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Backlash Follows New Brunswick Premier’s Attempt to Allow Deadnaming


[As a leader of her high school’s gender and sexuality alliance, Emmanuelle Jackson sees the transformative impact of Policy 713 on students’ lives. This policy, implemented in the province of New Brunswick in 2020, requires teachers to use students’ preferred names and pronouns, eliminating deadnaming and misgendering. Jackson, a 20-year-old university student and aspiring teacher, believes that this policy is essential for creating a safe and supportive environment for students. However, New Brunswick’s conservative premier has recently made changes to Policy 713, including a controversial provision that prohibits teachers from using students’ chosen names and pronouns without parental consent if they are under 16. This decision has sparked opposition from LGBTQ students, advocates, civil liberties groups, and even members of the premier’s own conservative party. Students have taken action, staging walkouts, while cabinet ministers have resigned and others are seeking to remove the premier from power. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has also expressed his disagreement with the changes, stating that trans kids should feel safe and not targeted by politicians. In the United States, similar debates over LGBTQ rights are happening, with legislation limiting the teaching of gender identity in schools. LGBTQ advocates believe that the spread of the anti-trans movement in the U.S. is influencing opponents in Canada. The motivations behind the revision of Policy 713 are subject to debate, with the premier claiming that he received numerous complaints from parents. However, the province’s child and youth advocate found that only three complaints were received, none of which came from students or teachers. Critics argue that the threat to parents’ rights is exaggerated and that the changes to the policy are harmful to trans and nonbinary students. The political controversy surrounding these changes reflects broader discontent with the premier’s leadership style and decision-making. A motion has been passed to conduct further consultations on Policy 713, but in the meantime, uncertainty and concern persist among students and their advocates.


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