For transgender youth, an affirming family is important: Readers sound off

USA TODAY

For transgender youth, an affirming family is important

Letters to the editor: 

As a transgender man, advocate and parent, I was disturbed to read “My daughter thinks she’s transgender. Her public school undermined my efforts to help her,” Jay Keck’s dangerous column defending the rejection of his trans son.

When a child comes out as transgender, it’s important that they’re met by an affirming family. Sadly, many trans youth face rejection. Sometimes that rejection is blatant and ugly, other times it’s cloaked in what appears to be good intentions. Keck may use kind words, but the reality is his son’s only support comes not from the home but at school, from administrators and social workers.

Keck’s defense of “conversion therapy” is also shocking. This debunked practice, denounced by every major medical association, is tantamount to child abuse and increases the risk of depression, anxiety and suicide.

Embracing a trans child can be a journey. Fortunately, many parents are meeting the occasional difficulty with a determination to support their child. I hope Keck embraces that path. Not just for his sake but also for his son’s.

Jay Brown, Human Rights Campaign; Washington

A rally-goer waves a transgender pride flag outside of the Stonewall Inn during a march to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots in New York, June 28, 2019.

As a teacher, I’ve seen parents reject many of their children’s choices. We forget being a young adult means they’re self-discovering beyond the family unit. If Keck’s son has known for years that this is his identity, especially with the affirmation from his school, he’s not misguided. He knows exactly who he is, more so than any of us.

As a person with autism, it was unkind that it was used as a reason why Keck’s child couldn’t understand himself and his actions. Autism makes it harder for us to communicate to others and read social cues. It no way hinders how we see and understand ourselves.

Aden Wilke; Norcross, Ga.

Protect LGBTQ health care: Trump plan would hamper LGBTQ health care access. This is cruel and dangerous.

Trump doesn’t care about at-risk animals

Letter to the editor: 

President Donald Trump’s administration has decided to bulldoze the Endangered Species Act signed into law by former President Richard Nixon in 1973. After helping to save the blue whale, the California condor, the red wolf and numerous other animals and plants from extinction, the administration has decided, in the face of increasing pressure on declining species, to allow oil and mining companies not to worry about endangered species.

Development with less concern for the future of Earth’s diversity is a gift to industry. The United Nations reports that almost 1 million animals and plants face extinction. Meanwhile, Trump apparently has no problem with speeding up this process by rewarding his corporate friends and donors.

Trump denies climate change, so I’m not surprised that he isn’t concerned about the animals and plants, either.

Tom Minnerick; Elgin, Ill.

Did millions of people beg for fewer restrictions? No. People with millions begged for fewer restrictions.

— Bryan Gooden

A species can be listed as “threatened,” under the Endangered Species Act, for broad reasons. Details matter!

— John Culbertson

Every dollar the federal government spends has an opportunity cost.

— Ward W. Morris

If Trump were really a “great” president, he would take a cue from former President Theodore Roosevelt, who carved out distinctions of national forest and land protections.

— Michael Anthony Shea

Too much federal money is being spent to protect animals that aren’t very endangered.

— Norton R. Nowlin

Israel lost an opportunity to build a bridge with Reps. Omar and Tlaib

Israeli officials said Thursday they would bar Reps. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., and Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., from visiting Jerusalem and the West Bank this weekend. This followed a Thursday morning tweet from President Donald Trump that said Israel would show “great weakness” if the two were permitted entrance. Later, Israeli officials granted Tlaib permission to visit her grandmother in the West Bank and Tlaib now says she will not make the trip.

The congresswomen’s visit to Israel had all the appearances of a political publicity stunt that would not have ended well for Israel. I don’t think they had a valid reason to go there.

— Jim Reid

In doing this, Israeli officials are wounding moderate support of Israel.

— William Worsham

Omar, Tlaib barred from entering Israel: Trump, Netanyahu relationship erodes core values of U.S.-Israeli bond: Today's talker

Any other president would’ve been outraged if any U.S. citizen, let alone members of Congress, were barred from entering another country. Trump pressured an ally into not admitting congresswomen into its country. Where is the outrage from our State Department? It is astounding. Israel lost an opportunity to build a bridge; instead, it strengthened its wall.

— Ted Scott

Trump asked Israel to block them, which is outrageous. Israel played Trump’s game. Shame on them.

— Lorraine Morell

Reps. Omar and Tlaib appear in the Capitol during Trump's State of the Union address on Feb. 5, 2019.

If Republican congressional leaders had a single ounce of integrity, they would tell Trump and Israeli officials that either every member of Congress should be allowed entry, or none of them will be going there.

— Pete Miller

Every government has a right to decide who visits its country.

— Tom Panmayil

Investigate Epstein death and enablers

Letter to the editor: 

Disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein’s apparent suicide at a Manhattan jail can be construed as the ultimate admission of guilt. Despite the prima-facie evidence that clearly pointed to him being a serial pedophile operating with impunity due to his wealth and political connections, the law couldn’t get him in time, exposing our legal system’s vulnerabilities and inequities.

I hope this brings some closure to the victims, mostly young girls whom police say were abused by Epstein and his extended circle. Each victim deserves compensation. However, that may be just a Band-Aid to their childhood trauma. Sadly, as the saying goes, “justice delayed is justice denied.”

Epstein had previously tried to commit suicide in custody, yet he wasn’t kept on suicide watch, raising serious questions about his abrupt death. Opening an FBI investigation is the right step to understand his suicide and zero in on accomplices and enablers complicit in the abuse and sexual exploitation of trafficked minors.

Atul M. Karnik; Woodside, N.Y.

Judaism doesn’t guarantee pro-choice

Letter to the editor: 

In Lindsay Schnell’s article “Jews, outraged by restrictive abortion laws, are invoking the Hebrew Bible in the debate,” a number of Jewish individuals, ostensibly presented as expressing the Jewish view, are quoted in support of regarding abortion as a “right.”

However, Jewish religious law, or halacha, the immovable center of Judaism, doesn’t deal with “rights” as much as what is or isn’t morally right. And while Judaism does permit abortion in very limited cases, pursuant to the guidance of an expert in halacha, it in no way sanctions the idea of “choice” as the word is used in today’s context of the issue.

How to change abortion laws: Want to end abortion? Hold men — fathers of those unplanned children — accountable.

Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg and Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., both quoted extensively, are entitled to their personal, pro-choice opinions. But they are not entitled to mislead readers about Judaism’s stance.

Rabbi Avi Shafran Director of public affairs at Agudath Israel of America; New York

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: For trans youth, an affirming family is important: Readers sound off