April 16th, 2024

Let’s Chat: A chat with a parent

By Linda Tooth on February 14, 2024.

After Premier Danielle Smith’s town hall meeting in Medicine Hat, I met with a parent who has a transgendered boy impacted by the beliefs of the United Conservative Party in Alberta.

When this child was younger, they knew something was different about them. They did not feel right inside the body they had been given.

The parent thought maybe the child would grow up to be a lesbian, which was OK for the parent. But little did they know at the time, the world of transgenderism and politics were headed their way.

According to the Oxford Dictionary, the term transgender is defined as “having a gender identity that does not match the sex a person was said to have at birth.”

OK, so they are in conflict both internally and externally and are looking for a way to live a peaceful and happy life. With the support of family and friends any person, no matter what age or gender they identify with, can deal with any kind of conflict.

What happens when there is no support from family or friends? The parent I spoke with is very supportive of their child. Unfortunately, the other parent is not.

I have been told some transgendered children are living in unsupportive homes. They are in shelters, and some are homeless. School for some is the only safe place they have. Friends? Well, the transgender boy is facing ridicule on a gaming platform and does not have any understanding friends.

Fortunately, the school they are now attending has a very understanding principal who will not put up with any disrespect. The transgendered boy has self-harmed, and the parent is afraid they will come home one day and their child will have committed suicide.

The transgendered boy has been on a waiting list with Metta Clinic at the Alberta Children’s Hospital for two years to be able to start puberty blockers. Premier Smith has made them sound like something your child could start immediately. They are not. A whole lot goes into gender-affirming care, with doctors, parents and the child all involved in making those difficult decisions. Of course, that is until Smith’s policy kicks in when no amount of necessity supported by medical professionals will trump the government’s will. Something, something freedom, right? Once again, Smith is creating divisions in this province, and it must stop.

We allow those who are 14 the opportunity to get a learner’s permit in Alberta so they can start driving a vehicle, but we cannot allow those within the same age group the opportunity to be called something different than what is on their birth certificate. They are not asking to legally change their names; they just want to be addressed in the manner that makes them happy.

I asked the parent what their hopes were moving forward for their child, and this is what they said.

– To be settled in school;

– Feel calm in their soul;

– Not to worry about where they can go to the bathroom;

– To see value in how wonderful they are;

– And to have friends.

Seems like fair demands for fellow humans, doesn’t it?

Next week I am talking to a transgendered female who has graduated from high school in Alberta.

Linda Tooth is a communications instructor at Medicine Hat College

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