The Alberta government’s new guidelines promoting transgenderism in the province’s schools have not only sparked a parental revolt, they have triggered a stinging rebuke from two medical professors at the University of Alberta, who call the them “incredibly misguided,” “reckless,” and “dangerous” to the youth involved.
The two U of A professors are Dr. Blaine Achen, MD, FRCPS, FASE, associate clinical professor in Department of Anaesthesia and Pain Medicine, and Dr. Theodore K. Fenske, MD, FRCPC, FCCP, FACC, clinical professor of medicine, as well as staff cardiologist at the C.K. Hui Heart Centre.
In a paper published on the Alberta Parents for Choice in Education website, they dissect and eviscerate the New Democratic government’s recently released “Guidelines for Best Practices: Creating Learning Environments that respect Diverse Sexual Orientations, Gender Identities and Gender Expressions” with surgical precision.
Donna Trimble, Parents for Choice in Education’s executive director, says the paper “expresses the views of many doctors, but these are the only two so far with enough courage to speak the truth and contradict political correctness.”
The guidelines in question ape ideologically-inspired policies enshrined in law in Ontario and California and other states and provinces. They not only unquestioningly endorse but enforce the gender-identity assertions of youth by allowing them to use the washrooms and school teams of their chosen “gender,” by affirming gender dysphoria in the curriculum and by keeping their cross-gender identification from their parents.
In their analysis, the two medical experts state, “This document is flawed both in the most basic assumptions it rests upon, and the conclusions thereby reached.” They implore Education Minister David Eggen “to reverse such an incredibly misguided and illogical statement and policy.” Apart from the governing NDP, the guidelines have been endorsed by the Liberals and Progressive Conservatives but not by the Wildrose Party.
The first premise the experts demolish is the assumption that a child’s so-called “self-identification” cannot be questioned but is the “sole measure of an individual’s sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.”
On the contrary, explain the professors, gender is a social construct based on “subjective perceptions, relationships, and adverse experiences from infancy onward,” and as such is the rightful subject of psychotherapy and family therapy when it differs from biological reality.
Identifying one’s gender as different from one’s biological sex is a disorder very much like anorexia, the doctors explain. And as with anorexics, the job of parents, doctors, and teachers is “not to uncritically approve” their disordered thinking “but to help them recognize the source of such confusion and to reaffirm and help re-align their ‘assigned’ sexual gender with their perceived identity.”
But the Education Ministry’s guidelines clearly ban such help, ordering that “No student or family should be referred to programs which purport to ‘fix’ ‘change or ‘repair’ a student’s sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.”
Drs. Achen and Fenske condemn “this naïve and oppressive statement” for preventing Alberta youth from receiving treatment they need, shown to be successful in dealing with the “underlying emotional, mental or physical” problems long understood as contributing to gender dysphoria.
Dr. Achen goes on to describe his recent treatment of an anorexic woman “who believes she is obese despite the fact that she is severely malnourished and in dire need of nutrition and calories.” If the Guidelines were followed in her case it would mean “she would starve to death.”
Following the guidelines for pre-pubescent transgender youth could also lead to death. The first step would be the injection of pre-pubescent youth with hormone blockers that “have been associated with dangerous health risks including vascular disease and cancer.” If the child, with the encouragement of the school system, follows this up in teenage years with “potentially carcinogenic” cross-gendered hormones to develop the outward appearance of the opposite sex, they ultimately could undergo “unnecessary surgical mutilation”—i.e., castration for boys and mastectomies for girls.
But such irreversible treatments frequently do not achieve the desired result but lead to much higher suicide rates, and for the survivors, the lifetime use of “these toxic and potentially carcinogenic cross-sex hormones” to maintain their transgender appearance.
Given how dangerous this “trajectory” is, the doctors argue, it is exceedingly unwise, if not illegal, for the guidelines to require the parents be kept in the dark about their children’s gender dysphoria. They cite the American Psychiatric Association’s treatment protocols in devastating detail to underline how “illogical” and counter indicated the Alberta government’s approach is. “Nowhere else in medicine, other than gender identity and sexuality, is such a reckless stance taken or practiced presently,” state the doctors.
Not only should the parents be a big part of any consideration of such “life altering” treatment for their children, the APA indicates, but their own relationship and mental health should be considered by professionals involved in the child’s treatment. That is because the best thinking of psychiatry and psychology is that gender dysphoria is the product of family dysfunction. Treating the family, and helping the child realize the source of his or her dysphoria are the best paths to restoration of appropriate gender identity.
Finally the doctors deal with the most controversial aspect of the guidelines, the requirement that trans youth be allowed to use the school washrooms and change rooms of their choice. This, state the doctors, “places other children in vulnerable, and potentially dangerous, spaces.”
“Our particular concern is for young girls who, if such a document were implemented, would be forced to share a washroom or changing facility with their male counterparts. … The feelings of a boy who thinks he’s a girl should not trump the privacy rights and the feelings of girls who don’t want to share their change room with a boy.”
The FCE’s Trimble believes the doctors have already experienced a professional backlash but their paper has already been widely circulated among Alberta parents. She likens it to a declaration on the identical issue from the American College of Pediatricians, a voluntary body of doctors who believe parents are the primary care givers for their children.
Trimble says the FCE’s main thrust is parental rights. “We aren’t medical experts. But we can’t accept the prevailing view that we aren’t even allowed to talk about all these medical concerns, and that parents aren’t even supposed to be told when their children have gender issues. That’s just crazy talk.”
Trimble believes that the “machine” operated by “extremists in the LGBTQ movement” has frightened leaders in the school and medical systems, as well as political leaders into silence, even though many have real doubts about the government’s gender guidelines. “They are afraid for their careers and their jobs. So I really applaud these two doctors.”
The FCE said plans were well underway for simultaneous rallies against the guidelines in Calgary at the McDougall Centre and in Edmonton at the Legislature at 2 pm on May 14.