Letter to the Editor: What Are Our House Representatives Representing?
On Monday, November 6th, I attended a presentation hosted by two of our Wolfeboro House Representatives, Glenn Cordelli and Katy Peternel. The topic of the presentation was about transgender people and the speaker was Katie Lennon, a Massachusetts resident. I was interested in attending the presentation because I was curious why our representatives were bringing a transgender person to our town to speak. I know some transgender people and am aware of the struggle they have gone through personally and socially. Our society can be very unkind to people who are different. As a person who was taught to embrace differences in people and recognize the value of seeing diverse views, I thought the presentation might be enlightening and supportive of transgender people.
At the beginning of the presentation, Mr. Cordelli led us in prayer. (I was a little surprised by that since I expected the Pledge of Allegiance from a House Representative.) I don’t remember the exact prayer word for word, but it had something to do with battling evil. Next, we heard a very personal story from Ms. Lennon about her journey through transitioning from a woman to a man. Apparently, she had medical treatments and surgeries that didn’t go well in some cases. I think everyone in the room felt a great deal of sympathy for Ms. Lennon at that point. As Ms. Lennon continued her story of living as a man for seven years. It sounded as if she was happy with her choices. However, seven years into her transition, she had an epiphany and decided she wanted to “embrace her womanhood” and return to identifying as a woman.
At that point, I really began wondering why our House Representatives were hosting this event as interesting as it was. Toward the end of Ms. In Lennon’s talk she revealed that not only had she “de-transitioned” from a man back to a woman, but had come to believe that being transgender was wrong and that the medical community had “mutilated and abused her body” and that laws should be passed to ban transgender care and ban anyone from dressing as the opposite sex in public. ( I guess the fabulous play “Tootsie” we just saw at the Ogunquit Playhouse would have been banned). Needless to say, I was so sad to hear Ms. Lennon’s conclusion to her story. I have all kinds of empathy for her journey through gender identification, but to actively speak out against transgender people and care just seemed like self-loathing and shame to me. I felt very sad for her and sad for the transgender community. It was never made clear to me why Representatives Cordelli and Peternel hosted this event, but my suspicion is that they were hoping to convince voters that transgender medical care should be banned. Is that what our representatives are focusing on in Concord? Not all of them.
Representative John Mac Donald was there too. I had the opportunity to talk to him after the meeting about the boat speed legislation that he worked on and I helped support. We also talked about the terrible cyno-bacteria blooms that invaded Lake Winnipesaukee and Lake Wentworth this summer. Those blooms were a health risk to our children and families. We talked about why cyno-bacteria was occurring more often and John mentioned that there was not enough enforcement of the Shoreline Protection Act. He went on to tell me how there was a shortage of officers in the state in general and why. It was a very informative conversation and I told him that I really liked the fact he was focusing on an issue that was at the heart and soul of our community… officer staffing shortages, and the water quality of our lakes. To me, that is true Wolfeboro representation and I applaud that. Perhaps Representatives Cordelli and Peternel could talk to more community members (from both political parties) about what really matters to them and spend less time trying to rile up voter fear over national culture wars.
Wolfeboro, NH 03894