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The US fixation on anti-trans policies is spreading to Canada

New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs is pictured during a news conference after a meeting with Canada's provincial premiers in Toronto, Ontario, Canada December 2, 2019.
New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs is pictured during a news conference after a meeting with Canada's provincial premiers in Toronto, Ontario, Canada December 2, 2019.

Blaine Higgs, the premier of New Brunswick, Canada, is making it illegal for children under 16 in the province to change their names or preferred pronouns at school without parental consent.

Higgs said he was willing to face an election over the decision, after receiving pushback from other members of his own cabinet.

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It’s the first well documented instance of Canada copying US anti-trans policies, which usually focus on solving a problem that doesn’t exist through blatantly discriminatory practices. The change in New Brunswick will take effect on July 1.

In support of the policy, New Brunswick’s education minister, Bill Hogan, told reporters that it’s “fundamentally wrong” not to share a student’s preferred name with parents if teachers’ are using it daily. Using a chosen name, however, may lower depression among transgender youth, especially if they live in a transphobic household.

In the United States, there have been 83 bills passed in 49 states targeting transgender people in some fashion in 2023 alone. Some of these bills—like a Florida bill that attempted to ban gender-affirming healthcare to minors—have been blocked in court, but most still stand. A majority of Americans oppose anti-trans bills but proponents for the bills are increasing.

Meanwhile, Maryland just became the 12th state in the US to pass legislation turning itself into a sanctuary state for transgender individuals, meaning that trans people and gender-affirming care providers are protected from investigations and extradition in Maryland.

This is to protect citizens from states like West Virginia which have passed bans on gender-affirming care for kids. Texas Governor Greg Abbot used the state’s child welfare agency to investigate parents of trans children, but the Texas Supreme Court eventually blocked the governor from continuing.

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