School walkouts in protest of new Alberta transgender care policies planned for Wednesday

The backlash towards the Alberta government’s planned policies impacting trans kids took a new turn Wednesday, in the form of a walk out.

Around the province, staged walkouts took place starting at 10 a.m., with the idea circulating online over the past week.

At Calgary’s Western Canada High School, around 40 students gathered outside with posters and flags to show their support.

Student Yomade Akapo came out to support the cause, and says she doesn’t think Premier Danielle Smith understands the affect her new policies will have on transgender youth and their mental health.

“The fact that she’s taking away rights from people who haven’t done anything wrong, it’s just a violation of human rights — it’s absolutely disgusting that that’s something she could do to thousands of trans kids out there,” she said.

Charlie Andersen also participated in the walkout, explaining that she was doing it for her friends.

“I just think it’s really important that kids have a safe space to go because I know that I have a few friends that school is their safe place and it’s always been their safe place and just to take that away, I think that’s really unfair,” she said.

Aspen Cervo says he started planning the province-wide event immediately after the premier made the announcement.

The 16-year-old says he is doing this for his 13-year old brother, to show him that he is supported.

“My brother is trans, so I just wanted to do something to show him he’s supported and all my trans friends that they’re supported,” he said.

“It hurts you when your own parents basically tell you that you’re not their kid anymore and then the ones who haven’t told them are scared for those reasons, that their parents might react like that,” Cervo added.

The teen explains that his brother, who has been waiting to take part in hormone therapy, will now have to wait even longer to get the care he needs.

“He’s been waiting for gender affirming care for two years now, and these policies are going to make him wait until he’s 16, he’s going to have to wait another two years,” Cervo explained.


The 30-minute walk outs were expected to impact more than just public schools — with students at some universities supposedly planning to take part.

The Calgary Board of Education (CBE) said in a statement to CityNews that students were allowed to leave class, but would be marked as an unexcused absence.

The Calgary Catholic School Division (CCSD) hasn’t responded to requests for comment.

In the time since the premier doubled down on the policies, it has generated a lot of discussion in Ottawa.

On Tuesday, Conservative leader Pierre Poilievre said the feds need to back down, after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau condemned Smith’s plans.

“I think we have to trust parents — no one cares for their kids more than parents and that’s why Justin Trudeau should butt out, he should let parents raise kids and let provinces run schools and hospitals,” he said.

While in Ottawa to open a new provincial office, Smith faced heavy criticism, including protests, over the proposed changes.

The premier plans on making her plans a reality in the fall.

-With files from The Canadian Press

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