Schools giving only 1 side of gender issue

Thank you for your excellent reporting on this issue. I appreciated your research and the way you let the facts speak for themselves. Your article inspired me to do a little research myself and then to write [Fayette School Superintendent] Dr. [Joseph] Barrow and my family’s representative on the Board of Education, Dr. [Barry] Marchman. I’m sharing it with you because this issue is of concern to me as a mom, a former teacher, and simply as a person.

Dear Dr. Barrow,

I read with concern about the workshop given to school nurses. I question whether the viewpoints of the Human Rights Campaign is an accurate reflection of those of most citizens of Fayette County. Certainly, Welcoming Schools presented a program that is in conflict with the American College of Pediatricians:

It’s a long article, but here is the conclusion (emphasis added):

“Gender dysphoria (GD) in children is a term used to describe a psychological condition in which a child experiences marked incongruence between his or her experienced gender and the gender associated with the child’s biological sex. Twin studies demonstrate that GD is NOT an innate trait. Moreover, barring pre-pubertal affirmation and hormone intervention for GD, 80 percent to 95 percent of children with GD will accept the reality of their biological sex by late adolescence.

“The treatment of GD in childhood with hormones effectively amounts to mass experimentation on, and sterilization of, youth who are cognitively incapable of providing informed consent. There is a serious ethical problem with allowing irreversible, life-changing procedures to be performed on minors who are too young to give valid consent themselves; adolescents cannot understand the magnitude of such decisions.

“Ethics alone demands an end to the use of pubertal suppression with GnRH agonists, cross-sex hormones, and sex reassignment surgeries in children and adolescents.

“The College recommends an immediate cessation of these interventions, as well as an end to promoting gender ideology via school curricula and legislative policies. Healthcare, school curricula and legislation must remain anchored to physical reality.

“Scientific research should focus upon better understanding the psychological underpinnings of this disorder, optimal family and individual therapies, as well as delineating the differences among children who resolve with watchful waiting versus those who resolve with therapy and those who persist despite therapy.”

“[Primary author: Michelle Cretella, MD, August 2016, updated June 2017 (https://www.acpeds.org/the-college-speaks/position-statements/gender-dysphoria-in-children).]”

The American College of Pediatricians is a national medical association of licensed physicians and healthcare professionals who specialize in the care of infants, children, and adolescents. The mission of the College is to enable all children to reach their optimal, physical and emotional health and well-being.

These doctors believe that children who are confused about their gender identity are best served by compassionately helping them conform to their biological gender. I didn’t see that in Welcoming Schools; in fact, it was just the opposite.

It seems outrageous that only one point of view was given to the school nurses. Children who feel confused about their gender are very vulnerable and deserve our compassion, but they also need our wisdom. Children are not mature enough to make a life decision like taking on a different (or perhaps no) gender.

Life as a trans-gendered adult is very challenging emotionally, physically, and especially romantically.

Knowing that a high percentage (some say 80 percent or more) of children with gender confusion desist — they grow up to conform to their biological sex — should lead us to sensitively and gently help these children to accept themselves as they are: beautiful, precious, unique humans with their own wonderful mix of qualities.

The nurses deserve excellent legal advice and guidance to help them compassionately care for all the children, not a one-sided program developed by activists who want to change inherent realities of humanity.

As a mother of four and certified teacher, I am disappointed that this one-sided and potentially harmful approach was the one chosen by Fayette County. Welcoming Schools is designed to create a climate that is not welcoming to other viewpoints on this highly sensitive issue and I would be outraged if my children were influenced by it.

Edna King
Fayetteville, Ga.