Letters to the Editor
September 7, 2023

Dear Daniel Gradias, MA, AMFT#138119 (He/Him), After reading your letter in the Gazette a few weeks ago, it is clear that you probably have only recently graduated from some woke university; calling people ignorant solely because they think differently from you does not lend to me trusting in your maturity nor your degree.

As someone who has experienced sexual abuse as a child, I can tell you that often it begins with fun and games. Then it leads to taking off clothes, (like say, throwing a jacket across the room in a dance routine). And when accustomed to that, it can turn into a traumatic incident that stays with a young person for life. Not saying that putting on a “queer cultural performance” would end up in a rape or abuse of any sort. But it certainly does lend itself to a young person becoming desensitized and open to something worse in the long run. "Harm created by drag has zero clinical or empirical data." Play the data any way you want. I, too, can give data that counters your statement. Desensitization will destroy this generation. One step at a time.

You justify drag performances to teach empathy. I beg to differ. It does not take a drag queen dance or even a pro LGBTQ2+ curriculum to teach empathy and inclusiveness. Our district has prioritized empathy and inclusion for 20+ years. Do kids still get their feelings hurt today? Yes. Will they in the future? Yes. Is that part of growing up? Yes. Children don't need "safe spaces" or clubs to become empathetic or even resilient. They DO need adults and parents around them, all of them, who will call out wrong and celebrate goodness.

The question, “Do you want queer kids, or do you want dead kids?” is your basic shut them down question and it is insulting. Your colleague is perpetuating a fear that can be paralyzing for any parent. How unfortunate that he, as a “mental health colleague” would think this appropriate in any setting. I hope you will not use that sort of inflammatory rhetoric in your practice.

Daniel, according to your letter, individuals who differ in viewpoint from you are loud and ignorant. Perhaps. Many are speaking up loud and clear for the children of our community. I say, GOOD!!! Stay loud, parents and other concerned citizens!!! Please! As for ignorant. I know what I am about to ask will seem ignorant, but, why did that man want to dress in a ladies bathing suit and dance in front of children?

Let’s stop with these fake “safe spaces” and help children actually become resilient, healthy and contributing members of society.