By Ken Stern 

The decisions we make


The march of madness and meanness continues. Last week Montana, Nebraska and Florida’s legislators joined the stampede in outlawing gender-affirming care to teens and youths in their states. These laws will punish doctors and healthcare practitioners for assisting youth in developing into their genuine selves.

Gender-affirming care is “age-appropriate care that is medically necessary for the wellbeing of many transgender and non-binary people who experience symptoms of gender dysphoria, or distress that results from having one’s gender identity not match their sex assigned at birth” as defined by the Human Rights Campaign, a national organization advocating for LGBTQ+ rights,

Because a faction of society with majorities in these and other state legislatures does not know and does not care to understand people who are transgender, they seek to control and punish them, as if a felony conviction to a doctor will scare kids and their parents into being straight or shock them out of playing and posing about their sexuality. These laws will not stop anyone from developing their true identity. They will lead to people moving from these states or suppressing who they are and to suicide. Transgender teens will have to cope with rejection, fear, hate and a hiding their true selves. State Representative Zooey Zephyr of Montana is absolutely right: the legislators will be culpable as kids harm themselves and seek to end their lives. From the trauma and deaths they cause, these legislators will have blood on their hands.

These legislators and the people they represent purport to be religious and they may be, but it is a religion of limited vision, of control, fear and intolerance. They fear what they do not understand. They deny the research, study and decisions of medical associations and are substituting their beliefs for complex facts in a complex world. History will prove them as wrong as the Catholic Church was when it locked up Galileo for his explaining that moons orbit Jupiter and that the Earth was not the center of the universe.

The facts of life and the universe are always shifting. Change is the one constant, but bigotry also seems ever present. People are not made whole by adopting a group's false hope of that group trying to shape reality to their beliefs. People will not be made healthy by praying the gay away or denying their genuine self, which might be a girl's soul in her boy body.

For hundreds of years some Americans sought control in legislating blackness, defining those who had one drop of African ancestry as black and discriminating against them. Until 50 years ago legislators prevented whites and blacks from marrying. The Bible is always the reference for these actions.

No, ministers who misuse scripture are misleading and conning people into fear and hate and laws that ruin and destroy people's lives. In the present moment these false prophets are ascendant. Their getting laws passed does not make them right. It merely shows they have the power to harm people whom they do not know and that they live in a world they do not care to understand.

This faction of society has friends, family, coworkers and neighbors. So do people who are transgender and who need abortions. Yet in this ever more complex world we are increasingly isolated from one another.

It is our choice to pay attention, or not, and seek to heal or hurt or speak against the fear and hate, or not.


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