photos by zach adams/1221 Photography
Christina Newton (left), and her friend, Candice Clotfelter, say they were wearing one-piece swimsuits and having a private conversation while sitting on a bench inside the women's locker room at the Kerasotes branch of the Springfield YMCA on April 27 when 16-year-old Abbigail Wheeler began staring at them. What happened next led to a nationally publicized controversy over the rights of transgender people to use locker rooms associated with the gender to which they identify.


I can't believe there's a nationwide fuss over literally nothing happening ("Transgender turmoil," July 27). A teenage girl saw someone she thought looked masculine in the locker room, but masculine-looking women exist, not including trans women – athletes with muscles, butch lesbians, women with androgynous buildings. People lashing out against trans women often harass them, too.

If you require people to use the locker room of their biological sex, you could get trans men with full beards in the women's locker room, and you know they don't actually want that. Short of genital checks at the door, there's no enforceable way to ban trans people from locker rooms. If seeing what you think looks like a masculine woman in the locker room (not even seeing her naked, just seeing her exist there) is going to upset you so much you're going to cry and post hateful signs about it, you're probably the one who needs to change in the family changing room.

Caroline Kionka



The "Transgender turmoil" article was lengthy and contained a lot of interesting information. Much inflammatory rhetoric is flying around, none of which is particularly informative or helpful, and usually is missing the purpose of the Freedom Caucus's gathering at Rotary Park on July 13.

In reference to the gathering, Chris Mooney, Professor Emeritus of Political Science at the U of I Chicago said, "It's almost 100% political with the leaders of these groups. It's a way to gain leverage. It's 100% theater." This was not political theater, Mr. Mooney, because no one was acting.

State Rep. Kelly Cassidy of Chicago, in referring to the Caucus, said this "...could ramp up violence against trans people, as well as suicide and other forms of self-harm" and further referred to the Caucus as the "oppression caucus." The Caucus is about protecting and not oppressing.

A Springfield City Council member made remarks referring to some participants at Rotary Park as "outside agitators," and called their motives "a manufactured rage," "seeking the attention they crave," "singling out people in our community" and described the Caucus attendees as "lacking peace."

None of this inflammatory rhetoric is productive or true. All those people missed the point of the gathering, which was to express concern and disapproval of the Y's policy: allowing biological males to use the bathrooms, dressing rooms and showers along with biological females. That was the purpose.

To say, "I identify as a male/female" is just that, an identification and not a biological reality. Truth is a stubborn thing. God created male and female with no mention of how you identify yourself.

Edward Tandy



Thank you for your article regarding the two women who have been needlessly plunged into this senseless turmoil. I attended the "news conference" on July 13 and was sickened by statements made by every speaker there that day, calling transgender people everything bad that you can imagine.  Their behavior that day, in recent letters to the editor and in the article in this week's IT clearly shows that none of these supposed Christians and protectors of children know any transgender people, nor have they done responsible research into the lives they've lived, nor do they understand the biological reality that causes people to be transgender.

I am a cisgender woman with two children and we all have friends who are transgender. They are smart, hardworking, decent people, just like most of the rest of us. They deserve our love and support.

Jodi Perko



Illinois Times should've dubbed the story "MAGA Turmoil" because that's really all it is – an opportunity for a MAGA politician to grandstand his hate and ignorance at the transgender community's expense once again.

Dana Skyye


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