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[LETTER TO THE EDITOR]

Dear Editor:

Rebecca Harrelson’s article “Avery Dickerson deconstructing thoughts on gender” highlighted an innovative shop that caters to an ever-expanding queer community in the Triad. I commend you for supporting this shop and person.

However, it is never “mandatory” for a transgender person to seek therapy for medical procedures. That is a common misconception. The Standards of Care (SOC) published by the World Professional Association for Transgender Health offer flexible clinical guidelines. Some doctors may request proof of therapy before providing care, but that decision is their personal choice – it is not based in any legal or formalized medical requirement. In fact, many doctors will assess trans people’s requests themselves and offer treatments on a case-by-case basis.

Trans people often make decisions to pursue hormones and/or surgeries after years of coming to terms with their gender identities. Some trans people do not want or need counseling to make their bodies reflect their gender identities. We need to stop spreading the myth that therapy is a “mandate” where counselors act like gatekeepers that trans people must please. Instead, therapy should be promoted as an optional tool that can help support the trans people who want it.

For more information, refer to the WPATH SOC found here: http://www.wpath.org/uploaded_files/140/files/Standards%20of%20Care,%20V7%20 Full%20Book.pdf).

Elroi J. Windsor, Ph.D. -The writer is chair of the Department of Sociology and Criminal Studies at Salem College

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