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Letters to the editor

May 3, 2021 at 1:00 a.m.

State legislative actions better than alternative

Over time governments will always evolve into institutions that will serve themselves before the citizens they are bound to serve and protect. Our federal government has reached the point where the rights and freedoms of the people are secondary to the preservation and protection of politicians and bureaucrats in government.

We are at the point where it becomes not only the God-given right but also the sacred duty of American patriots and a free people to alter or abolish it. For those who lament the recent flurry of new laws and protections coming out of legislatures in several states, including Arkansas, legislative protections beat the alternatives represented by the riots and destruction increasingly spawned by the Left and especially the Democrat Party.

Jeff Cook

Springdale

Lawmakers' actions harm transgender youth in state

As a mental health therapist for adolescents, I'm deeply concerned and disappointed in the recent legislation discriminating against transgender minors in Arkansas.

Gender-affirming medical care is critical to psychological well-being. With this medical care, we see a significant reduction in suicide rates, emotional and behavioral problems, as well as an increase in self-esteem and feelings of belonging. Gender-affirming medical care tells our young people their identity and their feelings matter. Taking that away invalidates their identity and inflicts danger on their minds and bodies.

According to a study published by the The Trevor Project, over half of transgender and non-binary youth seriously considered suicide last year. Transgender and non-binary youth also have a much higher rate of suicide attempts than their cisgender peers. One of the most well-documented reasons for young transgender people taking their lives is due to the invalidation of others. What are these bills telling our transgender youth?

I have had increased crisis therapy sessions with my transgender clients since these bills passed. I have seen increased suicidal thoughts in a population that already felt, in many ways, unseen and unheard. I have heard young transgender teens ask questions about whether they even deserve to exist, questioning what the point of living is now that they cannot be who they are. I have had conversations with parents regarding hospitalization for their child due to suicidality, but parents are hesitant and fear discrimination in spaces where they should be able to expect safety.

Who are these bills really for? Who and what are they protecting? These bills are not rooted in research but rather in discrimination and misinformation. Access to gender-affirming medical care is not only ethical but evidenced based in the treatment of our young transgender people. Taking this away strips them of autonomy, identity and sense of self.

These laws protect ignorant and discriminatory practices. Having bills that perpetuate discrimination against transgender and non-binary youth has and will increase feelings of worthlessness, suicidal thoughts, suicide attempts and completed suicides.

Our young people deserve better. Transgender and non-binary youth deserve access to gender-affirming care and treatment, and this truly is a matter of life and death.

Michelle Sargenti

Fayetteville

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