Today, June 9th, Representative Jeff Shipley posted several items to his social media accounts which denigrated, demeaned, and dismissed transgender and intersex people. Among these items were posts that insinuated that supporting transgender people glorifies suffering and mental illness, denies human identity, and ignores the identities of gay and lesbian individuals.

None of this could be further from the truth. Transgender people are not mentally ill, and their suffering is caused not by their identities but by generations worth of discrimination and mistreatment. Unlike Representative Shipley, we affirm everyone’s sexual orientation and gender identity. We reject the unscientific assertion that anyone’s sexual orientation or gender identity is the result of a disorder. We believe transgender women are women and transgender men are men. We believe non-binary people are non-binary. We affirm the existence and validity of intersex people. We believe in the inherent value, dignity, and rights of every person regardless of their identity, their anatomy, their appearance, or who they love.

If Representative Shipley truly wants to “invoke our better angels of learning and listening” and “smash the institutions of conformity” as he says he does, we invite him to learn more about transgender and intersex individuals rather than publicly dismissing them and their lived experiences.

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