Open Letters to KRXQ Sacramento

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Parents of Gender Non-Conforming Children Speak Out For Tolerance

From a Researcher at NYU

Dear Mr. Geary, Mr. Williams and Mr. States,

I am a sociologist at New York University. I was recently alerted to the
comments made on your show about transgender children, and I write to
express my deep concern over the lack of understanding you displayed and the
extremely hurtful, phobic and damaging commentary you directed at these
children and families.

In my extensive research, I have found evidence of individuals with diverse
gender identities in societies all over the world, over many centuries.
Though not always called “transgender, ” the people you spoke about have
always existed, will always exist, and constitute a supremely misunderstood
class of people in contemporary culture.

Leaving aside the bigoted nature of your commentary about members of the
adult transgender community, I am particularly troubled that anyone would
advocate violence against a child- under any circumstances. The notion that
your station finds it appropriate to advocate throwing objects at
misbehaving children is unthinkable to me, no matter the cause. That said,
the harm you do by advocating violence against an already supremely
misunderstood and often targeted community moves beyond irresponsibility,
into the realm of reckless, destructive and dangerous behavior.

Transgender youth are at increased risk of violence every day of their
lives, just by virtue of being who they are and living their lives openly.
Because of the systemic patterns of social discrimination they face, they
can sometimes struggle in school and with their peers. The experts you so
quickly denigrate have actually looked at the incidence of psychological
difficulty among these kids and find- not too surprisingly- that the more
acceptance, love and support they get from their families and communities,
the better they fare in their social lives, in their studies and in their
hearts and minds.

Even children who are not transgender face intense social pressure to behave
in gender appropriate ways, and often suffer violence at the hands of peers
who feel they fail to fulfill their designated social role. To have
well-known adults in positions of authority advocate violence against these
children legitimates that behavior on behalf of their peers. This is a very
serious matter.

I would be happy to provide the station with the research I reference above.
I think it imperative that a corrective statement be issued by the hosts of
your radio show, apologizing to the children you so mean-spiritedly and
irresponsibly deride- though, I must tell you, there is truly no way to undo
the damage done by making those statements in the first place. Hate speech
corrodes the hearts and minds of those who hear it- and can, itself, lead to
violence and victimization. When it is said by the voice of authority, it
has tremendous potential to impact the lives of people with little means to
make public statements of their own.

Sincerely,
Tey Meadow

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Filed under: Letters from Caregivers and Researchers

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