Anti-2SLGBTQ+ rhetoric in politics

The race to assemble CPC supporters by perpetuating division

A reality for many queer people across the globe is that the support of their existence by elected officials is not a constant. The right to exist, to be who you are within greater society, is a privilege that most have; it is so unconscious that it is not doubted nor second guessed. However, modern-day political discourse is riddled with anti-2SLGBTQ+ rhetoric, denying affirming care, shaming and ridiculing young people who are queer, and rejecting the fact that trans people should be allowed to exist. Common American reactionary politics have seeped into Canada’s conservatives with the issue of trans rights. The Conservatives have now shifted to “protecting women’s rights,” according to a new resolution by the Tories. Yet, the means of protecting women’s rights seems to come at the cost of excluding and alienating trans women from public spaces. As Pierre Poilievre deems himself ‘common-sense,’ his lean into anti-2SLGBTQ++ rhetoric causes far more harm than any good.

When asked about transgender issues, like allowing those who self-identify as women to use public washrooms or changing facilities, Poilievre said that “female spaces should be exclusively for females, not for biological males… female sports, female change rooms, female bathrooms should be for females.” Danielle Smith, the Albertan premier, introduced an array of anti-2SLGQBT+ legislation in February 2024, including requiring parents to ‘opt-in’ rather than ‘opt-out’ for sexuality or gender identity lessons within schools. In addition, not unlike previous legislation introduced in New Brunswick, parental or guardian consent would be required to alter any name for a student who is under 15 years old. Poilievre supported Smith in these new requirements, stating that the Liberal party, and especially Trudeau, are perpetuating misinformation about Smith’s new policies to demonize Conservatives. These policies and talking points have been on the rise among Conservatives in Canada; although a poll by the Angus Reid Institute shows that 71 percent of Canadians believe that transgender people face discrimination in their daily lives. Yet, this past September, 87 percent of the Conservative Party of Canada (CPC) delegates voted in favour of a plan which designates “female-only spaces” for those who are assigned female at birth. 

The truth is that there are no master plans by educators, medical professionals, and social workers to ‘recruit’ children to become 2SLGBTQ+. Yet, there is a new concept of gender being pushed by the CPC: the binary, with little to no exceptions. Although many Conservative politicians represent queer Canadians, it seems as if it may be easier to push division and reactionary talking points to illicit support than to expand the horizons of the Conservative party to allow queer youth to feel free in public institutions to explore who they are. The reality is that no matter what policies or ideas the CPC supports; there will always be 2SLGBTQ+ youth in Canada. These youth will grow up to be queer adults who will remember how elected officials denied their existence and made existing as a queer youth difficult. Moreover, the effects of policies and rhetoric like this is that it perpetuates a myth that demonizes trans women, making them seem inherently malicious and out to get other women in public spaces. There are no winners when these types of policies are pushed. Although Poilievre claims they restore rights to parents and ensures neutrality in public institutions, obscuring and hindering the rights of a vulnerable group is counterintuitive.

Gabriel Theriault – Argosy Illustrator


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