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Bans on help for gender-confused kids are an ‘assault on parental rights’: retired judge

'If this all sounds quite crazy, that’s because it is.'
Wed Jun 17, 2020 - 6:36 pm EST
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ONTARIO, June 16, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — A retired Canadian judge has blasted legislation in his country that would outlaw parents from seeking to help their son or daughter overcome gender confusion, calling it the most “aggressive assault on parental rights” ever attempted by a federal government.

The critique came from Judge Brian Giesbrecht in a June 8 Epoch Times opinion piece titled “The Problem with Canada’s Proposed Ban on Conversion Therapy.”

In his opinion piece, Giesbrecht wrote about his concerns regarding Bill C8 and S-202, which, if passed, will criminalize so-called “conversion therapy.”

“It is truly frightening that if this legislation is passed, any counselling that is not deemed to be ‘affirming’ will become illegal,” wrote Giesbrecht.

“In other words, a professional who might be able to help a child come to terms with his or her biological sex by means of counselling would become a criminal under this legislation. This is profoundly wrong.”

Giesbrecht wrote that there is a “universal agreement” that parents who have a gender-dysphoric child struggle with “immensely difficult challenges” but added that the government has chosen to go against parental choice by “making it illegal for parents to seek certain types of counselling for their child.”

“But that is exactly what the government has chosen to do. This legislation is probably the most aggressive assault on parental rights that a federal government has ever attempted. If it passes, it risks destroying the bond between parent and child when a parent’s philosophy or religion conflicts with that of the state,” wrote Giesbrecht.

Giesbrecht served as a judge in Manitoba from 1991 until he retired from the bench in 2007. He is now a senior fellow with the Frontier Centre for Public Policy, which bills itself as an independent public policy think-tank.

In his critique of Bills C8 and S-202, Giesbrecht said the proposed Canadian legislation is a response to a United Nations “campaign for comprehensive sexuality education for children.”

According to the U.N. website, comprehensive sexuality education “empowers young people to know and demand their rights. The importance of sexuality education has been recognized by numerous international agreements.”

Giesbrecht wrote that while “no reasonable person” would disagree with the notion that “as part of their education,” kids should receive sexual information, “extreme activists” have influenced leaders with radical ideology.

“Extreme activists have convinced some particularly ‘progressive’ leaders that they must go much further than providing education. ‘Sexuality education’ in some places now includes an extreme agenda that emphasizes the early sexualization of children,” wrote Giesbrecht.

Giesbrecht stated that one of the issues with the “experts” who are tasked with coming up with the laws and providing advice to the policymakers is that they are “the very people who are often involved in the gender-change system.”

“They are committed people and believe they are doing the right thing, but there are at least an equal number of experts — pediatricians, psychologists, endocrinologists — who believe that intensive, professional counselling is the best answer for deeply troubled gender dysphoric children. Those experts do not have the government’s ear,” wrote Giesbrecht.

Tabled by justice minister David Lametti on March 9, Bill C-8 will make it an offense under the Criminal Code to 1) cause a minor to undergo conversion therapy, 2) remove a minor from Canada to undergo conversion therapy, 3) cause a person to undergo conversion therapy against his will, 4) profit from conversion therapy, and 5) advertise conversion therapy.

Bill C-8 defines “conversion therapy” as: “a practice, treatment or service designed to change a person’s sexual orientation to heterosexual or gender identity to cisgender, or to repress or reduce non-heterosexual attraction or sexual behaviour.” 

The bill adds, “For greater certainty, this definition does not include a practice, treatment or service that relates (a) to a person’s gender transition; or (b) to a person’s exploration of their identity or to its development.” 

Bill C8 could punish someone for up to five years for causing a minor to undergo “conversion therapy,” either in or outside Canada, or forcing an adult to do so. Benefiting financially on advertising from “conversion therapy” is punishable by up to two years in jail.

Bill S-202, now before the Senate, would criminalize so-called conversion therapy, which it defines as follows: 

any practice, treatment or service designed to change an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity or to eliminate or reduce sexual attraction or sexual behaviour between persons of the same sex. For greater certainty, this definition does not include a surgical sex change or any related service.

An “astonishing proposal”

Giesbrecht concluded his opinion piece by saying Bills C8 and S-202 would punish a parent or counselor should he want to help a child overcome gender confusion, even if the child changes his mind, yet would not punish a counselor “advocating a change in gender.”

“Conversely, any counsellor advocating a change in gender is specifically given the OK by the legislation. The proposed legislation is not neutral on this point — it clearly favours transition over watchful waiting. Encouraging a child to transition is legal, discouraging a child from transitioning is illegal. This is such an astonishing proposal,” wrote Giesbrecht.

“I will back up on that sentence and repeat it: A person advocating that the child change gender is exempted by the legislation, but a person suggesting that the child stick to their birth gender would be guilty of a serious criminal offence. Similarly, a religious adviser, medical doctor, or anyone else consulted by a parent would be committing a jailable criminal offence if they gave their honest advice about transition that a government official did not approve of. If this all sounds quite crazy, that’s because it is.”

Giesbrecht’s column touched on data from the United Kingdom that show that over the last decade, there has been an increase of around 4,000 percent in young girls who express the desire to become “a boy.”

“This new trend has even been given a name: Rapid-Onset Gender Dysphoria (ROGD). There is no consensus about why ROGD is happening, but it is becoming clear that social media plays a significant role,” wrote Giesbrecht.

Giesbrecht also wrote that there are many, “including political leaders and professionals who should know better,” who are pretending they “know far more” about transgender issues than they do in reality.

He wrote that he finds it “questionable” whether or not anyone is truly an “expert” with regard to ROGD, as there are many who say they are experts whose opinions “vary so widely — particularly regarding surgery on children.”

Giesbrecht wrote that one of the most “most difficult challenges today” is when parents discover that   one of their children might show a tendency to identify with “a sex other than one’s birth sex.”

Giesbrecht added that although little is known as to why this may be the case, he adds that “we do know” that the majority of these type of case will “resolve [themselves], given time and sensitive handling,” adding that in most cases, the “child will eventually become comfortable with his or her birth gender.”

Politicians, family groups, authors speak out against Bill C8 and S-202 and “trans activism” 

Many in the pro-life and pro-family movement in Canada, such as Campaign Life Coalition, have sounded the alarm that Bill C8 and others like it will prohibit Christians from counseling anyone who wants to overcome same-sex attraction or who struggles with their gender dysphoria.

They have also warned that the bills will prohibit parents from helping a gender-confused child conform to his sex. 

“Bill C-8 represents an unprecedented assault by the Trudeau Liberals on our civil rights, personal freedoms, and religious liberties in this country,” stated David Cooke, campaigns manager for Campaign Life Coalition, in a blog post. 

Conservative Party of Canada (CPC) leadership candidate and member of Parliament (M.P.) Derek Sloan said in early June that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is legislating “child abuse” with Bill C-8.

Last week, Sloan again accused Trudeau of child abuse for pushing to ban help for gender-confused kids with Bill C8

This promoted CPC leadership candidate Peter MacKay to call it “child abuse” for parents to seek help for their children who suffer from gender dysphoria, in a June 3 tweet directed toward Sloan.

Sloan told LifeSiteNews last week that genital-mutilating surgery on minors is “abusive.”

“I believe that sex-change operations [sic] on minors are abusive. Minors are not old enough to drink, smoke, gamble, or vote, and they are not old enough to make life-altering decisions about surgeries that will permanently change their growth and development,” Sloan told LifeSiteNews. 

Giesbrecht’s opinion piece was tweeted out by former Conservative M.P. Brad Trost.

Last week, J.K. Rowling, author of the bestselling Harry Potter book series, published a lengthy essay on her website about why she opposes the transgender agenda and refuses to “bow down” to it despite public pressure to surrender.


  bill c-8, child abuse, conversion therapy, free speech, freedom of association, homosexuality, justin trudeau, parental rights, propaganda, transgenderism

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