How the Canadian Conversation on Gender Ideology Changed in 2023
If Canada can start waking up, so can the rest of the world
Perhaps no other country in the world has gone further down the gender rabbit hole than Canada, and no other country is kicking and screaming harder to stay there. Almost nothing exemplifies this reality better than the fact that our government unanimously passed a “conversion therapy” bill (which, ironically, has the effect of “converting” many gay youth into a facsimile of straight youth) two years ago. If you asked me last December how long it would take for the gender delusion to begin ebbing away, I would have said at least a few years. But today I no longer feel quite so pessimistic.
I’ll be the first to admit that 2023 didn’t start off great. In fact, I documented a lot of the gender madness that made it look like Canada was careening toward a cliff as quickly as ever. On January 10, for example, protesters shut down a talk at Montreal’s McGill University set to be given by Robert Wintemute, an original signatory of the Yogyakarta Principles who has since become critical of sex self-ID.
Later that month, the Canadian media was sympathetic to a very large man who calls himself “Brigid” and was upset at being refused entry to a women-only gym in British Columbia.
Things were going no better in next-door Alberta, supposedly Canada’s “most conservative province.” For International Women’s Day 2023, a Women’s charity decided to invite a man named Marni Panas to speak on a panel in Calgary. As I later discovered, Panas has been instrumental in pushing legislation that erodes the rights of women.
My home city of Calgary continued to disappoint when, in February, mayor Jyoti Gondek (who I did not vote for and who has me blocked on X, for the record), announced that she would be using the city’s street harassment bylaw against drag queen story hour protestors. In March, Gondek went further by pushing through a “Safe & Inclusive Access bylaw” which prohibited such protests within 100 meters of entrances to city-operated libraries and recreational facilities on threat of a $10,000 fine and even up to a year in prison.
It was hard to imagine that the tone of the year could possibly change, but change it did, thanks initially to New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs. In early June, Higgs announced that it would no longer be mandatory for teachers to use the preferred names and pronouns of students under 16 (yes, it previously had been). He then stood firm against much hand-wringing from school staff, advocacy organizations, and even members of his own cabinet.
Another one of Higgs’ critics was the New Brunswick child and youth advocate Kelly Lamrock, who wrote a 100-page report full of errors, cult-speak, and thought-terminating clichés slamming the Premier’s decision. This alerted me to the incredible extent that the UN is meddling and pushing childhood transition in Canada. It opened my eyes to just how entrenched this ideology is and how much of it has been instituted in a top-down manner.
Thankfully, the end of summer brought with it more good news. First, the federal Conservative party held a convention where two resolutions about gender ideology were passed. The first related to protecting children from “life altering medicinal or surgical interventions” and the other, proposed by my friend Dr. Linda Blade, related to women’s single-sex spaces.
Just a few days later, the #1 Million March 4 Children was held all across the country, with fantastic turnouts. Only Vancouver and Victoria, as was to be expected, saw significant counter-protestors and pushback. Everywhere else, including in Calgary where I was, saw a far greater turnout on the side concerned about the indoctrination of children.
While I hoped Alberta might be next to make a legislative move against gender ideology, neighboring Saskatchewan beat us to the punch. The education minister had already announced back in August that the province was going to be implementing a new policy on preferred pronouns and on the involvement of third-party organizations in schools. Despite much weeping and gnashing of teeth (and legal action) by trans activists, the policy passed and became law on October 20.
Still, I was waiting for some movement in Alberta. In early November, it finally came. At the annual general meeting of Alberta’s ruling United Conservative Party, Premier Danielle Smith took up the mantle of “parents’ rights” to a standing ovation. Clearly, the party base had been waiting for such a moment. Delegates also passed a resolution about pronouns in school similar to what New Brunswick and Saskatchewan have implemented as well as a policy against housing male inmates in women’s provincial jails.
My hope is that, in 2024, Alberta can start leading the way on multiple facets of this issue. The rallying cry of “parents’ rights” has been an effective one, but there is so much more to tackle. We need to focus on children’s rights not to be misled and medicalized, and we shouldn’t forget the adults being harmed by the quackery that is “gender medicine.” We need leaders to even begin publicly discussing the effect that the trans movement has had on women’s rights.
It’s important not to get ahead of ourselves, as starved as we have been for crumbs. But it’s also important to recognize the wins and see that things are changing and that now is not the time to relent. If the developments of 2023 happened in Canada of all places, then maybe we have some reason to hope after all.
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