Letters to the editor

  • by BAR staff
  • Wednesday March 20, 2024
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Letters to the editor

Doubts on Benedict's cause of death

I find it difficult to believe that Nex Benedict died by suicide ["Oklahoma medical examiner rules Nex Benedict died by suicide," online, March 13].

The first news reports on this incident stated that Benedict, after the altercation at school, sent texts to the effect of, "No big deal." Also, Benedict's grandmother reported, when calling 911 the day after the incident, that Benedict was posturing in a way that indicated a head injury. We, the national community for Benedict, should insist and pay for another, outside, objective autopsy.

Jessea NR Greenman

Oakland, California

Disagrees with theater critic

I disagree with Jim Gladstone's review of Lambda Literary Award-winning Jewelle Gomez's new play, "Unpacking in P'Town," now playing at the New Conservatory Theatre Center in San Francisco. ("'Unpacking in P'Town' premieres at New Conservatory Theatre Center," March 14]. I thought "Unpacking in P'Town" was the best play I'd seen in the past year, and I'm a season ticket holder to two theater groups and an avid playgoer. I get that the reviewer didn't like the play because he thought it wasn't realistic for the time. But so what? Is he saying that people in the 1950s on the eve of the civil rights movement didn't think about their identity, about love, and acceptance? Are romances and ghost stories expected to be realistic?

Obviously, this person would hate all musicals because who realistically just bursts into song? "Hamilton" must suck in his estimation. Forget "Waiting for Godot." Everyone should see this play. If you're searching for queer theater that is fun, thoughtful, highly entertaining, and uplifting; you can't do better than "Unpacking in P'Town." I loved it, and you will too.

Marla Lowenthal, Ph.D.

San Mateo, California

Local group opposes Missouri bill

Encouraging the Light of Wellbeing, or ELW, and its allies are committed to disrupting and dismantling policies that harm an individual's mental health and their basic right to exist as an authentic human being.

There is new legislation in Missouri, House Bill 2885, introduced in the state House of Representatives by Representative Jamie Gragg (R), that discriminates against trans youth. It denigrates them by positing the unmistakable message that their lives do not matter.

More than half of transgender male teens reported attempting suicide in their lifetime, while 29.9% of transgender female teens said they attempted suicide. Among nonbinary youth, 41.8% of respondents stated that they had attempted suicide at some point in their lives, according to a 2018 report. Pulling resources as punitive measures, including shutting off teachers and counselors who are trusted adults, will exacerbate an epidemic of suicide, suicide attempts, and suicidal despair. Those lost young lives will traumatize families and their loved ones.

Gragg will be sentencing trans youth to death. The cruel, barbaric, and careless nature of HB 2885 will reverberate to other states that want to quash the existence of trans youth.

ELW will not stand by for the murder of innocent youth. We will not stand by while Gragg is willing to invoke unnecessary hardship and death.

There are many excellent resources for trans youth. For example, the national Human Rights Campaign Foundation has a Welcoming Schools program. If HB 2885 passes, any teacher or counselor who utilizes resources such as this in supporting trans youth would be branded as a "sex offender," a class E felony. HB 2885 will end the careers of intelligent, caring, and compassionate teachers. ELW encourages welcoming schools to support trans children.

This bill creates a chilling effect for teachers, staff, parents, and students. Many transgender students rely on a network for support with mental health challenges, especially depression and anxiety.

This draconian bill wouldn't allow teachers and school counselors to provide support for the social transition of a child — the process by which an individual adopts the name, pronouns, and gender expressions, such as clothing or haircuts, that match their gender identity and not their gender assigned at birth.

ELW does not support Gragg's bill. ELW will fight for the wellbeing of every trans youth.

Timothy Bishop, Founder, Executive Director

Steven Serba, Assistant Director

Encouraging the Light of Wellbeing

San Francisco

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