Alberta’s proposed gender identity changes will affect 2SLGBTQ+ lives: experts

Both positive and negative reaction to Alberta’s proposed changes to gender identity and transgender policies continues across the province, and some advocates and experts say proposed changes will affect the everyday lives of 2SLGBTQ+ people.

Jon Drury is a local roller-derby coach and parent of a transgender child, who says many players — adults and kids — are just discovering their identity and trying out new pronouns for the first time.

The sport of roller derby is known for its inclusivity and gender diversity.

“In my sport, we work to support that and to give them the kind of expression, help the expression that makes them feel safe,” he told CityNews. “We certainly have people of all types in our sport and we generally tend to respect their chosen identities and their chosen ways of expressing themselves.”

WATCH: Experts expect legal challenges over Alberta’s new gender identity policy

Drury calls trying to legislate relationships between parents and children dangerous.

“This kind of legislation puts children back in the position where they have to stay in the closet, they have to hide who they are from everybody, because if they don’t then it’s going to get back to people who could put them in danger — physical danger, emotional danger, social danger,” he explained.

Meanwhile, a protest against Premier Danielle Smith’s policies kicks off Saturday at 2 p.m. outside Calgary City Hall.

“Danielle Smith is putting government policy in the middle of that protest and putting trans kids in danger,” said protest organizer Dr. Victoria Bucholtz, who teaches history and gender studies at the University of Calgary and Mount Royal University.

She says the idea of protecting transgender youth is laid false by the United Conservative government’s own policy.

“By including a bizarre sports ban against trans women specifically, which targets adult women as well — it’s not about kids, it’s about restricting trans people to score political points with a fringe minority,” Bucholtz said.

Bucholtz adds the policies aren’t based on science, or on what the transgender community or most Albertans want.

She says Smith’s policy is putting the lives of transgender kids in danger.

WATCH: Parents react to Alberta’s proposed gender identity policies

“Now, it is lovely to assume that every parent will love their child, but the data just doesn’t say that,” Bucholtz explained. “It says that child abuse happens, neglect happens, and that sometimes parents will not accept their trans kids. So, why not make it safe for them to express their identities when they’re ready?”

She calls the premier’s desire to de-politicize the conversation laughable and says the UCP government should stop trying to legislate what members of the 2SLGBTQ+ community do with their bodies.

“This is Danielle Smith and her cabinet making a unilateral decision based on — as she says in the video — what she thinks,” Bucholtz said.

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