LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Engendering concerns

The Sunday, Aug. 26 Delaware State News had an article about two Democratic and two Republican Primary candidates for District 31 Representative.

The Republican gentleman’s reported opinion and the Democratic gentleman’s response to a question of mine are disturbing, to say the least. Despite the progress toward the acceptance of lesbian, gay and bisexual people, there is still evidence of intolerance towards them. Too many are still being exposed to violence and death.

People in this 21st century are subjecting another minority to unfair treatment due to ignorance on the part of “normal” people.

I am referring to children who identify as different from what their parents expected. I am sensitive to this issue because I was not the hunting, fishing, athletic son that my father anticipated. There are children who are self-identifying as transgender at an early age, some as soon as they learn the right words to insist to their parents that they know who they are.

This is the reason for the Q, Questioning, of the LGBTQ lettering. While some really are questioning, other youngsters are quite adamant about their self-identification. For those among us who are open to learning more about this issue, I suggest two videos available on the internet: PBS “Growing-Up Trans” and HBO “Vice: Episode 19” of Aug. 24.

They are enlightening, sensitizing, and very real. I firmly believe that Delaware’s Department of Education is sensitive to the differences among our children. That is why anti-discrimination laws and regulations apply to all, including children. When the Department of Education proposed Regulation 225 regarding a student’s self-identification of “gender” identity, it demonstrated its concern about the issue.

My personal difficulty with the regulation was that there was no requirement for a qualified professional, psychologist, social worker or the like, to be present when the student and parents were brought together. Parental reaction to discovering that the child feels differently from its birth “gender” would likely be shock.

A qualified professional would be able to cushion the blow and might get a sense of what might happen at home. Some parents, as they recover, might begin to accept the questioning or sincerity of their child. Others might need further professional assistance to adjust to the situation.

My deepest concern is about the parent(s) who might react abusively and hurt the child emotionally or/and physically. The Department of Services for Children, Youth and their Families should then become involved.

The two gentlemen I referred to in the first paragraph are Democrat Ralph Taylor, a school board member, and Republican David Anderson, Dover city councilman. Mr. Taylor dodged my question about requiring that a professional attend when a student and parents are brought together at school.

Both Republican candidates are reported as believing that “… the General Assembly has focused too much on unimportant issues …” Mr. Anderson specified that “protecting transgender students…” was an example of an “unimportant” issue.

I am not a one-issue voter and while each candidate has made good points I would not vote for either due to this and other issues.

Thirty-three years ago, I was asked by local police to shelter a student from his abusive father. I immediately notified my school principal who notified New Jersey’s DYFS. The young man stayed with us for several days until DYFS was assured that he would be safe returning home.

While this had nothing to do with gender, it had everything to do with protecting a child from parental abuse. If that is not important, I don’t know what is.

Alan P. Gaddis

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