Landmark protections for vulnerable kids in Alberta: surgeries banned
Alberta Premier Danielle Smith announced her plan to introduce policy changes related to vulnerable youth targeted by the transgender-lobby in a monumental win for parental rights, women’s rights, and children’s rights.
Danielle Smith’s Announcement Jan 31/24
In what was a widely anticipated announcement, Smith said that children do not have the capacity to make life-altering healthcare decisions.
The Alberta Premier said the UCP’s new policy will ban minors aged 17 and under from being eligible for top and bottom transgender surgeries (breast or penis removal). Moreover, puberty blockers / hormone therapy will not be permitted for youth 15 and under (other than those who have already started).
BREAKING: “Top and Bottom” surgeries BANNED in Alberta for all kids aged 17 and under.— Keean Bexte (@TheRealKeean) January 31, 2024
Smith further said that parental notification and an opt-in requirement by parents is required if teachers intend to give formal instruction on gender identity, sexual orientation or human sexuality.
Danielle Smith Takes Questions
Gender identity can be a hard thing to talk about, especially when you are involved. But this conversation is extremely important and parental involvement is critical. Kids need to know we love and support them.
My message to all Albertans: pic.twitter.com/i0ii57GLa6— Danielle Smith (@ABDanielleSmith) January 31, 2024
Moreover, the Premier said that ministry approval is needed for all third-party resource materials that woke teachers and school boards have infiltrated into K-12 schools.
Numerous schools throughout Canada have LGBTQ+ ideology plastered on hallway bulletin boards and inside classrooms, and many far-left teachers use their own non-ministry approved materials to indoctrinate children with gender ideology at very young ages.
As for the pronoun issue in schools, and whether parents have a right to know when teachers use gender-swapped pronouns on their kids, Smith announced two policies: for students 15 and under, parents must consent to pronoun changes; for 16-17-year-olds, parents must be informed of the changes.
Smith moved onto the issue of sports, noting that young women and girls are experiencing disadvantages against biological males who identify as female.
“There are obvious biological realities that give transgender female athletes a massive competitive advantage over women and girls,” she said, adding, “It is not beneficial for those women.”
Smith said the UCP will work with sporting organizations to ensure women and girls are able to participate in a women’s only division.
As for what category transgender women can participate in, Smith said they can join a co-ed division, “or other gender neutral divisions” can be created.
UCP delegates strongly approve
Premier Smith had already indicated she believes in having a strong emphasis on family involvement in educational decisions, particularly concerning personal and sensitive matters like gender identity.
At the UCP convention in November, Smith said “Parents are the primary caregivers and educators of their children.” Of all the issues discussed at the two-day event, this statement garnered the loudest applause from party delegates.
Some adult members of the transgender community have voiced their support for the focus on protecting vulnerable kids.
For those wondering, this is in line the proposed policies I saw last fall when I had an opportunity to give my feedback. I do believe it is fair, and that it will probably disappoint people on both extremes (as it should). https://t.co/3hzXr4ZGps— Tiffany Gillis, Sunqueen (@tiffanyrg9) January 31, 2024
Alberta NDP members have quite predictably voiced their concerns over the pending policies, accusing Smith of targeting vulnerable children. Rachel Notley responded to Smith’s Wednesday announcement by calling the policies “hateful.”
Moreover, the NDP’s federal counterpart recently said that “trans kids” are one of the most vulnerable groups in Canada and even promoted giving them quick access to puberty blockers.
Science does not support giving minors medical interventions
Of course, not everyone accepts the concept of “trans kids,” especially given the fact that most minors who believe they are in the wrong body later realize they were simply confused.
Moreover, a recent study suggests that giving puberty blockers to “trans kids” may lower their IQ, along with several other negative effects — including making them sterile.
Another recent study revealed that transgender women (biological males) who take “gender-affirming” hormones face a 95% higher risk of heart disease and other cardiovascular conditions.
Majority believe parents have a right to know
A July poll by Angus Reid shows that 86% of those surveyed believe parents have the right to know when their child wants to be identified with different pronouns.
The Counter Signal invites all parents and concerned Canadians to add their name to a Thank You card to Premier Danielle Smith.
“A step forward”: LGBT Albertans react to Danielle Smith’s new gender policies
Several LGBT Albertans are speaking out in favour of Premier Danielle Smith’s new gender and parental rights policies, praising her compassionate approach.
Smith announced on Wednesday a ban on gender reassignment surgeries for minors, a ban on puberty blockers and cross sex hormones for children under 16, and a requirement for parental notification and consent before a student under 16 can change his or her name or pronoun at school. Smith also implemented a requirement that teachers inform parents before a lesson on sexuality or gender takes place, as well as a ban on biological males participating in women’s sports.
In the same announcement, Smith said Alberta would expand treatment options for transgender adults, including in-province surgical care and aftercare, a new counseling pilot project, and a buildout in co-ed sports.
GENDER IDENTITY CAN BE A HARD THING TO TALK ABOUT, ESPECIALLY WHEN YOU ARE INVOLVED. BUT THIS CONVERSATION IS EXTREMELY IMPORTANT AND PARENTAL INVOLVEMENT IS CRITICAL. KIDS NEED TO KNOW WE LOVE AND SUPPORT THEM.
MY MESSAGE TO ALL ALBERTANS: PIC.TWITTER.COM/I0II57GLA6— Danielle Smith (@ABDanielleSmith) January 31, 2024
True North spoke to several LGBT Albertans about Smith’s new policies.
“A good middle ground”
“I’m supportive,” said Tiffany Gillis, a trans woman from Calgary. “I think it’s a good middle ground of doing something that protects kids from making decisions they can’t go back on, and also still respecting the rights of trans adults.”
Gillis, who is a parent, also supports the parental notification policy.
“I have a responsibility as a parent to be there for (my kids) and support them, and I can’t really fulfill that responsibility if I don’t also have the right to know what’s going on with them at school,” she said.
“We do need protections”
“I’m very glad that the government is going through with it,” said Lois Cardinal, who believes Smith’s policy is “a step forward to building bridges and actually dealing with issues within the community.”
Cardinal is an Indigenous male-to-female transsexual who now regrets getting bottom surgery as it sterilized her. She previously made headlines for seeking doctor-assisted suicide as a remedy for her pain, a request which was denied.
Cardinal now wants to make sure the system won’t fail people the way it failed her, and believes Smith’s plan will play a role in that. “We do need protections.”
Cardinal is very pleased with Smith’s plan to bring in better healthcare for trans adults, something she feels will benefit her personally. “(Smith) wants to bring in a specialist in aftercare and transition, and that’s exactly what I need – aftercare,” she said.
“A very strong personal investment in these issues”
Smith’s policies are also being applauded by gay and lesbian Albertans, who worry that some gender non-conforming gay teens are being convinced to transition – a concern shared by some medical professionals.
“I was a very, very feminine child, I remember running around telling people, ‘I’m supposed to be a girl’” said Alberta gay advocate James Decker. “But then I grew up, I grew out of it, and it was fine.”
Decker’s concerns were echoed by Calgary-based lesbian writer Eva Kurilova.
“I’m a very gender non-conforming person, and I was that way as a child… I was a tomboy,” she said. “I really really worry and fear that if I was a child today, I would be a prime candidate for transition, for teachers and counsellors and doctors to tell me, ‘you know you can be a boy.’
“That’s kind of why I have a very strong personal investment in these issues, and why I want to help protect kids.”
Cardinal, Decker, Gillis and Kurilova were all invited to meet with Smith for consultations on the policies before they were announced.
“We really felt like she was listening, she was taking notes, she was asking questions, she clearly knew what was going on, and she was really curious to get our input, she had a very open-mind,” said Kurilova.
“I don’t know if she hit the balance”
Blaine Badiuk, a trans woman and United Conservative Party member, told True North she had mixed feelings about the announcement.
“I think Smith tried to get a balance. I don’t know if she hit the balance, but I do believe she genuinely tried.”
While Badiuk supports banning irreversible gender reassignment surgeries for minors, she has questions about restricting puberty blockers and hormones for trans-identifying males under 16, given that puberty will make these individuals physically masculine.
“We know that a teenage trans girl going through a full male puberty is extremely challenging, and later on, it creates situations where you need to have even more surgeries and more medical interventions to pass and integrate into society.”
Gillis said these concerns must also be weighed against regret some trans people experience when they do take these treatments.
“If you could absolutely guarantee that this particular 13-year-old who’s identifying as trans is now going to grow up to actually be trans, it would be beneficial for them to start treatment earlier,” she said. “But I think that adolescents don’t always know who they’re going to be when they grow up.”
PRIME MINISTER JUSTIN TRUDEAU CAN’T SAY EXACTLY WHAT THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT WILL DO IN RESPONSE TO THE ALBERTA GOVERNMENT’S PARENTAL RIGHTS POLICY. PIC.TWITTER.COM/E1FGAECH8Y— True North (@TrueNorthCentre) February 2, 2024
For others, Smith’s policy does not go far enough. Chanel Pfahl, a former Ontario teacher who once described herself as a “centrist lesbian,” said that while she appreciates Smith’s move, she isn’t fond of her seeking to find a “middle ground” with what she sees as a gender ideology “cult.”
“‘Gender identity’ is not a real thing. It is a made-up term for something that does not exist,” she said on X (formerly Twitter). “‘Biological sex’ cannot be ‘altered,’ it is an immutable trait.”
Pfahl went on to say “I don’t know how we are to fight this ideology when even our most based politicians refuse to discuss this issue truthfully & without ideology-ridden language.
“The most anti-LGBTQ policies”
NDP and Liberal politicians at both levels of government were quick to criticize Smith. NDP Leader Rachel Notley accused Smith of basing her policy on “misinformation” while Prime Minister Justin Trudeau accused Smith of having introduced “the most anti-LGBTQ policies of anywhere in the country.”
PRIME MINISTER JUSTIN TRUDEAU SAYS ALBERTA’S PARENTAL RIGHTS POLICY IS “THE MOST ANTI-LGBTQ POLICIES OF ANYWHERE IN THE COUNTRY.” PIC.TWITTER.COM/XVFN215STW— True North (@TrueNorthCentre) February 2, 2024
Queer activists also shared outrage over the policy, claiming that it is “targeting” LGBT kids. Some even went as far as suggesting that the “long-term goal” of Smith’s policy is the “genocide” of trans people, a claim Decker finds absurd.
“No one’s rights are being taken away,” he said. “We’re just putting in steps to ensure proper care is given and that children are actually cared for.”
Smith, who previously said she has a family member who identifies as “non-binary,” expressed the need to depoliticize trans and gender issues.
“I understand how controversial and divisive discussions on topics of sexuality and gender can be, especially when those conversations involve children,” said Smith. “I would therefore ask that as we work through implementing these policies, that we, as adults in this province, do all we can to depoliticize the discussion and focus on the well-being of the children involved.”
Alberta Pauses Policy That Blocks Parental Access to Children’s Medical Records After Age 12
The written notice announcing the pause appeared on the AHS website on Jan. 29 .
The Epoch Times reached out to AHS to inquire about how the pause will impact the 2022 policy but didn’t receive a response by press time.
2022 Access Changes
The removal of parental proxy access to the MyAHS Connect accounts of children aged 12 and older was originally announced in February of 2022 in a bid to protect patients “in vulnerable situations,” according to a letter sent by AHS to physicians to notify them of the change.
Youth health-care providers advocated for the change to proxy access to better protect “vulnerable” young people, said the letter, which is also posted on the AHS website.
“In their experience, it is at approximately age 12 when at-risk populations may begin to access or require healthcare independent of their parents or guardians,” the letter reads. “Limiting access to information for parents and guardians when a youth turns 12, is designed to protect vulnerable youth, while continuing to enable MyAHS Connect proxy access for families in situations where it is most valuable.”
AHS warned health-care providers that the decision was likely to “be met with sensitivity by some parents and guardians,” who previously had access to their children’s files through health programs and family medicine clinics.
Since 2022, parents have only been able to access their child’s information via proxy up to age 11, according to a MyAHS Connect proxy access tip sheet. That account access ended as of their child’s 12th birthday unless the child had a developmental age of eight years old or younger.
Personal access is not available to a child, however, until his or her 14th birthday. Once a child turns 14, they can gain direct access to MyAHS Connect with an Alberta ID.
AHS said deactivation of proxy access when a child reaches 12 doesn’t alter parents’ decision-making authority. They are also still able to communicate with their child’s health-care team and attend health-care visits.
MyAHS Connect is an online tool that gives Alberta residents access to their Alberta Health Services (AHS) health records. MyAHS Connect allows residents to look up test results, immunization records, and medications as well as see past and future appointments. It also serves as a messaging centre between patients and their health-care team.
Alberta Health Services: Connect Care – Changes to MyAHS Connect proxy access
- News and Events, Primary Health Care Updates
With recent engagement sessions and feedback about this upcoming proxy change, and on closer review, on Friday, January 26, 2024, the decision was made to pause and revisit these changes to proxy access for youth. As a result of this pause, no changes will be implemented to those with existing proxy access to youth accounts aged 12-17 at this time.
AHS is working to identify potential solutions that would strike a better balance between the needs of maturing youth and the ability of their parents/authorized representatives to support them with ongoing healthcare needs. [Read More]