April 6, 2017
My name is Queenie Yu. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to speak today. For over 20 years I have done volunteer work with teenage girls. I have been a sounding board for them and they trust me because they believe I have their best interests in mind.
With respect to Bill 89:
The matters to be considered in determining the best interests of a child includes the child’s views and wishes, … creed, gender identity and gender expression, etc.
I agree that the child’s views and wishes are important but we have to be careful. When I was working with teens, I came across one who was habitually slitting her wrists and another who was hardly eating anything because she perceived herself fat when in actual fact she was a skeleton. These girls wanted to continue harming themselves but I told them clearly that I was not supportive of what they were doing and I encouraged them to seek professional help.
Children can demand something but a caring adult sometimes needs to say “no” if what these children want is harmful.
That seems obvious but the way that Bill 89 is currently written, it does not prevent a child asking for something harmful and for a caregiver to be obligated to provide it.
(2) A child is in need of protection where,
(e) the child requires treatment to cure, prevent or alleviate physical harm or suffering and the child’s parent or the person having charge of the child does not provide the treatment or access to the treatment
The Minister may make regulations for the purposes of this Act,
- governing how service providers, in making decisions in respect of any child, are to take into account the child’s race, ancestry … gender identity and gender expression
For the best interest of children, I believe that the terms “gender identity” and “gender expression” need to be removed.
There are a number of studies and articles about children who experience gender dysphoria who seek treatment. These readings have convinced me that the Minister of Children and Youth Services does not have children’s best interests in mind when he says that “it’s a form of abuse, when a child identifies one way and a caregiver is saying, no, you need to do this differently.”
What happens when transgender children undergo “treatment”?
- puberty blockers are given between the ages of 10 and 12
- estrogen and testosterone are blocked by these medications, but these hormones play a role in a child’s neurological development
- This is concerning because the human brain doesn’t finish developing until a person is in their mid-20’s so these children will have some cognitive problems
- Estrogen and testosterone also affect bone growth so these kids have lower bone density and they may have osteoporosis in the future
- Cross hormones are normally given at 16 years of age
- children who take them may be at higher risk for heart disease or diabetes later in life
- Their fertility can be reduced and there isn’t enough research to find out of it is reversible or not
- For those who start estrogen, they have altered liver function and the risk of blood clots increases
- Once a child begins these hormones, they are taken for life
- But there isn’t enough research about the long-term impact of taking estrogen or testosterone for 50 to 70 years.
- For example, would a biological male taking estrogen develop breast cancer?
There is little scientific evidence for the therapeutic value of interventions that delay puberty or modify the secondary sex characteristics of adolescents
– Only a minority of children who experience cross-gender identification will continue to do so into adolescence or adulthood.
If the government really cared about children, it wouldn’t want children to experience all those negative health problems. The government would not oblige caregivers to give in to children’s requests regarding gender identity and gender expression when the long-term consequences of hormone treatments are unknown. Especially since the majority of these kids will eventually identify with their biological sex. To ensure that we act in the best interests of our children, I recommend removing the terms “gender identity” and “gender expression” from the Act.