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FLORIDA TODAY’s Rob Landers brings you some of today’s top local news stories in 90 seconds.
Rob Landers, Florida Today
“There is evil in this world…”
In fact, there is, and it is being perpetrated against the transgender community on an unprecedented scale. The roots of this evil run deep in Florida’s ongoing crusade against individuality, self-expression, and transgender liberties across the state. On a scale never before seen in these United States, we are witnessing an extraordinary level of government interference from the “small government party” in their attempt to legislate the rights of the entire transgender community. With the mass exodus of entire families from the state, one thing is clear; we are being purged to make way for a red wave that threatens the sanctity of American ideals, those truths that we know are self-evident, that we are created equal with certain unalienable rights to pursue life, liberty, and happiness. As a transgender woman living in Florida, the past year has been the most difficult year of my life. I have had to watch myself and people like me vilely portrayed as “devils” or “evil” in some way. Now, because of this astonishingly hateful rhetoric, I am beset by personal attacks against me every day. I have been robbed of my sense of safety and security as a citizen of the State of Florida. Regardless of the smear rhetoric, I am here to stand tall and proud as a defender of basic human rights, of basic human decency. To those who want me to leave or shut up; To quote a favorite poem of mine, I will not sweetly drift into those good nights.
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The existence of transgender people is not a new phenomenon and if we look beyond the simple argument that it is “basic biology”, we can clearly see examples throughout nature and history that demonstrate that biology is indeed going beyond the basic premise that sex is binary. Those who speak out against transgender rights are by definition nothing more than demagogues; making use of manufactured outrage to perpetuate his own personal biases before an echo chamber audience.
I reject the notion of being a victim of the healthcare system. If anything, I am the victim of a right-wing extremist agenda fueled by greed, personal bias, and special interest groups. I am a victim of people who cannot justify their position with knowledge but with belief; a firmly held conviction that exists regardless of overwhelming evidence to the contrary. I am a victim of propaganda perpetrated by hate groups. I am a victim of the vested interests of a select few individuals who cannot see past their own biases to see the factual and verifiable truth of my existence.
It is clear that the opposition is doing everything possible to outright ban my existence. Under Senate Bill 254, we are seeing up to 80% of proven, qualified, compassionate care providers restricted from providing care. We are seeing pharmacies refusing to serve transgender patients. We are seeing transgender patients withdraw from care entirely.
Since the premise of Senate Bill 254 was supposedly about “protecting children,” I ask these legislators, why then restrict the practice of nurse practitioners to providing this care to adults? They will tell you that these treatments have a “high risk of complications or side effects.” The occurrence of these is extremely rare. Have you read the side effects of the paracetamol you take? Have you read the side effects of that ibuprofen you take for a headache? These medications are widely available without any prescription, and both come with what’s called a “black box warning” that taking these common medications can cause a variety of dangerous side effects and even death.
Of all the treatments provided to transgender patients to support their transition, very few carry a black box warning. While it is true that taking estradiol, a common component of any transfemale treatment regimen, can increase the risk of deep vein thrombosis, this risk is no greater than what a cisgender woman might experience when taking an oral contraceptive. Arguing that these proven treatments are dangerous to the point that they should only be given by doctors is false and completely false. Any health care provider will tell you that they weigh the risks and benefits of treatments against the risks and benefits of withholding treatments, and this is no different for transgender people.
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It is clear that this assault on the transgender community is based on discrimination, factual falsehoods, and the belief that transgender people somehow deserve less respect as human beings. I am confident that the recently passed legislature will be quickly turned in favor of reason and knowledge and not the nebulous concept of “belief.”
The truth is that these legislators are not interested in knowing the truth. They are interested in furthering their own prejudices. I am here to say that regardless of your “belief”, I exist. I will not cut and run as is your wish. I will stay and use my power as a citizen of this state to ensure that justice is done in this case. — that transgender people of any age, of any creed, of any walk of life will be heard and understood. We have had to fight for our right to exist for decades. Our skills are sharpened and perfected to face this assault head on with reason, logic and, above all, knowledge.
So, I repeat, there is evil in this world and I, for one, am ready to face it. We will not be eradicated. You will be with me?
Lana Dunn is the COO of SPEKTRUM Health, which provides primary care for LGBTQA+ people and has offices in Orlando and Melbourne.