Critics deride PC resolution that calls gender identity 'liberal ideology'

People are speaking out against a resolution passed by Ontario's Progressive Conservative party that calls for education around gender identity to be removed from schools, saying it it targets an already vulnerable minority group.

Non-binding resolution calls for gender identity to be removed from province's curriculum

Ontario's PC party passed a non-binding resolution on Saturday calling for education around gender identity to be removed from Ontario schools, prompting critics to deride the move as an attack against transgender people. (torbakhopper/Flickr)

Critics are speaking out against a resolution passed by Ontario's Progressive Conservative party that calls for education around gender identity to be removed from the province's school curriculum, saying it it targets an already vulnerable minority group.

The non-binding resolution, introduced by former leadership candidate Tanya Granic Allen, was passed at the PC Party's policy convention on Saturday.

It called for any mention of gender identity to be removed from the province's sex ed curriculum, deeming the concept an "unscientific, liberal ideology."

The party is now pledging to debate the issue further at next year's convention.

The resolution does not form policy for Premier Doug Ford's government, but its symbolism sends a strong message, said Ottawa school trustee Lyra Evans, who is transgender.

"It really shows that there are segments of the population who do not want trans people to exist," she said.

"As long as it keeps passing at their convention, they're going to keep bringing it up because they view it as a politically salient idea."

Lyra Evans, a school trustee for the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board who is also transgender, said the resolution's passing is proof that 'there are segments of the population who do not want trans people to exist.' (Judy Trinh/ CBC News)

Politicians speak out

NDP leader Andrea Horwath spoke out on Twitter, saying she's "appalled" that the provincial party would "endorse a resolution that attacks trans people and their rights."

Former Liberal leader Kathleen Wynne also released a statement Saturday slamming the resolution, calling it a "dangerous, reckless and irresponsible" move.

"Stigmatizing gender identity and removing any mention of it in our schools will put the safety of children at risk during an incredibly vulnerable and sensitive time in their lives," Wynne wrote.

Attempts to reach Ford's office and Education Minister Lisa Thompson by phone and email were unsuccessful on Sunday.

Targeting a vulnerable community

The resolution is especially concerning, Evans said, because it targets a group of people who are already vulnerable.

"A lot of trans people that I've spoken to, they're scared," she said. "It's a group of people who are likely to face employment discrimination, housing discrimination, and mental health issues."

According to the Canadian Mental Health Association,  LGBTQ youth already face a risk of suicide and substance abuse that's around 14 times higher than that of the general population.

An Ontario-based survey found that around 77 per cent of transgender youth had contemplated suicide, according to the organization, and that 45 per cent had attempted it.

"As long as it continues to be debated, there are going to be people who attack our identities or attack people for being who they are," Evans said.