Alberta will prohibit hormonal treatment, puberty blockers and gender reassignment surgery for children 15 years and younger, Premier Danielle Smith announced Wednesday in a video posted to social media.
In a video posted to social media, Smith said the policy bans all children under 17 from having top and bottom surgery, though bottom surgery is already limited to adults.
Teens aged 16 and 17 can start hormone therapy as long as they have permission from their parents, a physician and a psychologist.
Alberta parents will need to give permission before a student aged 15 and under can use a name or pronoun at school other than what they were given at birth, Smith said.
Students who are 16 or 17 won’t require permission but schools will need to let their parents know first.
Albertans who require transgender surgeries have the procedures performed in Quebec. Smith said efforts will begin to attract these specialists to Alberta so the surgeries can take place in the province.
Smith said teachers need to get any third-party instruction material on gender identity, sexual orientation and human sexuality approved by the Education ministry before they are used in the classroom.
Parents will have to opt students in to every lesson about sex education, sexual orientation or gender identity.
The law right now requires one notification, and parents can opt out.
The new policy also forbids transgender women from competing in women’s sports leagues. Smith said the government will work with leagues to set up co-ed or general-neutral divisions for sports.
Smith said she didn’t want to encourage or allow children to alter their biology or growth because she said it would pose a risk.
“Making permanent and irreversible decisions regarding one’s biological sex while still a youth can severely limit that child’s choices in the future,” she said.
“Prematurely encouraging or enabling children to alter their very biology or natural growth, no matter how well intentioned and sincere, poses a risk to that child’s future that I, as premier, am not comfortable with permitting in our province.”
More detail is coming at a press conference on Thursday afternoon.
Policy ‘interfering ideologically’ in healthcare: expert
Fae Johnstone, a transgender woman and executive director of Queer Momentum based in Ontario, said Alberta’s policies go further than what Saskatchewan and New Brunswick are doing.
Saskatchewan made changes via legislation. New Brunswick opted to make policy changes.
“This is interfering ideologically in the provision of medically necessary healthcare for trans and gender diverse young people,” Johnstone said in an interview with CBC News.
“And flies in the face of establishing medical best practice, while also putting in parameters around school inclusion that are actually more likely to force trans kids back into the closet or extreme cases will lead to trans kids being kicked out of their homes.”
Groups that support transgender kids said they will fight back.
Calgary-based Skipping Stone Foundation and Egale Canada said they condemn Smith’s policy and called it “a direct and unprecedented attack on 2SLGBTQI+ Canadians, and trans and gender diverse youth in particular.”
The groups said the measures violate the constitution and will create irreparable harm. They said they plan to take the matter to court.