The evolving mosque
Like many other faith communities, Muslims disagree on matters that concern the way their places of worship are run and managed. To have Sheema Khan call for the withdrawal of charitable status for mosques that, in her opinion, are not inclusive of women is counterproductive and punitive (The Mosque Needs To Evolve – Feb. 18). Are we to withdraw charitable status from Catholic churches and organizations because they do not allow women priests?
Muslim women leaders and activists across Canada are quite capable of helping their communities reach the ideal for women that Islam aspires for without resorting to hurting the very institution they helped build for their future generations.
Shahina Siddiqui, president, Islamic Social Services Association, Winnipeg
Ms. Khan’s excellent commentary can, with a few minor exceptions, apply equally well to the male-dominated Roman Catholic Church.
Ian McQueen, Sherwood Park, Alta.
Beyond the podium
Like most Canadians, I have been thrilled by the elegant and skilled performances of Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, and wished for them a gold medal rather than the silver they received (A Step Removed – front page, Feb. 18). However, they have won gold in the area of character and class.
Louise McColl, Stratford, Ont.
I’m no judge, but the reality is that our dream couple have not beaten Meryl Davis and Charlie White in a major international competition since 2012. Why should we have expected them to do so at Sochi?
Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir skated beautifully and I was proud to watch them. I would have loved to see them win, but they didn’t. In their own words, they skated the best dance of their lives in the free dance, briefly setting a new world record.
Let’s stop complaining about poor judging and celebrate the couple for what they did, namely provide us with breathtaking entertainment, national pride and the skate of their lives. What more could one ask for?
Graham Brown, Toronto
Change the policy
Ex-General’s Moving Costs ‘Excessive’ (Feb. 18):
It cost more than $72,000 to move retired lieutenant-general Andrew Leslie from one Ottawa residence to another a short distance away. Defence Minister Rob Nicholson called Mr. Leslie’s costs “grossly excessive.”
The Department of National Defence has a policy on moves that covers all members of the armed services and RCMP when they retire. It’s a Conservative government policy. If Defence Minister Rob Nicholson feels the moving costs policy for retired veterans is excessive, he should change it along with the other changes made recently to veterans’ services.
J.R. Kenny, Calgary
As the parent of a transgender child, I appreciate the “watch-and-wait” approach Margaret Wente endorses (Transgender Kids: Have We Gone Too Far? – Feb. 15). But trafficking in “dirty little secrets” about family dysfunction being at the root of transgender identities is a huge disservice.
I am far from a radical ideological experimenter. I’ve mourned the loss of the son I expected but didn’t materialize, and I’ve missed innumerable hours of sleep stewing on life-altering decisions we face as a family. I suspect that most of the parents Ms. Wente refers to are actually a lot like me, trying to guide and protect kids whose lives hang in the balance (check the alarming statistics on suicide rates) as the onset of puberty forces the issue.
Jason Manning, Montreal
First, no parent wants their child on drugs. Of any kind, ever.
Second, as the mom of a gender-independent child who has opened my eyes to the world in so many ways, I have to make Ms. Wente aware of the intense and insidious pressure to conform to the gender binary. I used to be blissfully unaware of the subtle coercion to choose between one or the other gender. Until society changes to accept that there are options other than male or female, our children will feel there is no choice but to choose a side – at whatever cost to their future health. So, to answer the question, “Have we gone too far?” the answer is, “Not far enough – not nearly far enough.”
Megumi Nishikawa, Toronto
Puberty is often a difficult time for transgender youth. Left unaddressed, the distress from physical changes that are not in keeping with their gender identity may be so great that it can lead to suicidal ideation and even suicide. In such cases, a watch-and-wait approach does not make sense.
When this distress is significant, puberty blockers or medications that put puberty “on hold” may be administered so that young people have more time to consolidate gender identity and gain access to mental-health resources. Such medications are considered safe and reversible and are endorsed by numerous international health organizations. The column implies that hormone blockers are used before puberty, but current recommended protocols endorse treatment only after puberty has started.
Dr. Joey Bonifacio, Dr. Miriam Kaufman, Dr. Mark Palmert, Cathy Maser, Cheryl Ryans and Katie Stadelman, Transgender Youth Clinic, The Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto
Dying at home
I agree wholeheartedly with reader Jill Kannegiesser and truly sympathize with reader Janet Durbin (The Good Death – letters, Feb. 18). I lost my dad in 2009 and I am grateful every day for the treatment he received while dying.
He was lovingly cared for by my sister, her husband and their son, while living and then dying in their home. My father felt loved and blessed for the chance to have family beside him. My sister feels thankful and blessed to have made his passing a loving one and her son, now 9, talks happily about memories of Poppa. Everyone should be able to die at home.
Ann Crossman, Ferguson’s Cove, N.S.
I’ve always wondered why Canada has no specific word for the courteous wave drivers are urged to employ when shown an act of courtesy by another driver (Dear Vancouver Drivers, Is It Too Much To Expect A Courtesy Wave? – online, Feb. 15). Where I come from in the West Indies, it’s called “a right” (as in, “I gave him a right”).
Forty years ago, while applying for my B.C. driver’s licence, a driving instructor suggested that I acknowledge another driver’s courtesy. Perhaps all instructors should be urged to advise new drivers that way. It’s not too much to ask and it might just rub off.
Charleen Ross, Vancouver