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How could you?

Staff Reports

In these days of war, sorrow and evil, it looks like you would be glad for a little bit of love. How could you be so cruel and say so many bad things about these two beautiful people that fell in love and hope to have a beautiful life together (Picks, Tricks and the Buzz, Vail Trail, March 14)? Don’t you know that they in their own way will bring a sense of love and happiness to your town of Vail?Nettie WeltonWray, Colo.Vail a nest of negativityWhoa! I went looking for the Web site of the Vail newspaper, expecting to see some of the “feel-good” impressions I had of your community based on the warm personality and positive comments of the locality by Bachelorette star Ryan Sutter. Was I surprised to see such negativity and character bashing! I was further distressed to see an editorial that practically chastised all of us for not paying more attention to a potential war and to blow off this reality show. Excuse me, but I have two adult sons in the military, and I’m scared to death about their upcoming deployment.Am I not allowed a momentary distraction without being judged? If Ryan had to make a choice in where to live with Trista, who would’ve thought that L.A. would be much gentler and friendlier than Vail?Kathi NealFargo, N.D.Casino Nightjump-starts early childhood educationWhile local and state leaders are concerned about the water crisis, many local educators are joining together to work on something equally important to the future of the community. Early Childhood Educators are focusing on building and maintaining high quality programs for the children who are our future.First lady Laura Bush last year shared her opinion regarding early childhood education by stating, ” the years between diapers and the first backpacks will determine whether a child will succeed in school and make it to college.”As the director of the Family Learning Center, I have been working alongside many community members, teachers, and parents who agree with the her statement. High-quality early learning programs provide children with a jump start on learning. These programs enable children to fulfill their desires to learn and understand the world around them as they challenge their curiosity levels, explore new ideas, and develop social skills.This year 10 preschool programs in the valley are joining together for the 16th annual “Casino Night” fundraiser. Casino Night 2003 will be held at the Marriott’s Grand Ballroom on Friday, April 11, from 7 p.m. to midnight. Tickets can be purchased at local preschools or at the door for $20 each, which includes $400 in gaming chips. A silent auction will be held from 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., followed by a live mask auction. The proceeds from this fun-filled evening will benefit Eagle County Early Childhood Programs. For more information, contact the chairwoman, Angela Mueller, at (970) 476-1281.Hope to see you there.Sandy BrownDirector of the Family Learning Center’I ain’t easy be me in Vail’I read with interest Scott Cunningham’s cover story (Imagine if there was a drag show in Vail, Vail Trail, Feb. 14), as I am a transgendered male who lives in the Eagle Valley.While I think you did a good job of describing the challenges of being gay in the area, I believe you were somewhat misinformed concerning what transgenderism really is.There are three innate characteristics by which we identify ourselves, and ultimately others.For example, a gay, butch woman may have the physical attributes of a masculine female, the sexual preference for women, and the self perception of a masculine female. A heterosexual male may have the physical attributes of a feminine male, sexual preference for women, and the self perception of a male. A transgendered male could have male attributes, sexual preference for women, but have a gender self perception of a female, and so on, and so on, in any combination imaginable. These are not attributes we choose, but are born with.What’s most important to realize is that though we typically think in binary terms, male/female, many of us exist at different points on these continuums at the same time. In terms of physical sex, there are those born fully male and fully female, and there are also those who have some combination of the two, masculine women and feminine men, and those with mixed sexual attributes. As you pointed out, these people are called intersexed (once known as hermaphrodite) and there are as many as one in 1,000 births that may have &quotambiguous&quot genitalia.In terms of sexual preference, there is heterosexuality at one end, and homosexuality at the other extreme, with variations and combinations of the two (bisexuality, heterosexual but curious, etc.). And last, but far from least, is how we perceive our own gender.A heterosexual cross-dresser (transvestite) may appear to be completely male (or female, as the case may be, although a guy in a dress elicits more reaction than a woman in pants and boots), be a husband and father, and still need to express their cross-gender feelings by wearing clothes not characteristic of their physical sex. Cross-dressers are more common than most people think, estimated somewhere between 1 in 10 and 1 in 20 males. Chances are you know a cross-dresser, but because of society’s intense puritanical beliefs, they may live their whole lives telling no one of their proclivity, due to shame, embarrassment, and fear of discovery.Transsexuals are people (men and women in probably equal numbers) who experience a self-gender perception in conflict with their physical sex, many times from a very young age, typically much younger than puberty, so it can not possibly be sexually related. They may be attracted to the same sex, the opposite sex, or be bisexual, and many times their sexual preference may change when they are in the correct sex/gender. Through the use of cross-gender hormones and/or gender corrective surgery, they are able to finally feel a congruence of their appearance and their inner feeling of who they are.And finally, though you obtained the terminology list from pflag, I would disagree that transgenderism or being intersexed has anything to do with sexual preference. These have to do exclusively with gender self perception and physical conditions at birth. And drag queens and kings are typically not transgendered, but gay men and women who dress in a cross-gender manner either for performance, or to attract members of their own sex.As most people you interviewed said: &quotIt ain’t easy being me in Vail.&quot What I would like people to understand is that we aren’t freaks, or perverts. It’s just a different way to be.Vail Trans


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