To the Editor,
On Monday August 28, Minister Lecce stated that outing pronouns to students’ parents was the province’s position in the name of “parental rights.” In a letter to Bay of Quinte MPP Todd Smith that same day, I asked if that was his position. As of the time of this letter, I have not heard back from Todd Smith, nor have I seen a public statement from his office.
Like it or not, many queer youth are not safe in their homes. If the Ontario Government chooses to mandate the communication of a student’s pronouns to their families, they will violate the Ontario Human Rights Code. I fear that rates of child abuse, self-harm and suicide among young people will escalate.
I know that not everyone understands gender diversity. When I ask myself what gender I am inside, I know. How do I know? I just know. Just like my son telling me he knows he’s a boy, and my daughter telling me she knows she’s a girl. For some, they know they are both, or neither. How do they know? They just do. Just like you know who you are. It is not our job to understand how someone identifies as a specific gender, but it is our job as a community member to accept and trust that each person knows who they are. Love them for who they are.
If young people in our lives are not empowered to be honest with us about who they are, and what pronouns they use, perhaps we are not a safe person for that young person to be their authentic self with. Perhaps we are not a safe community. It is time we all loved our friends, families, neighbours and community members for who they tell us they are, and spend less time hating others for being their authentic selves, forcing them to go into hiding, or worse.