Dec 11th, 2019
Barbara Kay, The Post Millennial, December 10th, 2019
Six months ago I reported a story about an Ontario couple, Pamela and Jason Buffone, whose daughter, “N,” suffered so much distress in her Grade One classes on gender fluidity that her parents eventually enrolled her in another school. A bright and impressionable child, N informed her parents that her teacher had told the class that “Girls are not real and boys are not real.”
The teacher meant, of course, that biology is not an indicator of a child’s gender identity, a concept N was too cognitively immature to grasp at age six, and so found very frightening.
The Buffones were perturbed by the uniform commitment to the teaching of controversial gender theories to young children that they found when they took their objections, first to the school principal and then up the chain to the Superintendent of schools for their district. While sympathy was expressed for N’s confusion and anxiety, which persisted until her parents removed her from the school, approval for the program of instruction in gender fluidity remained firm in every rank.
Most parents would have let the matter drop once their own child’s troubles were over. But the Buffones looked at their daughter’s experiences through the larger lens of a changing culture and took their concern to the next level. Following Doug Ford’s Progressive Conservative Party victory in June 2018, they filed a complaint with the Ontario College of Teachers (OCT). That was dismissed, although an OCT representative conceded that the curriculum is based on ideology.
Then they filed an application before the Human rights Tribunal of Ontario (HRTO) against the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board on behalf of their daughter, citing “discrimination on the basis of gender and gender identity in contravention of the Human Rights Code.”
That complaint is now in progress. From the materials I have seen, the School Board is taking the line that the gender-identity law only offers protection to those who are historically disadvantaged. Basically, they’re saying it’s too bad if N was distressed by the lesson plans, but the school’s greater obligation to ensure that dysphoric kids feel included.
From the Buffones’ point of view, inclusion for gender-dysphoric children seemed to require the deliberate erosion of N’s comfort and security in her normative gender identity as a girl—and nothing but a girl. This complaint will uncover whether the HRTO believes that all children’s gender identity rights are protect under Bill 33 (“Toby’s Act”), as its wording would imply, or whether some identities are to be considered more equal than others.
Sometimes a life experience galvanizes people into unexpected activism. It’s a bonus if that person is intelligent, highly organized and familiar with effective methods of communication. This has been the case for Pamela Buffone. Out of frustration at the stonewalling she and her husband received, she decided to take the only kind of action a concerned citizen with no official power can.
Buffone first educated herself on the subject of gender identity: the theories behind it, the proliferating affirmation movement, and the effects of puberty blockers on children. She reached out to other concerned parents and dissidents in the professions most directly involved in the treatment of gender dysphoria. She started to write blog posts based on her experience. With allies, Buffone founded an excellent site, for which she is the publisher, the Canadian Gender Report (CGR).
In the CGR’s “About Us” section, it says, “We are a group of parents and professionals concerned about the medicalization of identity and the lack of open discussion on issues that are affecting Canadian families and children.”
The CGR takes on some of the more pressing issues surrounding the explosion of gender-identity “contagion” all over the western world. It offers reliable science-based information on sex and gender and asks important questions, such as why gay and autistic kids are so radically over-represented in the rush to transition.
It offers news on what is happening in this arena, here and abroad, such as a national inquiry into the safety and ethics of transgender medicine presently under way in Australia, conducted by the Royal Australasian College of Physicians. It also provides a window into the under-studied area of detransitioning, a phenomenon that activists work hard to suppress knowledge of (usually successfully).
Just to give you an idea of why the CGR is so valuable: In a Dec 3 post, the Report assesses the recently announced Trans Youth Can! observational study of youth referred for blockers or hormones at ten clinics in Canada, funded with a grant from the Canadian Institutes of Health research. It will collect data over a two-year period on about 300 Canadian youth under 16 years of age.
On the surface, it seems very bona fide. But the Report finds issues of concern. You can read their critique here. What leaped out at me was the fact that the research team is closely affiliated with Trans Pulse Canada, an organization that requires its board of directors to be majority trans. The CGR notes that Dr. Greta Bauer “is the research director of both the Trans Pulse survey of the trans community in Canada which has been credited with changing legislation and policy in Canada and this Trans Youth Can! study of youth referred for puberty blockers and hormone treatment.” Knowing this, I am skeptical that the study will produce an objective portrayal of the situation.
Indeed, objectivity on the skyrocketing demand for professional services for presumed gender dysphoria is hard to come by at all. The average parent who wants to serve their child’s gender interests, but also wants the most conservative possible process before arriving at affirmation, find themselves stymied when it seems that at every turn—whether it is teachers, social workers, psychologists or medical practitioners—everyone they consult is encouraging pro-active affirmation as a best practice, and any hesitancy to affirm a potential risk factor for the child’s mental health.
That is precisely why the CGR is so valuable as a resource for them. Readers often tell me they want to push back against the ideological excesses of the trans movement, but feel helpless to make a difference. Educating themselves through CGR posts and links and promoting CGR through their networks is an excellent beginning. For parents of young children being exposed to what parents consider age-inappropriate material, I particularly recommend CGR’s “Resources” section.
Here you will find links to other organizations working to bring responsibility and scientific integrity to the trans discussion; a Youtube channel offering interviews and insights on detransitioning; a support group and blog for parents of children with Rapid Onset Gender Dysphoria (ROGD); a U.K. group fighting for the protection of women’s rights in sports; and a link to gender-critical activist Meghan Murphy’s website, Feminist Current.
Also in this section, one finds access to the perspectives of seasoned, non-ideological medical professionals and therapists in this field. Their prudence, rationality and wisdom will act as a welcome balm to the anguished souls of parents caught up in this tangled web, who feel surrounded by trans activist bullies in their search for knowledge and disinterested advice.
I recommend this site to them, and to all Canadians seeking objective information and enlightenment on a culturally transformative, hypothesis-based experiment, in which our children and grandchildren are an unwitting and involuntary test group.
Barbara Kay serves on the Board of Directors of the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms (JCCF.ca) which represents the girl and parents referred to in this column.