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posted: 4/21/2017 1:00 AM

Misstatements in transgender essay

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In "Straight from the Source: Palatine mom at forefront of transgender debate," Vicki Wilson makes several misstatements. The weight of authority establishes that it is best practice for transgender and gender-expansive youth to be supported in all respects, including in their homes, schools and medical institutions. Furthermore, it is well-established that transgender youth who are not supported are at a drastically increased risk of harassment, violence, depression and suicide.

Many well-respected medical and educational professional organizations, such as the American Psychological Association, American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the Association of Title IX Administrators, have issued position statements in support of transgender students. For instance, the AAP has stated, "These children need acceptance and affirmation, not stigmatization."

Illinois law provides further recognition of the importance of supporting transgender youth. The Illinois Human Rights Act prevents discrimination on the basis of gender identity. And the Youth Mental Health Protection Act prohibits mental health professionals from practicing "conversion therapy" or attempting to change a minor's gender identity.

Federal courts have also recognized that failure to allow students access to facilities that align with their gender identity violates the law, including the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution.

As Judge Davis eloquently stated in G.G. v. Gloucester County School Board, we are currently "redefining and broadening the scope of civil and human rights so that they extend to a vulnerable group that has traditionally been unrecognized, unrepresented, and unprotected." It is beyond time that school districts recognize the need for equality for all students.

Juliet Berger-White

Evanston

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