Category Archives: Gender Warfare

Hysteria Rides (and falls) Again



It is hardly surprising, but hysteria has failed again. That is because hysteria rarely leads to encouraging solutions to real problems. Hysteria interferes with critical thinking.

Many Winnipeggers learned this lesson on Friday. As Maggie Macintosh reported in the Winnipeg Free Press,

More than 1,000 students — including nearly half of one elementary school’s population — were absent from classes in one Winnipeg school district Wednesday as misinformation spread online about its teachers distributing graphic sexual content.


Many Winnipeggers believed the nonsense they read about on social media that teachers planned to suddenly expose children to explicit and inappropriate information. That is typical of the stuff social media spreads, and unfortunately, many parents are inclined to believe such claims. People who are addicted to conspiracy theories believe stuff like this no matter how incredible it is. People living in what Kurt Anderson called “FantasyLand” are addicted to such absurdities.

 Superintendent Brian O’Leary said We had a lot of information circulating on social media, particularly within the South Asian community, telling parents that the schools were planning to hand out books with graphic sexual material to all students.”

As Macintosh reported, the Superintendent  said,

 “false and malicious fearmongering” on social media prompted hundreds of families in the Seven Oaks School Division to keep their elementary-aged children home from classes Sept. 20.


He also said the posts in Punjabi, Hindi and Arabic were “deliberately concocted to scare parents,” and were circulating on Facebook. The problem is that far too many parents, and others, believe everything they hear on social media, particularly if it aligns with their anti-government ideology. The problem is not gender ideology, it is the ideology of automatic distrust in government. Adherents to this ideology would much rather believe nonsense on the internet than government sources.  And this is a big problem for society.

As Macintosh said,

“About 50 per cent of students enrolled at Arthur E. Wright Community School did not show up Wednesday. The absenteeism rate dropped to five per cent Thursday. The abnormal attendance levels were recorded on the same day as the “1MillionMarch4Children” — a protest organized by a conservative group that is “against gender ideology” and claims schools are sharing “sexually explicit content” with students — played out across the country.”


When hysterical parents hear lies this, particularly if they have a sexual element,  they immediately move into high gear before they have a chance to think things through rationally. Hysteria is the mortal enemy of critical thinking.

I don’t think it is a coincidence either that this happened as hundreds of protesters showed up at the Manitoba Legislative Building the day before to call for more parental rights, even though they already have ample parental rights they rarely use.  When parents are haunted by fantastical visions of children being sexually abused, their reactions are on hair-trigger mode.

The president of the Manitoba Teacher’s Society Nathanial Martindale was disappointed that parents had believed such nonsense that  Manitoba teachers are out to harm children. As he said, “nothing could be further from the truth… Educators want the best for all learners and will never be onside with homophobic or transphobic hate.” But reasonable ordinary truth like that  just does not cut it on the Internet when there are salacious lies instead.

Lies and Hate travel at warp speed on the internet compared to dull truth.




I have heard friends, good friends, say they wished the LGBTQ* community were less flamboyant. Particularly they think trans queens are outrageously over the top. Why do they have to be so ‘in your face’ all the time they ask? Or they say,’ Don’t they know they are not winning support with their actions?’ Or, “Why do they act so we see them all the time?’


I used to feel that way. I think it was the residue of homophobia that makes the straight community feel that way. This is our liberation fatigue speaking and we must dissolve it. Members of the LGBTQ* community have always been forced into the dark cracks of society where they could hide.  They had no choice, they thought, because they would be hit hard when they ‘came out.’


Naturally, they don’t want to be forced back into those dark societal cracks. They want to be out in the open as they are entitled to be. I think flamboyance is their way of saying, ‘I am not going back into those cracks again. I am out and I am staying out, get used to it.’ And that is exactly what we should do—get used to it. Let then be. If they want to be flamboyant, so be it.


I think the LGBTQ* community is entitled to do exactly that. The rest of us just have to get used to it. Our discomfort with the flamboyance is only disguised homophobia and we in the dominant group need to get rid of all of that phobia. we don’t even recognize what it is. We need to get rid of it, not just for the sake of the LGBTQ*, but for ourselves. We must cleanse ourselves of all homophobia.  None of it does us well. That is our job in the face of injustice. This will liberate us! Flamboyance fatigue, or justice fatigue, or reconciliation fatigue are all unbecoming. We can do better.

Why do Christians Hate so many Vulnerable People?


It seems odd to me—very odd—that Christians seem to be spearheading every charge against every minority group: women, blacks, lesbians, gays, trans, queer, Muslims, immigrants, and others? Is this what the party of Christ has come to?

Is it because there is something nasty about their religion?  After all the Bible, their Holy Book, does seem to have a lot of hatred for minority groups, particularly sexual minorities.

Yet Christians cheerfully without fuss or muss, easily discard inconvenient Bible prescriptions when they choose to. They don’t think being rich will prevent them from entering heaven no matter what the Bible says. They don’t stone adulterers like the Bible orders. So why do they pick on vulnerable lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgender and queer?  Why do they religiously follow the prescriptions against these vulnerable people while ignoring so many other divine orders?

I think the answer lies in the word I have been repeating: “vulnerable.”  There seems to be something about the vulnerable that attracts the attention  of  Christians, at least evangelical Christians, and their will to dominate.  It even attracts their hate, though often they deny it. In fact, now that gays and lesbians seem to be increasing in numbers or at least visibility, and hence power,  it seems to me they have eased up on their harassment of them.  Instead,  evangelical Christians are now concentrating more on bi-sexuals and trans. In my view, they are attracted to the easier and less powerful targets! They want to trample on the weak. And are fearful of the stronger.

If this is true it does not speak well of Christians.  If any readers feel I am being unfair to Christians, I ask them to speak up and set me straight. I don’t want to slander Christians if I am wrong.


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.