When Saskatchewan Education Minister Dustin Duncan announced last week that schools must now seek the permission of parents or guardians before students can be referred to by their name and pronoun in the classroom, Lori Johb, president of the Saskatchewan Federation of Labour, released this statement: “Outing children as part of a political gamble is violent and despicable.”

On Monday Ontario Education Minister Stephen Lecce told a news conference “I really do believe that parents need to be fully aware, fully engaged. And school boards need to be transparent with parents.”

Minister Lecce’s comments are a political gamble. They involve no policy change and are meant only to put vulnerable trans youth in further danger in an attempt to collect votes. 

To be clear, the appeal to “parents rights” in regard to trans youth refers to the supposed “right” of parents to have total control over their children, including the ability to suppress their gender and trans identity. Any provincial government that requires parental consent for the school to use the child’s name and pronouns is forcing trans youth to choose between outing themselves before they are ready or suppressing their identity at school.

Reach out to your local trustees and schools boards to tell them how important a policy that protects the privacy of students is to you and your family. One like the Toronto District School Board policy that says a school “should never disclose a student’s gender non-conformity or transgender status to the student’s parent(s)/guardian(s)/caregiver(s) without the student’s explicit prior consent.”

Tell the teachers in your life that comments like these from our elected representatives are blatantly harmful to trans students and that they should not act to make their classrooms a source of fear and danger for their students on the basis of comments to the media that don’t change anything.

Write a letter to Minister Lecce demanding he stop using trans youth as a political pawn and invoking parents’ rights rhetoric as cover.

Make sure your MPP knows that you want the elected officials charged with running our education system to protect the rights of children, not roll them back.

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


‘Parents must be fully involved’ in student’s decision to change pronouns, Ontario education minister (CTV News)