Canadian legal experts question proposed Alberta restrictions to gender-affirming care for minors News
Luna Lyons, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Canadian legal experts question proposed Alberta restrictions to gender-affirming care for minors

Thirty-six Canadian legal professors, experts, researchers and staff at the University of Alberta published an open letter Thursday expressing their “deep concern” about the province’s new restrictions concerning transgender youth, alleging the newly proposed policies will “harm Two-Spirit, trans, and gender diverse children and youth by undermining their education, restricting their access to healthcare, and narrowing their sport and recreation opportunities.”

Alberta Premier Danielle Smith announced the recent measures in early February. The planned policy would restrict gender-affirming health care for those under 17 and ban hormonal therapy and other forms of medical transition for those under 15. Transgender women will also no longer be allowed to join women’s sports teams. Those under 15 would be required to obtain parental consent to change their name or pronouns legally, with 16 and 17-year-olds being required to notify their parents. The writers of the open letter maintain these policies would violate the rights guaranteed under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, specifically section 15. The experts also allege that the new policies put transgender children at higher risk of homelessness and physical danger by prioritizing the rights of the parents instead of the best interests of the child.

Health Minister Mark Holland called the new rules “dangerous'” the day after Smith announced the new proposed rules. Smith justified the policies, saying it prevented transgender youth from making permanent decisions they may regret as an adult. Alberta is not the only province to enact or propose legislation concerning transgender youth. New Brunswick enacted similar rules requiring parental consent as to the use of new first names or pronouns for students under 16.