"Let me begin by introducing myself. My name is Rita OLink. I am a 64-year-old transgender woman with grandchildren. I am with TG Innerselves, a Sudbury-based transgender support group, and I work with transgender people, especially children, throughout northeastern Ontario. What I am is not a choice or a lifestyle. This is who I am.
On Nov. 17, the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party passed a resolution that contains the following: it states gender identity theory is “a highly controversial, unscientific liberal ideology; as such, an Ontario PC government will remove the teaching and promotion of gender identity theory from Ontario schools and its curriculum.”
I am going to do my best to step away from the hurt and strong emotions this has invoked in me and I’ll try to address this in an objective way to show how wrong and dangerous this is.
Let’s start with the most alarming and fundamental flaw with their statement – “a highly controversial, unscientific liberal ideology.” It is beyond shocking this is still challenged, especially at the level of an important political party. We are a reality, not a theory. One might as well say the Earth is round as a theory without scientific merit.
Facts and truth matter. The plethora of scientific and medical peer-reviewed research and study has shown overwhelmingly that transgender identity is real and a normal aspect of the human experience. That fundamental question has been thoroughly investigated and settled. Yes, there are so called expert dissenters, but when their work is subjected to expert peer-review it is found to be false. So why is this party deliberately rejecting the established expert scientific and medical knowledge? It is dangerous to reject facts.
Next, let’s look at the part that says “liberal ideology.” Oh my, this is a glaring indicator of motive. Based on the paragraph above I say with certainty, what I am is reality; what you have chosen to believe is ideology. What we are is not ideology. This part of their statement demonstrates the tone, atmosphere and bias on which policy is going to be constructed. This is the ruling party and they have stated their intention of legislating based on unfounded bias.
Now for the last part, their intention to remove proper teaching about gender identity from the school system; their deliberate course of action has been fully stated. Imagine for a moment the effect of this on the thousands of transgender children in our provincial school systems.
This regression greatly increases the high risk for rejection, bullying, violence and suicide. Yes, suicide. The policy and action is designed to reject, demean and erase the transgender reality from our progressive society. This has an uncomfortable and uncanny resemblance to what is happening to our neighbours south of the border.
This resolution passed on the eve of the annual, international Transgender Day of Remembrance (Nov. 20). This important day was officially adopted and recognized by the Ontario government just last year to remember trans persons lost to violence. The focus is to reduce the levels of prejudice and ignorance that breeds the hate, and leads to violence and murder. So how does one describe this resolution?
I searched for words in the dictionary and found that the best description is bigotry. Have a look for yourself."