Letters to the Editor for March 31

Totalitarianism in Oak Grove?

To the Editor:

The Minnesota Legislature has bankrolled a $1.65 billion dollar surplus, a fraction of the almost $45 billion dollar two-year state budget. In Oak Grove, the City Council has bankrolled a $9.1 million dollar surplus, almost 400 percent more than the city’s 2017 budget of $2.3 million. The mayor of Oak Grove says the “discretionary” reserve may be spent in part on “policy decisions that may take us into court or into litigation”(City Council meeting Jan. 9, 2017) over ”Met Council … totalitarianism”. (City newsletter Winter 2017) The issue revolves around long term development planning including a proposed sewage system through a corner of the city.

In short, taxes levied by my local politicians are earmarked to hire lawyers which will be used to fight the lawyers hired with taxes levied by my state politicians. A government that governs by reaching into my wallet with both hands and gives it to lawyers from opposite sides to fight each other, that’s government inefficiency at it’s worst.

Local government has a basic mandate to secure and protect health, safety and core services for a community. Hey politicians: Stop using my tax dollars to fight your ideological wars!

I’m no expert at whether peeing and pooping in a pipe vs. a trench is the slippery slope toward totalitarianism. However, any way you look at it, once again the government is certain they know how to spend my money better than I do. That’s the real load.

Mike Reps

Oak Grove

Affirmation enforces gender confusion

To the Editor:

Melissa Thompson in “No harm when a child is affirmed,” asked me to offer evidence of damage as a result of adults affirming a child. The excellent testimony at the March 20 A-H School Board meeting provided that evidence. I would encourage everyone to listen to those testimonies online by going to the district website.

One speaker talked about Walt Heyer, a man who was damaged as a young child by his grandmother who often dressed him up in a dress and affirmed him as a beautiful little girl. This was a secret the grandmother kept from Walt’s parents. His grandmother never affirmed him as a boy, only as a girl. This led to Walt’s gender confusion down the road.

In his book, Walt relates that he could never get that ‘girl’ out of his head. He ended up having gender re-assignment surgery and lived as a female for many years. He discovered that the surgery never solved the underlying psychological problems that led to his gender confusion in the first place.

Walt Heyer has written several books and now has a ministry helping others who are being misled by the delusion that one can change their sex. His website is www.sexchangeregret.com. I encourage everyone to read Walt’s book “Paper Genders.”

Walt is concerned that too many people are being deceived by the transgender movement — just as he was. That deception cost him his reproductive organs along with wasted years of depression, emotional anguish and suicide ideation. Walt has returned to his biological sex and is now happily married to a woman who shares his concern for helping others who are being damaged by the lies of this aggressive movement that is making inroads into our schools.

No, Ms. Thompson, a child is not damaged by affirming a biological male as a boy or a biological female as a girl. Great harm is done, however, when they are affirmed as the opposite sex. This reinforces any gender confusion that a child might have and will most likely lead to unnecessary toxic hormones and surgeries down the road.

Carol Manske

Long-term transportation funding critical

To the Editor:

Minnesota’s roads, highways, interstates, and transit are vital to ensuring that we can get to work, school, community events, and social outings. Our transportation infrastructure ensures businesses are able to get goods and services to us. But, Minnesota’s roads are in rough shape. Every morning, I drive a gauntlet of potholes on the road in front of my home in Spring Lake Park.

According to MnDOT, over the next 20 years our state will fall $18 billion short of funding needed to keep up on our current highways. Half of our state highways are over 50 years old, and 40 percent of bridges on state highways are over 40 years old. These conditions don’t even account for growing congestion like we see every day on Highway 65. We also know what just maintaining looks like – it means we patch potholes instead of fixing the deeper problem of crumbling roads.

We have a budget surplus of $1.65 billion but even if we put every cent of that into transportation, we still wouldn’t have enough to just maintain our roads. If we don’t find a solution now, it will only cost us more down the road (pun intended).

Construction costs are already on the rise which means that the inability of previous legislatures to agree on a long term funding deal is already costing us more. I was disappointed in the House Republican Majority’s transportation proposal released last week. Their plan seeks to take $450 million over the next two years away from the state’s general fund and therefore not into education or health care. The plan also relies quite heavily on borrowing money through bonding which is appropriate to use to a certain extent, but dedicated, ongoing funding should fund our roads and bridges, and not the state’s credit card.

Budgets are reflections of values and the proposed budget shifts money away from kids and people who need care for a one time Band-Aid that won’t fix the underlying problem: a crumbling infrastructure. We must stop this shell game before our system is beyond repair or another tragic bridge collapse happens.

Erin Koegel
State Representative

  • RodKuehn

    Ms. Manske, there is another interpretation. His grandmother forced him to be somebody he was not. Of course that’s injurious. It’s the same with transgender people.

    You can’t force somebody into the gender they do not identify with without major trauma. Transgender people are comfortable with themselves as long as society doesn’t bully them into being somebody they aren’t. That’s why all of the scientific/medical groups are removing transgender from the list of mental health issues.

    The problem is society, not those who are transgender.

  • melissa thompson

    Carol, I agree with Rod. I even reached out to Mr. Heyer after you suggested it and have been corresponding with him for a couple days via email. He sent me multiple articles as proof of “his theory” on transgender people and what he reports as their comorbid disorders being the cause of their transgenderism. Unfortunately for him he did not read them in their entirety as I did. If he had, he would have realized that each of the studies he provided as proof that underlying undiagnosed mental illness is often a cause of transgenderism is not supported by any data.. While transgender people do in fact have high rates of major depression, anxiety disorders and suicidal ideation it frequently as a result of familial/societal rejection and what is referred to as “minority stress” better known as “oppression”. The consistency in the conclusions between all the studies was pleasantly surprising. And they all stated that with the support of family, community and early intervention with hormones outcomes can be significantly better for transgender people. While I genuinely feel bad for Walt, both for his childhood abuse and the failure of his doctors to do their due diligence with regard to his underlying mental illness, his situation is unique to him and has nothing to being transgender.

  • Mark Jensen

    The World Health Organization currently classifies gender dysphoria as mental illness. They are moving to a reclassification, not because of scientific evidence, but because of political correctness. Also, reclassifying it will reduce barriers to healthcare. In other words, a classification of mental illness gives insurance companies the ammuniciton to decline gender reassignment therapy and surgery as elective surgery and therefore decline coverage. I read your link to your article and I would suggest you read the comment section of the scientists that responded to the article. Many of them believe that the whole premise of the article is bogus.

    Your article also brings up the bathroom bills and have you ever thought this through? I you are a transgender woman and want to use a men’s public restroom, you are going to have to use a stall for obvious biological reasons. If you are a transgender male and want to use a women’s public restroom, you are going to have to use a stall because they don’t have urinals in women’s restrooms. So, since a transgender person is going to have to use a stall anyway, why not just use the one that isn’t going to make the other 99.7% of the population uncomfortable unless of course your objective is just to ram your agenda down the throats of people who aren’t transgender.

    As a taxpayer, I would rather the 2800 teachers in Anoka-Hennepin go to training that would benefit 100% of the students in the district, not just 0.3% of them. That would be money better spent. I don’t have a problem sending the district’s councelors and psychologists to gender dysphoria training because it is their job to handle psychological issues. A teacher’s job is to better educate students in reading, writing, history and STEM, not gender dysphoria.

    • melissa thompson

      Mark, I appreciate the opportunity to have some back and forth I think it’s helpful in learning about differing positions and allows for some clarification. As for the comment section to the article, while some disagreed the vast majority agreed with the author’s position. Now one thing I think it’s important for you to understand is that you have confused trans women and trans men in your reference to bathrooms. A trans woman is someone who was born a male but is or has transitioned to female which is why trans women use the women’s bathroom. Conversely, a trans man is someone who was born a female and has or is transitioning to male which is why they would use the men’s room. I’m so glad you brought this up because this misinformation is being used by Barb Anderson her 3 organizations MFC, PAL and CPL to upset people and get them to donate their money. These falsehoods have managed to really upset a lot of people but thankfully, slowly but surely they are getting the correct information and realizing trans people, especially students pose no threat to anyone. I wish the same could be said for the rhetoric being pitched by these groups. It is harmful and can incite violence against innocent people and for that reason they would be wise to dial it back before someone gets hurt and they are help liable.

      • Mark Jensen

        Wow! If you actually read the comment section of the article you posted, the independent comments were mostly from scientists skeptical of the authors findings. Most of the agreeing comments that that you talk about came from the author of the article in rebuttal.

        If you think that I have confused transgender men and women when it comes to bathrooms, then I apologize. What I meant to say is that if you are born a woman who thinks that you are a man and wants to use a men’s public restroom, you are going to have to use a stall for obvious biological reasons. If you are born a man and think that you are a woman and want to use a women’s public restroom, you are going to have to use a stall because they don’t have urinals in women’s restrooms. So, since you are the transgender person that is going to have to use a stall anyway, why not just use the one that isn’t going to make the other 99.7% of the population uncomfortable unless of course your objective is just to ram your agenda down the throats of people who aren’t transgender.

        Is that clear now?

        • melissa thompson

          Mark, I guess we will have to agree to disagree with regard to the article. As for confusing trans men and women no need to apologize, many have confused the two (myself included) as they learn about the subject.That said to be clear I am not transgender, in fact I am a straight, happily married mother of 4 daughters who never realized the plight of trans people,trans women specifically until I met a couple dear friends. One who’s son is transgender and another who is a transgender woman.They have educated me so much on what it means to be transgender and the dangers each of them face as a result of mean spirited and inaccurate information being put out by Barb Anderson and others. My hope is to share that knowledge and empathy with others. As for your comments about which stall they use, that is really not any of our business, they are there for the same reasons we are…they just want to go to the bathroom. As for being uncomfortable, perhaps some will be “uncomfortable” when they occasionally visit a public restroom but I wish you would consider that all this demonizing and targeting is making it down right “dangerous” for trans people who use public restrooms. If I had to choose between something being uncomfortable vs being dangerous I would choose uncomfortable every time. Please consider the consequences of your words and the impact they are having on the safety and well being of people, especially young people in our community.

          • Mark Jensen

            Your statement that all this demonizing and targeting is making it “dangerous” for trans people who use public restrooms is rediculous. Your statement is absurd.
            I am the father of two elementary school girls and your stance on public restrooms just made it more “dangerous” for them to use a public restroom. To use your own words. “Please consider the consequences of your words and the impact they are having on the safety and well being of people, especially young people in our community.”
            It’s the vary reason that Target is going through their financial struggles. When you can have men identify as women using women’s public restrooms, you open the door for abuse by sexual predators and by pedophiles that want to do little girls harm.
            In order to protect, 0.3 percent of the population, you want to subject the rest of the population to possible rape and abuse? It makes absolutely no sense to me whatsover.

          • melissa thompson

            Mark, there is nothing ridiculous about innocent people being murdered by people who have been fed misinformation and acted out of fear. A trans woman is no sexual threat to anyone in the restroom. In fact the hormone regimen that trans women undergo is very similar to chemical castration which basically destroys their libido. So to imply they are predators waiting to pounce is not only not true, it is unsupported by any facts or evidence. The biggest threat to women and children in public restrooms is now and has always been CIS men. As a mother of four daughters and a survivor of a restroom (latrine) sexual assault I can understand your fear for your little girls no matter how misdirected it is. As for Target having financial troubles as a result of their decision, according to Barrons and snopes that is untrue, it had to do changes in the industry as a whole. http://www.snopes.com/targets-stock-transgender-bathroom-policy/ Its clear we are not going to see to eye to eye on this, but I will leave you with this parting thought to ponder. Letting trans people use the bathroom they identify with hurts no one, however not allowing them access and spreading untruths puts trans people at significant risk of violence. So is your unfounded fear really more important than their physical safety?

          • Mark Jensen

            Melissa, we agree on something. We agree that we are never going to see eye to eye on this. You misinterpreted my reply. I am not worried about the trans woman being a threat to my daughters in a public restroom. I am worried about the CIS man who is a sexual predator, voyeur or a pedophile who will use the opportunity to masquerade as a trans woman to gain access to the women’s public restroom. You might be okay with that, but I am not. I believe there is a much higher probability of that occurring than a trans woman getting “murdered” in a public men’s restroom.


            I may have missed one but I could not find a single incident of a transgender person being murdered in a public restroom in the US.

            As for Target, there have already been incidents involving voyeurism at Target stores in Massachusetts, Idaho and Texas from CIS men being allowed access to the women’s restroom. The Idaho incident was a trangender woman filming women in the womens changing rooms. Their CEO just came out a week ago and admitted that they didn’t understand the backlash their bathroom policy would have on the public and was publicly distancing himself from the decision. Revenue is down 7.2% since they announced their new bathroom policy. The company announced they are going to spend $20 million dollars to put unisex, private single-stall bathrooms in all their retail stores in the upcoming year. Why do you think they are doing that if their policy had no impact on foot traffic and sales?

          • melissa thompson

            Mark, While I am glad you finally admit that trans women are not a threat to your girls and agree the threat to women and children in public restrooms has always been biological men. I am confused though, why this whole back and forth on transgender people using the bathroom if you know they pose no threat? CIS men who preys on women and children do so as themselves anyway, so to imply they will now dress up as a women to gain access to a restroom they could just walk into anyone is a weak argument to justify denying trans people the right to access the bathroom of their choice. As for trans people being murdered in bathrooms, I never said that. My position has always been that the demonizing rhetoric used in the bathroom argument is the same rhetoric that is fueling the fears of unstable people who go out and kill trans people because they believe they are dangerous and predatory which is simply not true. As for the Idaho Target voyeurism comment, I hadn’t heard of that but did pull it up. I think taking unauthorized photos of anyone is wrong and agree she should be prosecuted. Concerns for the physical safety of women and children at the hands of CIS men in public restrooms are legitimate which is why we never send our babies in alone, we take them in with us if need be, we need to lobby construction companies who build malls and other large structures and almost always put the ladies room at the farthest point and frequently near an exit. I think of Northtown mall, talk about a dangerous bathroom and that location is very similar to other large malls. So we have found something else to agree on, bathroom safety in public spaces needs to be assessed and changed and we now both know that trans people are NOT one of the dangers to fear.

          • melissa thompson

            Mark, It sounds like your anger vasilates between predatory men and Target for daring to affirm transgender people because You won’t know who is biologically female and who isnt. You ask how you will know who is using the restroom and the simple answer is you don’t, and unless you’re willing to “prove” your gender before being allowed to use the restroom you just do what you already do by your own admission and move on. I still feel like your fear is being displaced but also feel like this conversation has become counter productive so I will bow out.

          • Mark Jensen

            My objection was never about transgender women being a threat so you saying “I am glad you finally admit that trans women are not a threat to your girls” was never in question. My objection is and still is, how do you know if that person who was born a biological male entering the women’s restroom is truly a transgender woman or a cisgender man masquerading as a transgender woman? The answer is, you don’t.

            Here is Target’s bathroom policy as stated a year ago.

            “In our stores, we demonstrate our commitment to an inclusive experience in many ways. Most relevant for the conversations currently underway, we welcome transgender team members and guests to use the restroom or fitting room facility that corresponds with their gender identity.”

            That is the problem here. Nowhere does it ask for any proof. It just says, go ahead and use the bathroom that you feel you identify with. They base their policy on the good intentions of voyeurs, sexual predators and pedophiles and hope that they won’t exploit Target’s bathroom policy to satisfy their own deviant behavior. My belief is that this is extremely naive.

            How does a person that was born a biological male at Target, prove that they are now a transgender woman? This policy just opened the door to every cisgender man that wants to do harm to women and little girls at Target. All they have to do is claim they identify as a woman and as far as Target is concerned, they are free to go into every womens restroom or fitting room in any store in the country.

            Target knows they were absolutely wrong here. It is why they are spending $20 million to revamp their bathrooms nationwide.

            For the record, I went to Target today. My wife and I do not believe in political boycotts. We will go where we can get the best price for what we need. Based on my wife’s Red Card bill every month, she is trying to keep Target’s revenues as high as possible. I just will not take my daughters to Target unless my wife is with me and can go to the restroom with them, something I didn’t worry about until their bathroom policy announcement. If, for some reason, I am with my daughters and not my wife and I need to go to the store, I’ll avoid Target and opt for HyVee. Yeah, it’s a little more expensive, but they have multiple single stall restrooms there and I can send my girls there with peace of mind and millions of Americans feel the same way I do.

          • Plakman