No, Ted Cruz, I didn’t contact you “regarding public policies in response to gender dysphoria.”
I contacted you about my concerns about the legislative attacks on transgender citizens, one of the most marginalized groups in our society today, and their families.
Social Media Friends, I’ll be honest, when I initially emailed Ted Cruz back in March to share my concerns about anti-trans state legislations sweeping the country, I wasn’t even expecting a response from him, and I certainly wasn’t surprised to receive a form letter back from him and his staffers. What surprised me—and alarmed me—was that the form letter refused to acknowledge the existence of transgender people. It was a disturbing insight into where the mindset of our politicians is on a national level — not just for creating awareness for our trans friends and family but as a wake-up call to all of us.
For the last two months, I’ve been researching the anti-trans bills sweeping our country during the recent legislative sessions. In my real job, I help students apply to college, and my genderqueer and trans students need to be sure they’ll be safe on their college campuses and in the states where they’ll live. So, with an amazing team of other educational consultants, we studied anti-trans legislation in 15 states, but none of what I learned about any of the anti-trans bills was as frightening, frustrating, or, frankly, chilling, as this response I received from Ted Cruz.
Putting aside his unsubstantiated claims about athletics and gender-affirming care, his response to me, included below, refuses to even acknowledge transgender people. The one time he even used the word transgender, it was in quotation marks. Otherwise, he just uses the words “gender dysphoria” repeatedly.
This is important, friends, and there’s a reason I’m alarmed by — and sharing his email with you: his letter refuses to accept transgender people as a category of people with a legitimate identity worthy of protecting, respecting, or even acknowledging. He is denying their existence by reducing a category of people to a disease. This is the definition of an existential threat, and sadly, we’ve seen this before. My daughter Sara has been telling me that there is an active, coordinated effort to deny the existence of transgender people. Well, this letter from Ted Cruz was a huge wake-up call for me. I can’t say I’ve ever been a Ted Cruz fan, but I certainly didn’t expect him to blatantly deny the existence of an estimated 1.6 million of his fellow American citizens.
If you, like me, are alarmed by the direction our country is taking in terms of civil liberties and basic human rights, please go here to donate to Colin Allred’s Campaign. He’s running for US Senate to defeat Ted Cruz.
Ted Cruz’s Response to me (if you’re interested in reading it — you should):
Dear Ms. Caplan,
Thank you for contacting me regarding public policies in response to gender dysphoria. Input from fellow Texans significantly informs my decision-making and empowers me to better represent our state.
Like many Americans, I am deeply concerned with the aggressive push to allow minor children to “transition” in school without parental knowledge or consent. I am also troubled with the idea of subjecting minors to irreversible surgeries and hormone treatments. This is a gross violation of medical ethics and an attack on the rights of parents to make decisions for their children. We must protect children from these kinds of medical procedures that cause lifelong harm.
I am also greatly concerned with the dangers presented to women and girls when schools at the elementary and secondary levels all the way up to college allow “transgender” athletes who are biologically male to compete in single-sex sports against biologically female athletes. This practice is destroying the integrity of competition and it is clear these policies are harmful to women and girls who have trained hard to compete in their respective sports, only to be unfairly pitted against biological males who have an inherent physical advantage. Further, there are alarming reports of permanent injury suffered by female athletes following violent collisions with genetic males who are participating in female-only sports.
Because of these concerns, I cosponsored legislation in 2021 that forced all federally-funded athletic organizations to recognize sex solely accordingly to reproductive biology and genetics at birth. I took this position, not to oppose people suffering from gender dysphoria, but because I believe strongly in the importance of protecting women and girls’ right to play sports on a level playing field. I remain committed to fighting for fairness in athletic competition, and in protecting the health of women and children in the process.
Thank you again for sharing your views with me. Please feel free to contact me in the future about any issue important to you or your family. It is an honor to serve you and the people of Texas.
United States Senator
My Response to him (in case you’re interested):
Dear Ted Cruz,
I find it ironic that you signed your letter to me with “For Liberty” when the entire email was about removing liberty from a segment of our population. Of course, I’m assuming the email was written by a college-aged or recent college grad based on the lack of any kind of recognition of the points made in my letter and with no supporting data for the baseless claims made in yours.
I’m a constituent. You represent me. And nowhere in the letter, did I even see that you’d (and by “you” here, I’m assuming I’m addressing a young staffer) given any thought to the dangers and marginalization I addressed in my letter to you facing transgender people here in Texas. Moreover, the letter you sent me went on to tell me how you plan to bring that marginalization and danger to the entire country. You even refused to use the term transgender in your letter without quotation marks, and that’s disturbing on a whole other level.
My family immigrated to Texas just 17 years after the Battle of the Alamo. I’m a sixth-generation Texan and a former fourth-generation Texas Republican. I was born into and steeped in Conservative values. My dad was the Executive Director of the Republican Party in Texas between 1967 and 1968. My grandparents managed Republican Party campaigns in the fifties and sixties. Raised in the Bible Belt of Deep East Texas, I was taught by my parents to respect the rights of others. That individuals have more rights than the states. I mean, you can’t get much more libertarian, freedom-loving, independent-minded Texan than the way I was raised.
And that’s why I’m writing again to you today in response to your letter to me. I’m sad. I’m angry. And I’m embarrassed by my state legislators here in Texas and those — like you — who represent me in the US Senate. You see, I’m also the mother to a beautiful, talented, brilliant transgender daughter, a seventh-generation Texan, who no longer feels safe visiting her family here in Texas. She recently wrote a letter to the St. John’s community. As a fellow parent in the St. John’s community, I’m not sure if you’ve seen it yet or not, but I think it’s worth your time. My thought is this — to those of you who refuse to acknowledge the existence of trans people, you just don’t realize you’ve met them. You know them. They are members of your family. They are your friends or your kids’ friends and classmates. They are children of your friends. And you are actively going out of your way to bring them harm. That’s not an exaggeration. Just because you don’t think you know any trans people doesn’t mean you don’t know them. My daughter was the quintessential St. John’s “boy” — student leader, student-athlete, a scholar.
There are just so many things you’re not thinking about here. The unintended consequences of your proposals are off the charts. I highly recommend you get someone who has specialized in logic and ethics to read over these bills — and certainly to write your letters to your constituents. Unless, of course, your entire plan is to eradicate trans people from Texas or the US altogether — and I’m beginning to suspect that it is based on your unwillingness to even use the word transgender without quotation marks.
Have you read the research about gender-affirming care for children and teens? Can you please cite the research you have that demonstrates harm to the majority of transgender children and teens who are supported by their loving families and well-educated doctors? Because I spend a lot of time researching it and learning about it. I believe that families and parents should have the right to make decisions about what is best for their child with doctors who aren’t fearful that their medical licenses will be revoked because some politicians have decided to interfere with medical decisions. Here’s some research you and your staff should look into before sending off emails with baseless claims:
- Study on Gender Reassignment Procedures on Minors
- AAP Policy Statement Urges Support and Care of Transgender and Gender-Diverse Children and Adolescents
- TMA Supports Evidence-Based Gender-Affirming Care in Lawsuit
You mentioned your worries about the “dangers presented to women and girls.” Please share all the ways you are committed to fighting for the health of women and children. I don’t think it’s through protecting their reproductive rights or through gun law protection. So I’d love to know all the ways you are protecting me, my daughter, your daughters, your wife. I’d also love to see the research about the number of women who are affected by transgender athletes. How many women or girls have been adversely affected by a trans athlete? For that matter, how many trans athletes are there participating on women’s or girls’ teams? Please share those statistics with me. Because all I keep hearing about are states that make laws when there’s one trans girl athlete in the state or a handful, and we, the taxpayers, are forced to watch our legislators waste precious time and resources on a handful of kids who just want to play with their friends.
Please share the “alarming reports” of permanent injury suffered by cis women or girls after a violent collision with a trans girl athlete. I haven’t seen those, and I’d love to know what they are and how many they are, and how the data compares to injuries suffered by women or girls after a violent collision with fellow cis-girl athletes.
I look forward to hearing back from you with the data that backs up your claims. I’d love to know that you’re being thoughtful about your stance on human rights, and not just sending out widely distributed misinformation and propaganda.
I expected more from you (and your staffers).
For Liberty (for real),
Carolyn Allison Caplan