Albertans being guided to misinformation on new transgender youth policies, says mother of trans child
Posted February 9, 2024 1:13 pm.
Medical professionals across the province are making a plea to the Alberta government to reconsider it’s approach to restricting gender-affirming medical care in an open letter.
Dr. Kate Greenaway is the medical director for Calgary’s Foria Clinic.
She quickly got 48 additional signatures to her open letter to the province, calling for the Minister of Health to follow medical, rather than political, advice on what she’s calling intensely personal matters.
“The proposal by the Alberta government really just goes against the international guidelines as well as the guidelines from the Canadian Pediatric Society, and the American Academy of Pediatrics on how we should be managing gender-affirming care in youth,” she explained.
Greenaway says the 17 doctors and 31 nurses that have signed her open letter share in her concern that the focus is being shifted from the patients themselves, and she believes that informed decisions need to be made based on medical evidence and expert advice.
“This to me is a step in the entirely wrong direction,” she said. “It does create a fear for trans people and a culture where it’s OK to discriminate against trans people in a context where they are already facing so many barriers to self-acceptance, to being accepted by their communities, and accessing care.”
That’s something Kim Large, a mother of a transgender child from Medicine Hat, says it shouldn’t even be up for debate.
- School walkouts in protest of new Alberta transgender care policies planned for Wednesday
- Alberta’s planned transgender rules could lead to increased depression, suicidal thoughts: psychiatrists
- Alberta’s safe space must be preserved in debate over transgender, gender identity rights: advocate
- A trans Calgarian’s take on Alberta’s proposed gender policies
She says her family was assigned to a team of medical experts and underwent a thorough and lengthy process.
“You have a doctor, an endocrinologist, a nurse, and also a psychologist that’s assigned to you,” she explained. “You are regularly meeting with them.
“These are specialized doctors and professionals that are educated in this field.”
Large says there’s too much misinformation out there, and people are being led to believe that physicians are helping minors to make permanent physical changes.
“There is absolutely no surgery on minors until 18 years of age. People are being misled to believe that permanent things are happening on children and they just are not,” she said. “Up until 18, it’s puberty blockers and hormones, and those are completely reversible and the side affects are like birth control — which many with uteruses, myself included — take and took for many year and think nothing of those consequences.”
Greenaway says a big part of the process is working with non-binary and trans people is reaffirming, in a general sense, and not a medical intervention.
“Providing a space where people can be their true self and tell us about their experience and their journey, and a lot of that is actually conversational and relational more than intervention,” she said.
“There is absolutely no surgery on minors until 18 years of age. People are being misled to believe that permanent things are happening on children and they just are not.”