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Alberta premier, UCP banned from 2024 Pride events

A group representing 14 Pride societies in Alberta has banned the United Conservative Party and Premier Danielle Smith from 2024 Pride events.

Queer Citizens United YYC released a media statement on Friday saying the ban is a response to changes Smith promised earlier this year to the province’s gender policies for children and youth.

“This is a direct response to Premier Danielle Smith’s stated intention to infringe on the rights, freedoms, and health care of the transgender community in Alberta,” the statement says.

“You may not join our celebrations in June when you plan to attack us in September. Queer rights should not be a political decision. Trans rights are human rights.”

The signatories to the statement include Pride groups in Calgary, Red Deer, Lethbridge, Banff and Canmore.

In January, Smith announced her government would implement a slate of policies and guidelines around gender identity, gender affirmation surgeries and new rules for transgender women athletes.

Among other changes the new rules would put minimum legal age limits on surgeries and hormone therapies for transgender youth and require parental notification — and permission, depending on the student’s age — if a student wants to change their name or pronoun at school.

Victoria Bucholtz is a community organizer working with Queer Citizens United YYC. She says it’s not too late for the premier to reverse the ban.

“They have got this one wrong. Just as they have backtracked on so many other policies that they did not think out correctly. They can do that on this one too. It is not too late for them to abandon this, to say we need to actually consult with these organizations that are telling us we are not representing them, and to do the right thing, which is to abandon these very restrictive policies that are not rooted in medical science,” Bucholtz told CBC News.

According to the group, the ban extends beyond the premier to the party as a whole because of a lack of pushback to the proposed changes by government MLAs.

“Given that no UCP MLAs have expressed their disagreement with these proposed policies, we must extend our decision to the entire UCP caucus,” the statement says.

CBC News reached out to the premier’s office for a statement in response to the ban, and was directed by the press secretary to contact the party instead. 

The UCP did not respond to CBC requests for comment.

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