Dis­crim­i­nat­ing against sol­diers

The Washington Post Sunday - - SUNDAY OPINION -

Re­gard­ing the July 27 front-page ar­ti­cle “Trans­gen­der ban in mil­i­tary re­vived”:

Trans­gen­der peo­ple al­ready suf­fer from the stress of wide­spread prej­u­dice and abuse, be­gin­ning in child­hood with bul­ly­ing and phys­i­cal as­sault. Ma­jor de­pres­sion is suf­fi­ciently com­mon as to pro­duce a stag­ger­ing rate of sui­cide at­tempts and sui­cides. The life­time sui­cide at­tempt rate for trans­gen­der peo­ple ranges from 32 to 50 per­cent; that rate is 4.6 per­cent in the pop­u­la­tion at large.

Yet there is am­ple ev­i­dence that gen­der af­fir­ma­tion, i.e., the ac­cep­tance of one’s gen­der iden­tity, can markedly im­prove men­tal health. The Mas­sachusetts De­part­ment of El­e­men­tary and Se­condary Education, which pro­hibits dis­crim­i­na­tion on the ba­sis of gen­der iden­tity, is an in­sti­tu­tional model worth em­u­lat­ing. Un­for­tu­nately, such ev­i­dence is un­likely to con­vince Pres­i­dent Trump that gen­der af­fir­ma­tion is worth sup­port­ing. We need a pres­i­dent who is more knowl­edge­able and com­pas­sion­ate.

Ed­ward N. Squire Jr., Fred­er­icks­burg

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