We want to highlight a serious issue happening in New Brunswick, because it has implications for trans and non-binary communities across the country.

The New Brunswick government has been engaged in a review of Policy 713 (original 2020 version). This policy was introduced in 2020 and establishes the minimum standards for how schools in New Brunswick ensure safe environments for 2SLGBTQIA+ students.

Comments made during the review by New Brunswick’s Education Minister Bill Hogan were widely reported (CBC, Global News) as transphobic and harmful.

Today, New Brunswick released their updated Policy 713 (revised version, Jun 8 announcement of revision, original 2020 version), with a significant and harmful change targeting trans students.

Trans and non-binary students who are under the age of 16 will not be allowed to change their name and pronouns officially at school without parental consent. (Global News)

This will force many trans and non-binary students to be deadnamed and misgendered at school. Alternatively, it will force them to out themselves in unsafe situations at home or before they are ready to do so.

It allows unsupportive parents to prevent their trans and non-binary youth from being affirmed at school, removing trans and non-binary students’ autonomy to be themselves in a place that should be safe.

The policy change also removed the line “and consistent with their gender identity” from the following section on sports: “All students will be able to participate in curricular, co-curricular, and extracurricular activities that are safe, welcoming, and consistent with their gender identity”.

These changes go against all best practices and evidence for supporting the health and well-being of trans and non-binary children and youth.

We are horrified and appalled at this rollback of basic fundamental rights for trans students. The government of New Brunswick is pushing an anti-trans agenda, harming trans students and the wider community as a whole.

We want all of you to know about this, because we know that anti-trans movements will use this to advocate across the country for further targeting of trans and non-binary communities.

Only a collective and loud response will ensure that all trans students, everywhere, have safe and affirming school spaces.