Letter: Feds can’t make transgender people invisible

Remember the fable of the emperor’s new clothes? It’s about two weavers who promise the emperor a new suit of clothes which, they say, is invisible only to those who are unfit for their positions, stupid or incompetent — while, in reality, they make no clothes at all. When the emperor parades before his subjects in his new “clothes,” no one dares to speak up and say they don’t see any suit of clothes on him for fear that they will be seen as stupid.

Today, there are well-educated people who actually believe that by denying the rights of transgender citizens, they will be able to make them invisible. By refusing to acknowledge that a person is transgender, and attempting to define gender only as a biological, immutable condition determined by genitalia at birth, is the same as the emperor who refuses to admit that he really can’t see his new set of clothes.

Currently, the federal Department of Health and Human Services is arguing that government agencies need to adopt an explicit and uniform definition of gender as determined on a biological basis that is clear, grounded in science, objective and administrable. This proposed definition would define sex as either male or female, unchangeable and determined by the genitals that a person is born with. Any dispute about one’s sex would have to be clarified using genetic testing.

Millions of Americans have transgender family members, coworkers, neighbors and friends. Together, we can fight against this harmful and baseless proposal and ensure that transgender people are treated with the dignity and respect that all people deserve.

They won’t be invisible, unlike the emperor’s clothes.

— Jim Crittenden


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