To The Daily Sun,
In a letter to the editor published on March 15, there was a portion regarding transgender individuals in which the author of said letter stated, "I am particularly concerned about the parent who says their child identifies as the opposite gender. Allowing this to happen, according to the American Pediatrics [sic] Association, is child abuse." I am curious as to where the author found the evidence on which this claim was made?
The LGBTQ Health and Well-Being Special Interest Group at the American Pediatric Association identifies its overarching goal as "... (providing) a forum within the APA to promote the health and well-being of LGBTQ individuals through research, education, improvements in health care delivery, support and advocacy." Nothing in the special interest group's webpage suggests that the APA endorses the idea that allowing a child to identify with a gender that does not correspond to their sex at birth constitutes as abuse. For its part, the American Academy of Pediatrics Section on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Health and Wellness has a plethora of online resources including a webinar series on caring for transgender youth.
Onhealthychildren.org (run by the AAP), parents of gender-nonconforming and transgender youth are advised to respond to their child's gender identification "in an affirming, supportive way" and to support a "child's self-expression through choices of clothing, jewelry, hairstyle, friends, and room decoration." Far from condemning as abuse the permittance of a child to freely express their gender identity, the AAP tells parents, "Accept and love your child as they are. They will need your support and validation to develop into healthy teens and adults."
On a related note, I urge people to stop using quotation marks around terms such as transitioning and transgender. Putting these terms in quotation marks shows a lack of respect by implying that this aspect of a person's identity is invalid or false. By devaluing a person's identity — whether that be their sexuality, gender identity, nationality, ethnicity, religion, profession, etc. — you take into question any part of their self-autonomy and worth that is tied to it. No matter your personal beliefs, mutual respect is necessary for a productive discussion. The point of a conversation involving differences in opinion is to listen to the other side in order to understand, not to simply respond.
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