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In Canada, the gender wars are now a national issue

The 1 Million March 4 Kids protest against teaching gender identity in Toronto schools this week. Credit: Getty

September 21, 2023 - 7:30pm

Yesterday, Canadians turned out by the thousands in cities and towns across the country for the 1 Million March 4 Children — the most visible pushback to date against what many Canadians see as indoctrination into a radical set of new beliefs about sex and gender being pushed on their children in schools and healthcare settings. 

Now, it seems as though Canada’s long and uncomfortable silence on gender is breaking down quickly.

Just a few days ago, the National Post put Canada’s long-simmering gender wars on the front cover. As far as awareness-raising goes, the Post’s contribution is riddled with gender-friendly (read: misleading) jargon like “trans teens” and “assigned female at birth” that prejudge open questions and obscure the stakes, with the paper offering numerous undue concessions. The front page story about mastectomies was accompanied by an anxious editorial providing the “National Post View”: 

While there are important discussions to be had, we must ensure that transgender policies are crafted with a view of maximizing individual liberty
 This is what makes Canada special.
- The National Post

Still, the National Post’s reporting on the surge of teenage girls seeking mastectomies is a meaningful contribution to a long overdue public dialogue. When it comes to gender, Canada is special — which is to say, the country’s situation is particularly sticky. For one thing, media capture in Canada is almost total, with government-subsidised outlets pumping out “gender propaganda”. And — much like its neighbour to the south — Canadian politics is increasingly polarised on the trans issue, with criticism largely owned by the Right-leaning Conservative Party. 

Just last week, at the Conservative Party’s policy convention, delegates voted in favour of placing age restrictions on transition — a move sure to stoke tensions. In such a divisive political climate, there’s little space for dissent in progressive circles, with the result that partisans tend to double down when they really ought to back away from poorly thought-out positions like violent males in women’s prisons and triple-Z prosthetic breasts in high-school shop classes. 

Then there’s the healthcare side. Even as other countries in which the government foots the bill for healthcare services reevaluate the safety and effectiveness of “gender-affirming” interventions, Canadian health authorities have yet to reckon with the burden that publicly-funded gender self-actualisation places on already strained healthcare resources. 

Canadians in provinces like Quebec wait years to be assigned a family doctor. In the province of Ontario, over 200,000 people are on the waiting list for surgeries — and that includes patients waiting on life-saving procedures. The last few years have also heralded the dystopian rise of Maid, Canada’s Medical Assistance in Dying programme, which has seen a surge of applications from patients with unmet needs for healthcare and social services.  

But even as basic needs go unmet, provincial healthcare systems have expanded access to bespoke cosmetic interventions for those seeking to transition. All provinces and territories now cover mastectomies and genital surgeries. Provinces and territories that cover genital surgery but lack clinics to perform these surgeries may cover travel expenses for patients who wish to seek care elsewhere. The Yukon covers the widest range of “gender-affirming” interventions, including laser-hair removal, facial-feminisation surgery, vocal surgery, and chest contouring. 

“If gender identity is fluid, what are the risks of minors rushing into irreversible surgery before their gender identity is more firmly established?” the National Post asks. “Do gender-dysphoric teens have the emotional and cognitive maturity to think through the implications of what might happen if their feelings around gender change?” 

This isn’t just a problem facing patients and their parents. Thinking through the implications of any of the issues tangled up with gender has been almost impossible. The Post interviewed Gordon Guyatt, an expert in evidence-based medicine, who spoke of the need to clarify values and preferences when the evidence is uncertain: “ideally, the adolescent and parent would say, ‘We understand what you told us, we understand the evidence, we are confident that this is the right thing.’” 

The public needs the same opportunity to weigh the evidence for and against these extraordinary medical, social, and legal interventions in Canadian society. Then, they can decide where they stand. 


Eliza Mondegreen is a graduate student in psychiatry and the author of Writing Behavior on Substack.

elizamondegreen

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Ewen Mac
Ewen Mac
9 months ago

“If gender identity is fluid, what are the risks of minors rushing into irreversible surgery before their gender identity is more firmly established?” the National Post asks
That’s one of those questions that gender ideology activists were trying to avoid by screeching “No Debate With Hate!” at anyone who asked it. Gender ideology is based on numerous illogical beliefs that fall apart as soon as you introduce logic, so they have to avoid debate at all costs.
It’s very encouraging to see Canadians turning out to protest the undemocratic imposition of a subjective, dumb, dangerous belief system. Most people, in most countries, understand the importance of rationalism but until now a small, vocal, bullying minority has captured institutions and stifled debate.
Another aspect of gender ideology is its use as a “Trojan Horse” to introduce Queer Theory-influenced sex education into schools, which has been successful in Wales. If the UK had a functioning media or worthwhile political class there might be an effective opposition to this, but it doesn’t, so it’s left up to volunteer parents who have to rely on crowdfunding.
Good luck to all those in Canada who are working to protect children and congratulations on the turnout.

Last edited 9 months ago by Ewen Mac
Marcus Leach
Marcus Leach
9 months ago
Reply to  Ewen Mac

Accepting the silly concept of gender identity fluidity, a pre-pubescent child is always going to have more indistinct and contradictory emotions than a child that has gone through puberty.
Administering puberty blockers to prepubescent children will effectively be indefinitely extending the period of prepubescent confusion that in most cases would be resolved by allowing the full bust of hormones to make the natural major, fundamental changes to their mind and body.
By using puberty blockers to prevent the resolution of a child’s confusion through the normal processes of puberty, as time passes the trans ideologues in the medical profession are going to quickly conclude that the failure to resolve is evidence that the child is transgender and send them on to the next stage of cross sex hormones and bodily disfigurement.
Rather than worrying about children’s fluid “gender identity”, the monsters in the medical profession are prolonging it and using it as basis to diagnose transgenderism and then progress the child to the evil butchery of “gender affirming care”.

Last edited 9 months ago by Marcus Leach
Nancy G
Nancy G
9 months ago
Reply to  Ewen Mac

Queer Theory is digging into our botanical gardens, too.
https://www.kew.org/read-and-watch/queer-nature

Dr. G Marzanna
Dr. G Marzanna
9 months ago
Reply to  Nancy G

Omg. That’s really overstretching a very thin idea.
Made me laugh: “ stamens and a stigma, sometimes referred to as the male and female parts of the flower” My biology teacher specifically denounced that kind of terminology and that was back in the 80s!!!
I like Kew but I really go there for a break from the news and histrionics so maybe I’ll wait this dreadful festival is over.

Daniel P
Daniel P
9 months ago
Reply to  Ewen Mac

If it is “fluid” then does that imply that it may switch back and then back again?
If so, then either you stay put in one and wait it out or your having back and forth surgeries.

RM Parker
RM Parker
9 months ago
Reply to  Daniel P

Yes, that’s the end argument in the whole “meat lego” fantasy our elites are pushing on us, top down. Grim, isn’t it?

Dr. G Marzanna
Dr. G Marzanna
9 months ago
Reply to  Daniel P

Well yes, they are! Having breasts cut off then false ones put in.

Andrew F
Andrew F
9 months ago
Reply to  Ewen Mac

We should stop using language which justifies idiocy of gender fluidity.
There are two sexes, male and female.
And there are some abnormalities.
Basically medical conditions.
Since when mentally ill freaks with medical conditions should decide policy for whole society?

Peter Johnson
Peter Johnson
9 months ago

I don’t think people understand how significant these marches and protests were. I am fervently opposed to the ‘progressive’ project – but I had very low expectations. They took place in the middle of a workday. They were actually pretty poorly organized. The mainstream press did not cover it at all. Everyone from Justin Trudeau down attacked all attendees as hateful transphobes. Public sector unions were videotaped promising to take licence plate numbers and engage in intimidation tactics. For example I received an email from my professional regulator (which has nothing to do with education) condemning the protesters. Despite this strong display of intimidation thousands of ordinary people showed up anyway. The videos are stunning – small towns in Ontario with thousands of people marching. This is not something Canadians do very often – despite the convoy – we are quite a bit less likely to protest than Americans and our protesters aren’t middle aged parents. The progressive stranglehold on our culture seems to be loosening dramatically and people aren’t intimidated anymore. I hope to see more of this on a variety of topics.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
9 months ago
Reply to  Peter Johnson

The lack of news coverage has been pathetic. Thanks for this post. Someone did a poll – a grand total of 18% supported schools withholding trans information from parents. There’s a lot of transphobes out there apparently.

Last edited 9 months ago by Jim Veenbaas
Stephanie Surface
Stephanie Surface
9 months ago
Reply to  Peter Johnson

Well done Canada! Maybe it’ll catch up here in London.

Dougie Undersub
Dougie Undersub
9 months ago

There’s a big “Rejoin the EU” march in London tomorrow, so I don’t expect it to catch on soon.

Dr. G Marzanna
Dr. G Marzanna
9 months ago

It’s funny that pro -EU is associated with the loony progressivism yet much of the EU (esp the places I like such as Poland, Croatia, Hungary and eastern Germany) are really not into it in the least. Even places like the Netherlands are backtracking.

Peter Johnson
Peter Johnson
9 months ago
Reply to  Peter Johnson

I just looked at the local newspaper coverage. It claimed that a small group of about 100 protesters were heavily outnumbered by counter protesters. A friend attended the event and said there about 1000 people with a 60/40 split 60 pro 40 against. This is in a big progressive city with an active antifa presence and lots of blue haired meanies. So similar to my personal experience with the convoy protests – the mainstream media are flat out dishonest in their coverage of these events

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
9 months ago
Reply to  Peter Johnson

I heard there were a bunch of counter protestors in Vancouver – shocker – but that’s about it.

Dr. G Marzanna
Dr. G Marzanna
9 months ago
Reply to  Peter Johnson

Yes CBC coverage was dire and dishonest but CTV was a bit better.

Glyn R
Glyn R
9 months ago
Reply to  Peter Johnson

The so-called MSM appears to have a policy to not report on large, peaceful protests against policies it favours, such as the anti-lockdown protests in the UK. Realising this tore away the last, flimsy shred of trust I still had in it.

Waffles
Waffles
9 months ago
Reply to  Glyn R

Have you seen the infamous CNN “mostly peaceful protests”, as the reporter stands in front of a city on fire?

They were “peaceful” because they fit the agenda of CNN.

https://images.app.goo.gl/T9nJvKgfMSRnyVD1A

Dr. G Marzanna
Dr. G Marzanna
9 months ago
Reply to  Peter Johnson

Im very encouraged to hear that!

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
9 months ago

Just to be clear with readers at this site, the National Post is by far the most conservative publication of the regime media in Canada. That’s how badly broken the media ecosystem is in Canada. Coverage of the protests was pathetic across all platforms of the regime media. I’ll give them credit though – I didn’t see any coverage calling the protestors rac!st, fasc!st homophobes. They just spent most of the time chatting with experts extolling the need for gender affirming care. That’s as good as it gets.

Champagne Socialist
Champagne Socialist
9 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

The National Post is a far right rag with zero credibility.
Bit like you!

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
9 months ago

ROFL – Triggered again then Champers? If you were a trout we’d have had you for tea months ago. Come to think of it IF all trout were as easy to catch, no one would bother trout fishing.

Steve Hay
Steve Hay
9 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

You could say triggering champers I’d like shooting fish in s barrel

Nikki Hayes
Nikki Hayes
9 months ago

I get the feeling that Unherd is not suitable for you. Clearly you have no capacity to participate in reasoned debate, instead throwing childish insults around and basically behaving like a grade A troll. There is the door, you will not be missed.

laurence scaduto
laurence scaduto
9 months ago
Reply to  Nikki Hayes

I wonder if it’s not a primitive AI machine. That sort of bouncing ball response seems very robotic.
Or maybe a nasty little terrier with primitive language skills.

Emily Riedel
Emily Riedel
9 months ago

Champs is AI, for sure. Expect more of this.

michael harris
michael harris
9 months ago
Reply to  Nikki Hayes

Don’t bother canceling. Just ignore.

Chipoko
Chipoko
9 months ago

Shut up!

Dr. G Marzanna
Dr. G Marzanna
9 months ago

It is a rubbish paper but not worse than the rest of the Canuck media.

Noel Chiappa
Noel Chiappa
9 months ago

Well, you are the expert in having zero credibility.
Or are you a troll, who enjoys getting negative reactions?

Tyler Durden
Tyler Durden
9 months ago

The Covid-19 pandemic set the tone. Now mainstream sections of society feels similar currents of transhumanism running from public schooling and the paediatric treatment of children.
I called it bio-authoritarianism a couple of years ago and have little reason to change my mind. It is a biopolitics that runs easily through selected sexual communities but when states give it sufficient backing then it becomes an existential threat to standard family lives.
Maoism was precisely that in the 1950s when, a decade later, Western youth didn’t have any idea of its implication when they mixed that up with their standard Marxist revolt. Today the Internet has made it. Trudeau’s remains one of modern history’s most sinister neoliberal regimes.

Last edited 9 months ago by Tyler Durden
Champagne Socialist
Champagne Socialist
9 months ago
Reply to  Tyler Durden

Sounds like you have an ongoing obsession with the sex lives of other people. Why do you think that is?

Steve Hay
Steve Hay
9 months ago

Because most places, probably even Canada have laws against pedophilia and drug dealing to children

Michael McElwee
Michael McElwee
9 months ago

By “other people” do you mean to include those who are seven years old?

Jane Watson
Jane Watson
9 months ago

Transism isn’t really about people’s sex lives though is it? I’ve had long term friendships with a number of trans identifying individuals, and none of them had much of a sex life.

Champagne Socialist
Champagne Socialist
9 months ago
Reply to  Tyler Durden

“Trudeau’s remains one of modern history’s most sinister neoliberal regimes.”
Ok, let’s play! Why do you characterize the Trudeau administration, elected three times by Canadians, so sinister? Why is it a regime when it has clearly been democratically mandated?
This should be pretty funny!

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
9 months ago

Trudeau has won the last two elections with 32.6% and 33.1% of the popular vote, the two lowest totals in the history of Canada going back to 1867. The Conservatives had higher vote totals in both elections.

Champagne Socialist
Champagne Socialist
9 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

What’s your point, Jimbo?

McExpat M
McExpat M
9 months ago

Nobody wants him. It’s simple math. He gets elected by his loyal minions in Ontario and Quebec. He ran on Reforming FPTP until he secured power then poof, democracy isn’t so convenient anymore.

Dr. G Marzanna
Dr. G Marzanna
9 months ago
Reply to  Tyler Durden

That’s a cogent thought – needs more attention. Unherd- do a piece on this!

Mike Downing
Mike Downing
9 months ago

We need the same pushback in this country.

Arkadian X
Arkadian X
9 months ago
Reply to  Mike Downing

That applies independently from where you actually live.

George Scipio
George Scipio
9 months ago

Gender dysphoria is a disorder, A salient feature of the disorder is the compulsion to insist that it is not a disorder but a normal expression of human identity. But if it’s “normal”, why does it need expensive cosmetic medical treatment? Of course being trans is abnormal. What other “identity” endangers the body and leads towards a life of surgery, sterility, heart and stroke problems, stunted growth, weak bones, incontinence, daily hormone medication, and loss of sexual function and pleasure? Wake up, Canada. Transgenderism is a gigantic cultural abuse of the human body – and highly profitable to those involved in treating and propagandising for it.

Paul T
Paul T
9 months ago

We should stop calling these drugs the euphemistically titled “puberty blockers” and call them what they really are; Chemical Castration Drugs (with an acronym “CCDs”), because that is what they are most similar to.

Last edited 9 months ago by Paul T
Andrew D
Andrew D
9 months ago
Reply to  Paul T

I think ‘puberty blockers’ is actually surprisingly un-euphemistic and unlike your definition it includes girls. I’m sure they’ll think of a properly meaningless euphemism in due course, such as ‘puberty assistance’, ‘non-toxic puberty’ or even, dare I suggest, ‘sustainable puberty’.

Last edited 9 months ago by Andrew D
jim peden
jim peden
9 months ago
Reply to  Andrew D

May I suggest “Net Zero Puberty”?

B B
B B
9 months ago

They wanted everyone woke. Well looks like their eyes are wide open now.

Tom Condray
Tom Condray
9 months ago

The cognitive disconnect on so-called gender affirming care is simply impossible to understand.
Children we do not permit to purchase cigarettes, alcohol or vote because they are too immature either to use these products or exercise their franchise intelligently are somehow sublimely sophisticated enough to choose irreversible surgeries and medications to pursue their ideal self.
However it is we arrived at this juncture it’s well past time to reverse course.
I can’t even imagine what society thirty years hence will think of us. Moral cowardice in the face of zealotry, and a stunning indifference to the welfare of our children will be the least of their condemnations, I’m sure.

Poet Tissot
Poet Tissot
9 months ago
Reply to  Tom Condray

Demonic?

Kevan Hudson
Kevan Hudson
9 months ago

The political ecosystem in Canada has been fully captured by the Woke agenda from political parties to the media to the unions to professional bodies to all other institutions (culture, sports).
I still saw some strong language directed towards those demonstrating in favour of parental rights and taking some time to clearly think about gender ideology. One example was the B.C. Human Rights Commissioner calling those opposed to gender ideology hateful.
For me this, plus the pandemic, has been wake up call. I went overseas to live and work for 15 years in 2003. Prior to leaving I was a Green Party candidate and involved in events like shutting down the World Trade Organization meetings in 1999 (Seattle, USA).
As with the electoral reform movement in the 1990s leftists critical of the new state religion, the pandemic mandates and the Green New Grift have to find each other, organize and then ally with conservatives and religious folks who agree with us. It is not a fun thing to do as many of us lose family members, friends and jobs fighting the Woke agenda. However, I see hope as Christians, conservatives, Muslims, South Asians, seniors, youth and old school lefties get together.

Last edited 9 months ago by Kevan Hudson
McExpat M
McExpat M
9 months ago
Reply to  Kevan Hudson

It seems to me you have to leave the country to see how captured it is. In a delicious twist of irony I suspect it will be Muslim immigrants that provide the strongest bulwark against gender. Ideology. The very same group Trudeau has courted to denigrate the opposition on any pushback to Islamism.

Gabriel Mills
Gabriel Mills
9 months ago
Reply to  McExpat M

The Million March for Kids — to protest the takeover of gender cult ideology in Canada — was organised by Muslim parents. But people from every faith and none, from every political party and none, responded by turning up to protest too.

M. Jamieson
M. Jamieson
9 months ago
Reply to  Kevan Hudson

The Green Party has been a huge disappointment in all of this. There was a time when they seemed to understand the importance of liberal democratic principles, and did some deep thinking about how these elements should work practically. Now they have utterly imploded over identity issues.

Daniel Lee
Daniel Lee
9 months ago

In light of the below, the only principled question is, “Why have we not already invaded to liberate our neighbors to the north from the Iron-Curtain style government plainly posing a clear and intentional danger to their very lives?”
Canadians in provinces like Quebec wait years to be assigned a family doctor. In the province of Ontario, over 200,000 people are on the waiting list for surgeries — and that includes patients waiting on life-saving procedures. The last few years have also heralded the dystopian rise of Maid, Canada’s Medical Assistance in Dying programme, which has seen a surge of applications from patients with unmet needs for healthcare and social services. (Emphasis added.)

Poet Tissot
Poet Tissot
9 months ago

No sign of coverage on this in the mainstream media obviously – yet a handful of students dressed up in woke flags etc is deemed worthy of publicity.

Last edited 9 months ago by Poet Tissot
Brian Villanueva
Brian Villanueva
9 months ago

“We must ensure that transgender policies are crafted with a view of maximizing individual liberty
 This is what makes Canada special.”
Nice to see a major publication actually acknowledge the obvious: “maximal personal autonomy” and “the common good” are in direct conflict with each other. A sane society must chart a balance between these rocks, as too much “common good” destroys the liberty of a society, while too much “individual autonomy” destroys its cohesiveness.
Unlike the National Post though, I think we have veered way too far in the latter direction. Time for the common good (such as, let’s not sexualize kids) to reassert itself.

laurence scaduto
laurence scaduto
9 months ago

It’s all a great lesson in public relations, more recently known as advocacy. The first I heard of this born-with-the-wrong-genitals thing, many years ago, left me laughing. I’m pretty sure I’m not alone; in fact I first heard about it from a lesbian friend who would regale me with tales.
Yet somehow, with enough verbiage and enough “ink”, as they used to say, large swathes of the populace were convinced that something that simply, plainly wasn’t true, could have miraculously become a vital new truth. And this, while at the same time, fifty years of public discourse about the difficulties of ever knowing the “truth” of any matter was being turned on its head practically overnight. Climate Change and Covid resurrected the concept of The One Truth and most of our people haven’t looked back since. Like Alice, “we knew who we were this morning, but many things have changed since then”.
Thank goodness for UnHerd. And for this Canadian push-back!

Last edited 9 months ago by laurence scaduto
Gabriel Mills
Gabriel Mills
9 months ago

It becomes clearer why gender cult ideologues insist this needless and damaging “gender reassignment” cosmetic surgery is “life-saving”, and why they invent the stats to support this lie. It enables gender-indoctrinated kids to jump the queue for real life-saving surgery in countries (like the UK and Canada)with nationalised health systems, and to con medical insurance outfits in the US.

The prospect of medical insurance having to cover detransition is heralded as an effective obstacle to many such surgeries in private healthcare. And a queue of detransitioners — like Keira Bell — sueing the NHS for malpractice will involve NICE in consideration of value-for-money surgery, as applies to all medical treatment.

Clive Simpson, as a lawyer and gay activist against gender cult ideology, says (in “The Queen’s Speech” with Dennis Kavanagh on YouTube) “it takes a market to kill a market”.

It will take the medical insurance market (with help from detransitioners and public protest) to kill the “gender reassignment” surgery market: as the most damaging part of the kneejerk “gender affirmation” model of “healthcare” (medical abuse) currently ruining kids’ lives.

Last edited 9 months ago by Gabriel Mills
Kirk Susong
Kirk Susong
9 months ago

“we must ensure that transgender policies are crafted with a view of maximizing individual liberty
 This is what makes Canada special. ”
There is so much gallows humor in the world today… but is this not the funniest thing? Does anyone anywhere in the world think that what makes Canada Canada is “maximizing individual liberty”? Whatever happened to hockey, maple leafs, and the dominating mystical power of ‘The North’?

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
9 months ago

Why does the Yukon cover the widest range of gender procedures? Is it something to do with how funding works for different regions?

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
9 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

Health care delivery in Canada is a provincial responsibility. There are differences in delivery in each province.

Samuel Ross
Samuel Ross
9 months ago

Canadians are weird.

Champagne Socialist
Champagne Socialist
9 months ago

A few hundred religious cranks from the sound of things. Enough to get the trans-obsessed commenters on this site all excited it seems.

Andrew D
Andrew D
9 months ago

Calm down dear

Stephanie Surface
Stephanie Surface
9 months ago

What would the comment section be without your “valuable” contribution? Are you a bot or for real?

Daniel P
Daniel P
9 months ago

Oh lord, the resident crank is back. Gotta be the most down voted person on this site.