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NWAC President: Protests against gender diversity policies in school are putting vulnerable youth at risk

September 21, 2023

NationTalk: A statement by Carol McBride, President of the Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC)

As President of the Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC), I am appalled by protests that would end policies created to provide a layer of safety for transgender and gender-diverse youth.

The organizers of these protests say they are marching for children. In fact, the changes they would impose upon curricula and student privacy in schools across the country would have exactly the opposite effect.

Recent research shows that transgender and gender-diverse youth are four times more likely to consider suicide than other adolescents. It is not their sexual orientation that puts them at greater risk, but societal rejection, bullying, and, in too many cases, lack of acceptance by their own families.

The protesters would remove discussions of sexual orientation in the classroom that help to reduce the intolerance and the stigma.

They would “out” children whose parents do not approve of gender diversity or transsexuality, or force those children to mask their true natures through some of the most socially critical years of their lives.

In Indigenous cultures, we recognize there are those with Two Spirits. We do not shame them or blame them for who they are. Rather, we embrace the diversity. That is one reason NWAC now represents Indigenous Two-Spirit, transgender and gender-diverse people along with women and girls. In addition, the Final Report of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG) Call for Justice 15.5 urges everyone to [C]onfront and speak out against racism, sexism, ignorance, homophobia and transphobia, and teach or encourage others to do the same, wherever it occurs: in your home, in your workplace, or in social settings.

We also understand that, as parents, our children are individuals with rights to their own privacy, and it is up to them to share details of their sexual orientation when they see fit, and with whom they see fit.

These protesters would put vulnerable children, adolescents, and teenagers at risk, and I am calling upon all Canadians to stand up against their harassment.

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Annette Goerner
+1 (613) 818-6941