Many parents are increasingly concerned about the extent to which educational institutions, as extensions of the state, introduce ideas that may conflict with family values or beliefs, and parental rights, particularly in areas related to SOGI (Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity). For example, in some jurisdictions, children can access gender-related medical treatments without parental consent or even their parents’ knowledge. We will delve into these topics from angles that mainstream media often avoid.
This situation raises complex questions about the balance between the state’s responsibility to ensure a safe and inclusive educational environment and the parents’ rights to guide their children’s upbringing based on their own values. Many parents feel uncomfortable with the level of influence that educational institutions and the state seem to have over their children’s beliefs and choices.
Legal challenges have arisen in some instances, further emphasizing the contentious nature of these issues. This situation prompts us to question who is truly guiding our children’s development and values. The concerns go beyond the state’s influence on children and extend to how the government could potentially be leveraging parental rights to advance a specific agenda. A quick internet search reveals a multitude of legal and social challenges related to this topic, underscoring the complexities that families are currently navigating.
Parental Consent & The Mature Minor Doctrine
In certain cases, schools and medical professionals have utilized the “mature minor” doctrine to administer treatments related to sexual orientation and gender identity without informing parents. For example, a child who identifies as transgender may obtain hormone therapy or puberty blockers through a school-based health clinic or another medical provider, bypassing parental consent by using the mature minor doctrine. This can be done entirely behind the parents’ backs, with schools facing no legal repercussions for their actions. Should parents discover this later and question the methods, they may find themselves at odds not only with the school but also with child protective services and law enforcement. In addition, parents could face public ridicule and name-calling for questioning these procedures. As an additional point, we’ve seen this doctrine in action during the Covid-19 pandemic. The mature minor doctrine has been employed to allow minors as young as 12 to consent to receiving the Covid-19 vaccine without parental approval. Some did warn about the potential harms of this approach at the time, but these cautions often went unnoticed amid the widespread fear generated within the public.
Bill C-16 & Bill C-4
In the context of Canadian law and Bill C-16, if a parent emotionally or physically abuses their child—where the definition of ‘abuse’ is determined by the state—due to the child’s gender identity, child protection services could intervene, and the parent could face legal consequences. This development has led some to argue that the bill poses challenges to traditional parental rights. Instances have already occurred in Canada where parents have been coerced, charged, or faced even more severe consequences.
Full text of Bill C-16: https://www.parl.ca/DocumentViewer/en/42-1/bill/c-16/royal-assent
Under Bill C-4, if a parent tries to force their child to undergo conversion therapy in an effort to change the child’s sexual orientation or gender identity, the parent could be charged with causing another person to undergo conversion therapy. This is a criminal offense that could result in imprisonment for a term of up to five years.
It’s important to note that the state’s definition of conversion therapy is quite broad and could potentially be interpreted in various ways:
- Change a person’s sexual orientation to heterosexual
- Change a person’s gender identity to cisgender
- Change a person’s gender expression so that it conforms to the sex assigned to the person at birth (if you tell your son who thinks they are a girl that they are indeed your son, you could be charged under this act)
- Repress or reduce non-heterosexual attraction or sexual behavior
- Repress a person’s non-cisgender gender identity
- Repress or reduce a person’s gender expression that does not conform to the sex assigned to the person at birth
- If a parent tries to enforce any of these changes on their child, whether by sending them to a practitioner or attempting to perform conversion therapy themselves, they could be charged with a criminal offense under this law. Specifically, the parent could be charged with causing another person to undergo conversion therapy, which is punishable by up to five years in prison.
For instance, if a parent discovers that their teenage child identifies as gay and then either tries to perform conversion therapy on them or sends them to a practitioner to undergo conversion therapy against the child’s will, the parent could face criminal charges under this law. Similarly, if the parent tries to take the child out of Canada with the intent of having them undergo conversion therapy in another country, this would also be a criminal offense under the bill.
Thus, the law seeks to protect individuals, including minors, from being forced to undergo a practice that is widely considered to be harmful by medical and psychological associations. However, it also raises complex questions about the balance between state intervention and parental rights, especially when those rights involve deeply held beliefs about sexual orientation and gender identity.
Is this occurring in Canada?
Many parents do not believe that these kinds of treatments are taking place in Canada, regardless of the countless legal implications they are causing for many families. However, this is only one Canadian-based website as evidence:https://transyouthcan.ca/. The following is taken directly from the front page of their website:
“Youth whose gender identity does not match the gender they were assigned at birth have been increasingly referred to pediatric clinics that provide medical care to delay puberty and alter physical sex characteristics to align with their inner gender identity. However, while these treatments are generally considered safe, there is very little research on the short- and long-term social and medical experiences and outcomes of youth undergoing clinical care. We are conducting a study to learn about the health experiences of trans youth during the first two years they come to a clinic to start on puberty blockers or hormones. We are also interested in learning more about the well-being of parents/caregivers and families with trans youth.”
In conclusion, parental rights appear to be diminishing in significance, making parents increasingly irrelevant in the new landscape. We have examined two crucial pieces of Canadian legislation—Bill C-4 and Bill C-16—that have extensive implications for parental rights. These laws seem to suggest that parents must align their views with those of the state, or else they could face criminal charges, including imprisonment.
Bill C-4, which criminalizes conversion therapy, represents an effort by the Canadian government to safeguard LGBTQ+ individuals from practices widely recognized as harmful by medical and psychological authorities. The bill carries the weight of criminal penalties, potentially leading to imprisonment for up to five years if individuals cause someone else to undergo conversion therapy. The broad definitions used in this bill encompass changes related to sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression. This could place parents in legal jeopardy if they attempt such therapies on their children or endeavor to impose their beliefs, religious convictions, or traditional values.
On the other hand, Bill C-16 extends human rights protections to include ‘gender identity’ and ‘gender expression,’ making it illegal to discriminate based on these characteristics. While this bill has been celebrated by some for providing much-needed legal protections for transgender and gender-diverse individuals, it has also generated debates about freedom of speech and the mandated use of preferred pronouns. Parents not agreeing with their children’s change in gender could face up to 5 years in prison.
We also explored the medical aspects, particularly concerning transgender youth in Canada. Organizations like Trans Youth Can highlight the increasing number of referrals to pediatric clinics offering hormone treatments and puberty blockers. The long-term social and medical outcomes of these treatments are still under investigation. Despite the lack of definitive data on long-term effects, parents are expected to comply with these medical practices. Failure to do so could result in legal consequences.
These legislative and medical developments raise complex questions about the balance between parental rights and state intervention.. The issues of parental rights, freedom of speech, and medical ethics intersect in challenging ways, making it a difficult but necessary conversation for society to have. Many parents caught on the receiving end of these laws feel helpless and coerced into compliance with the state, feeling as if their rights as parents have become irrelevant. Parents feel as if they are being led by the nose to meet government demands—comply, or face severe consequences like the loss of their children or imprisonment. While parents can provide for their children’s basic needs, they feel restricted in guiding their beliefs and thoughts, a role increasingly claimed by the government.
This situation not only warrants immediate cessation, but it also demands critical scrutiny. The introduction of SOGI and gender ideology being taught in schools is a reality we must confront in Canada. Our children are subjected to medical interventions with potentially hazardous consequences; the long-term effects of which remain largely unexplored. Parental rights are irrelevant, so to speak, gone with the wind. It is unthinkable that a parent would not only be uninformed about these harm-producing procedures but also helpless to stop them when they become aware of it. What parent would willingly let their child serve as a test subject for such uncertain procedures?