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National struggle revealed in a coulee issue

 


I had a friend at the age of 10 who swore to me that she was a boy.

We were just kids playing in sand and gravel of a pit behind my home outside Missoula, Montana.

Her statement didn’t really make any sense to me. She looked like a girl to me, although her interests seemed to indicate she was different. Neither one of us had any idea what sex was all about.

But one day she felt compelled to tell me she was really a boy, not a girl.

The memory of her informs my opinions on the current international struggle in society to recognize those we now call “transgender” people. So I watched this week with great interest as a debate unfolded on The Star’s Facebook page over a story about a recently passed school policy on the matter of transgender students.

Jacob Wagner relates the essence of the discussion in a story this week.

This is an issue that strikes key nerve centers in people and digs a divide not easily crossed. Despite my own experience with my childhood friend, I understand the fears and misgivings of those who choose to defend their children against a perceived threat, the others among us to whom most of us can’t relate. Sexual identity is such an integral part of who we are, we find it hard to empathize with the needs of someone unlike ourselves.

The issue is, in its very essence, a reflection of where we are as a country, as a society. Everyone is certain of the “right” stance to take. Few are willing to listen and learn.

If nothing else moves forward after tonight’s election, let’s work at tackling that most basic problem, the one that is probably the most dangerous to our democracy and our way of life.

Let’s all listen, and learn, from each other.

Scott Hunter

editor and publisher

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