LGBTQ+ rights defenders excluded from consultations planned by the province

LGBTQ+ rights defenders excluded from consultations planned by the province
LGBTQ+ rights defenders excluded from consultations planned by the province

2SLGBTQI+ rights groups and some health professionals are vigorously criticizing the way the Alberta government organizes consultations about its gender policies. Invitations include a non-disclosure agreement to be signed to participate.

If Premier Danielle Smith really wants to hear what we have to say, she can hold public consultations where members of the medical community can openly express what we think [de ses politiques en matière d’identité de genre]says Dr. Jake Donaldson, a Calgary family physician who provides gender-affirming care.

I understand that some people have very strong opinions on this issue and that other people don’t feel safe speaking out about this, but at the end of the day it needs to be a public discussion.

A quote from Dr. Jake Donaldson, family physician

In an email signed by a senior advisor to Alberta Health, the province says 40 organizations and individuals have been invited to participate in virtual group discussions about the proposed policies. Some of these aim to regulate surgical operations, gender-affirming health care, the expression of students’ sexual identity as well as the participation of transgender women in sports activities.

A spokesperson for provincial Health Minister Adrianna LaGrange wrote in an email that the invitations have been sent to key playersincluding clinicians who work with transgender youth, members of the transgender community, and bioethicists.

Need more transparency

Dr. Jake Donaldson says he responded to the invitation he received by declining it and asking for more transparency. According to him, this invitation : [c’est aussi] clearly unethical”,”text”:”isn’t just problematic: [c’est aussi] clearly unethical”}}”>is not only problematic: [c’est aussi] clearly unethical.

He is not the only one to have refused the invitation, in particular because of the non-disclosure agreement.

There is no place for a non-disclosure agreement when human rights are at risksays Amy Mendenhall, executive director of HOMEa two-spirit indigenous organization which works in the center of the province.

For the province’s spokesperson, the non-disclosure agreement, which will be imposed indefinitely, serves to ensure the confidentiality of the discussions, meaning that participants will never be able to reveal what was said.

Although the invitation seems to emphasize the opinion of health professionals, Dr. Donaldson believes that the voices of 2SLGBTQI+ communities should be at the forefront.

Shouldn’t women be involved in conversations that concern them? Do the people of [la diversité ethnique] should not participate in conversations that concern them?

A quote from Dr. Jake Donaldson, family physician

The fact that such a small part of this community was involved in this decision-making process is a sign that [la première ministre] is not sincerely involved in this discussion.

2SLGBTQI+ groups want to be consulted

Danielle Smith warned that her government plans to present a bill next fall that affects transgender and non-binary people, young people and adults.

Since the January policies, many 2SLGBTQI+ advocates, including health and human rights professional groups, have said these policies could potentially harm transgender and non-binary people.

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In February 2024, hundreds of people gathered in Edmonton to show support for the province’s transgender community.

Photo: Radio-Canada / Charles Delisle

Some groups say they weren’t invited but think they should have been.

% identify as transgender, so we should be included in these consultations”,”text”:”We are the only organization offering weekly programs to young people, 80% of whom identify as transgender, so we should be included in these consultations”}}”>We are the only organization offering weekly programs to young people, 80% of whom identify as transgender, so we should be included in these consultationssays Esjay Lafayette, general manager of Pride Center of Edmonton, who hopes the province will reverse its policies.

It breaks my heart that they defend these policies so fervently while knowing their harmful consequences. This saddens and scares me.

A quote from Esjay Lafayette, general manager of the Pride Center of Edmonton

Rowan Morris, founder of Trans Right YEG, who defends the rights of transgender people in Edmonton, also says that no invitation was sent to him. He hopes, however, that more members of the transgender community – and not just medical professionals – will be involved in future discussions.

Taking into account only the opinions of health professionals means that we give more importance to the medical aspect of transsexuality than to the humanity of our community.

Earlier this month, 14 different Alberta Pride groups banned the United Conservative Party from Pride 2024 activities.

You can’t celebrate with us in June when you plan to attack us in Septembernotes a letter published on May 17.

With information from Sam Samson

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