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Using gender neutral prounouns is about respect

Letters to the Editor • Sep 4, 2015 at 11:03 AM

Pass Insure Tennessee or pay price

I hope that the message your readers take away from Sunday’s article on Insure Tennessee is not that it is dead, as the headline shouts, but that the cost of not passing Gov. Haslam’s proposed plan is significant — and growing. I saw a friend’s seemingly secure job at a Tennessee hospital eliminated as soon as Tennessee decided not to expand its Medicaid program. How many more jobs have been lost in these many months of refusing to close the gap created by the court decision concerning Medicaid expansion? How many hospitals will have to close before we put aside politics and address the problem?

I hope your readers took the time to read the article, which presented many facts our legislators and the constituents need for decision-making. The presentation in Kingsport and well-attended town meetings in Johnson City and Jonesborough indicate that Tennesseans want the facts.

Ellen Finney, Kingsport

Voters support Insure Tennessee

Hank Hayes provided a much needed service when he reported on the meeting at First Presbyterian in which Tennessee Justice Center provided facts about the benefits of Gov. Haslam’s Insure Tennessee: 280,000 working poor would have health insurance; incentives for improved lifestyles are built into Insure Tennessee; local hospitals would receive payment for care which would have been uncompensated; the economy would benefit with additional jobs and financially stable hospitals. The voting public, armed with facts, can open legislators’ eyes to see the importance for their constituents in acting now on Gov. Haslam’s Insure Tennessee.

Unfortunately, the headline and most of the first column focused on the political machinations which succeeded in keeping the bill from debate by the legislators. There is widespread support among voters — 64 percent — for Insure Tennessee, according to a recent Vanderbilt poll. The negative headline suggested that advocates are out of touch with reality. Not so. Voters can make their wishes known to Rep. Bud Hulsey and Sen. Ron Ramsey and can provide supporting facts, not emotion and inaccurate sound bites.

Jane Boyd, Kingsport

Using GNPs is about respect

Using gender neutral pronouns (GNPs) and inclusive language is not about being politically correct. It is about respecting someone’s identity. Gender is a very complicated matter. It is a social construct that is not binary, it is a spectrum. This might be tough to understand, especially for people who have never really questioned their gender identity. Just because GNPs exist it does not mean you have to use them. GNPs are for people that do not identify with the gender binaries of feminine and masculine. If you still want to use he/him/his or she/her/ hers, then please do so. This is a lot to think about, take in, and process. Presumably, your entire life has been lived in a pink-is-for-girls, blue-is-for-boys world. The people that do not fall in these two extremes are human beings. Pretending like they do not exist is disrespectful.

It comes down to the Golden Rule of treating others how you want to be treated. No one is asking you to overhaul your entire vocabulary, but you adapt your vocabulary by learning and using new words all of the time. In this case, using the new word you just learned can show an immense amount of respect and your expansive vocabulary. You would want people to call you by the name that you go by and use the correct pronouns you use to identify yourself. This goes for all humans, not just the ones whose biological sex matches their gender identity. It is about education to become a functioning member of society. People who use GNPs are members of our society, and UTK is doing a fabulous job on educating its students, faculty, and staff on how to be more inclusive in an ever changing world.

Allison Heming, Johnson City

Cats in shelters have no chance

Ninety-nine percent of cats that go to shelters die. They don’t have a chance. Once in the shelter, they never get to see outside again. This whole operation is inhumane. Why don’t they just have one shelter that deals with just the cats and build them a caged area where they can go outside? Why is this happening in Kingsport? Every 60 to 80 days, they have to kill almost all the cats because they all get sick. Killing every cat that is caught is more humane than just letting them suffer from depression. I love both cats and dogs, but for cats to have no chance is not right. Something has to change. I know we can’t save every cat, but we sure can save more than one percent.

They kill so many cats that they don’t have enough space to freeze the dead cats and dogs and deer to feed them to the wolves at Bays Mountain. And every Monday the dumpster smells like dead animals.

Jamie Hickman, Kingsport

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