Breakenridge: Let’s be honest about what’s behind transgender politics

There is an overlap between those who saw fit to oppose other parents’ decisions and those who have now positioned themselves as enthusiastic advocates and advocates for fathers’ rights.

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There was a time last year when the biggest issue on the culture war front was the issue of drag performers reading children’s books to children in local public libraries. There were intense protests against these events in numerous cities; So intense, in fact, that Calgary crafted a bylaw specifically to keep these protests at a greater distance from libraries.

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Whatever moral or religious objections these protesters had, calling for such events to be banned is largely a case of “the government knows best.” If the concept of “parental rights” had entered the debate, it clearly would not have applied to the protesters but to those parents who chose to attend with their own children. No one else was forced to attend.

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There is an interesting and notable overlap between those who saw fit to oppose the decisions of other parents and those who have now positioned themselves as enthusiastic defenders and advocates of fathers’ rights. Maybe this really isn’t about parental rights at all.

This all has to do with Alberta’s radical new gender identity policy, which one cabinet minister bluntly described as a choice between parental rights and the government knows best. Certainly, no one in the government opposed drag reading events, nor would it be fair to accuse all proponents of this new policy of holding such views. But even within the confines of this policy, there is an inherent contradiction between the desire to improve parental rights and decisions that erode them.

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As far as the school is concerned, this greatly increases parent involvement. There will be a new opt-in policy for any sex education curriculum or discussion of sexuality or gender issues, meaning parents must first approve their child’s participation. And, of course, there will be mandatory parental consent or notification if a student wishes to be called by a different name or pronoun.

However, when it comes to medical treatments and interventions for transgender youth, the government is intervening in territory currently occupied by parents. While parents previously had the final say (along with doctors) on such interventions, the province is now taking that decision out of their hands through new age limits and restrictions.

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It is reasonable to have a debate about age-appropriate material in schools or the extent to which parents need to be made aware of certain issues. It may also be reasonable to look at the parameters related to the aforementioned treatments and interventions and if necessary proceed with more caution in these areas.

But, strictly speaking, these are not parental rights issues. If that were the main underlying impulse of this entire conversation, we would hear a lot more pushback from ostensible fathers’ rights advocates about the areas in which they are being eliminated.

The government is equally guilty of this double standard. They are the ones who designed this policy and are trying to achieve both. The Prime Minister recently attacked “anyone who is trying to put obstacles in that relationship between parents and children” and yet one of the express aims of her own policy is to create those obstacles.

Of course, we all understand the importance of the relationship between parents and children, and that makes the concept of “parental rights” seem very attractive. After all, who said parents shouldn’t have rights?

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This is all very reminiscent of the “family values” politics of the 1990s. Families are important, and so are values, but “family values” had more to do with a branding exercise for a more ardent form of conservatism. social.

There are clearly social conservatives who have their fingerprints on Alberta’s new politics, in addition to those who loudly support it (including a prominent group that celebrated this as a “massive blow to transgender ideology”).

Let’s try to be a little more honest about that fact.

“Afternoons with Rob Breakenridge” airs Monday to Friday from 12:30 to 3 pm on QR Calgary

[email protected]

Twitter: @RobBreakenridge

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