The policy changes announced yesterday by Alberta Premier Danielle Smith put trans youth at risk, taking recent politically motivated legislative and policy changes targeting trans and gender diverse communities in Saskatchewan and New Brunswick even further. This is a direct attack on trans and gender diverse youth that will cause harm.
The proposed changes include:
- the exclusion of trans women from competing in women’s sports leagues;
- a combination of minimum age limits, parental permission, and psychological assessment requirements for youth to access gender-affirming surgeries, hormones, and puberty blockers;
- parental permission and/or notification to change names or pronouns at school; and
- severe restrictions on discussing gender identity, sexual orientation, and sexual health in Alberta’s elementary and high schools.
State interference to ban access to medically necessary healthcare is incredibly harmful to trans youth. If these changes take effect, youth will be forced into a puberty that will change their bodies in ways that are highly distressing to them, despite the availability of safe and effective healthcare to prevent this. This would set a dangerous precedent that would embolden governments to restrict other forms of healthcare. Governments should not be able to ban access to healthcare because it suits their political interests.
We have three messages.
To trans, non-binary, gender diverse, and queer youth: It is normal to feel scared and have questions when anti-trans policies and legislation are announced and discussed in the media. If you want to learn more, consider reading credible media articles, instead of watching anti-trans propaganda from government officials. The number of harmful restrictions announced yesterday is an attempt to create hopelessness. It’s especially important to remember that queer and trans communities have a long history of fighting back against repressive policies, practices, and legislation. We are all here because of this history. Organizations have already announced that they will fight these policies with legal action (Egale). Please reach out to HTHC or your local 2SLGBTQIA+ organization if you would like support connecting with resources.
To Canada’s healthcare providers: Contact your professional colleges, associations, and workplaces and ask them what they are going to do to stand up against this attempt to weaponize pseudoscience against healthcare. Every healthcare organization can and should speak out against this.
To everyone who wants to help:
- Donate to Skipping Stone and other 2SLGBTQIA+ organizations in Alberta.
- Contact your federal, provincial, and local government representatives and tell them that you do not support this kind of rhetoric, policy, or legislation. Anti-trans groups will use Alberta’s announcement to push for other jurisdictions to strip trans communities of rights. It’s easier to defeat anti-trans restrictions if they are not introduced in the first place.
- Familiarize yourself with how anti-trans disinformation operates. This is a crucial tactic that anti-trans networks utilize to make their discriminatory policies and legislation appear “evidence-based”. Read our previous statement on disinformation for some key narratives to watch out for.