By Lethbridge Herald on February 2, 2024.
Alejandra Pulido-Guzman – LETHBRIDGE HERALD – firstname.lastname@example.org
The OUTreach Southern Alberta Society is sounding the alarm about the negative implications new provincial government policies will have on the transgender community.
During a phone interview Friday, President of OUTreach Kim Siever said the society was very disappointed about the lack of consultation from the government regarding the policies that affect members of the 2SLGBTQ+ community.
“We didn’t get an opportunity to provide any feedback on this process and we are disappointed in that,” said Siever.
Siever shared with the Herald a letter the society sent to both city MLAs – Lethbridge East Nathan Neudorf and Lethbridge West Shannon Phillips – asking them for their public support in asking the government to reverse their decision.
Siever said he hopes that both the UCP’s Neudorf and NDP’s Phillips stand up for Lethbridge citizens and convince the UCP government to completely cancel all the policies that were introduced.
The letter reads in part “we were saddened to learn of the new policies that the Government of Alberta intends to introduce that will restrict the rights and freedoms of 2SLGBTQ+ young people in this province. We were shocked at how extensive and draconian they are.”
The letter states they are particularly opposed to the policies regarding the following items:
· Mandatory parental notification and consent if a child 15 years or younger changes name and pronouns at school.
· Mandatory parental notification if a child 16 or 17 changes name and pronouns at school.
· Parents must opt-in for classroom discussions and instruction on gender identity, sexual orientation, or human sexuality in their child’s classroom
· Banning trans girls from playing on girls teams.
· No gender affirming surgeries under the age of 18.
· Puberty blockers & hormones banned for anyone under 16, and parental permission required for 16 & 17, unless already under treatment.
Siever said that the vast majority of responses they have been getting are from people opposed to the policies and who are worried for their own safety.
“There are youth who are not out to the parents, so they are worried that this could lead to them being outed by school officials, and they are worried that their parents will react in violent ways,” said Siever.
He said many are also worried about having to “stay in the closet” which could impact their mental health.
“Some people are worried that they’re not going to be able to physically transition, let along socially transition, which will make their mental health worsen as well and could increase risk of suicide,” said Siever.