Anthony Furey: The Unreasonable Reaction to Danielle Smith’s Reasonable Proposal

Anthony Furey: The Unreasonable Reaction to Danielle Smith’s Reasonable Proposal
Alberta Premier Danielle Smith answers questions after making an announcement at a news conference in Calgary on Feb. 1, 2024. (The Canadian Press/Todd Korol)
Anthony Furey
The extreme vilification of anyone who has concerns with gender transition as it relates to children is a very bizarre phenomenon. The people engaging in the vilification are totally disconnected from reality.
The latest round of this panic began when Alberta Premier Danielle Smith announced restrictions on gender reassignment surgeries and related procedures for minors. These include a ban on such surgeries for those under 18 years of age and also prohibits the use of puberty blockers and hormone therapy for youth 15 and under.
The premier also announced that for children 15 and under to adopt a new name or be known as a different identity at school, parental consent will be required. For those aged 16 and 17, parental notification but not consent will be required.
“I am confident that Albertans do not want children to make irreversible decisions that impact their reproductive health,” Smith said at a Feb. 1 press conference. “I’m confident that they don’t think those are child decisions to make, that those are adult decisions to make.”
It’s a pretty reasonable announcement, which comes amidst rising concern in recent years over the sudden increase in the number of youth put on hormone blockers, receiving surgeries, and adopting new gender identities. The number of young people stepping forward, a couple of years later, to speak about their regret for having undergone these procedures is also increasing.
We also have a tendency of speaking cavalierly about what’s really at stake here, using euphemisms like “gender-affirming care” as a catch-all that includes the removal of breasts and penises. These are very serious surgeries that ought to be discussed with the mature detachment and gravity that such a procedure warrants.
None of this, though, means one needs to be in full agreement with all of the details of Smith’s announcement. Maybe there should be an adjustment here or there. If critics want to come forward and make such suggestions—a common part of the give-and-take approach to policy-making—fair enough then. 
That’s not what’s happened, however. There has been no rational discussion of Smith’s reasonable proposals. What has emerged instead is a near hysterical response to the Alberta announcement from activists, voices in the media, and the federal Liberal government.
Calgary-based columnist Charlotte Dalwood wrote that “Alberta is embarking on a genocidal campaign of state violence against its trans population. That cannot stand.”
Liberal cabinet minister Randy Boissonnault said in a press conference that “this is our NATO moment as an LGBTQ community. An attack on one of our communities is an attack on us all and I need allies and champions to stand up.”
Federal Health Minister Mark Holland said Smith’s decision “places kids at risk.” He added: “I think it’s extremely dangerous to engage in this kind of thing, which is, I think, playing politics when you’re talking about children’s lives.
These responses are nothing short of unhinged. Canadians of all political backgrounds and all walks of life—including LGBT people—have concerns around this issue and support a more balanced approach to it.
“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,” Tiffany Gillis, a trans woman from Calgary, told True North.
Few of the incendiary media reports on the topic acknowledge all of the remarks by Premier Smith on how “we as a society must support and reach out with kindness and inclusion to those who identify as transgender” and that she said outright to trans people “I care deeply about you and I accept you as you are.”
A recent column in The New York Times explored how too many people with legitimate concerns around giving gender surgeries to kids are being bullied into silence.
“Other countries have recently halted or limited the medical and surgical treatment of gender dysphoric youth, pending further study,” writes columnist Pamela Paul. “Britain’s Tavistock clinic was ordered to be shut down next month, after a National Health Service-commission investigation found deficiencies in services and a lack of consensus and open discussion about the nature of gender dysphoria and therefore about the appropriate clinical response.”
As a society, we are evolving our approach to this issue. We’re clearly learning from what has and hasn’t worked in recent years. Danielle Smith is just ahead of the curve in Canada.
Views expressed in this article are opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.