Op-Ed: A “Yes” Vote For This Human Rights Issue

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By: Dr. Norman Spack*/Special to TRT—

On November 6th we will be asked to go to the polls and vote on a number of different issues. We all have our political views and the right to decide for ourselves who or what we think is important in our lives and the lives of others.

Some people take this right for granted, while others feel that it is our civic duty to have a say in the laws by which we are asked to live. There are many issues that we have been or are being asked to vote on, such as taxes, medical issues, and infrastructure, and while these are all important and affect everyone eventually, a vitally important human rights issue is on the ballot this November.

In 2016 Massachusetts enacted a transgender rights law ensuring that individuals could use public restrooms and locker rooms according to their gender identity. The question on the Nov. 6 ballot is a referendum on that law. Opponents of the law say its language is ‘ripe for abuse.’ A yes vote upholds basic values of fairness, dignity, and respect for all.

Congregation Shirat Hayam in Swampscott has been recognized as a Ruderman Synagogue Inclusion Project Partner for our commitment to welcome and honor every individual who enters our gates. We strive to provide a safe and respectful space for the LGBTQ community, interfaith families, elders, and all of us who seek a compassionate, sensitive, and responsive synagogue experience.

On Saturday, November 3rd, at 10 a.m., Shirat Hayam is proud to be hosting a discussion group facilitated by internationally renowned pediatric endocrinologist Dr. Norman Spack, co-founder of the Gender Management Service clinic at Boston Children’s Hospital, America’s first clinic to treat transgender children.

Mimi Micner, 5th year Rabbinical student and Advocacy and Campaigns Specialist at Keshet, an organization that works for the full equality and inclusion of LGBTQ Jews in Jewish life, will be joining Dr. Spack, and together they will present facts and explain misconceptions so that voters will be able to make educated decisions at the polls.

Please join us on November 3rd at our “Nosh and Drash” at 10 a.m. and listen to the facts. There will be a question and answer period after the presentation. This is open to the public, so please feel free to bring your friends or anyone you know who is struggling with the issue or would simply like to hear from specialists in this field.

* Norman P. Spack is a retired American pediatric endocrinologist at Boston Children’s Hospital, where he co-founded the hospital’s Gender Management Service (GeMS) clinic in 2007. It is America’s first clinic to treat transgender children. He is an internationally known specialist in treatment for intersexed and transgender youth and is one of the first doctors in the United States who advocates prescribing hormone replacement therapy to minors. Spack has been consulted to discuss trans medical issues, often specifically pediatric in focus, in media outlets such as 20/20, Time, The Atlantic, and National Public Radio. He wrote the foreword of the 2008 book The Transgender Child: A Handbook for Families and Professionals.

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