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Gender Law OpEd’s

by | Mar 5, 2024 | Campus, In The Mag!, Opinions | 0 comments

We’ve always been here

And we’re not going away

Queerness is not a trend; it is not something that has only shown up in this century. Queer and transgender people have been pushing against societal boundaries and expectations since the start of time. We have been a vital part in developing and shaping the world. The entire concept of gender and sexuality stems from settlers and colonialism. Queerness was, and still is, entwined with Indigenous lifestyle and culture. Gender was not a strict set of rules as much as it was a sacred gift that one could choose to accept. Identity is fluid; it is a part of our lives which constantly changes with us. Gender and gender expression are a large part of that fluid identity. It is not something we are confined to for our entire lives. Experiencing and respecting that fluidity is an essential part of kinship, loving yourself, and loving others. 

Growing up as an Indigequeer kid in Alberta was undoubtedly no easy task, but it is one that has granted me resilience. Having the ability to shamelessly and safely join a community that lives loudly and proudly in the face of all the hatred gave me a chance to actually live instead of just surviving. Every day, the 2SLGBTQIA+ community gives me that chance again, and teaches me how to live again. The proposed laws will not protect or enrich the lives of Albertan youth. Is taking the chance to live away from Indigenous youth who may need that freedom another empty act of reconciliation from the government? 

-Leviathan Olekson

Trans people are not a monolith: A dissenting trans perspective

Not all trans people are buying into the outrage about Danielle Smith’s new “gender laws”

When I watched the video Danielle Smith posted to social media on gender-affirming care for youth, I felt relief more than anything. My perspective is informed by growing up as gender non-conforming, my involvement in feminist and LGBTQ activist spaces, my transition that began 11 years ago, and the deep knowledge that comes from spending years in hyper-private surgical recovery groups. I believe in basing policy on evidence on interventions that best meet our needs as a clinical population in medical and psychological settings. This belief can put me at odds with the opinions expected of trans people.

  The choice to restrict children’s access to puberty blockers, hormones, and surgery with the exception of older teenagers under controlled circumstances reflects the best current evidence on the effectiveness and safety of transition protocol for minors. There is little good data on how trans people of any age are affected by the interventions designed to improve our quality of life. This has led countries like Sweden, which previously permitted the use of puberty blockers and hormones in prepubescent children, to restrict the eligibility of  gender transitioning for children and limited prescription of hormones to clinical trials with ethics review board approval. Other serious psychiatric conditions, such as eating disorders, mood disorders, and PTSD, can present as gender dysphoria. Giving a child or adolescent access to hormones and surgery without appropriate assessment can be incredibly damaging and can contribute to the feelings of isolation, depression, and suicidality that affirmative trans care programs are trying to prevent. 

  The most overlooked component of Smith’s announcement is her statement about the government looking to hire surgeons in Alberta who can provide transition-related procedures which are usually available in Québec. I suspect those mourning the passing of these laws fail to understand how significant the surgical aspects of transition are to the people who undertake them, both in terms of risk and benefit. If Danielle Smith puts her money where her mouth is, the creation of a local team to perform gender-affirming surgeries would be an incredible victory for trans Albertans. The need for competent surgical options cannot be understated. If Danielle Smith is able to provide these options while ensuring youth have the chance to mature before experiencing the irreversible effects of medical transition, then this proposed piece of legislation will do a lot more to protect the interests of trans and gender-diverse people than its critics account for.

-Anonymous MacEwan Student

The rage farm goes on at the cost of human rights

As a trans person, watching Danielle Smith unveil her plans for the transgender community — specifically, transgender youth — has been highly upsetting. It’s alarming that she decided this was appropriate only days after she sat down with right-wing sensationalist and propagandist Tucker Carlson and, more recently, with right-wing Republicans from the United States. 

As someone who has lived experience as a trans child who was unable to access the help and medical care I needed at a time when I needed it, I am both angry and upset that Smith seems to think that this is alright. I’ve been fighting for transgender rights for damned near 20 years — my entire adult life — because I had no one to advocate for me when I was young. Now, I’m watching our politicians once again use my community as political fodder and pawns in order to distract from a whole host of other issues that need to be addressed. 

I’m also highly alarmed by the amount of misinformation that is being spread about the transgender community in an attempt to discredit, demonize, and dehumanize us. On a daily basis, I advocate for transgender rights (and, more importantly, human rights), and for this, I am painted as a monster. 

Over the last few years, I have been called some of the most horrific names that you can think of simply for being trans, and I’ve received death threats almost on the daily. All of this is because politicians want to rage farm, distract, and cover up things they’re doing, and they want to use our community to do it. 

Danielle Smith seems to be following in the footsteps of those who would rather see us forced back into our proverbial closets in order to pursue a political agenda that causes actual tangible harm to our community. I have so much more to say on this topic but I only have so much room, so I’ll leave it with this: These anti-trans policies are going to cause unnecessary harm for trans kids, and it strips the rights of these children to make actual informed decisions with the help of their parents and their doctors. 

-Anonymous MacEwan student

It’s all about control

And the adult trans community is next

These proposed changes to trans youth health care are not surprising but remain, all the same, a frightening idea for what is to come. Some of the measures are fear-mongering ideas that already don’t happen (like banning top and bottom surgery on youth). Other measures come between a patient and their doctor’s care, and claim to know better than said doctors — even though doctors have been speaking out about the harm these laws could cause.

I am not part of the youth, but these laws will remove safety in a world that is already unsafe for youth, not just for those who are transgender. These laws will affect all youth, and in turn, they will spread hatred and misunderstanding of the trans community in general. They will normalize mistreating others because they don’t fit the identity they’re told that they were born as. If these measures pass, I can only think about how these laws will come for the adult trans community next.

This isn’t about the safety of children because there are studies that Danielle Smith refuses to look at. These studies say these laws will harm children, and not just the ones who are transgender. This isn’t about the safety of children; it is about controlling people and their bodies. These laws will come for the adult trans community and then reproductive rights.

-Taylor, MacEwan alumnus

Photos by

Thai Sirikoone

The Griff


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