Letter: Letter was ill-informed

Published 8:30 pm Friday, March 24, 2023

I am writing in response to Mr. Sorenson’s ill-informed letter regarding transgender persons and the onslaught of anti-trans laws. Let me start with language. Persons who do not identify with the sex assigned at birth are not transsexuals. This is an outdated and inaccurate term. Transgender is what you are referring to. Gender is not the same thing as sex, which is merely the physiological reproductive body parts. Gender is how we all identify and present. Often this does align the our sex assigned at birth, but many times it does not. This is, has and always will be part of being human. Transgender is not by any means a new phenomenon or a fad, and transgender persons simply want to be who they are, their authentic and true selves.

Your focus on youth and care for those is also quite incorrect. Gender-affirming care for persons under the age of 18 does not mean hormones and surgery — quite the contrary. The care involves mental health evaluation, counseling to help them understand gender identity and what they are experiencing, as well as physical assessments. Use of hormones is limited for patients under the age of 18 and only given in late teen years after lengthy evaluations and sessions. Transitioning can be something as simple as dressing and presenting to the world as the gender they identify with.

Suicide rates are higher for the transgender population, but is mostly due to the stigma and discrimination experienced. Imagine enduring the attacks and now laws against something so personal. Since gender-affirming care involves mental health evaluations and counseling as needed, to take this away by making it illegal will only worsen the stigma and discrimination that this population endures. Suicide and physical violence against trans persons will increase.

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Providing gender affirming care is not in any way “medical experiments,” and to associate this with the horrors of Nazi atrocities is cruel and ignorant. Mr. Sorenson is incorrect in every paragraph of his letter. Please, stop getting information on something that takes freedoms and basic rights from sources that have no real knowledge of the subject. A great source for information is www.transstudent.org.

In closing, I ask that people take the time to learn and understand as much as possible about what gender identity and gender-affirming care really is. I am educated in this topic both academically and personally as I have a transgender son. I could not be more proud of him and the strength, integrity and perseverance displayed on a daily basis. I wish I could say the same for the elected officials in states such as Iowa, who feel they can take freedoms, rights and life-saving care away from so many. Shame on you. And thank you to Mayo Clinic and the University of Minnesota for their exceptional programs and care!

Peggy Olson
Albert Lea