Category Archives: Gender Warfare

Steinbach plays instrumental role in protecting trans-gender rights


This headline may shock you.

Canada has now banned conversion therapy and Steinbach has played an odd role in the resolution of this issue. But not the role you might think. After three tries the government of  Canada formally banned conversion therapy by amending the Criminal Code of Canada.

Those techniques can range from talk and behavioral therapy to medical treatments. These treatments though widely endorsed by conservatives have been discredited by major medical associations in many countries as well as the United Nations, World Health Organization, Amnesty International and other groups. Critics  of this so-called therapy, say it causes harm to its victims and is based on the faulty assumption that sexual orientation and gender identity can or should be “cured.”

Many conservatives believe that people really are cisgender and should be left that way. Cisgender is a term used to describe a person whose gender identity corresponds to their sex assigned at birth. In other words, God never makes mistakes so humans should not intervene. Except that humans can intervene to keep people heterosexual. After years of debate, Canada has entered the fray with legislation.

As Christine Hauser reported in the New York Times:

“This is an incredibly important step to making sure queer and trans people in Canada feel valid and deserving of full protection,” said Michael Kwag, a policy director at the Community-Based Research Center in Toronto, which researches the health of people of diverse sexualities and genders.

“It also sends a strong message to the entire country that any attempt to change, deny or suppress the identity of queer and trans people is wrong,” he said in an interview.


The Code has a very specific and  interesting definition of conversion therapy as follows:

Definition of conversion therapy

320.101 In sections 320.102 to 320.104, conversion therapy means a practice, treatment or service designed to

  • (a)change a person’s sexual orientation to heterosexual;
  • (b)change a person’s gender identity to cisgender;
  • (c)change a person’s gender expression so that it conforms to the sex assigned to the person at birth;
  • (d)repress or reduce non-heterosexual attraction or sexual behaviour;
  • (e)repress a person’s non-cisgender gender identity; or
  • (f)repress or reduce a person’s gender expression that does not conform to the sex assigned to the person at birth.

For greater certainty, this definition does not include a practice, treatment or service that relates to the exploration or development of an integrated personal identity — such as a practice, treatment or service that relates to a person’s gender transition — and that is not based on an assumption that a particular sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression is to be preferred over another.

It is noteworthy that consent of the patient is no defence! In other words, the government of Canada considers that it should be an offence to commit any acts that are “designed” to make such changes in gender. Everyone who knowingly causes another person to undergo such “therapy” is guilty of the offence. As well everyone who knowingly promotes or advertises such “therapy” is guilty of the offence as well. Finally, everyone who receives a financial or material benefit from the provision of such services is also guilty of the offence.

The bill that enacted the new law said such “therapy” harms society because “it is based on and propagates myths and stereotypes about sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression, including the myth that heterosexuality, cisgender gender identity, and gender expression that conforms to the sex assigned to a person at birth are to be preferred over other sexual orientations, gender identities and gender expressions.” Wow! Canada has come a long way!

But the most amazing thing was this new law received unanimous consent in Parliament! How was that possible? Where was Steinbach’s Member of Parliament Ted Falk? It turns out he was asleep.

Falk was concerned about the effects of this legislation on religious freedom, such as whether a pastor could be charged if asked to speak to a person about gender identity. I don’t complain about such concerns, I just wish Falk also showed some concern about the long history of discrimination against trans people by members of the religious community. On that he had little to say. Frankly, I think that is much more relevant.

Falk knows where his voters come from in the Bible belt of Manitoba.  I was surprised by the international attention shown to this as evidenced by reporting of National Public Radio and the New York Times in the US. The Times even mentioned Steinbach’s Member of Parliament Ted Falk. Wow! The Times noted that the bill was passed through a unanimous consent motion in the House of Commons on December 1, 2021 followed by the Senate on December 7th.

Amazingly Conservatives who had opposed previous versions of the bill then embraced the 3rd version. Yet “our” Ted Falk was not happy about what happened. This is how the New York Times reported on Falk’s activities:

“But some legislators were dismayed. Ted Falk, a Conservative member of Parliament from Manitoba, said he and other conservatives were “blindsided” by the fast-tracked bill that disregarded written viewpoints and concerns.

In a Facebook post on Dec. 17, he said there was no sign of a consensus or final decision had been reached before the motion was unexpectedly presented just as everyone was rising, giving no time for objections.”

“There were about four seconds in which any one of us could have voiced an objection and, in all honesty, before I could process what was happening, the motion had been passed,” he wrote on Facebook.


I am not so sure that Falk and the other Conservatives were blind-sided. Perhaps Falk was just trying hard to spin a narrative that his supporters in our Bible Belt might accept. Perhaps Conservatives voted for the motion thinking it would be passed anyway and wanted to rush home for Christmas. How could both the House of Commons and the Senate give unanimous consent with Ted Falk as our representative? Personally, I found this aspect of the case highly amusing. I would like to know what really went on.

In any event, thanks to the conservatives napping on the job, Canada joined at least a dozen countries banning this heinous practice much loved by evangelicals. Those countries included France, Germany, Malta, Ecuador, India, and 20 American states!

I love it.



Trans Regret


In the conservative communities around North America it is common to claim that many people who undergo transitioning surgery later regret their choice. It is true that some people later regret the choices they have made, but the numbers are very low. According to Dr. Darren Reimer, who courageously works with Trans patients in Steinbach, about 1-2% of people who underwent gender transitioning surgery regretted it.  The only thing surprising about that number is how low that percentage is. People are complex with complex desires. People make mistakes.

Some critics of gender-affirming treatments have argued that children are too young to make such decisions and often later regret their decisions when they become adults.

According to Samantha Schmidt of the Washington Post:

“A new study…  researchers from the Fenway Institute and Harvard Medical School found that 13.1 percent of currently identified transgender people have “detransitioned” at some point in their lives but that 82.5 percent of those people attributed their decision to external factors such as pressure from family, school environments and vulnerability to violence.”


In other words, they did not really regret an informed decision they had made, they did regret that their decision had not been made freely and voluntarily with all of the necessary facts free from undue influence of others.

People often regret surgeries. In fact, most surgeries have a much higher rate of regret. I know a number of people who have regretted their knee or hip surgeries. Apparently, according to Dr. Reimer, 15% regret having had knee surgery. 12% regret having giving birth! I am also surprised that this is so low.  No one makes all major decisions well.

Some conservatives also claim large numbers of people who have transitioned later regret it, but according to Vox “an average of about 2 percent of respondents express regret… ”  and “… the vast majority of TGD people who opted to detransition did so…not because of changes in gender identity, but due to external factors such as stigma and lack of social support.”

I really wish political combatants in the culture wars, on the left and the right, stayed out of these decisions and left them to the children involved and their parents or guardians together with their trusted advisors.

I think everyone would be better served. Particularly the children.


Surgery for young kids? A reconsideration.


One good thing about saying I am a meanderer, is that no one should be surprised when I have to backtrack. Today is one of those days where I have to backtrack to some extent. Just after I posted my last epistle on the gender wars I read an article in the New York Times that causes me to reconsider some of the things I said.

This article by Megan Twohey and Christina Jewett alerted me to some very recent science that changes things.  This article suggests that although puberty blockers can ease the anguish to transgender youths and buy some time for them to weigh  their options open, now there are some growing concerns about the long-term physical effects and other consequences of such treatment. This makes the decisions transgender youth and their parents or guardians must make even more difficult. The Times reporters pointed out, “concerns are growing among some medical professionals about the consequences of the drugs.” In fact, they said a “small number of doctors won’t recommend them at all.” Evidence is emerging of potential harm from using blockers, particularly to the bones of growing youth who are taking such drugs.  The estrogen and testosterone treatment affect the bones and other parts of the body, including brain. There is also some evidence that the children won’t recover from the losses when they go off blockers as much as earlier believed. As with so many treatments there is often a price to pay for using them and caution is clearly warranted.

As the reporters reminded,

“Many young patients and their families have concluded that the benefits of easing the despair of gender dysphoria far outweigh the risks of taking blockers. For others, the limited studies and politicization of trans medicine can make it difficult to fully evaluate the decision.”.


People have to make a judgment call in weighing the risks and the benefits. This is particularly important in the case of young children who don’t want to make irreparable mistakes.  In Europe people seem to be better at basing their decisions on issues involving sexuality and gender on science than they are in the United States where unfortunately the decisions are often clouded by political considerations or ideology. As the Times reporters said, “…in the United States the public discourse about transgender care is growing more incendiary.”  Or as Dr. Natalie Nokoff, assistant professor of pediatric endocrinology at the University of Colorado, put it we need “less vitriol, more science.”

Obviously I can’t give medical advice. It is the politics of the issue that concerns me and how young children in some cases become fodder in the gender wars.

Clearly, more research is needed. I think all scientists can agree on that. Issues like this need more light, not more heat.




Surgery for young Kids?


When it comes to surgery for children it would only happen if a team of medical professionals discussed all the risks and benefits with their patients and their parents or guardians and all of them agree. Arguments like that of Michael Knowles (who said children who asked for it were immediately whisked off to the operating room) are based on hysteria not facts. [See my earlier post on gender affirming care:]


The benefits of the care can be life affirming. The consequences of withholding gender affirming care can be seriously disruptive. This is the key, What is in the best interests of the child?  Not the parents nor political leaders. A UCLA study of 28,000 trans-people showed that 58% of people who wanted hormone therapy and were not permitted to get it suffered from suicidal thoughts. That is part of the reason, why according to Yale School of Medicine,  3 of the major American professional associations of child and adolescent physicians, psychologist and psychologists “have endorsed  gender-affirming care and condemned efforts to deny it.”


As John Oliver, not exactly a physician, said, “When supported trans kids can experience full, vibrant, lives because trans people are not by default unhappier or more prone to suffering than everyone else. That is something we are putting on them.” People should be free to find their own joy in their own way, free from the hysteria of elders.

Children should be free from the undue influence of their parents, busybodies, and anxiety driven politicians. Let the child decide with her or  his trusted advisors and family members.

The rest of us have no business in such decision making.


Drag Queen Story Hour


Have you heard about the latest battle in the Kulture Wars? That is about drag Queen’s attending story hours for very young kids and reading to them. The right in the US have gone apoplectic over this issue. They have been declaring a state of moral panic about this. Is this justified?

Bill Maher on his television show, Real Time with Bill Maher,  had an interesting discussion on this subject with a lesbian Katie Herzog, and a conservative homosexual Andrew Sullivan, and himself a self-proclaimed “flagrant straight guy. “

I don’t think very many young people should be sexualized. I think too many young people are being sexualized by adults at too young an age. There’s time for that. Have you ever seen overly eager Moms preparing their little girls for beauty pageants?  That’s an example of what I mean?

I also  don’t think gay, straight, trans or people in drag should be able to attack kids or employ undue influence over them. This of course opens a giant door to conservatives in the US who are very quick to panic over the slightest hint that children are being subjected to sexual predators, particularly from gays, lesbians, and drag queens.  The right could win the next America election over such hysteria.

I don’t see why 6 year-olds need  a drag queen story hour, but I actually  don’t see much harm that will result from it either. I doubt that most children “get it” that the performer is a man dressed flamboyantly like a woman. This is not an issue for most children. As Bill Maher said, “I don’t think they understand that any more than they understand that the mall Santa is an alcoholic.” Children really are innocent and strong. Often more than their parents realize. Thank goodness. Panic is not necessary. Nor is it helpful.

As politics though, the drag queen story is likely to be poison for the left and gold for the right. This can be a major battle in the Kulture Wars. Political commentator Andrew Sullivan said this

“You can demagogue this issue to the nth degree and the right will do so. If there are instances where these drag queens behave inappropriately they should stop it. But kids liking people in bizarre costumes with sequins and make-up encouraging them to come to a library and the parents get to choose whether or not to take the children or not [where is the problem?] The right is all in favor of parental rights until they do something they don’t agree with and then they want to take them away. This is a trivial issue obviously. The drag queens should probably calm it down a bit. And I say that as a huge fan of drag queens. I live among them. I’ve taken my niece and nephew to see them. And they loved it. They had no idea it was an actual man underneath.”


Bill Maher had a practical suggestion for the problem: “We Allow drag queen’s story hour but they read Ayn Rand.”

Katie Herzog had a calm solution:

“Drag queens can be clownish, can be innocent, but it can also be over sexualized so the right is taking these probably isolated incidents, and turning them into political issues, which is probably strategically smart. As a general rule, I think it is inappropriate if a biological woman was doing the same thing and it would be considered inappropriate parents probably should not take their children to a drag queen. They are turning this into a homophobic panic.”


Yet in America that is probably politics that will work. A tactic in the cultural war. It shouldn’t, but it will.  As Andrew Sullivan said, “the left was able to call people racists as argument enders. Now the right asks what if we call them pedophiles or groomers? Like racist, how do you say ‘I’m not?’

This is another case of the far right and the far left battling it out on the extremes and reasonable people can’t see the ample common ground the extremes have not managed to occupy.

As Sullivan said, “this is fine if it is totally PG.” Isn’t that the common sense answer?



The Story of Trevor Kirczenow


Since transgender people have been the objects of a gender war, it is important for us to understand them better. I know I did not understand them well until I learned from others, including a very knowledgeable personal friend.  Since then I have also  watched some useful television programs read some independent research, but the most important source of knowledge for me was a program by Neighbours for Community in Steinbach held here a couple of weeks ago. It had two speakers. One was my family doctor, Darren Reimer, and the other was a report on personal experiences by Trevor Kirczenow who had transitioned from male to female. His story deeply affected me deeply.

Trevor Kirczenow was a candidate for Member of Parliament in my riding in the 2021 federal election in Canada. He was subjected to vicious hate speech by people who vandalized his signs with slurs. I hate to say it, but that was  hardly surprising.

One thing I am certain about is that hate speech such as that inflicted on Trevor Kirczenow, our liberal candidate in the last federal election was shameful and must be denounced by all of us. We should not just stand on the sidelines.  Added to that, I believe we need to discuss this issue freely and compassionately with our school age children in an age appropriate manner. Hiding the issue as seems to be the most common approach in my community, is the worst approach. We need more light, not darkness.

Trevor started out life with the female gender assigned to him at a young age by adults, but he realized at a very young age that the female gender assigned was not correct. To quote Trevor, “I realized this designation was wrong. I was actually male.” It took a long time but eventually he transitioned from female gender to male gender.  Now he is married to a loving husband. This showed that his true gender is male, but his sexual attraction was to males. He is gay and trans.  At first I had a hard time understanding that.

Trevor started testosterone treatments to enhance his male characteristics.  Later, after he was married, he and his husband discussed having children and they decided that they would like to have Trevor give birth to children. So they stopped the testosterone treatments for long enough that this became possible. As a result he and his husband became the parents of 2 children that were born to Trevor. He actually had 3 pregnancies. One resulted in a miscarriage. Even though he still had a beard, he gave birth causing some consternation at the hospital. Trevor was even able to breast feed his children, though not without difficulties.

Trevor had a very awkward time at his job when he came out publicly as trans.  His boss wanted to have his fellow employees have a vote as to which bathroom he should use. Bathrooms are big issue, particularly in the US.  Some states have laws that would require Trevor to use the female washroom. I can’t help but wonder how women in those states would feel about a bearded man using their bathroom. Why do they think that would be better than permitting him to use the men’s washroom?

Men who transition from male to female have the same problem. In fact the problem is a little different because sometimes men who transition to women are not as successful in expressing the appearance of a woman.  Such women sometimes have trouble passing as woman. With Trevor, I doubt that anyone would think he was anything but a man.

Trevor said that the most important thing for people to do is permit trans-children and adults to feel a sense of community.  I applaud Steinbach’s Neighbours for Community to take the steps they did not present this program for people in the Steinbach area, to help establish a community for transgender people.

Sometimes it really is true that it is worth the trip to come to Steinbach.



Sex and Gender


Ignorance is the mother of bigotry. Most bigotry and prejudice is founded on ignorance. That was why I decided to learn a little bit about gender issues that have become so much a part of the culture wars not just in the west but nearly everywhere. That was why I attended the event in Steinbach about Gender experiences. I am glad I did because I learned a lot. According to the Sexual Education Resource Centre of Manitoba Sex and Gender are not the same thing. Here is how it explains the difference:


“The words sex and gender mean very different things.  Sex is the difference in biological characteristics of males and females, determined by a person’s genes.  For example, only some bodies produce sperm.  This is a biological characteristic determined by the person’s genes.  Alternatively, only some bodies have egg cells and can come become pregnant.  This is another biological characteristic determined by a person’s genes.  A person’s sex is typically assigned at birth by a doctor or a medical professional.  Designations are usually “male” or “female”, despite there being many variations between them (this is called “intersex” or a “difference in sex designation” and there are over 47 known versions).  Sex is not the same as gender.


Gender refers to socially or culturally defined ideas about masculinity and femininity.  Society has its own ideas of what makes a girl a girl and a boy a boy.  For example, there may be roles, attributes, or behaviours associated with masculinity – like enjoying sports.  And there may be roles, attitudes, or behaviours associated with femininity – like wearing makeup.  These ideas are learned from family, friends, communities, opinion leaders, religious institutions, schools, the workplace, advertising, and the media, and can be very limiting for individual people.  But these expectations do change over time.  For example, less than one hundred years ago, people thought that pink was the best colour to dress boys in, and blue for girls.  Typically, pink is now considered to be a feminine colour.  Gender is not the same as sex.


How people identify their gender is called “gender identity”.  Gender identity is about how someone thinks and feels about the sex they are.  It’s about a person’s core sense of who they are.  It’s about whether someone identifies emotionally and spiritually as a man or a woman or both or neither.  Gender identity is not determined by a person’s biological sex.  Most people have a gender identity that matches their biological sex.  For example, a biological male might identify as a man.  Sometimes, a person’s gender identity does not match their biological sex.  For example, someone born with a penis and testicles may identify as a woman.  Gender identity is self-determined, and may change over a person’s lifetime.

A simple way of explaining the difference between sex and gender is: sex = what is between our legs, and gender = what is between our ears.  SERC values and respects all gender identities, and provides affirming supports and services for folks of all genders.”

I remember years ago when on of my sons wanted to have purse.  A pink purse at that. two of his uncles were appalled.  Boys don’t do they they insisted. We insisted to let play with whatever he wanted to play with. I don’t think it ever harmed him. At the time we did not understand the issues aIt is unfortunate but true, that many people experience stigma, abuse, prejudice, discrimination and even assault or death as a result of their gender or gender identity. All of these can have profound adverse health consequences for people, none of which are earned or justified. Transphobia is world-wide and real and it can be a serious menace. Many of  us had transphobia at one time. I admit that in the days of my youth I had transphobia because I did not understand gender issues. Frankly, I was ignorant.  I am still woefully ignorant but at least I am no longer consciously choosing to express transphobia. I choose instead to be an ally of trans people, though acknowledge I have a long way to go be a very good ally.


I think the key is that people should allow other people to be the person they want to be. None of us should try to impose our views of gender on others, even parents with their children. Let the children choose when they are old enough to do so.

Gender Experiences


The issue of gender has become a hot political subject, particularly in the United States. Particularly among conservatives there is a lot of hysteria around the issue and that is unfortunate. Unreasonable fears seldom benefit anyone.

I remember a television series many years ago. It was called The Naked City. It told the story of people in New York City. They always said at the beginning of each show: There are 8 million stories in the Naked City. This is one of them.  Well sex and gender  is sort of like that.

These comments are inspired by a talk given recently by own former family doctor Darren Reimer at event in Steinbach hosted by a wonderful organization called Neighbours for Community. I tried to take notes as best I could but failed miserably so I had to do my own independent research. This post is based on both of those. So the mistakes in these comments are my own and I take responsibility for them. Don’t blame Dr. Reimer for anything I say; blame me.


Gender identity is not the same thing as gender expression. Gender expression refers to how a person outwardly expresses his or her or their gender. This can be evinced by clothes, hairstyles, or attitudes. Gender identity is what a person feels inside. Gender identity can be different than gender expression. For example, a person may be repressing a gender identity by choosing to wear clothes that hide the gender identity. On the other hand, gender expression can be employed by a person who is not sure of his or her or their gender identity but wants to explore it. A person may just want to choose a gender identify rather than having one imposed by others.

A person’s gender is determined early in life, but probably not at birth.  Gender is not as simple as many people choose to believe. The natural world, which includes humans, is astonishingly diverse. Not only that, it is fluid and dynamic.  Nothing in nature necessarily remains the same. As I always like to say, the only thing constant in nature is change.


There are more than 2 gender identities.  People are gender diverse. This is an umbrella term that includes, queer, non-binary and gender fluid. Physicians say that about 0.5% to 4.5% of adults are in this category and 2.5% to 8% among children and adolescents.  And people have been gender diverse for centuries and probably millennia. As my family doctor said, “This was not invented by the woke crowd.”

Indigenous people have another category that they refer to as “two spirited.” Most first nations recognized 3-5 gender roles when they first contacted Europeans. The categories are subject to change.

Many people prefer worlds of black and white and  have difficulty with a world of colour.  Such people also prefer worlds where all questions can be answered with simple answers: yes or no for example. Sadly for them, often life is not that simple.


Some people think God never makes mistakes. Surprisingly, some people even believe this though they have seen Ted Cruz.  As a result on this view, since God never makes mistakes it would be wrong to try to change the gender God assigned us at birth. However, what if the gender God assigned us at birth is not as clear cut as we ordinarily expect?  What if the gender or sex of a person is not absolutely clear? Does that mean God made a mistake? Why?


People who insist on a black and white world have trouble accepting that there can be ambiguity about gender, but such ambiguities are common and have been with us forever! Again the woke crowd did not invent this phenomenon. This used to be referred to as Hermaphroditus, but today is usually referred to as intersex. Many people think everyone has clear male or female markers, but that is not the case. There is sometimes a significant overlap between the two which makes it difficult for physicians to assign sex at birth. This actually happens frequently. This also happens with other animals. Farmers know that sometimes animals are born with both male or female genitals or genitals that are not clearly male or female. People with intersex characteristics have several variations of their sexual characteristics. About 1% of people are ambiguous in their sex.


People can also be ambiguous about their gender. Remember, gender is selected by the individual and not  assigned by physicians. A person might not be sure what their gender identity is. Such people may want to explore the possibilities before they choose an identity. And then, in some cases, the gender identity they have chosen may change later. What is wrong with that?

At  times shame, fear, and guilt led people to request physicians “correct” these “defects” by surgery. Frequently, such surgeries ended in disasters. Playing God often does not work out well. Nowadays, physicians recognize that there is no such thing as Gender identity disorder. It is not a disorder! It is merely an ambiguity.

Gender dysphoria is a term that describes a sense of unease that a person may have because of a mismatch between their biological sex and their gender identity. This sense of unease or dissatisfaction may be so intense it can lead to depression and anxiety and have a harmful impact on daily life. Some people prefer a sexual identity other than the one ordinarily assigned to them.

Many people, not just those identified by the woke crowd, experience stigma, abuse, prejudice, discrimination, and death as a result of stress imposed upon them by the majority for their perceived inadequacies of gender identity. This is horrifically cruel. We can do better!

Such actions by majorities can lead to profound physical or psychological harms. Transphobia is the infliction of harm on gender minorities by majorities. As the name suggests, such harms are inflicted out of fear and misunderstanding of what is perceived as different from us. Transphobia has led to violence against sexual or gender minorities around the world. Transphobia is international and real. 4,000 people were known to have died as a result between 2005 and 2021 but it is acknowledged the real numbers are much higher on account of under reporting.  1 out of 4 of these were murdered in their own homes. It is time to stem the tide.

We must do better.


Gender Affirming Care


According to my former personal physician, Dr. Darren Reimer, who spoke at an event in Steinbach, “There is lots of evidence that gender affirming care is helpful.” Yet sadly, gender affirming care has been viciously and relentlessly attacked by conservatives around the world–from Russia to the United States. Dr. Rimer  said that much of this evidence is clinical. That means it has been tried and has worked! According to Dr. Reimer, “gender affirming care is real and effective.” It reduces gender dysphoria.

Some people experience debilitating  gender dysphoria which is the acute and chronic distress some persons experience of living in a body that does not reflect one’s gender and the desire to have bodily characteristics of that gender. This is not something invented by the libs. It is real. It exists. Conservative hysteria won’t make it go away.

Yet, notwithstanding it’s general acceptance by the medical community, conservatives have attacked gender affirming care with relentless hostility. I think the reason is that conservatives fear liberals will take advantage of such care to impose their presumed agenda to get as many people as possible to change their identity. I don’t know why liberals would want to that, but conservatives seem to believe this is part of the liberal agenda. On the other hand, I believe that the conservative view is part of their hysteria about sexuality. Hysteria is their agenda. Many conservatives believe that the only permissible sex is that between men and women and then only when each maintains their birth sex and gender.

In part the problem here is the fact that this battle is being conducted in the world of the internet gone mad. As John Oliver said, “So much of the fear of and arguments against transgender people comes from misinformation and misunderstanding. And maybe the biggest and most dangerous area of ignorance comes from the concept of gender affirming care.”

In US four states have already scratched access to such care and 15 more are considering similar legislation. According to Oliver, “They have been fuelled by a lack of basic knowledge about what of gender affirming care actually consists.”

As Michael Knowles, the host of his own TV show: said If a child walked into a doctor’s office and said Doc I want you to cut my fingers off, the Doc would say ‘you’ve got some problems kid we need to refer you to a psychiatrist.’ If the child walked into the same doctor’s office and said, ‘Doc I want you to cut my uterus out, that Doctor would say, ‘Oh you’re a wonderful brave person. You’re right we do need to cut you uterus out as soon as possible. Let’s get this young lady over to the operating room.’

That of course is nonsense in hi def. Many conservatives believe that as soon as child declares that he or she is trans, an immediate irreversible decision is made  to make the surgery happen. That just  is not the  way these things work.

This is what I understand about gender affirming care: In young children gender affirming care consists mainly of things like a social transition where the child is allowed to use a new name ,with the parent’s consent, or have a new hair cut or wear new clothes. They might get psychological supports to help them to avoid bullying or harassment. When puberty is onset a child, with parental consent, might be given puberty blockers to delay puberty. This can buy time for the young person to make a decision when older about gender identity.

If that treatment is later suspended endogenous puberty will resume.  It is not irreversible. It just gives time to think about it.

The next medical intervention is usually hormone therapy which boosts levels of testosterone or estrogen as the case may be. Opponents of such treatment claim this is experimental medical treatment, but that is not true. Some falsely claim it sterilizes people. There are some specific rare risks to fertility in some cases but according to the Yale School of Medicine, the effect is anticipated to be reversible if medication is discontinued.

Nonetheless, as a result of conservative hysteria many states are making efforts to ban gender affirming care.

According to Heather Boerner, in her article in Scientific American, earlier this year,  “A decade of research shows such treatment reduces depression, suicidality and other devastating consequences of trans preteens and teens being forced to undergo puberty in the sex they were assigned at birth).” Scientific American also said this in an introduction to the her article:Laws that ban gender-affirming treatment ignore the wealth of research demonstrating its benefits for trans people’s health.”

As Michelle Forcier, a pediatrician and professor of pediatrics at Brown University, said,

The bills are based on “information that’s completely wrong…[Those laws] are absolutely, absolutely incorrect” about the science of gender-affirming care for young people. “[Inaccurate information] is there to create drama. It’s there to make people take a side.



Here is the truth according to Heather Boerner in her Scientific American article:

“The truth is that data from more than a dozen studies of more than 30,000 transgender and gender-diverse young people consistently show that access to gender-affirming care is associated with better mental health outcomes—and that lack of access to such care is associated with higher rates of suicidality, depression and self-harming behavior.”


This aligns nicely with what our own Steinbach physician Dr. Darren Reimer said. In other words, (these are my words now) the misinformation is part of a culture war, not a rational argument, and as we all know, in any war, even a cultural war, truth is the first casualty.