Alberta on the Right Path With New Gender Reassignment Restrictions for Children

Alberta on the Right Path With New Gender Reassignment Restrictions for Children
Alberta Premier Danielle Smith speaks during an event in Calgary on Oct. 5, 2023. (The Canadian Press/Jeff McIntosh)
Marco Navarro-Génie

Jan. 31 was a significant day for parents, children, and women in Alberta.

Alberta Premier Danielle Smith introduced thoughtful and promising policies to bridge partially the legal, medical, and moral divide that grips western societies on gender identity and gender transformations.

Smith’s solutions will reduce the short- and long-term harms to children and women athletes, while upholding the rights of adults to make their own choices. Smith’s risky decision also fulfills her promise to uphold parental rights.

Gender-reassignment treatments will not be permitted on children under age 18 in the province, and no hormonal treatments such as blockers toward gender reassignment will be permitted for children younger than 16. Children between 16 and 17 may be allowed to commence such treatments with parental, psychological, and medical consent.

Premier Blaine Higgs of New Brunswick faced criticism from ideologues for applying gender ideology regulations in classrooms. Saskatchewan faced the wrath from progressives for similar initiatives. Alberta now follows a similar path in upholding the rights of parents.

With Alberta’s new policy, progressive staff teaching or promoting gender ideology will not be permitted to subvert parental authority. All related materials to be used in addressing such things outside of the approved curriculum for k-12 children will need to be vetted by the Ministry of Education. Teachers will be required to obtain parental consent to opt-in, even when using approved materials. For all minors 15 and under, schools will need to notify parents and receive consent to use different names or pronouns for children. Children 16 and 17 can change their names and pronouns without parental consent, but parents still need to be notified.

Smith displays no desire to make the world tilt in a particularly ideological way; rather these rules are the prudential actions of someone who deals with the world as it has become.

Those who would like to rid the world of wokeism, identity ideology, and transgenderism once and for all will have trouble fully endorsing the announced policies. Similarly, those immersed in the subculture of transgenderism; those who believe that children should be liberated from an oppressive world that made them biologically something they reject, will not be at all pleased with Smith’s rules either.

However, most people who prefer practical governance over the disorderliness of the current chaos, will likely see the wisdom in these new rules. Most people just want to protect their children.

The guidelines balance parental rights while protecting  vulnerable children from the two principal risks: Abuse and discrimination on the one side, and the irreversible consequences of the surgical gender alterations on the other. The rules sensibly forbid the potentially harmful biological reconfiguration of children younger than 17 until they are of legal age and hopefully able to fully weigh the long-term consequences of those decisions for themselves.

While there may be cases of children committing suicide over gender frustrations, there is a wealth of evidence also showing that children who regret making such irreversible decisions at a young age can also become candidates for self-harm and suicide.

In response to concerns over unfair gender advantages in sports, Smith announced that women athletes should not be forced to compete against biologically stronger males. Instead, she promised to work with sports organizations in Alberta to include transgender individuals in voluntary coed or gender-neutral sport activities.

No doubt, progressive factions will condemn these bold initiatives. The Alberta Teachers’s Association and the NDP will predictably be up in arms. They may insult and disparage Smith. However, outside ideology and politicking, clearly asserting and preserving parental rights to decide for their children, safeguarding children from making premature, irreversible life-altering decisions, is a significant achievement.

With these guidelines Alberta takes the lead, going further than New Brunswick and Saskatchewan in protecting children and preventing predictable harms. Smith also proudly continues Alberta’s pioneering tradition of defending women’s rights, by ensuring that women can compete in sports safely and fairly.

These are good outcomes for Alberta’s parents, women, and children.

Views expressed in this article are opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.
Marco Navarro-Génie is president of the Haultain Research Institute. He is co-author, with Barry Cooper, of “Canada’s COVID-19: The Story of a Pandemic Moral Panic.”
Related Topics