Laura Stiller, Special to the Advertiser Published 12:20 a.m. CT Oct. 7, 2020
Laura Stiller is a resident of Montgomery.(Photo: Contributed)
My first experience with a transgendered youth occurred during my first days of my first year of teaching at a large public high school in metro Atlanta.
When I called roll during my first third period class, I heard here from a young man named Tommy. My confusion came when I saw an F next to his gender on the class roll. I waited until the end of the school day to speak with his guidance counselor about what seemed to be an obvious mistake. Tommy was undeniably male; the school record must be wrong.
The counselor advised me that Tommy was born female but had been presenting as male since elementary school.She suggested that I talk with Tommy about it.
Tommy stayed after class to answer my admittedly ignorant questions.
Pronoun preference? "He."
When did you know that you were male? "Since I can remember."
When did you start dressing as a boy? "Since I was 5."
Do your classmates know? "Of course."
Do they have problems with it? "No, they know who I am."
Do you experience bullying? "Yes, but only from adults."
Have you begun hormone treatment? "Yes, but only after years of counseling and with my parents approval."
What else was there to know?Tommy was a boy.He had always been a boy. Psychiatrists and his parents agreed.His medical doctors agreed.The only resistance had been from adults who wanted to push their agenda upon his individual rights.
Rep. Wes Allen is one such person.
In his recent interview on public broadcasting, Rep. Allen repeatedly classified those who are transgender as suffering from gender dysmorphia. In his own words, when you come at it from a Biblical world view there is the immutable fact of male or female and the large majority of these kids grow out of it and grow to accept who God made them.
When pressed about his desire to remove decision making authority away from the parents, Rep. Allen spoke of mental health therapy and (unproven) negative effects of hormone replacement therapy. Over and over, he asserted that the state should usurp parental rights.He also blamed social media for the uptick in transgendered individuals much the same way that politicians in previous years blamed social media for the uptick in homosexual marriages.His every premise wears the guise of spiritual authority but is in reality factually false, manipulative, and mean-spirited.
In my decade of teaching teenagers at this metro Atlanta school, Tommy was but the first of many transgendered students I met. Without exception, these students were encouraged by their parents and peers, underwent years of rigorous psychiatric therapy, and found doctors who supported their realizations of themselves.Without exception, the hostility these young people faced came from strangers, namely adults.And without exception, none of them regretted or reversed their decision.Of the 25+ transgendered students I taught, all have kept in touch on social media and all are thriving in what they perceive as their true bodies.
It is not the role of government to impinge upon the rights of the individual. Our state allows children as young as 16 to get married with parental consent.If parents consent to a child undergoing hormone therapy as a teenager, who is the state to say otherwise?
Surgical procedures cannot take place until a child turns 18, so lets not pretend that is the point.If a child who has never wanted to enter the puberty of their birth sex decides with parental and psychiatric consent to try to thwart their bodys adolescent changes, what business is of the state is it?
If we allow the state to remove this level of parental control, where does it stop?Can the state then determine how children dress?How children behave?At what point do we decide that parental and individual rights are inviolate and cannot be subjected to government intervention?
HB1 should not be considered as anything other than an attack on parental and individual rights. In America, one is free to be ones individual self, no matter how different or foreign that might seem to another person.
For the sake of Alabamas parents and children, do not allow such a blatant government overreach to take place on our watch.
Laura Stiller is a resident of Montgomery.
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