Edmontonians protest policy changes affecting trans youth with vibrant rally

by | Feb 3, 2024 | Campus, News, Politics | 0 comments

First of two planned protests sweeps through an Edmonton park

Edmontonians of all ages gathered at Dr. Wilbert McIntyre Park on Saturday afternoon to protest the Government of Alberta’s planned changes to trans youth supports. 

Bright flags billowed under an overcast, grey sky. Amidst Transgender Pride flags and Progress Pride flags, a Friends of Medicare flag and an Alberta Union of Provincial Employees (AUPE) flag popped out. Cheerful music resonated from one corner of the park, mingling with the chatter of attendees. Attendees spoke with Janis Irwin, an MLA for the NDP, while volunteers meandered through the park. 

One attendee checked up on me to see if I needed help, and another directed me to the event’s media relations liaison, Myles Dykes.


“I have a lot of hope to see how our community’s been responding and organizing to this. And I’m hoping our government will hear our voices and will back [down from] this suite of policies they’re proposing.”

Myles Dykes, Trans Rights YEG organizer and former SAMU president.


The former SAMU president is now a community organizer with Trans Rights YEG, a grassroots coalition that helped organize the rally. He notes that many people anticipated this policy change, but that didn’t lessen its emotional impact.

“I was extremely revolted by it,” says Dykes.

At the same time, he draws strength and inspiration from the community’s response.


“Even just being out here before it starts and seeing all the people out there, I think it’s really fantastic, the community showing up.”

Madison, rally attendee


“I have a lot of hope to see how our community’s been responding and organizing to this. And I’m hoping our government will hear our voices and will back [down from] this suite of policies they’re proposing.”

The government’s announcement also struck a chord with Madison, one of the attendees. 

“My younger brother is actually trans,” she explains. “[When he was 13 or 14,] he started on hormone blockers, and then had access to testosterone… and even had top surgery prior to [becoming] 18.”

“That kind of healthcare saved his life. It really did.” Like Dykes, she was encouraged by the turnout at the event, even in its early hours. “Even just being out here before it starts and seeing all the people out there, I think it’s really fantastic, the community showing up.”

Another attendee, Hal Rogers, says that he used to live in Alberta and has since been living in B.C.

“To hear the province I’m from is trying to put in this legislation that’s just not helpful to anyone is disgusting,” says Rogers. 

He happened to be visiting his family in Edmonton and decided to come out to the rally. “I just wanted to come out and support,” he adds. “Everyone’s lives are important. Trans lives shouldn’t be any less valued.”


“To hear the province I’m from is trying to put in this legislation that’s just not helpful to anyone is disgusting.”

Hal Rogers, former Albertan and rally attendee


Dykes says that “our actions count.”

“I think that often we don’t think of that one action we take demonstrating towards something large, but you can vote with your dollars. You can go to a protest, you can sign a petition,” he says. “We have control in this process, and we need to show our voice and show our government what the people of Alberta truly think.”


Photo Credits to Sandrine Camminga

Sandrine Camminga

The Griff

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