May 17th is the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Interphobia1, and Transphobia (IDAHOBIT). This is the anniversary of homosexuality being removed from the World Health Organization’s list of mental disorders.

This time last year, the government of New Brunswick first announced their intentions to restrict the rights of trans and gender diverse students. They then changed policy to require parental consent before students could use their correct name and pronouns at school. This forces students to be outed before they are ready and into potentially unsafe situations. It also forces teachers and school staff to misgender trans youth who have unsupportive parents.

Last fall, Saskatchewan followed suit. They went further, passing legislation to require incorrect names and misgendering of trans youth in school unless they obtained parental consent.  They used the notwithstanding clause to override Charter rights to pass the bill.  

Over the winter, Alberta announced their intention to implement a variety of anti-trans policies and legislation by the end of 2024. These include banning trans girls and women from sports teams that align with their gender; parental consent and notification for correct name and pronoun use in school; restricting teachers’ ability to provide education on sexual health, sexual orientation, and gender identity; banning all youth 15 and under from accessing gender-affirming care; and restrictions on gender-affirming care access for youth aged 16-17.  

All of these policies are harmful. They set precedent for restricting healthcare and education access for any other marginalized community.  

Banning standard healthcare for a group of marginalized youth is especially egregious. Forcing trans youth through their endogenous puberty against their will is not based in science, medicine, or evidence. Claiming that this is in a youth’s best interests is rooted in a desire to prevent youth from being trans and a worldview that sees trans people as less valuable than cis people.  

We summarize these anti-trans policy and legislative shifts to highlight the pervasiveness of anti-trans attacks on safety, bodily autonomy, and healthcare access. This is not a faraway problem impacting people we do not know and will never meet. This is a problem here and now, actively harming trans youth, their families, their healthcare providers, their teachers, their sports teams, and their wider community.  

Everyone deserves to feel safe and accepted at school, to play with their friends on sports teams, and to access healthcare without ideological interference from governments.