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Members and allies of the Central Okanagan’s LGBTQIA2S+ community are planning to gather in downtown Kelowna today in the wake of Alberta’s recent transgender youth policy proposal.
The ‘Rise Up With Alberta! Trans Solidarity Rally’ is scheduled to take place from 2-3 pm on Sunday at Stuart Park.
Advocacy Canada president and Kelowna resident Wilbur Turner is urging community members to show up on Sunday to stand in solidarity.
"It is crucial that we come together as a community to stand against policies that undermine the rights of trans individuals,” Turner explained.
“Our collective voice is powerful, and events like these serve as a crucial reminder that we must actively protect the rights and dignity of every person."
Wednesday’s announcement from Alberta Premiere Danielle Smith detailed proposed policy changes that would implement restrictions on transgender youth.
Gender identity can be a hard thing to talk about, especially when you are involved. But this conversation is extremely important and parental involvement is critical. Kids need to know we love and support them.— Danielle Smith (@ABDanielleSmith) January 31, 2024
My message to all Albertans: pic.twitter.com/i0ii57GLa6
It would mean a ban on hormonal treatment and puberty blockers for children 15 years and younger, and prohibit gender reassignment surgeries for anyone under the age of 18.
Teens aged 16 and 17 would be allowed to start hormone therapy with permission from their parents, a physician and a psychologist.
To use a name or pronoun other than the one they were given at birth, students 15 and under would need permission from parents. Parental permission wouldn’t be needed for 16 and 17 year olds, but schools would need to inform parents.
“Trans youth and the broader trans community are increasingly used as political pawns in populist movements sweeping the nation,” noted a release from Turner.
“(That includes) the upcoming provincial election in British Columbia this October, where trans rights and SOGI 123 will undoubtedly be a large part of the conversation.”
The release added: “We urge community members to stand in solidarity, not only with our Alberta counterparts but also to proactively protect the future of our own community. This rally serves as a poignant reminder that our collective strength is essential in defending the rights and dignity of every individual.”