SASKATOON — The mayor of Saskatchewan’s largest city said he agrees with those who have asked the province to withdraw its proposed pronoun legislation.
Saskatoon Mayor Charlie Clark said the policy is divisive, causing many to choose between the rights of parents and the well-being of youth.
Clark said he has met with high school students who raised concerns about the proposed legislation.
He said the students told him some worry about how the bill will affect their safety and mental health.
The bill would prevent children under 16 from changing their names or pronouns at school without parental consent.
It contains the notwithstanding clause to override Charter rights and the Human Rights Code.
Clark said many experts have come forward highlighting the potential risks to youth who don’t receive consent.
“Hearing from these students who live in my city was powerful and concerning,” he said Wednesday on Facebook.
“The safety and well-being of youth must be paramount in any policy or legislation being considered, and requires more time and attention.”
The Saskatchewan Party government announced its pronoun policy in the summer.
Lawyers for UR Pride, a Regina LGBTQ organization, sought an injunction until a challenge could be heard in court later this year.
A judge granted the injunction at the end of September, prompting Premier Scott Moe to recall the legislature and table the bill.
Heather Kuttai resigned this week from her position as Saskatchewan’s human rights commissioner, calling the policy an attack on transgender and gender-diverse youth.
Saskatchewan child advocate Lisa Broda said in a September report the policy violates rights to gender identity and expression.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 18, 2023.
The Canadian Press