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Robert Catlin: Ignorance fuels hostility against transgender people

To the editor:

I am proud and grateful that the state of Massachusetts has passed guidelines for the state board of education regarding how transgender students should be treated at school. There is much misunderstanding of the issues faced by transgender youth, and it was well-exemplified by the response from the Massachusetts Family Institute — that allowing transgender boys to use girls bathrooms would “endanger other students and invade their privacy.”

This fallacy is based on the institute’s ignorant assumption that the “basic truth of anatomy” and “anatomical sex, not some sort of internalized gender identity” should dictate all students’ behaviors and access to facilities.

This reflects a basic misunderstanding about gender, which holds as a sacred truth that gender is a rigid biological fact, rather than a fluid, socially constructed expression of identity. The real danger is that some groups like this may continue to tolerate and promote hostility and discrimination against transgender folk.

Robert Catlin


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