Parents Whose Children Have Transitioned Praise Alberta’s New Policy, Say It Will Prevent Heartache

Parents Whose Children Have Transitioned Praise Alberta’s New Policy, Say It Will Prevent Heartache
Testosterone medication used for gender transitioning, shown in Northern California on Aug. 26, 2022. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)
Tara MacIsaac

A common story emerges from the testimony of some Canadian parents who spoke with The Epoch Times about how their children transitioned genders: A child who never exhibited signs of gender dysphoria suddenly decides to change genders, often after others in their group of friends make the same choice.

These children are in many cases highly intelligent but prone to various mental health issues. They’re “affirmed” in their decision by teachers and doctors and come home with demands for medical intervention.

The mothers The Epoch Times interviewed say the new policies introduced by Alberta will save other parents and children the heartache their families have been through.

Alberta recently announced new restrictions on medical transitioning for minors. The province will also require parental consent to change the name and pronouns used at school for students under 16. And parents must opt in before any lessons on gender and sexuality.
The names used in this article are all pseudonyms, to protect the children’s privacy as requested by their families.


Crystal, a mother in Calgary, said it all started when her son was in Grade 9 and a friend of his transitioned from female to male. Her son, Noah, called himself a “trans ally” at that point.

“It was all pretty benign as far as I was concerned,” Crystal told The Epoch Times. “Then, fast forward to the early part of Grade 10, and out of the blue I get a text from my kid while he’s at school saying ‘I’m now identifying as she/they.’”

“I’m quite a liberal parent,” Crystal said, adding that she was initially open-minded and her approach was, “You do you.”

But she had a hard time with the name change and pronouns. “Out of the blue is this vitriol towards me when I didn’t get it right,” she said. She decided to go neutral and just call him “kiddo.”

Then he said he wanted hormones.

She and her ex-husband, Noah’s father, felt strongly that Noah was going through a phase, Crystal said.

“My kid is well-known for his phases,” she said. “He would try on different so-called ‘identities’ like a jock, a nerd, a rapper.” Even as the months went by after declaring his transition, he got more into death metal and began to look more “goth” than female, wearing elaborate black makeup, she said.

He had never exhibited any signs of gender questioning before, “not even remotely,” she said.

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)
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)

Crystal told her son: “The first dress you wore was mine. The makeup you wore was mine. You want to express yourself socially, you go for it. My line in the sand will always be [that] there will be no medical affirmation.”

“Then again, I’m hit with the vitriol,” she said.

Since Noah started on this path, Crystal has connected with other parents in a similar situation through a group called Our Duty. She said Noah “checks a lot of the boxes” common among children who identify as transgender.
He has friends who have transitioned and is highly intelligenthe’s captain of his school’s robotics team, president of the philosophy club, and more. And although he’s never been diagnosed as autistic, Crystal says it wouldn’t surprise her if he’s on the spectrum.

“The kids end up with their script,” she said. “I’m going to kill myself if I don’t get the proper medical intervention, if you don’t use the pronouns. It’s the constant threat of suicide.”

She kept trying to buy time, to delay medical transitioning so he could ride out the phase. She agreed to schedule an appointment to talk to a doctor about hormones. Her plan all along was to just gather information, “kick the can down the road,” and hope for delays.

But when she was referred to a clinic to discuss the matter, she found the personnel “aggressive.”

As she hoped for delay, the clinic kept calling and emailing her to schedule an appointment immediately. Before the first appointment, she was expected to already have had blood work done for Noah and consent forms filled out.

“That makes no sense,” she told them. “I’m not signing a consent form. ... I haven’t had an appointment to get the information for which I’m signing the consent form.”

When she arrived with Noah, he was quickly swept into the room with the doctor alone, she said. She was told it was Noah’s appointment, not hers.

After a conversation that lasted less than 10 minutes, Crystal said, the doctor was ready to prescribe him hormones. She confronted the doctor for not conducting any psychological assessments or screening of any kind.

The doctor told her that while she could try to oppose the medical treatment, she might end up in court over it and he would testify on Noah’s behalf. He said he'd had conflicts with other parents and had always won.

Crystal has filed a complaint with the regulating body for doctors in the province, the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta. She shared the complaint with The Epoch Times but prefers not to publish the doctor’s name for now. She has seen him interviewed by news media, speaking out against Alberta’s new child transitioning policies.

Noah later went back to that doctor by himself and started on hormone treatment without his parents’ consent.

Crystal realized there was nothing she could do about it. She had gone to other medical professionals and found them all eager to affirm Noah’s “self-diagnosed” gender dysphoria, as she puts it. She said it’s important to note that their family doctor and a child psychologist Noah had been seeing for years previously did not affirm his gender dysphoria. It was only the “gender experts” who had “zero history with my child.”

“They did not solicit the qualified professionals we had in place,” she said.

The doctor who gave Noah hormones told him his mother had filed a complaint against him, in terms that infuriated her son. That was the final wedge between Crystal and Noah. “I will never forgive you for this,” he told her.

Noah ran away from home, and other adults helped him legally separate or “emancipate” from his parents.

He’s now in Grade 12, and it’s been a painful journey for Crystal and Noah. Noah started to make up lies about his childhood and tell people he’s “not safe” with his mother. That’s what hit Crystal the hardest. She'd never had major problems with Noah before. They always had a good relationship, as far as she’s concerned, and his remarks deeply hurt her.

She stepped away for some time. “There’s no winning. I stepped out of the ring,” she said. “He’s left in there shadowboxing. I tapped out.”

They have started talking again slowly, but she feels she’s missed out on a normal relationship with him all this time, watching him grow into an adult.

“I just want to be your mom,” she told him.

Crystal was among the parents the Alberta government officials talked to as they formed their new policy. She had a video conference meeting with the health minister’s chief of staff. She wasn’t a fan of Premier Danielle Smith’s United Conservative Party before, but believes the premier is “doing this right.”

If this policy had been in place less than three years ago, when Noah first made his text message announcement, all of the heartache would have been avoided, she said.

“This is blowing up relationships.”

A file photo of children arriving at a school in Milton, Ont., on Nov. 4, 2022. (Nick Iwanyshyn/The Canadian Press)
A file photo of children arriving at a school in Milton, Ont., on Nov. 4, 2022. (Nick Iwanyshyn/The Canadian Press)


“I felt shocked and displaced,” says May, the mother of a teen who transitioned socially at school before announcing her new identity on Christmas Eve in 2021. Her daughter, Alex, was 14 at the time.

Only a few months earlier, Alex had said she was a lesbian. May said this didn’t require anything from the family, and didn’t require Alex herself “to uphold that declaration in any way, or to further prove it.”

But it was a different story when Alex announced that she identified as transgender, and presented a list of medical interventions she wanted.

In the days that followed, May did her best to be supportive of Alex. It was also Christmas, and May thinks in retrospect that Alex was coached to make her announcement on a holiday. May has also connected with other parents through Our Duty and realizes that this is common. “Because what are you going to do? Are you going to let it ruin the holiday?”

At the time, May had no idea about all the changes that had been happening in society and schools over the past few years regarding gender identity. The more she looked into the context around her daughter’s announcement, the more concerned she became.

Alex’s group of girlfriends had all decided to transition around the same time. Alex was the last in the group to do so.

“Maybe gay isn’t cool enough. It isn’t enough to get your ’status’ in this overarching subculture,” May said. “Gay isn’t enough—I have to wonder if she kind of tossed that aside to gain trans ’status.'”

“In every other teenage subculture in history, it was never affirmed by the adults, it was never put into law by the adults,” she said. “This is convincing kids that it’s absolutely true. ... They get really stuck in it.”

The school started using a different name and pronouns for Alex and didn’t inform his mother—a common practice in many school boards across Canada. During parent-teacher interviews, May said, some teachers called her daughter “student” instead of using her name, which was awkward.

May hasn’t called her daughter by name or used any pronouns for her in two years.

“I would be affirming to her, or confirming, what I feel is a delusion,” May said. She has kept quiet, unable to talk to her family about it. Alex’s father, May’s ex-husband, has wholly affirmed Alex’s transition. Many of their other family members don’t know.

May once tried opening up to a relative about it. “I thought I was reaching out to someone I could trust,” she said. But she later found that relative had been texting Alex. May characterized the texts as being in the spirit of “I’m trying to save the ’trans kid‘ from the ’bigoted' parent.”

The issue brought out the worst in her daughter, May said. She recalled the “vitriol” she faced a few days after Alex’s Christmas Eve announcement, when she was trying to talk to her about it. “Regardless of the tantrums I had seen as she was growing up, I had never seen that kind of vitriol. I'd never seen her face turn so volatile.”

May told Alex, “Regardless of the feelings around what you’re going through, … this kind of lash-out behaviour, yelling at me and disrespecting me, is just not allowed in our house.”

The two have managed to keep a good relationship since then. Alex has come to agree with her mother that puberty blockers are risky, and she has not started a medical transition.

Although many “gender-affirming care” workers say the effects of puberty blockers are reversible, The Epoch Times has looked in-depth at the concerns around them. For example, Dr. Jane Anderson, vice-president of the American College of Pediatricians, previously told The Epoch Times that they could impact brain development. The UK’s health authority has said the same.

Multiple scientific literature reviews, including one published last year by researchers at one of Europe’s top medical schools, have concluded that the long-term effects of puberty blockers are unknown.

“Against the background of almost non-existent longterm data, we conclude that GnRHa [puberty blocker] treatment in children with gender dysphoria should be considered experimental treatment rather than standard procedure,” said lead author Dr. Jonas F. Ludvigsson in a news release on the Karolinska Institutet website in April 2023.

Short-term effects also include increased depression and mood swings, weight gain, and bone-density loss.

May is still worried that her daughter, now 16, will start taking testosterone, which can permanently impact fertility along with having other irreversible effects.

May and Alex live in Ontario, where Premier Doug Ford has said his province will not follow Alberta’s example in strictly limiting medical transitioning for minors.

May’s message for other parents is, “You’re not alone.”

There were times she started to think, “I must be the crazy one.” Crystal said the same thing. “I’m like, ‘Maybe I’m the insane one,’” she said. “And then I snap out of it. So imagine what these children are feeling when they’re being bathed in this ideology.”

Both have connected with a growing parental rights movement and see Alberta’s Premier Smith giving voice to their concerns.

The entrance sign of a hospital in Toronto in a file photo. (The Canadian Press/Evan Buhler)
The entrance sign of a hospital in Toronto in a file photo. (The Canadian Press/Evan Buhler)

Mothers Across the Board Share Concerns

Many other parents have shared similar stories on the Genspect website. Genspect is an international non-profit dedicated to “high-quality, evidence-based care for gender-nonconforming individuals.” Genspect asks parents to list their political and religious leanings along with their stories to show that parents across the political spectrum have similar concerns.

One of the Canadian mothers who shared her story with Genspect goes by the pseudonym Marie. She is from Eastern Canada and considers herself agnostic and politically left-of-centre.

Her daughter loved sparkly dresses, dolls, and princesses, Marie said. “Which ironically, as a 21st-century feminist, made me feel slightly uncomfortable, but I supported her.”

“When she was 12, she said she was bisexual, and I supported her. When she was 13, she said she was lesbian and began spending time with all LGBT friends, and I supported her. When she was 14, a new trans kid joined her friend circle,” Marie said.

Shortly thereafter, Marie discovered by accident that the school was using a different name and pronouns for her daughter, and that she was considering a mastectomy. Hundreds of girls younger than 18 have had gender-altering mastectomies in Canada since 2018, with the youngest being 14, according to Canadian health data obtained by National Post.

“She has rewritten her childhood history, saying she never liked ‘girly’ things and always had gender dysphoria,” Marie said. “A few months ago, we heard that a teacher might call child services on us for not using her preferred names and pronouns. She probably has anxiety and is intellectually gifted.”

Jane, a Catholic mother in rural Ontario, said her son never showed signs of gender dysphoria as a child, but after transitioning in Grade 11, he said he had always felt like a girl.

“He was incredibly shy and had a hard time making friends. At his Grade 8 grad he was so excited to have danced with a certain girl. He played hockey and rugby, but he also took piano lessons and liked to read and write stories,” Jane said. Testing has shown him to be intellectually gifted.

“We did not affirm his new gender, but we did affirm his feelings. Every day I told him I loved him.”

He talked often of “white male privilege” and seemed to really hate men, Jane said. Then one day, after she'd given up and figured it was out of her control, it all turned around.

“All of a sudden, as fast as it started, it ended.” He got a haircut and started identifying as male again. “To this day, we don’t know what happened to bring this on, but I do know that if we had affirmed him and his ideas, he would be in a much different place.”

“He doesn’t seem nearly as angry and he doesn’t hate himself anymore,” she continued. “I am so grateful to the people who helped me acknowledge and affirm his feelings, to remind him he was loved, without forcing him down a path of medicalization.”

Another mother says her daughter spent six months identifying as male in Grade 12 after one of her close friends changed gender. “She matured and desisted ... and the light is back on in her eyes.”

Jen, who says she’s left-wing, has a daughter who identified as transgender at 14 without any previous signs of gender dysphoria. One of her friends had recently transitioned, and others in her group identified as non-binary.

“I’m hopeful that good counselling and conversations will convince her to live a life free of medication and surgery, but I fear that she will proceed when she turns 18.”

Mary, a Catholic conservative mother, has a daughter who suffered from severe depression at the age of 13. At 14, she started talking to doctors by herself and began taking hormones at 15.

“But no doctor did medical or psychological tests on her,” Mary said. Her daughter later opened up about being sexually abused when she was 10, something she had never talked about before. “In spite of learning about sexual abuse, doctors never considered it to be related to her situation.”

Her daughter continued with cross-sex hormones and remained depressed. She fell into substance abuse and ran away at the age of 17. She is now 21 and has long relied on government money to live. She continues to struggle with mental health problems.

“I believe my daughter is very confused, and the pseudo-professionals have only ’supported' her without even trying to find the root of her problem.”