My name is Kayla Shelley and I am the chair of SCSU College Republicans. I’ve supported collegiate leaders that represent this party’s platform and interned for national campaigns, believing that conservative leaders are best for this country.
I believe in a smaller central government, the preservation of individual rights, the importance of a private business sector, a balanced budget and tax cuts to support individual economic growth. All this being said, I am also a student at SCSU, and many members of our community identify as transgender, or see themselves as part of the LGBTQIA community. Some of these individuals are my friends, active members of SCSU, and are people who uphold the code of conduct policies at this university. What is shameful to me is that after actions taken by members of Congress both in Minnesota and across the nation, is that when I look at these people that are a part of my community, my peers and my friends, I no longer want to admit to them that I am a Republican.
Minnesota Republicans have come out in support of HF 3396, a bill that forces transgender individuals to use restrooms, locker rooms, and related facilities based on the gender that is on their original birth certificate. The argument for this, is that there is a danger, posed by transgender individuals, towards cisgender people.
I believe that this bill tries to create a problem that simply does not exist. It implies that there is an epidemic of people pretending to be transgender in order to get into a facility of the opposite sex and assault. I know that many House members in support of HF 3396 believe they are doing the right thing, but I think it is coming from a place of discrimination towards the LGBTQIA community that has existed within the party for a long time, and Republicans have refused to recognize it.
As a Republican I believe in the individual rights of people; this includes the right to privacy. The attempt to intervene in something personal such as gender identity, the inevitable idea that if this goes through people will have to check the “true gender” of someone before they use the restroom, is an infringement of their right to privacy. It is an unnecessary bill that achieves nothing but to perpetuate false ideas about the transgender community, and fuel discrimination.
I want Minnesota Republicans to understand that many millennials who consider themselves conservative will not support this, as they, like me, have grown up in a time when we have realized that sexual orientation and gender alone do not define a person.
Again, HF 3396 attempts to correct a problem that does not exist. It is discriminatory in nature, dehumanizing and violates the rights to privacy that conservatives are supposed to believe in. I recognize that making my opinion on this matter public will likely cause problems for me as someone who is supposed to represent Republicans, and could damage my ties with House members I have previously supported and have come out in favor of this bill, but this needs to be said. This is not about party lines anymore; it is about right and wrong. It is about whether or not the government should support people or dehumanize them.
If I could say anything to legislators, I would plead with Republicans to end this bill. Stop hurting the party by losing the millennial vote. If being a conservative means I am expected to either support or stay quiet on these matters, I will no longer stand in support of this party. I will not support something that if passed will damage the mental health, well being, and sense of personal security of people that are no different than myself.
This is the opinion of Kayla Shelley.