What Can I Do?
My Reaction and ACTION after reading Jamie Reed's story
I sat there shell shocked, feeling that I had just read something extremely important. I sat there contemplating what this might mean if the right people read it? What could it mean if everybody read it?
A week prior I had reached out to a support group saying that I need help balancing my life—this obsession with the transgender topic was affecting my ability to parent well and to function in my relationships. I was hooked on a sort of false energy I would get, sparked by the feelings of horror at the newest crazy thing I read, and the drama in the comments that inevitably follow. So often I was getting stuck in this social media "scrolly-scroll." In addition, I felt guilty about my addiction to social media and my inefficiency around the house. Last week one wise parent suggested that I put my scrolly-scroll to work and actually find a way to help.
So after reading this ground breaking article, I did the usual; I immediately shared Jamie Reed's story to Facebook groups that I was a member of, and I saw that other people had already shared it to several places I checked. I was optimistic to see that it was spreading like wildfire. I thought surely if this doesn't change things in a big way nothing will.
I also shared it on my wall and even sent it as a message to some individuals (which I usually refrain from.)
But the next day I realized that, while I may feel like something momentous has happened, most people that I am "friends" with are still pretty much ignoring my information sharing. I decided that there IS something more that I could do, something that takes a little more effort. Perhaps a lot more effort. I decided to jump out of my comfort zone and write a letter to people in government.
I found this website, Who Are My Representativess, https://whoaremyrepresentatives.org/
And from there, I visited several of my representatives' websites and looked up the contact information for each senator, governor, etc.
I went to share my letter to my governor's office first. But when I read this blurb at the end of the submission form, I actually felt terrified:
"All information provided in the form above is subject to the Public Records Act and may be disclosable upon request."
I started to imagine how I might face retaliation if highly motivated people read my submission (along with my personal identifying information) and didn't like it. I started physically shaking, and second-guessing my resolve to send letters before deciding finally that I HAD to do it (although, at the end of my letters, I added a note saying that I was afraid of persecution for speaking up).
And then I took a leap of faith and hit "submit."
Next, I moved on to the first of my US senators. While I was in the process of filling out the email form to that senator, my youngest son (11) and my husband entered the room—and I told them what I was doing, and why I thought it was important and necessary. To my relief, they were really supportive. AND, on top of that, my son told me he was glad that I had warned him about transgender stuff, because even though he now understands the dangers, he can see how easy it is to get sucked in. In fact, as he shared, one of his good friends got sucked into it, and now she thinks she's a "he." He started to tear up as he told me this. I gave him a hug. I told him how proud I was that he heard my husband and I, thought about it, then came to these conclusions on his own.
I went back to work on sending my letters, even more convinced at how important my actions are.
After I sent my plea to my second US Senator, I moved on to my US Congressperson but was faced with a 2000 character limit. Ugh, my emotional letter was about triple that! So I editing it down. That was very time consuming. But it made me think about the fact that the people opening these emails and reading them might not spend their time reading a long emotional plea. Maybe they only pay attention to the ones that are extremely concise and well written. So I tried my best to retain my most important points, not be redundant, and cut out (important, descriptive) details to make my submission fit.
I'm going to share one of the versions of my letter with you all, not the extra short 2000 character version, but one of the slightly condensed versions. In some versions I mentioned lifelong Democratic voters becoming increasingly disillusioned with the Democratic party, and facing the choice to abandon the Democratic party. For some government offices I sent it to, it seemed appropriate to leave that out.
I hope that you find the following letter helpful and inspiring as you decide how you might also try to reach out to those in positions of power, if you feel safe doing so.
So far I sent it to my state's governor, state attorney general, US Senators, and US Congress person. Be aware that in addition to federal legislation, the individual states are voting on these issues all the time, and the link I shared above does not help you find any state reps. So it's a good idea to get familiar with your state’s legislative site in order to call or write them as well. If you have any other ideas of who to write to please share your ideas.
Here's my letter:
Dear (specific representative)
I am writing to you today about a very serious issue.
“I have seen puberty blockers worsen the mental health outcomes of children. Children who have not contemplated suicide before being put on puberty blockers have attempted suicide after."
~Jamie Reed, former employee of a transgender clinic, self-described as progressive & queer and married to a transman herself. Jamie turned whistle-blower after she became concerned with the harm that was being done to kids, but was met with retribution from her employer when trying to raise concerns.
Jamie's story is quite possibly the most powerful thing I've read in the last three years of researching this topic. I'm hoping her testimony will finally change the policies in our institutions, and improve the outcomes for these vulnerable kids.
But policies and outcomes can improve only if more people actually listen to those who have been harmed, and those who have witnessed the harm first-hand.
Maybe people on both sides of the aisle can now finally listen because of the source. Jamie is obviously not conservative. She's obviously not transphobic. She's got real and valuable insider information too, because of her position at the clinic. Please read the linked article and take it seriously. The protection of children is not a partisan issue.
Many of us parents have been shut out, and have had to be extremely careful of how we share our concerns. Our need to protect has been dismissed and vilified. Our friendships, jobs, and custody have all been threatened for trying to protect our children from harmful medical steps promoted by a rapidly growing social contagion. We are not bigots or transphobes. The vast majority of people I have spoken to are like me: left-leaning, life-long supporters of lesbian and gay rights. We are sympathetic to the struggles of transgender people and those with gender dysphoria. But what is happening to OUR children is not a gender dysphoria from an early age, nor some sort of innate gender awareness.
Instead our children are suffering various forms of discomfort that came to them for other reasons (like a difficult puberty; inability to fit in with other kids; bullying; mental health issues; a diagnosis like autism; isolation; seeking connection online; pressures from social media; being coerced online or by peer groups & activist counselors; and much more.)
What we have found with our struggling kids is that the idea of "gender-affirming" care trumps everything else that could be addressed and helped! In interactions with kids, if gender is mentioned, many professionals (who should know better) ignore all the other comorbidities or trauma in a kid's life. Kids are being led to believe that transitioning will make them happy and solve all their problems. And worse yet, kids have been encouraged to become estranged from their parents. Loving parents are seen as villains and abusers! That is so dangerous to break family bonds at a time when the kids need their parents the most.
Thank you for your time and consideration of this important issue.
As a side note, I am actually very afraid of putting my personal information on this letter to you because of the dramatic persecution people have faced when they try to speak out. But I have to try to do my part to help children, I can't let my fear keep me silent.