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The GRA of 2004 gave trans people the ability to change legal sex via a GRC, but only if they had a psychiatric diagnosis of dysphoria and only after having lived in role for 2 years. The spousal veto gave spouses a chance to annul or obtain a favourable divorce.

While this ultimately created the loophole in women’s rights that we’ve been fighting against in the last few years, it catered for a tiny number of dysphoric transsexuals and so did not have an enormous impact.

Discussions with trans friends and allies make it clear that, although surgery wasn’t a requirement for a GRC, the diagnostic procedures were expected to trap and exclude males who did not want surgery, thereby preventing fetishists and opportunists from exploiting a GRC.

The Equality Act of 2010 defined the various protected characteristics, including both sex and ‘gender reassignment’, and provided for sex-based exemptions, under the auspices of which it is legal to exclude trans people from some single-sex spaces and services.

The campaign to reform the GRA to remove medical gatekeeping and make changing gender a matter of self-id was where women put our foot down. The GRA gave a very limited group of MtF transsexuals access to our spaces. Self-id would have made this any man who said he was a woman.

In addition, transactivists were demanding the removal of sex-based exemptions from the Equality Act. This would have left women with no ability to exclude males from any space on any basis, thereby removing every protection gained in the last century of feminism.

This is the effect of self-identified ‘gender identity’ (the ideological concept on which this rides) combined with the deliberate conflation of gender identity with sex. There is no possible point at which women can draw a line.

Our resistance to this campaign was successful; I think most people recognise that it isn’t reasonable to allow any male to identify into women’s spaces on his say-so. It was, however, self-id which was rejected, leaving women’s rights open to further attacks.

Transactivists claim that the current process for obtaining a GRC is invasive and onerous, and continue to push for a reform they claim is ‘merely administrative’ (this doesn’t gel with the attacks on the Eq2010 sex-based exemptions, though:

They use the struggles of dysphoric people as a weapon, and by pushing back against self-id we replicate this. Personally I think the best place to attack the ideology is on the conflation of gender identity with sex:

This means that we say yes to all the demands of transactivists *except* the one which conflates TW with W, which effectively forces the declaration of a third (and possibly fourth) gender and the provision of facilities for them.

It means we’re onboard with self-id, access to medical care, non-discrimination, ability to serve in the military etc, which of course we should be in any case. We do NOT want to get gaslit into a kneejerk rejection of anything trans, which makes us sound like rightwingers.

BUT it also means we insist on a positive, sex-based definition of woman, and force TRAs to show their hand. We know perfectly well what we’re dealing with here; we want to force them to demonstrate to the public that their agenda is access to women’s spaces, not trans rights.

This worked like a bomb when the UK govt provided a trans prison wing so they could remove MtFs from the female estate. The squawking and wailing about being ‘othered’ and ‘caged’ was epic, and Joe Public went “Yeah, right.”

Basically it’s a position which says: you’re free to have a gender identity. You’re not free to tell me *I* have a gender identity. And you are definitely not free to tell me that your gender identity is in any way comparable to my sex.

Contact your MP and get them to stop this bill.  Pronto. (Text from the Canadian Gender Report)


“Liberal MP Mark Gerretsen has confirmed in an email to one of our members that Canada is about to impose criminal penalties for parents, therapists and other healthcare professionals who do not offer “affirming support” to children who are experiencing gender dysphoria. The proposed Bill C6 will amend Canada’s federal criminal code that purports to ban conversion therapy. As we can read from the admission of MP Gerretsen, Members of Parliament do not understand the implications of “affirmation” with respect to the type of support offered to youth struggling with their gender identity. The effect of Bill C6 will impose the narrow and poorly understood medical transition pathway recently coined “gender-affirming care”. 


What is “affirming”?

The usage of the word “affirming” to qualify the type of support that can be provided to children and youth is very deliberate and needs to be explained as distinct from other clinical approaches.

Affirmation is a new treatment approach to children and adolescents experiencing gender dysphoria. The “affirming care” protocol dictates that medical interventions such as puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones and irreversible surgeries be provided to youth based on their self-directed gender “goals”. 

The previously established clinical protocol of watchful waiting provided a supportive approach whereby children can be gently questioned about why they’ve started to identify as a different gender so that parents, clinicians and others can develop a complete picture of the child’s needs and keep all options open to help the child resolve feelings of gender dysphoria without pushing them towards irreversible medical interventions. This more cautious model of care has been phased out in favour of “affirmation” at Canadian gender clinics.

The affirming model of care is an extremely risky approach because it does not allow a healthcare professional to explore how underlying factors may be contributing to a young person’s newly adopted gender identity and feelings of gender dysphoria. Issues such as childhood trauma, psychiatric symptoms such as cutting or self-harm behaviours, autism or ADHD, feelings of shame due to same-sex attraction and many other issues a young person may be struggling with are often entangled with symptoms of gender dysphoria. 

An “affirming” approach to care hides these other issues and does not allow for the possibility that other factors may be the cause of a young person’s new-found gender identity and be driving the need to medically transition as a coping mechanism.

The distinction between the previous, more cautious model of care and the new “affirmation” model is that children could be supported in their gender exploration without the need for all adults to agree and “affirm” that, in reality, the child actually “is” the opposite sex or a gender of their choice and provide them with whatever medical means they desire to transform their bodies to match their gender identity. 

Gender activists promote affirmation and social transition because this is viewed as supportive to transgender adults who have transitioned. “Affirming support” is designed exclusively for the needs of this group, not the needs of young people who are struggling to find appropriate care for their complex and individual needs and where social and medical transition may not be appropriate for their long-term well being.   

From “Affirming Support” to Puberty Blockers and More

The assessment process in place in Canadian gender clinics has become more and more narrow in scope over the past few years. The requirement for any type of mental health assessment has been removed completely in over 50% of the gender clinics in Canada. The only purpose of the remaining assessment process is to validate whether youth meet very minimal criteria to proceed with hormones and seem to be capable enough to sign a consent form. 

In fact, we were shocked that SickKids considered the long wait time to access an initial appointment at their gender clinic as an advantage as children would have this time for “considering options”. This is an admission that the assessment process at Canada’s largest gender clinic is not intended to determine who may be a good candidate for medical transition, but in fact, all children with a gender identity that does not match their biological sex are considered candidates for medical transition and it is only their “goals” and ability of the child to “reflect on their gender journey” that might determine otherwise.

“Affirming support” as a treatment protocol removes safeguarding and impacts informed consent 

Gender-affirming care is a narrow treatment pathway that does not allow the clinician to explore other options with young people as a means for managing their gender dysphoria. Today, youth are being referred to pediatric endocrinology clinics by their GP’s while it’s unclear to both the patients and the referring physicians that these clinics have adopted a pro-medical transition policy whereby the onus of responsibility is placed on the child or adolescent to guide the assessment process. In many cases we are aware of, it is up to the young person to refuse invasive hormonal interventions when these are offered as the treatment pathway by the presumably “expert” staff at the gender clinic.  

Consider, for example, these scenarios that erode proper safeguarding for youth who are considering medical gender transition: 

It is not considered “affirming” to help young people find mental health support for managing their gender dysphoria as an alternative to medical gender transitioning. We have heard several scenarios of young adolescents expressing doubt over transitioning to their healthcare team, including telling them that they are experiencing anxiety and/or depression. As a matter of course, young people are being told that these symptoms will subside once they start their prescriptions of Lupron or testosterone and are not being offered any further help to understand the root cause of their anxiety, depression or other factors they later realize have led them to believe they needed to transition. 

It is not considered “affirming” to be honest with young people considering medical gender transtition that many adolescents become comfortable in their own bodies and re-identify with their natal sex given time, and that some adults express regret at having transitioned. This information is not considered “affirming” of the group of people who have transitioned and are living as a different gender because it casts doubt at whether their lived experiences as the opposite sex has permanence and validity.  

“Affirmation” has become an ideologically driven philosophy of care that effectively removes safeguards including the ability for youth to be informed of the risks and consequences of medical transition necessary to be able to consent to these experimental interventions.  

Further evidence that medical gender transitioning of children in Canada has become a matter of personal autonomy can be found in this policy document of CPATH, the Canadian arm of the World Professional Association of Transgender Health, which clearly advocates for a ban on “gender conversion therapy” (Bill C6) in order to ensure that transgender people do not face any barriers to medical transition services. CPATH does not consider the age of the person making the decision to transition as relevant. 

This position presumes a “one-size-fits-all” affirmation and transition approach for children and adolescents which ignores the experience of desistors, a majority of cases where young people become comfortable in their natal sex. 

Why has the treatment protocol changed?

It’s unclear why the treatment protocol has evolved to an “affirmation” approach rather than a more cautious clinical approach although the WPATH organization that sets the standard of care has gone through a significant change in leadership and approach over the past decade and has become advocates for transitioners rather than an objective organization that is free from conflicts of interest.

The affirmation model (treatment with puberty blockers followed by cross-sex hormones and gender-affirming surgeries) comes from the Dutch Protocol developed to support children with early-onset childhood dysphoria who did not desist from intense and persistent feelings of gender dysphoria with the onset of puberty. One of the key authors of that model has issued a warning in Pediatrics that it was never intended for the new population of adolescents that are being unquestioningly “affirmed”. Dr Annelou DeVries acknowledges the phenomenon of ROGD (recent-onset gender dysphoria with no documented history in early childhood) which was not a part of the previous studies on hormone blockers. 

Finland and Sweden have conducted systematic reviews of gender treatment of children and both came to the conclusion that there was insufficient evidence for an affirmative approach. Finland developed their own clinical guidelines for treating children which includes significant caution compared with the “affirming” approach in place in Canadian gender clinics.

The UK now requires a best-interest court order prior to any youth being referred to a gender clinic. This has become the strictest requirement in the world to ensure that children are not being medically transitioned if there isn’t clear evidence that it’s in their best interests. The UK National Health Service is also conducting a review of the medical treatment protocol for transgender youth. This was prompted by detransitioner Kiera Bell’s second lawsuit which challenged the MOU on Conversion Therapy, a document similar to Bill C6, because she was unquestioningly affirmed as a boy and was irreversibly harmed by this approach.  

Do Children Have the Capacity to Consent?

The underlying assumption of gender affirming care is that children and youth are capable of informed consent to an experimental pathway of medical treatments. Kiera Bell challenged this assumption in a judicial review last year and won her case. A key factor in the landmark decision by the UK High Court in December 2020 which now requires a “best-interest court order” to be in place prior to children being referred to gender clinics is that the clinics themselves do not understand the risks or benefits of hormone interventions including puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones on children and youth, therefore it is not likely that children are capable of consenting to medical interventions that will have such life-changing effects. 


It is already extremely difficult for parents, trans-identified youth and detransitioners to access non-invasive and agenda-free healthcare options in order for them to receive a differential diagnosis prior to medical transitioning or to receive support to manage symptoms of gender dysphoria without being medicalized.

We are asking for the following exemption to be added to Bill C6 to ensure healthcare professionals are able to support youth effectively:

For greater certainty, this definition does not apply to any advice or therapy provided by a social worker, psychologist, psychiatrist, therapist, medical practitioner, nurse practitioner or other health care professional as to the timing or appropriateness of social or medical transition to another gender, including discussion of the risks and benefits and offering alternative or additional diagnoses or courses of treatment.

Without this exemption, Bill C6 will further entrench the doctrine of “affirmation” in the Canadian healthcare system. While all individuals should be treated with dignity and respect, the poorly understood approach of gender-affirming care is being challenged around the world for leading children down a narrow treatment pathway of invasive and often irreversible medical interventions. Our government should be protecting the interests of all youth by conducting an independent review of gender transition services including a review and evaluation of whether children possess the ability to consent to the life-altering treatments that are being offered to them under the mantra of “affirming”.

The UCP continues to fail at governing the province of Alberta.  We look to our public representatives to set an example of how to act properly during these pandemic times.

Apparently traveling to the likes of Ariziona, Mexico, and Hawaii are the behaviours the citizenry should be modelling.  Because air travel is safe:


“Two more Alberta MLAs are returning home from holiday trips abroad.

Pat Rehn, the MLA for Lesser Slave Lake, posted a statement on Facebook Saturday confirming he is on his way back to Alberta from a trip to Mexico.

“Residents in our riding have done a tremendous job reducing the spread of COVID-19. We must all work together to get past this pandemic and get back to normal life,” Rehn said.

“Given this, I apologize for the fact that I recently took a previously planned family trip, following a busy legislative session. I am returning home to Alberta and will ensure I follow the premier’s new travel directive.”

A photo posted to Rehn’s Facebook account on Dec. 24 shows Rehn wearing a T-shirt in a cave, with tropical plants in the background.

Jason Stephan, MLA for Red Deer-South, is also returning from a trip to Arizona. In an emailed statement Saturday, Stephan said he flew to Phoenix on Dec. 31. He said he bought the ticket in October.”

This sort of behaviour from the party of ‘personal responsibility’.

“Allard said she has spent Christmas in Hawaii with her family for most of the past 17 years. She also said she felt she was keeping with the current health mandate through the international border testing program, which allows for a shorter quarantine period following a negative COVID-19 test.

“With all that said, however, as a minister of the Crown, I know that I’m held to a higher standard and in retrospect, I definitely made the wrong decision.”

Kenney said Allard was the only cabinet minister who left the country. The premier also confirmed Friday that Jamie Huckaby, his chief of staff, had travelled to Britain last month.

Kenney said Saturday that he takes responsibility for not being clear about travel rules.

CBC News has also confirmed that Calgary-Klein MLA Jeremy Nixon was also in Hawaii over the holidays. It is not clear when he left or whether he has returned.

Calgary-Peigan MLA Tanya Fir said on social media Friday night that she had recently been to the United States visiting her sister. In a Facebook post, she said that she has since returned and will abide by the new travel directive.”

So of course our besotted Premiere knew about his MLA’s leaving the country during a pandemic.  He has never been in tune with the people of Alberta or the sacrifices they are making to stop the spread of the virus (gutting the healthcare system during a pandemic).  This is a clear illustration of one set of expectations for the populace, and another for the political class.

Certainly the rules currently do not forbid international travel but why even take the risk in these unflattened curve times?

Is it Arrogance? Hubris? Or just plain stupidity?

I hope Albertans remember the mendacity demonstrated by this UCP government come election year.


Just in the market for a newspaper subscription when I looked at the two papers available in my hometown.

Yeah. I look forward to the radically different points of view available from these subsidiaries of the same news corporation…

Some of the people in Calgary, Alberta feel that their fundamental rights and freedoms are being taken away from them. (Excerpts from

“Hundreds marched through downtown Calgary on Saturday to protest against mandated masks and other public health measures intended to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the same day record highs in new cases and hospitalizations were reported in the province.

The protests, or “Walk for Freedom,” have been a weekly occurrence in the city and across the country for months, but Saturday was the first since the province’s 10-person limit on outdoor gatherings was announced on Tuesday.

“To see that there is a group of people in the Canadian population that is against masking, and to say that it infringes on their freedom, is taking the word out of context — it’s actually an insult on all those civil rights heroes who fought for freedom,” said Dr. Sajjad Fazel, a public health researcher at the University of Calgary.

“When we look at the word freedom, we’re talking about when people’s rights are taken away … you’re not allowed to drink and drive without any consequences, right? Everything has a consequence … when it’s for the public good, the scenario changes.”

So to protest the measures meant to inhibit the spread of the virus, we’re going yo hold a protest that will actively spread the virus?  I realize the level of intelligence required to vote for false populist neoliberal demagogues isn’t particularly high but these actions, the hyper-spreading of a pandemic level virus, make me wonder if they need to take classes on how to walk and chew gum at the same time.

This from Health Canada.

Respiratory droplets are one of the main vectors of disease transmission. Yet the only masks being worn at the rally looked like this:

Which means the hospitalization rates in Alberta look like this:

This section of the demographic in Alberta are the ones that don’t believe in Public healthcare.  The very same people they regularly demonize and vote against, are the ones keeping these fine individuals alive once the succumb to the virus.  Unfortunately, this cannot go on forever, our doctors and nurses and the care they provide are rapidly burning-out finite resources.

Dr. Lynora Saxinger, an infectious diseases expert at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, has warned that the weeks to come are likely to bring dangerous trends.

“In case anyone is wondering, we’re really in deep trouble in hospitals. This can’t continue,” Saxinger said on Twitter

“This is a deadly pandemic, but we will be looking at excess deaths because of failure to take appropriate measures.”

Breaking point reached.  I certainly hope our plucky freedom fighters respect the overtaxed doctors right to choose – especially when they have to make decisions as to who lives and who dies based on the lack of medical personnel and resources.




Our language needs to reflect concepts that correspond to physical material reality.  Individuals that seek to remove females from the public sphere would have us believe that the terms on the right are somehow the correct terms – they are not – they are dehumanizing terms.


On the left represents what an accurate depiction of what inclusion looks like.

Greetings folks,

Insulation upgrades at homebase have thrown my routines and house into chaos.

Rest assured, I will be getting things sorted as soon as possible so DWR can get back on track.



The Arbourist


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