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Opinion | Transgender Youths Become a Political Issue in Texas

To the Editor:

Re “Texas Court Halts Inquiries Over Transgender Children” (news article, March 12):

Thousands of parents — liberal, conservative and everything in between — face tough decisions when a child declares that he or she is transgender, particularly when that child showed no sign of gender dysphoria in his or her early years.

Unfortunately, this issue, like so many in our country, has been politicized. The edict by Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas to investigate parents for child abuse if they provide certain medical treatment to their transgender children was radical and divisive. A Texas court ruled on March 11 that the policy had been improperly adopted and violated the State Constitution.

Amid the political posturing, allowing children to alter their bodies through lifelong medical treatment is worth an analytical conversation. Parents worldwide are grappling over how to prevent their children from starting down the road of hormone treatment, which has lifelong side effects.

Many feel isolated and powerless while schools, therapists, gender specialists and others encourage gender transition. Many believe that children, perhaps too young to understand the implications of medical decisions, are swept up in a social movement.

The problem is we can’t seem to talk about this issue without making it political.

Tina Traster
Valley Cottage, N.Y.

To the Editor:

By telling Texas child care services to prioritize investigating parents helping their kids get transgender therapy instead of investigating actual cases of serious child abuse, Gov. Greg Abbott proved that his top priority is not to help children in danger, but to boost his appeal among trans- and gay-hating constituents in order to gain the Republican presidential nomination.

What a cold and callous man. Is this really the kind of person any party would want in high office? I hope not, but that he was elected governor of Texas is a chilling confirmation of how equally cold and callous his supporters can be. Here’s yet another narcissistic politician aiming for the White House by sneering at the law and attacking those who are different. America is better than this!

Karla Jennings
Decatur, Ga.

To the Editor:

Re “Casualty of Fight Over Transgender Youth: A Crucial Clinic” (news article, March 10):

As a pediatrician who has taken care of transgender patients and who trained at UT Southwestern Medical Center and Children’s Medical Center of Dallas, I think the decision to close the clinic flies in the face of all that is known about the care of children with the diagnosis of gender dysphoria and the recommendations of experts in the field.

I have seen firsthand the benefits that the multidisciplinary care that clinics like Genecis provide. The clinic’s closure undoubtedly will result in needless suffering for its patients and other children who could have obtained care there. It appears that administrators have responded to the demands of poorly informed anti-trans partisans rather than the best science and evidence.

This trend of public health policy being determined by anti-science misinformed political pressure is alarming — and, hopefully, short-lived and reversible.

Jimmy Unger
Portland, Ore.

To the Editor:

Re “This ‘Don’t Say Gay’ Bill Will Hurt Teenagers Like Me” (Opinion guest essay, March 15):

Will Larkins’s clarion cri de coeur on behalf of gay and gender-nonconforming teenagers touched me deeply. It also brought to mind a long-dormant memory:

In 1990, when I was a sophomore in high school, I submitted an essay about a boy I liked. When my English teacher, Mr. Coyle, handed it back to me, I saw that he had added in his unprepossessing red scrawl the dreaded “See me after class.”

When the last of my classmates had filed out, I approached the big desk at the front of the room and, in a small voice, offered, “You wanted to see me?”

“Yes,” Mr. Coyle said, pointing to my paper. “Are you OK with this? Because I am.”

Eight words I could not have gotten at home. Eight words that saved my life.

Mr. Coyle has since died, lost too soon to Alzheimer’s, but he lives on in the spirit of Henry Adams’s words: “A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops.”

To the Editor:

Re “Kim Jong-un Is Just Getting Started,” by Jean H. Lee (Opinion guest essay, March 15):

Ms. Lee is right: The Biden administration needs to pay more attention to North Korea. But she is short on viable solutions for advancing the increasingly difficult goal of denuclearization.

Thus far, U.S. policies have only worsened the situation. For example, sanctions have failed to force Kim Jong-un to abandon his nuclear weapons, and annual U.S.-South Korea military exercises further provoke North Korea to demonstrate its military capacity.

Regional cooperation — including with China — will be key to achieving denuclearization. A critical area of cooperation could be replacing the cease-fire with a peace agreement that formally ends the Korean War. Many experts agree that the war’s unresolved status has been the main obstacle to restoring peace in the region.

The Biden administration should prioritize diplomatic solutions by putting a formal end to the Korean War on the table, and take small, reciprocal steps to normalize relations with North Korea to achieve the ultimate goal of a Korean Peninsula free of nuclear weapons.

Christine Ahn
Honolulu
The writer is the founder and executive director of Women Cross DMZ, and a coordinator of Korea Peace Now! These groups of women promote peace on the Korean Peninsula.

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