The Lacombe and Ponoka pride communities have responded to the provincial government’s youth gender-identity policy.  

Last Thursday, (Feb. 1) Premier Danielle Smith announced a new policy that included restrictions to gender-affirming surgeries, puberty blockers and hormone therapy for children 15 and younger, and parental notification if a student changes their name or pronouns in school. 

Jonathan Luscombe, Director and Founder of The Lacombe Pride Society said the policies will only divide the province further. 

“These policies are extremely harmful to the well-being of some of our most vulnerable populations in Alberta,” they said.  

Luscombe explained that pride organizations working with at-risk youth across the province were not consulted before the announcement, and if asked, would have expressed how the policies will impact the mental stability of the queer community.  

“When governments move forward with these decisions, not consulting with doctors, queer organizations, or even trans youth, it is terrifying for the queer community to watch as it unfolds,” they said. 

Luscombe fears that restrictions on transgender and nonbinary children and adolescents receiving gender-affirming care could create higher rates of mental illness among queer youth. 

“Gender-affirming care is meant to find the best path forward in finding solutions that work best for each person, ensuring they are getting the necessary care that they will need to feel authentically themselves,” they said. 

Going forward, Luscombe will continue to share information, and through their work, is hopeful that youth impacted by the policy can live as their authentic selves without fear. 

“Queer people will always exist and will always be here, we aren't going anywhere, and we deserve to have our voices heard and reflected by the government,” they said.