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GOP Rep. Ros-Lehtinen: Transgender Debate 'Is Not About Bathroom Stalls'

Image: GOP Rep. Ros-Lehtinen: Transgender Debate 'Is Not About Bathroom Stalls'
(Wire Services Photo) 

By    |   Wednesday, 25 May 2016 06:42 PM

Florida Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen said Wednesday that the transgender issue engulfing the United States "is not about bathroom stalls and who goes where."

"This is about family acceptance," the Republican congresswoman told Jake Tapper on CNN. A public service announcement was released this week featuring Ros-Lehtinen and her transgender son, Rodrigo Heng-Lehtinen, and her husband, Dexter Lehtinen.

"This is about talking to your child, about being accepted and loved," Ros-Lehtinen said. "The theme of our message is to talk to your child — and whether your child is gay or lesbian or trans, I know that it's a shock at first.

"But with communication, that child has got to know that he or she is loved."

The video, which was produced by SAVE, a gay-rights organization based in Miami, is geared toward Hispanic communities.

Ros-Lehtinen, 63, a Republican who was first elected to Congress in 2012, told Tapper that 60 percent of transgender youth are ostracized by their families "not because they want to be but because their family has literally thrown them out the door.

"I encourage parents to talk to your child and love," she said. "We were fearful of Rodrigo's safety.

"All of these folks are saying, 'Oh, we're worried about kids going to the bathrooms.' We were worried about Rodrigo having some acts of violence against him because people were not accepting."

Heng-Lehtinen told Tapper that while at first "I was terrified to tell them, I've been very fortunate that I come from a loving home.

"My parents were always very clear with my siblings and I are their love was unconditional. I was still terrified to tell them.

"Thankfully, they accepted me — and we're here to say this shouldn't be an uncommon experience," he said.

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Florida Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen said Wednesday that the transgender issue engulfing the United States "is not about bathroom stalls and who goes where."
ileana ros-lehtinen, transgender, debate, not, about, bathroom, stalls
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Wednesday, 25 May 2016 06:42 PM
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