Hundreds rally in Regina against new Saskatchewan pronoun policy

Trillian Reynoldson/Regina Leader-Post. Community Organizer Cat Haines speaking to a crowd of people in front of the Saskatchewan Legislative Building on Saturday.

Rallies against the province’s new pronoun policy continued on Saturday, with hundreds of people gathering in Regina.

Trillian Reynoldson, Regina Leader-Post

Rallies against Saskatchewan’s new pronoun policy continued on the weekend, with hundreds of people gathering at the Saskatchewan Legislative Building in Regina on Saturday.

The government of Saskatchewan announced parental inclusion and consent policies last month. Now students under the age of 16 must get consent from a parent or guardian to change their preferred name and pronouns. Since then, protests have been held in Saskatoon, Moose Jaw, and Prince Albert.

Show Up For Saskatchewan’s Trans Youth — a collective of trans and queer activists, advocates and educators — organized Saturday’s rally in Regina to call on the province to rescind its new policy. In a statement, the collective condemned the policy, calling it “violently anti-trans and anti-youth.”

Speakers at the event included educators, community members, community-based organizations, and trans youth who said they were affected by the policy.

Brendan Dickie, an educator and member of the Show Up For Saskatchewan’s Trans Youth collective, said the policy was developed “without consultation from communities of parents, students, educators, or subject matter experts, and goes against evidence-based best practices.”

‘Shocked, concerned, scared’

Executive Director of UR Pride, Ariana Giroux said she has been fighting for trans rights in the province for nearly a decade. When the policy was first announced she was “shocked, concerned and scared.”

“I was worried about not only my well-being but especially the well-being of the youth in our youth group,” she said.

“When I saw the protest being organized, I said to myself I will do literally anything to make sure I am there, and making sure that trans kids are safe.”

Giroux describes herself as a disabled, neurodivergent trans woman. She grew up in Regina, and has been out as trans for over 10 years.

“I didn’t have a supportive community at school, at home, among friends, in my faith community, you name it,”

“I spent my entire adolescence fearing homelessness, and not having a supportive place to go.”

Giroux was happy with the Rally’s turnout, and feels motivated after hearing from the speakers.

“When we first started getting organized we were thinking maybe there would be 100 or 200 people tops, to see this community reaction just gives me hope. It’s beautiful to see, and it fills me with so much joy,” she said.

“I think this shows the government that their polls … do not represent our community, that the population of Saskatchewan does not support this bill.”

She added the province needs to “stand behind trans and queer youth, instead of dividing the province for voters.”

SUBHEADLINE: Standing in solidarity

Alejandra Cabrera, Education Coordinator for Planned Parenthood Regina (PPR), said she and her colleagues stand in solidarity with their trans and non-binary neighbours, regardless of age.

“Me and my colleagues at PPR commit to protecting trans and non-binary youth, and me and my colleagues will not stop until we live in a world that celebrates healthy sexuality in all its diversity of expression, and for people of all genders.”

Community organizer Cat Haines said it was great to see Saskatchewan show up for two-spirit and trans youth at the rally.

“We always hope that the minister and the Sask Party will listen when there are big demonstrations like this. The best case scenario would be they rescind the policy and apologize,” she said.

“We don’t expect that to happen, I think a big part of what this rally was meant to show was unequivocal support for trans and two-spirit youth in our province.”

Her favourite part of the event was hearing the youth talk about their experiences and perceptions of the new policy.

The Government of Saskatchewan responded to recent protests in the province, saying they are committed to implementing it.

“Parents and guardians have an important role in protecting and supporting their children as they grow and develop.”