To the Editor:

Before you take a position on the proposed SAD17 gender identity policy, you should read it:

Has anyone opposed to this policy talked to a trans or non-binary person about their experience in school and with their parents? When we talk to people who are different from us, we get a better understanding of how the world works. Not the world we had 50 years ago, or the world we wish for, but the world we have now.

I spent nearly 3 hours on Nov 1 at a public comment meeting listening (mostly) to people who think differently than I do about gender identity issues. I listened, took notes and this is my response:

Many community members are concerned parental rights are impaired with this policy. However, I see parental rights respected in all cases except where a child judges that it would be bad for them if their parents knew their gender identity. This policy might actually protect children until they can handle potential mistreatment from their families when they learn the child’s gender identity. We know that DHHS does not protect children from harm until some harm has already happened. Ask someone who is LGBTQIA+ for the stories about what can happen when you come out to your straight, cisgender parents.

Many non-lawyers are sure the school district will be sued if this policy is adopted. However, there is precedent in federal case law that this policy is NOT an undue infringement of parental rights nor does it impair the religious freedom of students.


Many community members believe that there are only two genders and can quote science to back it up. But it looks like their science has not been updated in 50 years. Science is not the truth. Science is the pursuit of truth. Our scientific understanding of gender is changing. For instance, geneticists now say the X and Y chromosomes are not the end all and be all of gender. Yep. Update your science, please.

Will allowing students to use the bathroom that matches their “consistent assertion” of gender identity lead to 18 year old males in bathrooms with 14 year old females? What 18 year old male is going to be willing to put an “I am trans” bullseye on their back just so they can pee in a stall next to a younger female. I don’t see evidence that young people today are taking this issue lightly. People don’t identify as trans or non-binary to be cool.

We all should be promoting LGBTQIA+ safety, not denying their existence and their human rights. I really hope our school board doesn’t create policy based on fear and ignorance. I hope they show some real Margaret Chase Smith leadership here. She said on June 1, 1950: “[E}mbracing a philosophy that lacks political integrity or intellectual honesty [will] prove … disastrous to this nation. … I don’t want to see [us] ride to political victory on … Fear, Ignorance, Bigotry and Smear.”

Mike Newsom


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