Letter to the Editor – trans community


Dear Editor,

It is highly disturbing to see Conservative politicians at both provincial and federal levels following their counterparts in the US in attacking the trans community. Multiple Conservative governments are proposing that parents must be informed by schools if a child wishes to use pronouns or a chosen name that does not match the gender they were assigned at birth.

These attacks on marginalised people must stop. Although many parents will be fully supportive of a child who comes out as a member of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community, a significant minority are not supportive. Approximately 10% of the Canadian population identify as 2SLGBTQIA+, yet among homeless youth between 25% and 40% identify as members of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community. Transgender people face unique stressors, experience higher rates of discrimination and harassment than cisgender people, and experience poorer mental health outcomes. They are at greater risk for suicide: 1 in 3 trans youth attempted suicide in 2015. Research has shown that having one’s name and pronouns respected reduces the risk of attempting suicide.

We are well past the time when children were viewed as property of their parents, and it is recognised in both national and international law that children have their own rights, including the right to privacy. Canada is a signatory to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, and Article 16 states that “No child shall be subjected to arbitrary or unlawful interference with his or her privacy” while the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms protects a reasonable expectation of privacy as well as freedom of expression, equality rights, and gender equality rights.  

Schools should be safe places for every student. Forcibly outing transgender youth to their parents damages student-teacher relationships, puts teachers in difficult legal and ethical positions, and risks lives. The privacy of youths must be respected and should only be breached in exceptional circumstances.

Trans rights are human rights, and human rights apply to every person in Canada. Stripping rights from specific groups sets us on a very dangerous path. Respect for diversity is a core Green value, and Ontario Greens stand in solidarity with the trans community against transphobia. Ontario Greens are committed to working towards a more equitable Ontario, one where people are not judged on their gender identity.

Steve Gabell



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