Letter To The Editor: On Trans Youth


Recently, a letter was published in this newspaper that started as a critique of the recent change made by the now Select Board’s name change, but quickly devolved into a hateful rant directed at transgender youth. As a transgender teen, someone that the author of said letter believes is full of “lunacy and hatred,” I thought that I might offer a dissenting opinion and my own personal experience. 

The first point I wanted to address was the apparent discomfort the author felt at the changing of the town’s former Board of Selectmen to the Select Board. While I, and I’m sure most other local trans people, do not particularly care about this change one way or another, it is an entirely cisgender Select Board making this decision, and as such, I feel that it is unfair to blame an extremely small minority for the actions of our town’s governing body. In addition, I take issue with the author’s presumption that this, and the existence of those who identify as neither man nor woman, are somehow equivalent to “white male bashing.” While I can understand white men feeling alienated by a diversifying society, it is completely unreasonable to assume that there is any organized attempt to “bash” white men, or discriminate against them in any large way within the United States, and even if there were such an effort to discriminate against men, its effect would not be the removal of ‘men,’ which is often used to describe humanity as a whole in English, from the name of a local board of governance. Thus, I find that no issue should be taken with the Select Board’s name change, as if they wish to change the name of their own elected committee, that is their prerogative.

Next, I wanted to dispel all belief that “boys cannot choose to be girls or girls to be boys,” or that non-binary people are “extremely misguided.” While I know that perhaps my words will not change the mind of the man who wrote this open letter, I do hope to at least attempt to inform him, and those with similar opinions, of my point of view, as I believe recourse and education are the way to progress. I became aware that I was transgender several years ago now, when I was still not an adult. I began a long process of beginning to present in a way that felt more comfortable to me. This process was not at the behest of parents or teachers attempting to “indoctrinate” me, it was my own idea. It was not teachers or the school board that pushed a new “name…puberty blockers and surgery,” it is in nearly every circumstance, the transgender individual’s decision to pursue a transition, and in most cases, societal pressures prevent, and do not facilitate, the transition of transgender people, as the author of the letter suggests. 

In any case, science in the fields of history, genetics, psychology and more all support the existence and validity of both being transgender, and non-binary gender(s). While I won’t go into the study of non-binary genders and transgender people through history and in different cultures, or studies on how sex varies more than male and female since all of this information is not difficult to access through various scholarly websites, if any readers are interested, I would particularly like to recommend looking into non-binary genders amongst the indigenous tribes of the Americas, as that topic is a personal favorite. I have tried to make do with the space available, but I hope I have addressed the topics at hand, and dispelled any notion that transgender people are not, in fact, real and natural.

Julian Friends


trans youth, transgender, lgbtq+, select board