Bill 10 is titled “Act to Amend the Alberta Bill of Rights to Protect Our Children.” The media has often labelled the Bill as the Transgender Rights Bill. Before tackling the question of whether “our” children are better off after Bill 10 legislation, we need to recognize a few terms and definitions.
The Canadian Guidelines for Sexual Health Education, 2008, defines “sexuality influences” as follows:
Sexuality is influenced by the interaction of biological, psychological, social, economic, political, cultural, ethical, legal, historical, religious, and spiritual factors.
Public Health Agency of Canada, Canadian Guidelines for Sexual Health Education, [rev. ed.], 2008, p. 5.
The Alberta Teachers Association publication “GSAs and QSAs in Alberta Schools: A Guide for Teachers” defines the following:
- Gender Fluid: An individual who has a gender identity that can change and switch.
- Gender Queer and Nonbinary: A catch-all category for gender identities that are not exclusively masculine or feminine—identities that are thus outside the gender binary and cisnormativity.
The key take away at this point is that one’s sexuality – orientation, identity and expression, is not necessarily fixed and is the result of biological, psychological and a host of environmental influences.
The term “waverer” has been in use for decades to characterize a boy or girl who is capable of going either way, remaining heterosexual or identifying with the sexual minority (LGBTQ). An equivalent term is the “Questioning” child. In the context of Transgenderism, the waverer is a child who can come through a period of gender confusion and remain heterosexual and identify with his or her birth anatomy or choose an identity in opposition to the child’s biology depending on the interplay of psychological and environmental influences, but not biology. According to the American College of Pediatricians “human biology” is not influenced by environmental factors and cannot be distorted for ideological purposes. In April 2016, the College declared the following four medical facts under the title “Gender Ideology Harms Children”:
- Human sexuality is an objective biological binary trait: “XY” and “XX” are genetic markers of health – not genetic markers of a disorder. The exceedingly rare disorders of sex development (DSDs), including but not limited to testicular feminization and congenital adrenal hyperplasia, are all medically identifiable deviations from the sexual binary norm, and are rightly recognized as disorders of human design. Individuals with DSDs do not constitute a third sex.
- No one is born with a gender. Everyone is born with a biological sex. Gender (an awareness and sense of oneself as male or female) is a sociological and psychological concept; not an objective biological one. No one is born with an awareness of themselves as male or female; this awareness develops over time and, like all developmental processes, may be derailed by a child’s subjective perceptions, relationships, and adverse experiences from infancy forward. People who identify as “feeling like the opposite sex” or “somewhere in between” do not comprise a third sex. They remain biological men or biological women.
- A person’s belief that he or she is something they are not is, at best, a sign of confused thinking. When an otherwise healthy biological boy believes he is a girl, or an otherwise healthy biological girl believes she is a boy, an objective psychological problem exists that lies in the mind not the body, and it should be treated as such.
- Conditioning children into believing that a lifetime of chemical and surgical impersonation of the opposite sex is normal and healthful is child abuse. Endorsing gender discordance as normal via public education and legal policies will confuse children and parents, leading more children to present to “gender clinics” where they will be given puberty-blocking drugs. This, in turn, virtually ensures that they will “choose” a lifetime of carcinogenic and otherwise toxic cross-sex hormones, and likely consider unnecessary surgical mutilation of their healthy body parts as young adults.
So what about protecting our children? Is the Ministry of Education doing all it can to minimize the number of transgender identifying children in Alberta schools or are the new guidelines for attending to gender identity, expression and orientation promoting child abuse, as ACPeds claims? It is important to decide.
The following is a summary of Ministry best practices:
- Self-identification, regardless of age (K-12), is the sole measure of an individual’s sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression;
- A student’s explicit permission is required before disclosing information related to the student’s sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression to peers, parents or guardians;
- Students have the right to be addressed by their chosen name and to choose pronouns that align with their gender identity/expression such as “ze,” “zir,” or “Mx” instead or he/she, Mr. or Miss);
- Students have access to washrooms that are congruent with their gender identity and students who object to sharing a washroom or change-room with a trans or gender-diverse (pre or post operative) student must find an alternative facility.
Leading the child along, encouraging and empowering transgenderism, standing by and withholding the identity from the parents are unacceptable “best practices” to both medical professionals and parents. The following policies by the Calgary Board of Education (CBE) are not medically or parentally “evidence-based:”
During the collaborative process, no student or family should ever be referred to a program or service provider that purports to “fix”, “change” or “repair” a student’s sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression. The CBE acknowledges and values diversity with regard to gender identity, gender expression and sexual orientation and recognizes that it is unethical to attempt to change these aspects of one’s identity.
Evidence-based best practice tells us that allowing children to take the lead with their gender identity and supporting them with this exploration is helpful. We help children when we give them room and freedom to explore free of judgement. In short, it is best to give children room to express their gender in ways that feel natural to them and to not “box” them in and hold them to any particular gender rules. It is also important to honour the gender identities that adolescents share with us as they are very likely to reflect their true and longstanding identity.
Calgary Board of Education, Creating the Conditions to Thrive: Guidelines for Attending to Gender Identity, Gender Expression and Sexual Orientation in our Schools, May 2016, p.10.
Doctors Blaine Achen and Theodore Fenske, at University of Alberta, give the following Medical Response to Alberta Education’s Gender Diversity Guidelines:
Firstly, we are concerned that the philosophical foundation of this document is not valid. The so-called guiding principle of “Self-identification” as the “sole measure of an individual’s sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression,” appears throughout the document, serving as a foundational statement, with no reference as to why this is valid nor how it is substantiated. Self-identification in terms of gender identity has been well-studied and is a complex developmental phenomenon largely dependent upon the pre-adolescent nurturing environment of a child… In a society suffering from broken marriages, single-parented families, and immersed in a media culture that relentlessly sends mixed and confusing messages regarding sexual identity to children, should it not be expected that some might have questions about their own sexuality? Our role as parents and leaders in the community is not to uncritically approve of the vagaries – at face value – of our children’s emotions as they try to come to grips with who they are, but to help them recognize the source of such confusion and to reaffirm and help re-align their perceived identity with their “assigned” sexual gender.
Secondly, we are concerned that the conclusions drawn from the document are faulty, namely that a child’s subjective gender self-identification be accepted without question or concern and, thereby, encouraged and entrenched. Mr. Eggen’s proposal states that “No student or family should be referred to programs which purport to ‘fix’ ‘change or ‘repair’ a student’s sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.” This naïve and oppressive statement disregards the underlying emotional, mental or physical reasons that might lead someone to identify sexually as someone other than his or her morphological and genetic identity. Nowhere else in medicine, other than gender identity and sexuality, is such a reckless stance taken or practiced presently. A case in point would be a patient suffering from the eating disorder, anorexia… If the same principles, as outlined in Mr. Eggen’s document were to be applied to this young person, and her self-identification as an obese person was accepted at face value and she was left untreated, she would starve to death. What evidence exists that individuals are better off denying their genetic and morphologic makeup for an idea that exists in their mind?
Doctors Achen and Fenske reiterate the conclusion of the American College of Pediatricians that it is irresponsible to counsel children, teens, and young adults to accept a gender identity that does not align with their genetic makeup. They summarized their position this way:
Unless there is a significant medical reason, such as hormonal or chromosomal anomalies, such a practice would amount to subjecting a person to a lifelong fight against their own nature. Counselling and corrective procedures have proven-effective benefits in addressing the root of gender confusion and assisting individuals to align with their native-born gender identity, both in terms of physiologic and mental function. We would strongly urge, then, the Honourable Minister to reverse such an incredibly misguided and illogical statement and policy.
According to the DSM-V, as many as 98% of gender confused boys and 88% of gender confused girls will eventually accept their biological sex after naturally passing through puberty, given the chance to “pass” along with the right psychological and environmental encouragement. The bottom line according to the American College of Pediatricians:
Our opponents advocate a new scientifically baseless standard of care for children with a psychological condition (GD) that would otherwise resolve after puberty for the vast majority of patients concerned. Specifically, they advise: affirmation of children’s thoughts which are contrary to physical reality; the chemical castration of these children prior to puberty with GnRH agonists (puberty blockers which cause infertility, stunted growth, low bone density, and an unknown impact upon their brain development), and, finally, the permanent sterilization of these children prior to age 18 via cross-sex hormones. There is an obvious self-fulfilling nature to encouraging young GD children to impersonate the opposite sex and then institute pubertal suppression. If a boy who questions whether or not he is a boy (who is meant to grow into a man) is treated as a girl, then has his natural pubertal progression to manhood suppressed, have we not set in motion an inevitable outcome? All of his same sex peers develop into young men, his opposite sex friends develop into young women, but he remains a pre-pubertal boy. He will be left psychosocially isolated and alone. He will be left with the psychological impression that something is wrong. He will be less able to identify with his same sex peers and being male, and thus be more likely to self identify as “non-male” or female. Moreover, neuroscience reveals that the pre-frontal cortex of the brain which is responsible for judgment and risk assessment is not mature until the mid-twenties. Never has it been more scientifically clear that children and adolescents are incapable of making informed decisions regarding permanent, irreversible and life-altering medical interventions. For this reason, the College maintains it is abusive to promote this ideology, first and foremost for the well-being of the gender dysphoric children themselves, and secondly, for all of their non-gender-discordant peers, many of whom will subsequently question their own gender identity, and face violations of their right to bodily privacy and safety.
American College of Pediatricians, Gender Ideology Harms Children, Retrieved 21 March 2016.
In an attempt to support the politics and agenda of the Sexual Minority Rights Movement, Alberta political parties, the Ministry of Education, and the Alberta school system have lost sight of the greater societal good. In the attempt to refashion the school environment so that self-identifying transgender/transsexual children are “celebrated” under the ideological mantra of a “kaleidoscope of sexual diversity,” teachers, school staff, counsellors, and superintendants no longer see minimization of the number of children indentifying with the sexual minority as something worthy. Considering the key declarations of the American College of Pediatricians in “Gender Ideology Harms Children,” and the statements of Doctors Achen and Fenske, the unintended consequence of Bill 10 and current Ministry guidance will be more Alberta children adopting a transgender/transsexual lifestyle than would otherwise be the case.
Note when these transgender children become adults the rates of suicide are twenty times greater among those who use cross-sex hormones and undergo sex reassignment surgery, even in Sweden, which is one of the most LGBTQ – affirming countries.