In recent news, we have witnessed an increase in anti-2SLGBTQ+ policies against children, especially non-binary and trans youth. The new policies require parental consent for students under 16 to change their pronouns and/or first name. In New Brunswick and now Saskatchewan, harmful policies have been proposed that will actively harm children and youth.
We are outraged and join 2SLGBTQ+ families and youth in solidarity. 2 Spirit, queer, and trans people have always existed and will continue to exist. A school is meant to be a safe place for learning and practicing kindness and compassion for all children, not just some. Instead, these hateful policies make it dangerous for children and youth to live authentic lives.
Some families are not accepting of their children’s identities, and these policies force teachers to ‘out’ their students to families who may hurt or disown them. Such policies will further harm vulnerable youth and put youth in danger.
Our existence as 2 Spirit, trans, and queer people are not adult-only topics, and queer and trans people’s identities are not dependent on a parent’s permission. Queer and trans people were all once children, and many of us knew exactly who we were from a very young age.
We see the impacts this type of action has on our communities. We see it in mental health rates, shamefully high 2SLGBTQ+ youth homelessness rates, and how these issues are exacerbated amongst 2 Spirit, trans, and non-binary Black, Indigenous, and other racialized communities. Our ability to take up space, be who we are, and live as our authentic selves with joy keeps us alive.
Young people’s lives are enriched by diversity and by spaces where they can explore and be their authentic selves. Whether they’re queer, trans, cisgender, or straight, children have the right to loudly, proudly be who they are. No access to or withholding of information will change that, and parents don’t have the right to decide or mandate their children’s identities for them. Our existence is not up for debate.
In 2019, we fought the repeal of Ontario’s inclusive sex-ed curriculum. We know that silence kills, and allyship needs to be visible. We will not be erased.
The 519 continues to host a Trans ID Clinic to support those unable to afford to change their identification documents and support in navigating a complex bureaucratic process. We also offer trans-specific youth support, such as our Trans Youth Mentorship Program (TYMP). With the rise in anti-2SLGBTQ+ rhetoric, violence, and now policies, we must unite in solidarity against this transphobic, misogynistic, and bigoted rhetoric.
Canada is not immune to hate.
There is joy in solidarity.
There is joy in resistance.
And we continue to fight.