As professionals working with transgender persons, we respond to the letter from Allen Marsh in the June 2 Statesman.
“Gender” and “sex” have different meanings. Sex is classification as male or female based on reproductive organs. Gender is behaviors and traits society associates with male or female sex. Transgender persons sense of self differs from their sex assigned at birth.
Transgenderism has been recognized as a medical diagnosis for decades, and is not strictly defined as having undergone gender reassignment surgery.
Marsh’s letter includes the term “homosexuals.” Homosexual, heterosexual and bisexual are sexual orientations. Sexual orientation is attraction to the same and/or opposite gender and should not be confused with transgenderism. Exhibitionism and transvestism are separate entities not to be associated with transgenderism or sexual orientation.
Transgender persons choose to take hormones or undergo surgery to appear more like their identity, but being transgender is not a choice. Many risk loss of family, friends and jobs by transitioning to their new gender. The transition is necessary for their health, and the last thing they think of is exposing their genitals in public places.
Please accept and support your transgender neighbors for who they are.
Theresa Weiland, DO; Elizabeth Lynn Price; David K. Ferguson, DMD, MSPH and Susie Klepacki, LCSW; Boise