2017: Evangelical Christians vs. a
Protection Law in Ontario, Canada
An updated law in Ontario, Canada:
The Government of Ontario has updated its 1985 child protection law that affects all parents, children, and families.
However, strong opposition to the new law has mainly come from religious conservatives and concerns a small percentage of children and youth who are -- or will eventually recognize that they are -- lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender/transsexual (LGBT)
A brief review of transgender and other LGBT persons for those unfamiliar with the topic:
Most transgender persons are registered at birth as being either male or female, but identify as the opposite gender later in life -- often as early as three years of age. Most transgender children switch their gender identity back to their biological gender before puberty. However, some continue as transgender for the rest of their life. The reason for changing or retaining their gender identity is unknown. However, it is definitely not the person's choice. Meanwhile, a minority of transgender persons identify as being neither male nor female, or of an intermediate gender or as switching between the two genders from time to time.
The term "transsexual" is sometimes used as a synonym for "transgender." Other times it used to refer to a transgender person who has undergone gender reassignment surgery (a.k.a. gender confirmation surgery, gender reassignment surgery, sex change surgery) and/or who presents them self continuously according to their current gender identity. The term seems to be rarely used now.
The conflict between the design of their body, their birth-identified gender, and their current gender identity generally causes them extreme anxiety. About 0.6% of adults are transgender. About 40% of transgender persons attempt suicide at least once during their lifetime. Sadly, some succeed.
LGBT youth total about 10% of the total population but constitute about 40% of homeless youth; many have been kicked to the curb by their parents.
63% of transgender persons have experienced discrimination that had a serious impact on their life. 78% of transgender youth experience harassment at school. 90% of transgender adults experience harassment at work. 1
Transgender persons often describe themselves as having a female brain trapped in a male body, or vice-versa. Medical research has shown that this is literally true, because human brains contain structures that are either male or female in size and neuron density. MTF transgender persons -- those identified as male at birth and now identify as female -- have female structures in their brain, FTM transgender persons -- those identified as female at birth and now identify as male -- have male structures in their brain. However, most religious and social conservatives believe that transgender children, youth and adults are merely "gender confused" and need counseling.
Immediately after the U.S. Supreme Court legalized gay marriage across the U.S. in mid-2015, many conservative groups switched their anti-homosexual efforts to attacking transgender individuals. This has caused some conservative states to pass "bathroom laws" that forbid transgender persons from using public washrooms that correspond to their gender identity. It has also generated laws in some liberal states that ban counseling of transgender minors in an attempt to reverse their gender identity.
2017: The Ontario Legislature in Canada replaced its child welfare law with a new law that has implication for all LGBT children:
Ontario is a province of Canada that lies North of -- and shares an international border with -- U.S. the states of New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, and Wisconsin. It is the province with the second largest area, and has the largest population of any province or territory in Canada. Toronto is the province's capital.
Bill 89, "Supporting Children, Youth and Families Act, 2017" was introduced to the Ontario Legislature by the Hon. M. Coteau,
Minister of Children and Youth Services, on 2016-DEC. It was passed by the Legislature by a vote of 63 to 23. It became law on 2017-JUN-01, as Chapter 14 of the Statutes of Ontario, 2017. It replaced the former child protection act that was passed in 1985. 2,3 Its overall stated purpose is:
"to promote the best interests, protection and well-being of children."
Additional purposes of the Act have been expanded from the previous version to include the following:
"To recognize that services to children and young persons should be provided in a manner that respects regional differences wherever possible and takes into account:
- physical, emotional, spiritual, mental and developmental needs and differences among children and young persons;
- a child’s or young person’s race, ancestry, place of origin, colour, ethnic origin, citizenship, family diversity, disability, creed, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression; and
- a child’s or young person’s cultural and linguistic needs.
To recognize that services to children and young persons and their families should be provided in a manner that builds on the strengths of the families wherever possible."
(We have slightly changed the format of the above quotation for clarity. Emphasis is by us.)
The previous versions of the act included reference to the child or youth's "religion." Instead, the new version refers to "creed" which includes religion. Some formal definitions of the word "religion" only refer to those belief systems that include belief in the existence of one or more deities. So, for example, many consider Atheism and Agnosticism to not be religions. Others consider Wicca and other forms of Neo paganism to be magic, occult, or pagan practices, and not actual religions. Presumably the term "creed" will be interpreted as an all-inclusive term.
The new wording also includes:
"... a new statement of rights of children and young persons. ... [This includes] their right to express their own views freely and safely, to be engaged through honest and respectful dialogue, to have their views given due weight in accordance with their age and maturity and to be informed, in language suitable to their understanding, of their rights and of the existence and role of, and how to contact, the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth.
In some instances, the child's sexual orientation will be homosexual or bisexual. Their gender identity and/or gender expression may be different from their biological gender as identified at birth on their birth certificate. Requiring child protection agencies to take into account the child's sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression raises the possibility of a major conflict between the child and her or his parent(s):
- The parent may feel that their transgender child is only "gender confused" and needs counseling. Most therapists believe that such counseling is dangerous and ineffective. In view of the high rate of suicide attempts among transgender persons, extreme care needs to be taken. In some extreme cases, this might necessitate removing the child from the family. Such drastic act would be permitted under the new act, where a child-care worker feels that it is needed.
- The parent might sincerely believe that youths choose their sexual orientation at puberty, and that God sends all sexually active homosexuals to Hell after death. Some people interpret the approximately six "clobber passages" in the Bible as condemning all same-gender sexual behavior. They might want to make their child attend reparative therapy in an attempt to change their sexual orientation to heterosexual. Such counseling is believed by most therapists to be dangerous and ineffective. Again, a child protective services worker might conclude, in extreme cases, that the child would be harmed if they continued to remain in their family of origin.
Some conservative religious and social groups view this act as an attack on the rights of parents to best guide the spiritual and emotional growth of their children.
Statement by the Government of Ontario's newsroom:
Under "Quick Facts," the statement says:
- "The province will establish a working group of experts from the child welfare, residential services and mental health sectors to help the government implement the proposed legislation.
- The government’s plan to reform the child welfare system is consistent with Katelynn’s Principle, which states that children should be at the centre of decision-making in the child welfare system. This principle was created after the tragic murder of seven-year-old Katelynn Sampson." 4
The statement also contains positive comments from Michael Coteau, the Minister of Children and Youth Services, as well as
representatives from Covenant House Toronto, Ontario Association of Children’s Aid Societies, and Métis Nation Ontario. 5
Negative reactions to the new law:
- Thomas D. Williams at a conservative news source Breibart published an article titled: "New Ontario Law Enables Gov’t to Seize Children from Parents Opposing Gender Transition." He quotes a statement made earlier in 2017 by Michael Coteau, the Minister of Children and Youth Services, who said that a parent’s failure to recognize and support a child’s gender self-identification is a form of child abuse. Coteau said:
"I would consider that a form of abuse, when a child identifies one way and a caregiver is saying no, you need to do this differently. If it’s abuse, and if it’s within the definition, a child can be removed from that environment and placed into protection where the abuse stops." 6
Williams noted that:
"The former law stated that the parent of a child in care has the right 'to direct the child’s education and religious upbringing.' The new law has removed that consideration, saying parents can direct the child’s education and upbringing 'in accordance with the child’s or young person’s creed, community identity and cultural identity'."
Williams referred to Jack Fonseca, senior political strategist for Campaign Life Coalition, a pro-life/anti-abortion group, who said:
"With the passage of Bill 89, we’ve entered an era of totalitarian power by the state, such as never witnessed before in Canada’s history. Make no mistake, Bill 89 is a grave threat to Christians and all people of faith who have children, or who hope to grow their family through adoption." 6
Some readers of the Breibart article posted comments that were much less reserved than Williams':
- "Be Still" posted: "The world has gone mad. Completely mad."
- "Where's the Beef" posted: "The state puts the idiotic idea in your child's head with their activist driven sex Ed curriculum, ... then makes its illegal for the parents to counter it. ... it's insanity on steroids! These progressives are morons!!"
- "Pigressives [sic] Suck" posted: "Canada has truly passed into fascist Nazi territory and should be treated as the enemy by the American people. Clearly some of these Canadian leaders should be held to account for their crimes against the people."
- "fird" posted: "Canadian citizens need to take charge, their Government is out of control and insane. If citizens do nothing, this travesty is but a start.
The notion that adolescent children should command their parents THAT THEY WILL support mutilation of the child .... Hell, might as well make the law that children run the house and tell parents what to do. That is the definition of INSANE.
PARENTS raise CHILDREN, not CHILDREN raise PARENTS."
- The main author of this web site was moved to post the following comment to the Breibart article under the pseudonym ocrtol:
"Ultimately, biological gender is defined according to the person's sex chromosomes -- typically XX and XY -- in every cell of a person's body. But just as some newborns have "lady parts" and other newborns have "gentlemen parts" in their genital areas, people also have either a male or female brain. Researchers have discovered structures in the brain which come in either male or female types. A MTF transgender person -- identified as male at birth and who now identifies herself as female -- at an autopsy will be found to have a female brain. In the vast majority of people, their genital parts, sex chromosomes and brain structures are all of the same gender. So, being transgender is not being "gender confused" who can be straightened out via therapy. It is fixed and cannot be changed in adulthood." 6
I was somewhat surprised that my posting survived the Breibart censors. It triggered many comments from other readers -- all negative. One expressed a poor opinion of this essay, because of all of the spelling errors. I assume that was because the quotations in the essay used Canadian English spelling instead of U.S.
Williams also wrote in his article that a Christian couple filed a lawsuit:
"... against Hamilton Children’s Aid Society after two foster children were removed from their care because they refused tell the children that the Easter bunny is real.
'We have a no-lying policy,' said Derek Baars, one of the foster parents, as the motivation for disobeying a child support worker who ordered him and his wife to tell the two girls in their care, aged 3 and 4, that the Easter bunny is real.
'We explained to the agency that we are not prepared to tell the children a lie. If the children asked, we would not lie to them, but we wouldn’t bring it up ourselves,' Baars said."
The main author of this web site was moved to post a second comment to the Breibart article:
"The executive director of the Hamilton Children's Aid Society commented that:
"To say that they disagree with the Easter Bunny and we closed them in retaliation is absolutely false."
See a reliable news source: https://www.theglobeandmail.com/"
- Lianne Laurence, wrote an article for another conservative/pro-life news site: Life Site News. It was titled: "Ontario passes ‘totalitarian’ bill allowing gov’t to take kids from Christian homes." She said:
"Pro-family advocates warn Bill 89 gives the state more power to seize children from families that oppose the LGBTQI and gender ideology agenda, and allows government agencies to effectively ban couples who disagree with that agenda from fostering or adopting children. ..."
'Disappointed as I am with this result, I am not surprised,' commented Tanya Granic Allen, president of Parents As First Educators (PAFE). 'The Kathleen Wynne Liberals have for years been pursuing their anti-parent and anti-family agenda and Bill 89 is the latest installment." 7
Campaign Life Coalition (CLC) is a pro-life, anti-LGBT group. They are a conservative Christian group that describes themselves as:
"... the premiere advocate for legal and cultural change in Canada with respect to protecting human life and the family." 8
Laurence quoted Jack Fonseca, senior political strategist for Campaign Life Coalition. ... [who said]:
"Children’s Aid agencies now have 'a type of police power to bust down your door, and seize your biological children if you are known to oppose LGBT ideology and the fraudulent theory of ‘gender identity', if for instance, some claim is made that your child may be same-sex attracted or confused about their 'gender'. ... We already see similar tyranny happening in other jurisdictions, such as Norway, where the main child protection service there, Barnevernet, has been involved in numerous high profile seizures of children from traditionally-principled families. ..."
"Even before Bill 89 was passed, but immediately after its introduction in December, I learned of several Christian couples who were turned down for adoption on account of their deeply held religious beliefs about traditional marriage and human sexuality.
[This reveals the] stunning hypocrisy and anti-Christian bigotry [of the left]" 7
- Geoffrey Grider, writing for a web site with the ominous title "Now The End Begins" 9 said:
"While 'gender identity' and 'gender expression' are included in the new legislation as important factors to be considered in determining 'the best interests of the child,' the religious faith in which the parents are raising the child -- [that was] present in former laws -- has been removed from consideration for assessing the child’s best interests." 10
2017-JUL: Campaign Life Coalition 8 attacks transgender policies of some Canadian schools:
Since 2013, the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) has had a policy in place to protect transgender students. In their document: "TDSB Guidelines for the Accommodation of Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming Students and Staff" the TDSB state:
"... some transgender and gender non-conforming students are not open about their identity at home for safety or other reasons. A school should never disclose a student’s gender non-conformity or transgender status to the student’s parent(s)/guardian(s)/caregiver(s) without the student’s explicit prior consent. This is true regardless of the age of the student." 11
The Greater Essex County District School Board, Thames Valley District School Board, Upper Grand District School Board, Waterloo Region District School Board, and probably other boards in Ontario have similar policies.
Such policies will protect the safety of those transgender students who feel sufficiently secure to reveal their gender identity within the accepting environment of their public or high school, but who fear attacks at home if their parents find out that they are trans. Being transgender typically generates intense internal conflicts within a child, youth or adult. Their attempted suicide rate is generally acknowledged as being about 40%.
CLC created a petition that they plan to present to school board trustees condemning this type of student protection policy that. The petition says, in part:
"This is an outrageous annexation of parental authority by a school bureaucracy. It violates our parental rights, both under the constitution and natural law. And it harms children.
When the education bureaucracy imposes its radical sexual ideology on children, without the involvement or consent of parents, it is likely to produce psychological, emotional and physical harms to children, including an increased risk for depression and suicide. ..."
I demand that elected trustees, who are entrusted to represent parents, take action immediately to retract this policy if it exists in their school board, and to enact a new policy that enshrines a positive right for parents to be informed of any suspected gender identity confusion in their children."
Like many other conservative Christian groups, the CLC regards transgender persons as being "gender confused" and in need of therapy and counseling. They feel that a trans person's biological sex as defined on their birth certificate is their true, fixed gender throughout their life.
The petition was posted on the CLC's website on 2017-JUL-12. During the first week it received 158 signatures from visitors to their site. 12 A year and a half later, it had received 1,133 signatures. Their goal was 2,000.
The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above
essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.
- These data are from a graphic displayed by the New Jersey Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America at: http://www.njsynod.org/ and elsewhere.
- "Bill 89, Supporting Children, Youth and Families Act, 2017," Legislative Assembly of Ontario, at: http://www.ontla.on.ca/
- The text of the bill is in PDF format and can be downloaded at: http://www.ontla.on.ca/
- "Sad lessons from Katelynn Sampson's murder," The Toronto Star, 2015-NOV-19, at: https://www.thestar.com/
- "Ontario Strengthening Child Welfare, Improving Outcomes for Youth. Province Increasing Accountability and Child-Centred Care," Newsroom, Government of Ontario, 2016-DEC-08, at:
- Thomas D. Williams, "New Ontario Law Enables Gov’t to Seize Children from Parents Opposing Gender Transition," Breibart, 2017-JUN-06, at: http://www.breitbart.com/
- Lianne Laurence, "Ontario passes ‘totalitarian’ bill allowing gov’t to take kids from Christian homes," Life Site News, 2017-JUN-01, at: https://www.lifesitenews.com/
- Campaign Life Coalition's home page is at: https://www.campaignlifecoalition.com
- "Now The End Begins' (NTEB) web site is at: http://www.nowtheendbegins.com/
- Geoffrey Grider, "Canada Passes Bill 89 Allowing Government To Seize Children From Parents Opposed To Gender Transition," Now The End Begins, 2017-JUN-06, at: http://www.nowtheendbegins.com/
- "Parental Rights Under Attack, Being Stripped Away in Canada," Christian Patriot Daily, undated, at: http://christianpatriotdaily.com/
- "Petition: Stop the subversion of parental authority! Don’t let schools hide “gender transitioning” from parents," Campaign Life Coalition, 2017-JUN-06, at: http://www.campaignlifecoalition.com/
The following essays may be of interest to you:
Lesbian, and Gay individuals
How you may have landed up here:
Copyright © 2017-9, Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Author: B.A. Robinson
Originally posted on: 2017-JUN-14
Latest update: 2019-JAN-11