With any new legislation that increases the power of government over people–and what new legislation can you think of in recent history that does otherwise?—there is reason for concern and vigilance.
For example, a year ago the Ontario government passed Bill 89 into law. It was called the ‘Supporting Children, Youth and Families Act’ and was an update to the province’s child welfare laws, including child protective services, foster care, and adoption.
New ‘Protections’ For Gender Identity And Gender Expression
Of note was an update to the criteria for analyzing the wellbeing of a child to match the human rights code. These include “a child’s or young person’s race, ancestry, place of origin, colour, ethnic origin, citizenship, family diversity, disability, creed, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression.”
Yes, that’s right. The ‘protection’ of a child’s gender identity and gender expression is now in the hands of our ‘benevolent expert’ on everything under the sun—our government.
The man who introduced the bill last year was Michael Coteau, Minister of Child and Family Services. His statements about the new protections for gender identity and expression certainly seems to challenge parents’ autonomy in making choices on behalf of their children:
“I would consider that a form of abuse, when a child identifies one way and a caregiver is saying no, you need to do this differently. If it’s abuse, and if it’s within the definition, a child can be removed from that environment and placed into protection where the abuse stops.”—MP Michael Coteau
Bill 89 retains the provision in current law that a child who is suffering or “at risk of suffering” mental or emotional harm and whose parents do not provide “treatment or access to treatment” is in need of protection under the law.
This information can lead to the contemplation of some disturbing possibilities. Let us say that your doctor, or teacher, believes that your 10-year old child is experiencing what the American Psychiatric Association has coined ‘Gender Dysphoria’, which they define as follows:
Gender dysphoria involves a conflict between a person’s physical or assigned gender and the gender with which he/she/they identify. People with gender dysphoria may be very uncomfortable with the gender they were assigned, sometimes described as being uncomfortable with their body (particularly developments during puberty) or being uncomfortable with the expected roles of their assigned gender.
People with gender dysphoria may often experience significant distress and/or problems functioning associated with this conflict between the way they feel and think of themselves (referred to as experienced or expressed gender) and their physical or assigned gender.
If the Ministry of Child and Family Services is made aware of signs of ‘gender dysphoria’ on the part of your child, they have the right to ensure that a parent is taking what the ministry would consider ‘treatment or access to treatment’ that would mitigate the risk of suffering mental or emotional harm.
So then if individual human beings in the ministry, in their ever-expanding role of all-seeing and all-knowing authority on all things ‘children’, have decided to side with the notion held by some in the medical establishment that ‘puberty blockers’—pharmaceutical drugs designed to temporarily delay the onset of puberty—is appropriate ‘treatment’ for reducing the risk of the child suffering mental or emotional harm as a result of their ‘gender dysphoria,’ then, hypothetically, the ministry would have the power to take your 10-year old away from you unless you submit them to this drug ‘treatment’ program.
Certainly, this is a big hypothetical leap. There have been no cases resembling this in Ontario since the law was passed. Comments made by Akihito Tse from the Ontario Child’s Advocate Office made in this article appear to bring us back from the edge of the cliff:
Mere disagreement with a child about their gender identity or gender expression is not enough to bring the child into care. Instead, it has to be part of “a pattern of abuse, neglect or serious emotional harm” before removing the child can be considered, according to Akihito Tse, a spokesperson for the advocate’s office.
The reasons a child may require protection are laid out in section 74(2) of Bill 89. There is no specific reference to gender identity or gender expression, but if a child is suffering sexual, physical, or emotional abuse, including “serious” psychological effects, child welfare agencies may intervene.
As Tse noted, there is a high threshold for ever removing a child from their family, and the decision to take a young person into care cannot be made by government bureaucrats and child aid workers alone. “There is a clear process through which the final decision is made by a judge,” Tse said.
Stuck In The Left/Right Dichotomy
Perhaps, from a moderate and balanced perspective, there is no need for urgent and immediate concern. I say perhaps. In trying to examine the information on this subject on the internet, the moderate seeker is struck by an inescapable phenomena: the whole discussion (read: contentious battle) about the implications of government becoming the protector of a child’s gender rights is cast as the struggle between Far-Right Religious Conservatives fighting for their rights to raise their children in accordance with their dogmatic religious beliefs on gender, and Far-Left Liberals fighting for the radical breakdown of traditional societal order through the government-sponsored promotion of gender confusion and ambiguity–depending, of course, on which side you’re on.
In this landscape, it appears that there is no room for moderates—you know, those of us who don’t really care to identify with one of the polarities—to be part of the discussion. And that’s exactly the way our authority wants it. And by authority I don’t mean the government, I mean those who control the government.
To say that government overreach is at play here is not making a statement in favor of extreme right-wing agendas over extreme left-wing agendas. It is an observation that those powerful forces that control the government constantly fuel the fires of this polarity to exert more and more control over citizens. If we look back in history, it matters not which side of the spectrum is used to advance their agenda of control, as long as the battle between the polarities rages on to hide the influence of their hidden hand. And I do indeed believe that our authority has to some extent promoted and sponsored gender confusion in our society, doing so with absolute and complete disregard for the health and well-being of people who are transgender as well as an underlying disrespect for all individuals that make up our society.
A Moderate Perspective
I believe a moderate perspective on the matter of gender identity and expression focuses on the following points:
- Physiologically there are 2 human genders: male and female
- There are people who exist in our society that are not comfortable with their gender as denoted by their physiology
- Some of these people identify with the gender opposite to the gender denoted by their physiology
- Individuals have the right to choose to submit to treatments that modify or change aspects of their physiology when they reach a sufficient level of maturity to make informed decisions
As individuals, as a society, how should we deal with these facts? Through open dialogue and communication in search of truth; through a desire to share and to learn from each other as kindred souls; and with respect for differences between us and compassion about the impact of these differences in how we live together.
It is in bringing consciousness to bear in our personal lives and in the way we deal with others in our society that these matters are best handled. One important step is to join the growing number of people who have decided to dis-identify with either side of this fabricated extreme left/right polarity and promote open-minded and open-hearted discourse.
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