Since Alberta Premier Danielle Smith indicated that her government was thinking about policies to remove things like puberty blockers and uphold the rights of parents to consent if their child wants to change their legal name and pronouns, the medical community among others has been weighing in.
The Alberta Medical Association, or AMA says that the effect of puberty-blocking agents can be reversed. Once treatment stops, puberty goes forward. Also, the AMA objected to a private registry for physicians who provide gender-affirming care saying it feels like surveillance. The medical association called on the premier to reconsider the proposals saying that children and youth have a right to the appropriate medical care at the appropriate time.
Members of the 2SLGBTQIA+ Society of Lloydminster held an information session at Grace United Church on Monday night and there was agreement on that assessment. One participant noted that the treatment puts a “pause on things” allowing time to assess. It cannot be started after 15 as that is too late. Also, it will have an increased burden on the medical sector as more stringent surgeries will be required to transition.
Chair of the group, Stirling Moess said, “Puberty blockers are actually how we can let kids be kids and explore who they are without irreversible repercussions by essentially pausing early-stage puberty until the child is of age and mental maturity to go through with a true medical transition. No invasive medical treatment is done to minors, globally, and the use of puberty blockers can ultimately diminish how many invasive procedures may be done once adulthood has been reached.”
The AMA also critiqued the premier’s proposal as unnecessary bureaucracy pointing out there is an effective referral process.
Moess added, “For children to access this treatment a great level of therapy is required, and legal guardianship must be involved in the process. To make policies stating that children under 15 cannot access them defeats the purpose of the treatments and undermines medical ethics that have been in place for 20 years. By putting legislation in place barring minors from surgery all that’s being done is insinuating that they are being done by stirring up fear despite the reality that said legislation is unnecessary as it’s already a part of global medical ethical practice.”
Looking at top and bottom surgeries as raised by the premier, a former federal conservative candidate added their voice saying,” These things are being overblown to present to us a reality that isn’t happening.”
“Existing rules already preclude things like bottom surgery from anyone who is under 18. That is already the rule and that is already the law. So, that wouldn’t change anything, said Hannah Hodson.
The Lloydminster group presented numerous statistics as they delved into the premier’s seven-minute video. They took issue with her statement that non-acceptance by parents is rare citing research from Trans Pulse Canada that 42 per cent of transgender and non-binary youth were not respected or supported, called by their correct name, pronouns, and gender language by their parents or guardians.
“Education and open dialogue is the only way through the fear and dismantling of misinformation. In the end, the greater population wants the same thing, to let kids be kids and to grow into who they really are,” concluded Moess.