A friend of mine is the mother of a transgender son who lives on the Island. She wrote this letter, but can’t sign her name to it for fear of harm that may come to her son if people know his true identity. I am submitting this letter on her behalf. Question 3 is of great importance to my friend, her son and to me.

Question 3 seeks to repeal the rights of transgender people which are currently protected under Massachusetts state law. Opponents of 3 are using fear-based tactics to mislead and misinform, with the ultimate goal of breeding hate and discrimination against transgender people.

What the opponents of 3 don’t tell you is that if their current rights are repealed, transgender men like my friend’s son, with his deep male voice, facial hair and very male appearance, will be required to use women’s bathrooms and locker rooms — places he neither wishes to be, nor belongs. Additionally, trans women, whose appearances are as feminine as mine, would be required to use men’s facilities.

Opponents of Question 3 seek to create untenable situations that will put trans people in dangerous scenarios every time nature calls. Please, Vote yes on 3 so this does not happen.

My friend and I know firsthand how difficult it is to grasp the fact that a person’s gender identity may not match the sex of their body. We were raised under the assumption that everyone is either male or female. Sex and gender were considered largely one in the same, and our gender identity was decided at birth, when the doctor pronounced, it’s a . . .

My friend’s son has helped us understand that the reality is much more complex. Hundreds of societies around the world recognize more than two genders, many with long-established traditions for third, fourth, fifth, or more genders. Human identity is as diverse as the heirloom tomatoes that grow in the garden, different colors, shapes and appearances are a wonderful part of how we are made. Being transgender is a naturally occurring part of the diverse human genetic spectrum. It always has been, and it always will be.

According to the American Journal of Health, there are an estimated 1.4 million transgender people in the U.S. — about one in 250. These people don’t always fit into our rigid M or F boxes, and simply want to live their authentic lives as who they know themselves to be. Sadly, it’s a dangerous and difficult path for trans people, and opponents of Question 3 seek to make their lives even harder.

Trans people are frequently the victims of violent crime and violence against them is on the rise. They are exposed to widespread social stigma, discrimination, harassment, physical and sexual abuse, and worse.

It’s time to increase our understanding, compassion and acceptance of human diversity. It’s time to decrease violence and hate. Please help me protect my friend’s son and the other members of this fragile population who want nothing more than to live peacefully.

Please vote yes on Question 3.

Yes on 3 is supported by the Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Association, Jane Doe Inc. and other safety and victims groups.

May Baldwin

West Tisbury