Former Ontario Premier and Education Minister Kathleen Wynne says she is “very worried” about the government’s position of informing parents if their child changes genders or pronouns while at school.
“I really think that this is a wrongheaded policy, and I think it could put children at risk,” she told CP24 on Tuesday afternoon.
“I think it’s a very dangerous path and I really don’t think this is about safety of the kids that these politicians are worried about. I think they are pandering to particular portion of the population who haven’t really thought through what is going on with these kids.”
The comments come a day after Progressive Conservative Education Minister Stephen Lecce said he believes “parents must be fully involved” if their child chooses to use different pronouns at school.
“I think we understand though that parents must be fully involved and fully aware of what’s happening in the life of their children,” Lecce said.
“I mean, often there are health implications, and I think we have to respect the rights of parents and recognize that these can be life-changing decisions, and I think parents want to be involved so that they can support their kids. And I think that’s a really important principle that we must uphold.”
York Region’s chapter of Pflag Canada, a national non-profit organization supporting LGBTQ2S+ children, said they disagree with the notion of a parent’s right to know when it comes to gender identity.
“It is our position that this knowledge isn’t a right, but a privilege that is earned. A privilege that is determined by the child’s own decision to share this deeply personal information as a measure of the environment at home and determined by the courage and choice to disclose by our queer youth,” Tristan Coolman, president of Pflag Canada York Region, said in a statement.
“It is well known culturally and well studied academically the many issues queer people face in today’s world. Though we have come a long way, our communities still harbour individuals who simply hate the LGBTQ2IA+ community. Unfortunately, some of these individuals are parents.”
A nationwide poll showed most parents in Ontario feel that schools should, at minimum, inform them of such a change.
Forty-three per cent of the Ontario survey respondents said they both wanted to be informed and provide consent.
Lecce would not say Wednesday whether his government would be introducing similar legislation, but did add that this was the “province’s position on the matter.”
Wynne acknowledged the poll by saying parents instinctively always want to know everything about their kids, but that safety and the consent of the child must come first.
“We have to make sure that we’re protecting the children in the school. That’s got to be the primary goal,” she said. “If they bring in this policy, then they are basically supporting a policy that is transphobic that is homophobic and is dangerous to kids.”
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