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Please let science and medicine lead the discussion

Faye Seidler, Moorhead, Minn.

In the last few months we’ve been hearing about trans youth from individuals with huge platforms such as Jk Rowlings or Joe Rogan. Recently we’ve seen the North Dakota Republican Party approve their platform with statements stating queer compulsions are primarily developmental and not genetic, LGBTQ+ practices are unhealthy and dangerous, and protections for queer folk must be stopped because they will result in lawsuits (bakers), crimes (voyeurs), and corruption of youth.

This language from the NDRP is as unfounded as it is extreme and disappointing. In North Dakota, we have the Youth Risk Behavior Survey, which is a survey of approximately 10,000 students. The data from this survey is showing that our queer youth are disproportionately targets of harassment, bullying, and homelessness. The Trevor Project recently released data showing the negative impacts from rejecting queer youth. www.thetrevorproject.org/survey-2020/. The language and policy we are seeing from the NDRP will have direct harm on a group that is already suffering.

The Endocrine Society of America did a literature review of 40 different studies looking into the origin of the transgender condition and made a statement it should be considered to have a biological underpinning. We have a number of studies that show trans individual’s brain structure matches their identity and 70 years of medical research into the transgender condition.

It is incredibly unfortunate that we are making the trans condition into something political, where we are listening to and being led by the feelings and opinions of people who have no actual experience or knowledge on the subject. While they may find a study or two that confirms their feelings, I assure everyone that the major medical consensus is being queer is not a choice, not contagious, and most negative outcomes these youth experience come from rejection and bigotry.

Minnesota has had comprehensive LGBTQ+ protections for over twenty five years. This list of fears is just not found when looking at the results of inclusive policy. This notion of it being a choice or lifestyle has been shelved by most of the modern world, because there is no common lifestyle between any member of the LGBTQ+ community. It’s a diverse group of people belonging to every religion, every political party, every hobby, community, and interest.

And while none of this may matter compared to religious freedom, all practitioners of faith I know have tenants of love and acceptance. It really feels like a perversion of religion to use it in a way to attack the most vulnerable because of personal feelings or political agenda.

Our queer youth in North Dakota are already struggling beyond belief and it really should be a non-partisan issue to research and implement effective policy to reduce these negative outcomes. If a person finds themselves with a trans child, please do not follow the opinions we hear online or from politicians, please seek professional medical opinion of someone who has experience in this topic and listen to what they say.

Faye Seidler is clinic administrator for Harbor Health Clinic in Fargo and lives in Moorhead, Minnesota.

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