Building on the wave of anti-2SLGBTQI+ hate we are seeing across the country; Saskatchewan Minister of Education, Dustin Duncan, announced last week that parents will be notified when a young person uses a new name or pronoun at school. This puts marginalized youth at risk of violence and ostracization at home. The policy opens the door for education workers to face discipline and backlash when they refuse to participate in non-consensual outings.
The Saskatchewan ministry of education is also letting parents exempt their children from sexual health education, robbing teenagers of information that protects their health. Where young people could once be themselves at school if home was not safe, they will now have no safe place at all.
The announcement followed a similar policy in New Brunswick from earlier this year, which also required schools to deny name and pronoun changes to youth under sixteen without parental consent. That policy has been reviewed by that province’s Child and Youth Advocate who found that it violates the New Brunswick Human Rights Act, Education Act, and children’s charter rights. He also found that the policy violates young people’s rights to privacy, equity, and accommodation.
Both initiatives are part of a growing effort to spread disinformation about trans people, especially trans youth. In recent months Canada has seen an alarming rise in anti-2SLGBTQI+ hate. Queer and trans people are being targeted across the country. Frontline workers in schools, libraries and social services are facing harassment and violence just for working at a site that hosts a queer event or that demonstrates support for trans people.
Canada’s largest union will not sit back when governments and employers impose policies which harm 2SLGBTQI+ students and workers.