk, call the TrevorLifeline at 1-866-488-7386. If you feel you are discriminated against, please contact the Human Rights Commission via the Mayor’s office.

The NUHRC Executive Committee,

Wendi Ringhofer

Larry Czer

Dan Kalk

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