On The Left's Response
It's always interesting to get these perspectives that actually acknowledge the issue of polling being against you, and try to strategize given that. But as is typical, there's not really any engagement with why this polls the way it does. Having a kid come out as trans isn't just a neutral act, since it can involve medical interventions, and there's also the fact that if you take the risk of suicide seriously, then parents need to be informed if their kid is at risk. There's simply too much at stake here to just hand waive this away with a "screw you, you're probably bad" idiotic response, as you recognize, but you need to dig deeper to really understand this, otherwise you'll continue to watch the world leave you behind, as it seriously grapples with these issues.
Lecce's reasonable-sounding quote derives from a legal concept of "in loco parentis" – Latin for "in place of a parent." If kids are of school age and required to be in school (see: truancy), whatever the provincial government does and forces educators to do/teach is fair game. This isn't about the rights of parents (because they technically don't have any and because this has never been tested by the Charter), kids don't have any say (because even though kids undeniably have Charter rights, this has never been tested by the Charter). There's never been a reason to challenge in loco parentis because voters for virtually all of Canadian history have elected school boards filled with (mostly) reasonable people and elected (mostly) reasonable provincial governments. Until the recent crop of Conservative/Conservative-leaning provincial governments using this as a new scare tactic/wedge issue. Remember sex ed in Ontario a few years ago? That was in loco parentis in action, and a preview of things to come.
Parents need to be present and engaged, as do provincial politicians on the centre-left and left. (No federal intervention available here, but I know this particular federal government will make its opinion known. Very, very publicly.) Politicians need to speak out and help organise (the right already is); but it's parents that need to take the provincial government(s) to court, and to be prepared for a long game of losing in Superior Court, possibly losing at the Court of Appeal level, and then taking it on to the Supreme Court of Canada who has the final say on Charter and constitutional rights. The prevailing theory of constitutional law and rights in Canada is based on an expansion of rights, so trans kids and the parents that support and love them and their allies have a pretty good shot. But it's a long haul, kids will get hurt before any kind of resolution, someone needs to speak for them, and that's where principled politicians in the provinces and municipalities come in. And this isn't just Ontario – it's New Brunswick, Saskatchewan, and probably a few other conservative provinces will join in on this culture war/wedge issue. The Conservatives will probably join in at the federal level too, even though it's totally out of their jurisdiction – just for the love of the cynical hate and fear and division. So federal politicians in the centre/centre-left/left need to be ready to stand up and fight, too. (Looking at you, federal Liberals, federal NDP, etc.)
And the polling on this issue? You know what else didn't have majority support about 20 years ago? Same sex marriage. 55 years ago? Decriminalisation of same-sex acts AND heterosexual divorce without getting a LITERAL ACT OF FEDERAL PARLIAMENT. Polls don't mean shit, but they're being used to justify the worst in politics and cynicism and fear and division. The Charter, however, means everything, and there's no minimum age limit – those rights apply to everyone and prevent any level of government from violating them. But politicians – hate 'em or tolerate 'em – have to stand up and be everyone's voice and their defenders and their allies. And yes, this is going to get ugly.
To wrap up on a positive: To paraphrase a great prime minister, if you don't like a certain law, challenge it in court. If you can't win in court, then defeat it at the ballot box (read: kick the government out and elect a new one that will restore some sanity). FWIW, that same prime minister famously said that there's no place for the state in the bedrooms of the nation. And there's no place for the premiers to tell kids who they are and who they aren't in the classrooms of the nation. Be who you are. Love who you love. Fight for your rights – this is Canada, and our constitution allows and encourages it. That's how people win. And they always have.
Oh won't someone please think of the Children! Or, does that cliché saying only apply when authoritarian elites wish to scapegoat a vulnerable minority group on their quest to expand authoritarianism into every aspect of human existence? In truth, this assault on children's freedom is nothing more hollow politicking and the author of this article has, unfortunately, fallen for it. If someone says they wish to cut off both your arms, you don't suggest cutting off only a single arm as a compromise.
I wrote this in response to a redditor advocating for "traditional values", and it applies here as well:
Traditional family values are, in fact, authoritarian abuse in its purest form. Parents are imagined as absolute dictators while children are viewed as subservient property, all in the name of this vile and lazy approach to parenting.
A person's identity is theirs, and theirs alone to decide. This is true for adults and children alike. Parents have an amazing opportunity to help their children explore, discover, and synthesise a vibrant identity of their own; so, it's a true loss to the world when this opportunity is squandered on someone who would rather be a petty authoritarian than a parent.
This is one of your best articles of late, and as a way-left-of-centre person who is also a stone-cold pragmatist, I think you've done an excellent job here. I will definitely be using this article as a basis for the numerous discussions with friends which are clearly on the horizon. Thank you!
Whatever the solution is, the Charter of Rights says absolutely nothing about Trans rights (or kid's rights or parents rights) and it's about as useful as tits on a Bruce for deciding what to do about this issue. Too bad it's only conservative governments who use the Notwithstanding Clause.
Trans Kids? At first there are kids, only kids. Babies do not come out of their mothers' wombs wanting to change their gender. The "trans" part is a new preoccupation of adults with an agenda to destroy the familial traditions that constitute the intergenerational glue of civilization. School should not be transformed into platforms where priority is given to mutilating attempts to change the gender of young people.
I am not so sure that the public is not in support of proper protections for children. If only somebody would commission a poll with the following question:
Do you agree that parents must always be told by schools if their child has indicated that they want to change their pronouns, even when telling the parents my lead to physical and/or psychological harm for the child?
I believe the answer is going to be less than 50% in favour. I would not be surprised if it is less than 30%.
The right is applying the same trick as with abortion: do you support abortion of a pregnancy right up to birth? Nobody supports that and no doctor will perform an abortion at 8 1/2 months just because. But there are unique circumstances where an abortion is needed even in this late stage of the pregnancy. Simplifying a complex issue and reducing it to a false dilemma is standard practice of the right.
So, the response to this issue is not that complicated in my opinion. Yes, parents should be told, unless telling the parents would endanger the welfare of the child.
If you look at S-210 and the Liberals' promise to include legislation to ban adult content from the Internet unless it has an age verification system in place, it's clear that parents groups more generally are wielding a lot of power.
As long as you try to cover moral policing, transphobia, homophobia, or puritanical sex scares with the words 'parents rights' or 'protect the kids', you can get even centrist Liberals on board. It's a pernicious feature of our country and one that's about to shape a lot of political battles through the fall.
Here's an interesting link explaining that the legal concept of parents' rights does not exist in Canada. https://www.tiktok.com/@floralashes/video/7273128780124671237?_r=1&_t=8fHblSHSQZp
Fact One is - ‘We’ cannot reliably identify Educational, Athletics, Choir, Entertainment et al ‘PREDATORS’ ..
nor can we identify or predict the complete Opposite.. the way too Evangelical or similarly Mormon or .. whatever they Holy Espouse ‘Parent(s)’
Same re Parents .. I won’t even begin to scratch the surface of myriad matrix’s x X - Asshole(s) ‘PARENTS’
yes yes.. I try to learn on the go.. & still am.. and now he’s a dad.. & kinda gettin what I used to do when he was two & & I was officially a Single Parent who was still working with emotionally abused & disturbed teens after doing the same with the same demographic cohort in Maximum Security Prison for Juveniles - use your imagination, my lips are sealed - my friends when I was mebbe 23 knew what I did.. but didn’t believe what I did.. (which was/is way OK with me..)
And the KIDS in our schools.. oh ya ! ‘They just need a lot of straitening out eh !’ (what ‘straitening’ might actually be is ‘a hell life for an evolving kid - puzzled happy sad confused, growing, trying & being ‘them’ when ‘them’ just don’t cut it according to ms or mr or ? Some or a few or many
OK .. paydirt.. But what if teacher is among the queer folk in their life.. & they might even be the ONE TEACHER IN THE WHOLE DAMN SCHOOL who thinks like You or I do Evan - who has any sort of grip on REALITY.. or what it’s like to be an outlier.. or even to be popular.. among your peers.. even normal.. though not that mommy or daddy ‘get’ your sense or normalcy.. when theirs is sacrosanct & the one n only NORMALCY
Now this teacher is going to come up abruptly against subtypes of parents who KNOW THEIR LITTLE DARLING DOES NOT DO DRUGS, or DRINK
or steal their whisky & weasel their stash, replace with water / common kitchen herbs - “”their tyke tigress or tiggernaut attends church (so sad for that kid) & should have been the Brownie or Cub Scout pack leader but.. but.. she spends most of his time their time in the bedroom.. now what this all all about.. our attorney is outside in case you can’t explain..””
I was assailed.. from all sides Evan .. for not even having Parents ! Among other irrational ‘Catholic reasons that deserved a thrashing’ back then..
.. physically & emotionally & with serious PURPOSE & Love & gawds Blessing & th Virgin Mommy Mary ..
but it was just corporal punishment that just plain hurt is all .. I had already turned off the switch that would let it hurt me inside
So I try to imagine the suffering of not even having that special switch .. or even a ‘volume button’ .. or ejection seat
and school life is.. or was till mommy or daddy got so aggro’d ..
so school as the only good thing.. or at least the best thing in the strange blue fog of being a kid.. when I was
I confronted every one of those fucks I could.. much later..
& when I was 24 & my sister told me one of them was up to his ‘old tricks’ .. do that was ‘bad news Mr ****
I was a parent myself by then.. & neither fellow teacher or trespasser that day .. I was his ‘student’ .. “remember me ?”
My lips may stay sealed forever.. aside from a bit of ‘colour leakage’ but this stuff is PERSONAL .. with you all the way