facebook linkedin twitter

Leave These Children Alone!
COMMENTARY

April 21, 2021 by Leonard Pitts
Leave These Children Alone!
Protestors in support of transgender rights march around the Alabama State House in Montgomery, Ala., on Tuesday, March 2, 2021.

Look, I get it, OK?

A lot of this, you plain do not understand. Much of it leaves you confused. Well, me too.

I have no idea what it must be like to grow up feeling as if you were assigned the wrong body, a girl with boy genitalia or vice versa. I confess to being discombobulated at the idea of having to declare my preferred pronouns. And all my life, I’ve been just a guy, a mister, a man. Now I learn that I’m a “cisgender male?” What even is that? And don’t I get a vote?

So, yes, conservative state lawmakers, I get your sense of bewilderment, your perplexity at waking up in a changed world. What I don’t get is your reflexive response of hatred and fear. What I cannot respect is that you encode that hatred and fear into law, something you have lately been doing with a vengeance.


In a year that is only four months old, you’ve already introduced 122 bills in 33 states to restrict sexually non-conforming people. This, according to Human Rights Campaign, an LGBTQ advocacy group. That’s nearly double the 66 bills that were introduced in all of 2020, which was itself a record-setting year. Tragically, most of the bills are aimed at young people, as if adolescence were not already tough enough.

Some would prohibit doctors from providing gender-affirming healthcare. Others bar educators from referring to transgender students by their chosen gender pronouns. A Texas bill would identify as a child abuser any parent who affirms a trans child’s gender identity. Some bills restrict teachers from teaching about LGBTQ issues — because apparently you find enforced ignorance preferable to learning, which, after all, carries a threat of tolerance. Many bills would prohibit trans students from participating in sports consistent with their gender identities. The stated concern is that some beefy boy, dressed as a girl, will enjoy an unfair advantage over athletes who were born female. No one seems able to say when this has ever happened. Like voter fraud, it’s apparently a “problem” that exists mainly in your minds.

I mean, really. Look at yourselves. If conservatism is, as you often say, a doctrine of personal liberty, a statement that the state has no business telling people what to do, how is it you’re snooping at the genitals of kids? Do you really think this is a good look for you? Do you actually believe you’ll be lauded someday for bullying children at their most vulnerable? Do you suppose this will stop trans kids from being trans kids, or induce trans adults to leave the sunlight and return to the shadows?


When has that ever happened? When has the marginalized group ever returned quietly to the margins?

Yet people like you insist on pushing them in that direction, just the same. And that’s always the way, isn’t it? It seems to be the sad destiny of humankind that we hate and fear — those words again — what we don’t understand.

Yes, change is scary. It is disorienting. It takes us out of what we know and are comfortable with. But it also stretches us, if we let it. Teaches us, if we let it. Helps us grow.

If we let it.

If, in other words, we don’t panic and jettison principle, compassion and common sense every time life throws a curve. Because here’s the thing: Life is always throwing curves. We have no control over that. What we can control is how we respond.

You are responding with cowardice, ignorance and meanness. And for that, you should be ashamed.


Leave these children alone.

©2021 Miami Herald. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

A+
a-

In The News

Health

Voting

Opinions

Entrance Ramps on the Information Superhighway

Let’s be honest, information infrastructure isn’t sexy. It doesn’t go viral or grab headlines and it doesn’t dominate the talking... Read More

Let’s be honest, information infrastructure isn’t sexy. It doesn’t go viral or grab headlines and it doesn’t dominate the talking points on the 24-hour news shows. But it matters. That’s why you may have heard me cheering last year when Congress passed President Biden’s  Infrastructure Investment... Read More

Paid Family Leave Promotes Health Equity and Improved Public Health

Imagine the terrible stress of having to choose between paying the rent or caring for a sick child, buying heating... Read More

Imagine the terrible stress of having to choose between paying the rent or caring for a sick child, buying heating oil or bonding with your new baby, making a car payment or seeking care after being impacted by family violence. For those thousands of Americans living... Read More

As Businesses Struggle, Tariffs Create Avoidable Challenges

The past few years have presented challenges for businesses that would have been unimaginable not long ago. A global pandemic,... Read More

The past few years have presented challenges for businesses that would have been unimaginable not long ago. A global pandemic, unprecedented supply chain disruptions, and now record inflation have all created new obstacles that businesses have had to navigate to remain competitive without scaling back operations... Read More

Arctic Alaska Won’t Solve High Gas Prices, but It Can Help the US Achieve Its Climate Goals

Lobbyists and lawmakers who have enjoyed full careers profiting from oil and gas have — predictably — blamed the Biden... Read More

Lobbyists and lawmakers who have enjoyed full careers profiting from oil and gas have — predictably — blamed the Biden administration for current high prices and have called for a full-scale ramping up of domestic oil and gas leasing and the immediate approval of controversial projects... Read More

Energy Research and Solutions Depend on All Available Resources

Recent articles and reviews seem to be drawing more attention to a rising concern for universities and the fossil fuel... Read More

Recent articles and reviews seem to be drawing more attention to a rising concern for universities and the fossil fuel companies that continue to provide significant resources for energy and climate research efforts. In deference to researchers who depend on adequate funding for the work they... Read More

Federal Ag Innovation Funding Rose This Year, but Still Lags

According to the latest United Nations IPCC report on mitigating climate change, improvements in agriculture and forestry could deliver up... Read More

According to the latest United Nations IPCC report on mitigating climate change, improvements in agriculture and forestry could deliver up to 30% of the cuts in greenhouse gas emissions needed to meet global climate targets. This represents a huge opportunity to meet our climate goals, but... Read More

News From The Well
scroll top