The Canadian province of New Brunswick last week changed its gender identity policy for schools to “recognize the role of parents” in their children’s well-being.
The previous policy was implemented in 2020 and required teachers to use a child’s preferred names and pronouns, no matter the child’s age, and not to inform parents about their child’s new gender identity unless the child gave permission.
New Brunswick Education Minister Bill Hogan announced the policy change Thursday.
Under the new policy, children under 16 must have parental consent to change their names and pronouns at school.
The new policy also requires gender-neutral bathrooms to be private. It also removes a reference to students being allowed to participate in school activities “consistent with their gender identity.”
The new policy takes effect on July 1.
Hogan is a member of the Progressive Conservative Party, a right-leaning political party in New Brunswick.
The new policy “recognizes the role of parents,” New Brunswick’s Progressive Conservative Premier Blaine Higgs said.
Hogan said the policy change will allow teachers to “maintain professionalism,” and not be forced to “do something contrary to parents’ wishes.”
Eight lawmakers boycotted parliamentary business on Thursday in protest of the new school gender policy.
The boycotting lawmakers released a joint statement and said they are expressing their “extreme disappointment in a lack of process and transparency.”
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau condemned the new policy on Thursday at an LGBT event in Toronto.
“Right now trans kids in New Brunswick are being told they don’t have the right to be their true selves, that they need to ask permission,” Trudeau said. “Trans kids need to feel safe, not targeted by politicians.”
In other parts of Canada, the government has punished parents who opposed medically transitioning their child.
Back in 2021, a father in British Columbia spoke out against his child’s gender transition and was arrested and fined $30,000 for misgendering his daughter, who was 13 at the time. He was also charged with criminal contempt of court and was initially denied bail and held in jail.
The father, who is still battling the British Columbia court system, has faced a mountain of legal bills over the ordeal and has been “dragged through a kind of legal hell,” he said.
Several U.S. states have recently moved to increase transparency for parents around their child’s gender identity status.
Some states including Florida, Iowa, and North Dakota have passed laws requiring schools to inform parents if their child asks to identify as a new gender other than their biological one.
More than 17,000 schools across the country have rules saying school staff can or should hide a student’s gender identity from parents, according to a list compiled by Parents Defending Education.
Some of the larger districts on the list are Chicago Public Schools, Los Angeles Unified School District, D.C. Public Schools, Baltimore City Public Schools, San Francisco Unified School District, Portland Public Schools, and Seattle Public Schools.
In Florida, a mother and father sued the Leon County school board in Tallahassee after they allegedly discovered that their 13-year-old daughter’s middle school had secretly met with the child and developed a plan to recognize her new gender identity.
In Massachusetts, parents sued their two children’s middle school for allegedly hiding both the siblings’ gender transitions from their parents. A federal judge, an Obama appointee, threw out the lawsuit, saying the school officials’ actions do not “shock the conscience.”
An estimated 300,000 minors aged 13 to 17 identified as transgender as of last year.”