Young Albertans and all young Canadians deserve the freedom to be themselves and to learn and grow in a safe environment.
The new legislation introduced by Danielle Smith’s provincial government rolls back much-needed protections for trans and queer youth at the moment they most need support, infringes on the health care and the bodily autonomy of trans children and youth, and violates their basic human rights.
“Our union has trans-identified members as well as members who have trans-identified or non-binary children who will be harmed by this new legislation that takes away their choices,” said Scott Lunny, Director for Western Canada of the United Steelworkers union (USW).
“I would go even further to say this new legislation is abusive towards vulnerable children and intentionally targets the 2SLGBTQIA+ community,” said Lunny.
“I have witnessed firsthand the struggles faced by children who are brave enough to express their true gender identity,” said Catie Jones, a USW member and a mother of a transgender child who recently launched a petition urging politicians to stop this attack.
“This is not just about my child, it’s about every transgender child in Alberta. Our children deserve the right to their own gender identity and expression, as well as rights over their bodies,” Jones said.
“Our province is refusing to protect these vulnerable members of our community. We need to stand together for our children’s future where they can freely express themselves without fear or prejudice. Every child deserves acceptance, love, safety and freedom from discrimination, regardless of their gender identity,” added Jones.
The USW maintains that the new legislation is a violation of human rights legislation, as well as equality rights protected under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and is part of a concerted effort to roll back gains by equity-seeking groups. The union asserts that Smith is promoting division for political purposes.
“It can be tough to feel like you’re different, especially as a child or teenager, and Smith’s new legislation will make life exponentially worse for those trying to figure out their gender identity. Danielle Smith must stop picking on children, their families and the medical practitioners who support their choices,” said Lunny.
The USW is proud to represent 225,000 members across Canada, including members of the 2SLGBTQIA+ rainbow community and their families.
The USW prioritizes negotiating on-the-job protections for trans-identified members and has published a guide by and for trans-identified Steelworkers who are transitioning on the job.
The union also recently launched a Steel Pride working group, aiming to improve the visibility and representation of 2SLBTQIA+ members on the job and in their communities.
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