As the historian quoted in "Her Own Woman" (5/6/11), I appreciate the opportunity to provide additional perspective. According to a 2011 University of California study, one in 333 people have a significant degree of cross-gender identification. Most social institutions demand that all people learn to pass as one recognizable gender. Some people never question that process.
What I missed in the Isthmus article is any sense of the awesomeness of trans lives. As historian, teacher and activist, I inhabit a vibrant world of transsexual and transgender people across all age, class and race demographics.
Despite societal ignorance and stigma, being trans is not a dark, depressing path against impossible statistics. It is a powerful and sacred endeavor to become yourself in this world.
I cannot express in words the extent to which I admire the profound courage Rhiannon Tibbetts showed in sharing her deeply personal and sadly controversial life story. I say sadly, because its "controversy" seems ill-fitting, as this condition seems more medical than one of sexual identity.
I just want Rhiannon and others struggling with this issue to know that while the decision to "go public" may seem daunting, many of us plain, "straight" folk out here applaud your bravery and support you. For those who believe "God doesn't make mistakes" - by putting people in bodies with the wrong "bumps," as I tell my daughter - I say, perhaps God creates situations to challenge our deepest compassion and acceptance of others.
Thank you, Rhiannon, for helping pull the masses one tiny step in the direction of a more whole, healed society.
Amy Ginko, Middleton
I enjoyed Linda Falkenstein's article about Upham Woods (5/6/11). It surprised me, though, that she never mentioned the best way for Dane County youth to enjoy the camp: Dane County's annual 4-H camp.
Any Dane County youth can attend, and the price can't be beat - $98 for 4H members, $120 for nonmembers. This year, kids in grades three to five will be at camp from Aug. 7 to 10, and sixth- to eighth-graders have from Aug. 10 to 13. Three days of sun, swimming, hiking and fun in one of Wisconsin's most beautiful retreats.
I spent half of my teenage summers attending camp at Upham Woods. Even now, decades later, I still enjoy a night in the cabins or under the stars along the river.
County camp registration is open through June 17. The registration form is available online.