Editorial: Education key to fighting transgender discrimination

Ignorance is often at the heart of fear and hate.

While the nation has made leaps forward over the last couple of decades when it comes to gay rights and the acceptance of homosexuality as being part of our diverse culture, people across the Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays spectrum still face discrimination and lack of understanding by others.

That’s especially true with transgender individuals, as President Donald Trump demonstrated with his move to ban transgender military recruits.

His argument is that trans people cause a disruption in the military.

That is the same argument once used to try to keep people of color, women and gays out of the armed forces.

Nevertheless, Trump’s views are unfortunately still shared by many Americans.

Part of the reason may be a general lack of understanding of what it means to be transgender. Many people have never met a transgender person, or at least they don’t know they have.

What many people in the country think they know about trans people comes from celebrity news, which is like judging all women based on the Kardashians.

They may be well-meaning, entertaining people, but they don’t represent the norm.

In an effort to educate the public about the realities, PFLAG chapters from Skagit and Whatcom counties are giving presentations in Freeland and Oak Harbor called “The Science of Gender & Orientation: Respect and Safety.”

The first meeting is 1:30-4:30 p.m., Saturday at the Universalist Unitarian Church in Freeland. The next day, the presentation is 1:30-4:30 p.m. at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Oak Harbor.

If you have questions, or are interested in learning more, attend a meeting and educate yourself. There is no risk in becoming a more informed — and possibly empathetic — person.