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Invite everyone to the playing field
If sports are meant to cultivate a sense of mutual respect and equality for others, what does it say about our state when we don’t invite everyone on to the playing field?
Transgender girls and women are already a vulnerable population, and LD 926 seeks to marginalize and dehumanize this group even further. According to the Maine Integrated Youth Health Survey, LGBTQ youth in Maine are already more likely to be bullied in school and are less likely to have supportive adults in their life. Nationally, 52 percent of transgender and nonbinary youth reported considering suicide as opposed to 34 percent of cisgender youth in a recent survey by the Trevor Project. The same survey also demonstrates that when transgender youths’ gender identities are reaffirmed by peers, loved ones and others in their life, their mental health substantially improves.
Bills like LD 926 are harmful to all youth. Not only do they tell trans youth they don’t belong, but they send a reductive message to all children about body types, abilities and gender, as if all children experience puberty the same way, have equal physical prowess based on sex alone.
Bills like LD 926 narrow our definition of humanity when what we should be doing is welcoming everyone on to our team so we can be stronger together. By discriminating against trans girls, we rob our children of the opportunity to learn from and understand one another while growing as a community. When trans youth miss out, we all miss out.
What about our protections?
Is it in our best interest to be punished for the sins of 200 years ago? Is it in our best interest to be pushed backed to make room for special interest groups? LBGTQ, BLM, Hispanic, American Indian, female issues — the list goes on and on — have been prioritized in the decision making from our elected officials. What has happened to the “average American citizen” who goes off to work day to day? How about the seniors on fixed incomes? Why can’t we all be subject to the same protections that are supposed to be there for all citizens?
Our elected officials seem to be controlled by high-profile issues or “politically correct” issues. We are being told what words we can use and how we can use them. We are being told that we can’t refer to people by gender or any kind of personal designation. The people we put into office are supposed to be there to insure that we all are treated equally. If we can’t rely on them to protect our rights, who can we turn to to see that we are treated fairly?
The media seems to focus on pretty much one major issue, no matter what station we watch. People are getting fed up with the system and just sitting back and saying, “why do I even bother?” That gives the media and elected officials the freedom to do their “thing” while we the people get back burnered and, for the most part, forgotten.
If we don’t address this problem now, it will be too late tomorrow. Once these special interest groups get their “protection,” they are protected and we are still at risk. Write a letter, call a representative, just do something to let it be known that there are people out there who actually care, and worry.
Democracy is at stake
At his recent press conference, President Joe Biden made this sobering statement: “I imagine your children and grandchildren will be doing their thesis on who succeeded: autocracy or democracy. Because that’s what’s at stake.”
Right now, we as Mainers have a real opportunity to weigh in on the side of democracy. The Washington D.C. Admission Act, (H.R.51/S.51) addresses the undemocratic disenfranchisement of the over 700,000 citizens there, many of whom pay taxes yet do not have full voting rights and full representation. Residents of D.C. have been petitioning for statehood for decades. Republicans in Congress are very clear that they are against statehood for D.C. because it would upset their balance of power in the Senate. They are calling it a “power grab.”
But which is the abuse of power: To grant equal representation to marginalized citizens, or to deny it in an effort to cling to political power? Sen. Angus King has stated that he is considering the issue of D.C. statehood. He makes it his policy to hear what constituents are saying. This is our opportunity to speak up now. Call Sen. King to urge him to support D.C. statehood.
Perhaps one day, people will be telling their grandchildren how they helped to bring about the survival of our democracy.