Of girls and boys, schools and changerooms

If you haven’t heard by now, the NDP government in Alberta (despite no warning of this anywhere in their election platform) has instituted a new policy intended to dictate how schools interact with the transgender community. This has raised alarm bells for a wide variety of reasons, some of the most concerning being the following:

  1. A student (or staff member, volunteer or any visiting adult) merely needs to “self-identify” as transgender in order to gain access to the facilities of the opposite gender. Any request for further verification is expressly prohibited. This is a system begging to be abused by sexual predators.
  2. The privacy of the transgender students is considered so important that parents and guardians can be actively and deliberately kept in the dark with respect to what transpires in schools, particularly with respect to the development of their own children. Parents should always know more about their children than anybody else, and it should be the family that decides what, and how much, information to disseminate to others. Not the other way around.

I have a much longer blog article I’m working on in which I will spell some of this out in greater detail, but my strong advice to you at this point is two-fold.

  1. Education
  2. Response

Educate yourself

First things first, read the document for yourself. Don’t trust what others (including yours truly) have to say about it.

Second, read some of the excellent responses to this new policy.

Bishop Fred Henry. His response definitely plays the “victim” card, and is strongly Catholic-centric, but the rest of his response is quite thoughtful and theologically profound. Somewhat heady; not for everybody.

John Carpay of the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms. Carpay’s response is well balanced and aimed for the general population. A great read.

The Rebel. Generally I’m not a fan of the Rebel because they come across as knee-jerk reactionaries instead of inspiring visionaries and I don’t like the automatic negativity. But this is a very negative issue, so their default perspective fits.

Respond

This is a bad policy that will have significant negative repercussions, even against the transgender community. It will not improve the situation for transgender students and it has the strong potential to introduce significant risks for all students. Silence is not a morally acceptable option.

If you don’t think this is a big deal, please reconsider the information in the links above. It is a big deal and it will have a significant negative impact on the safety of all students.

If you don’t have kids in the education system you might think this doesn’t apply to you. Do you have grandkids? Might you have grandkids one day? Nieces or Nephews? Friends with kids? You get the picture.

Even if you have absolutely no connection at all to the school system, changes made there will absolutely spill over into the rest of society. If this passes the next step will be to implement similar policies at public swimming pools and gyms. At municipal and provincial facilities. At any public facility. Again, hopefully you get the picture.

If you are afraid to speak up because you fear the cyber-bullying (and other types of social chastizement) that often accompanies questioning that which is politically correct just consider that this situation is not likely to get better. Is your personal comfort worth the risk of young students being exposed to sexual predators who will abuse this policy for nefarious purposes?

Will the NDP actually listen? I highly doubt it. In the short time they have been in office they have already established a reputation of ramming legislation and policies through regardless of the outcry of Albertans in opposition. But if you remain silent then they are guaranteed to implement this with the implicit blessing of the Alberta public.

For starters, raise awareness. Forward this article to people you know who are parents or teachers in Alberta. If not this article, forward the other articles I linked to. Make sure people know about this.

Talk to the administration at your local school.

Talk to your MLA.

The article at The Rebel (linked to above) has a petition associated with it. Sign that petition.

But please, don’t be silent.

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