NAWL statement on Alberta government’s proposed anti-trans policies

15 February 2024
February 15, 2024

The National Association of Women and the Law (NAWL) strongly condemns the Alberta government’s infringement on the rights of trans and gender-diverse youth. As a result of the policies announced by Premier Danielle Smith, trans and gender-diverse youth will see their access to necessary, and often lifesaving, health care services curtailed.

These policies will harm trans and gender-diverse youth in Alberta by limiting the use of puberty blockers, limiting the use of hormonal treatment, limiting access to inclusive sex education, and requiring schools to inform parents if children ask to be called by a name or pronoun other than the ones assigned to them at birth. These policies were enacted under the guise of protecting children and youth, but this position is insupportable as these policies will harm the very children and youth that they purport to protect and directly contradicts the advice of educators and physicians.

For decades, women have resisted laws that limit or restrict their access to reproductive health care, which devalue their lives, ignore their own aspirations, and infringe their personal security. Whether the issue is access to abortion services or gender-affirming care no one should be denied health care based on who they are. No one should have their identity denied.

These policies are in violation of the Alberta Human Rights Act and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and pose a threat to the health and safety of trans and gender-diverse youth who will become more vulnerable and at risk of harm.

While trans and gender-diverse individuals are particularly targeted by these draconian policies, many of them will also undermine the health and wellbeing of all children and youth across Alberta. In particular, the requirement that parents opt their children into school discussions of sexuality, sexual orientation and gender identity will inhibit effective sex education, consent education, and will stigmatize all 2SLGBTQI+ people and their families.

NAWL believes in a world where every young person can thrive and be safe, and we will continue to oppose policies that threaten human rights in Canada.

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about NAWL
The National Association of Women and the Law is a not-for-profit feminist organization that promotes the equality rights of women through legal education, research and law reform advocacy.
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