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Op-Ed: 11 Year Old Transgender Girl’s Letter to President Obama

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I was making my usual rounds through the Huffington Post this morning when this article caught my eye. The words “eleven year old transgender” interested me because this was a person that was a part of an identity that I and most of the United States are struggling to understand. I have known about the transgender community for a few years now and have come to tolerate it through research, particularly through personal testimonies about what it is like to be a young transgender person.

To have someone as young as Sadie write such a heartfelt letter is amazing. The last personal testimony I read was in a book entitled The Full Spectrum: A New Generation of Writing about Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning and Other Identities. I read this book  a few years ago, not recently. It wasn’t until I tried looking for more writing like this that I realized how rare it was. Besides Sadie’s letter, the only other recent personal testimony I’ve read by a young person from the GLBTQ community was the one by Richard Blanco, the 2013  Presidental Inaugration poet.

Besides the personal testimonies, I’ve also tried to understand the transgender identity through young adult fiction. Since I still don’t know the subject matter too well, I’ve been unsure of what to read because I’m not sure if what I’m reading accurately represents the transgender identity. However, a book I’ve recently reviewed entitled Beauty Queens has a transgender character that is very realistic because she expresses feelings similar to Sadie’s. 

Even though I still don’t understand the transgender identity as well as I would like, I know that it is important for letters like Sadie’s to be read and understood. For those like Sadie, it sends a message that they are not alone. For the rest of us, it sends a message that shows Sadie’s humanity, which still exists in all of us no matter how we identify ourselves.

It is clear to me  is that if Obama didn’t address the transgender community, he needs to read Sadie’s letter and act on it as soon as possible. While the GLBTQ community may have different identities, they both share the same enemies: prejudice and discrimination. Most people should know by now that these things have tragic consequences, including suicide and homicide. When I saw Sadie’s letter, I thought of another transgender person named Brandon Teena. I wish Sadie the best of luck and hope that she will continue to live life to the fullest and not have it cut short like Brandon’s was.

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Written by Serena Zola

January 24, 2013 at 11:24 AM

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