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HRC: “Both legal and otherwise”

To the editor:

In the New Ulm Human Rights Commission’s most recent letter (“Revisiting the HRC’s Letter,” 1/29), the HRC included a statement about their previous letter, in which they had expressed their full support of transgendered individuals. In their letter of 1/29, they reaffirm and expand on their previous statement. They write: “The letter was written to clarify where the HRC’s support, both legal and otherwise, lies in regard to LGBTQ individuals.”

The phrase “both legal and otherwise” contains a problem. The problem does not lie with the word “legal.” Indeed, the legal rights of LGBTQ individuals are within the legitimate sphere of the HRC. The problem lies with the phrase “and otherwise.”

What is the problem with “and otherwise”? “And otherwise” is an all-encompassing term which, in this context, would indicate that the HRC supports everything that LGBTQ political movement stands for, and all of the claims that it makes regarding gender and sexual expression.

And the problem with that is twofold. First, it is outside the HRC’s legitimate sphere to express any public opinion at all on the question of how many genders there are. Their role as a commission is limited to ensuring that those who identify as LGBTQ are not discriminated against in the areas delineated in the law.

The second problem is that making a statement such as this conflicts with the fact that the HRC is required to function as a nonpartisan commission.

The HRC does indeed claim to be nonpartisan. They contend that they are legitimately nonpartisan based on the fact that they do not officially endorse any political party or any political candidates.

But nonpartisanship is more than that. It extends also to this, that the commission must not publicly promote the positions of one political party over those of another.

The HRC’s claim to being nonpartisan is at best self-deception and at worst pure hypocrisy. Everyone knows which political party you are supporting if you express support for everything, legal and otherwise, that the LGBTQ political movement stands for, and the HRC knows it, too.

As long as the HRC continues to extend its mission beyond the legal sphere, it will continue to divide rather than unite the community.

Michael Thom

New Ulm

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