As the summer continues in full swing and full ‘HEAT’ for many across the US and the globe, now is a great time to reflect on the place where we live. While it has been warm here, we are certainly not experiencing the heat that others are experiencing. We should be grateful for the beautiful place that we can all call our home. We should also reflect on the many changes happening across the US, impacting the LGBTQIA+ community negatively.
While we are lucky enough to live in a state considered the safest in the country for the LGBTQ+ community, we must not allow complacency to set in. Those negative forces are alive and well here in NM. They are planting seeds of disruption, negativity, and distorted facts, all with the sole purpose of demonizing our community and causing harm, especially to our youth—the most vulnerable population of all and the trans community.
An opinion piece was published in the Santa Fe New Mexican this past Saturday by House Minority Whip – Greg Nibert (R) Roswell, NM, titled ”Parent power can protect school children.” This OpEd mistakenly characterizes HB 7 and Senate Bill 367 as being able to force public school personnel to help underage children get abortion services and gender-altering services (a new way to frame gender-affirming healthcare).
Let’s be clear: Young children are not being vine sex change surgeries despite what many within a certain political spectrum are trying to promote. The reality of this legislation is being completely distorted and misrepresented by those who opt for any legislation that protects our community and the greater community. We know that it is being falsely claimed that politicians and parents are furious with schools nationwide; however, surveys of parents nationwide do not indicate this is the case. We also know there is a push to require this NM legislation to be put to a public vote. We also know that many continue to demonize others within the LGBTQIA+ community, especially trans or questioning humans, and the parents do nothing more than try to love and protect their children.
What else we know is that 40% of LGBTQIA+ youth have seriously contemplated suicide in the last year, and many in the mental health profession fear that that number is actually higher. We also know that 70% of the youth housed at Youth Shelters and Family Services here in Santa Fe are LGBTQIA+. As a community – young and older alike- we need to be vigilant of what is happening around us, especially if you notice that malicious individuals misrepresent these NM legislative bills. If you notice something, say something. Drop me an email. email@example.com
Stay cool, be well, and continue the fight!
In good health and solidarity,
Kevin A. Bowen