This past November, during the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party convention, parental rights advocate and PC party member Tanya Granic Allen presented a resolution that debated the validity of gender identity. The resolution referred to gender identity as nothing more than a theory with no scientific basis and called it a “highly controversial, unscientific ‘liberal ideology,’” according to an article published by the Toronto Star.
The majority of the PC members present at the convention supported the resolution, which was passed, and it will now be debated at the PC convention in 2019, which means it could become a part of official party policy.
Reminder: it’s 2019, and the fact that this resolution is even on the table and being debated at political conventions is extremely disturbing on several levels. It is a stark contrast to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s supportive stance on LGBTQ rights and his mission to instill equality for all regardless of one’s gender identity. In fact, in 2017 his administration amended the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Criminal Code, in an effort to “ extend the protection against hate propaganda set out in that Act to any section of the public that is distinguished by gender identity or expression.” The statement goes on to say that if an offense was “motivated by bias, prejudice or hate based on gender identity or expression constitutes an aggravating circumstance that a court must take into consideration when it imposes a sentence.” In other words, it is prohibited to discriminate based on gender identity, it violates human rights to do so, and Trudeau is making it quite clear that behavior won’t be tolerated.
And yet here we are, with the largest Canadian province passing a non-binding resolution to remove the teaching of gender identity theory from schools, and prohibit the mention of trans identities from the curriculum entirely.
Make no mistake: this is an attack on diversity and a threat to the LGBTQ community.
According to Human Rights Watch, an international nonprofit organization that conducts research and advocacy on human rights, the nonbonding resolution “supports the imposition of a rigid definition of gender, a move that would marginalize those who don’t adhere to that definition.” And while Ontario Premier Doug Ford, who is the leader of the PC party, has already said on record that the government will ignore this resolution and will not move forward with that policy, the fact that it is even in discussion is pretty disturbing, and especially frightening for the members of the trans community and all youth in Ontario.
It’s troubling, because this kind of hateful, narrow-minded and exclusionary rhetoric is becoming all too common, both in Ontario and even here in the United States. Just last week the Supreme Court allowed President Donald Trump and his administration’s transgender military ban to pass, which would ban any transgender person from serving in the U.S. military, unless they are willing and deemed able to serve in their birth sex.
While the resolution in Ontario is not yet a policy, the terrifying fact remains that many conservative party members support it, and just by introducing this idea that gender identity should not be discussed or has no place in schools, it might empower bigots and social conservatives to discriminate against trans people.
Make no mistake: this is an attack on diversity and a threat to the LGBTQ community. Schools are supposed to teach children to be good people and to respect others, regardless of their identities (gender, race, sexuality). Children should be taught human decency and acceptance, not a narrow view of society that does not embrace and recognize people of all colors, sexual orientations and identities. And the saddest part is that the ones who will suffer the most from this resolution are the kids — especially trans youth — the very people schools are supposed to be protecting, educating and nurturing.
The resolution might not be government policy (yet) but it still has the potential to do major damage and hurt a lot of people.