Hundreds of people stood under a hot sun and hazy blue sky to rally at the Saskatchewan Legislature to protest the Government’s recent pronoun policy.
People from the gender and sexually diverse community, as well as parents, teachers, and allies, stood together in front of the legislature to show their disapproval of the new policy.
The protest comes after the Government announced that students under 16 must get consent from a parent or guardian to change their preferred name and pronouns.
Ariana Grioux, the executive director of UR Pride, said she was shocked by the announcement at first.
“I was concerned, I was scared,” she stated. “I was worried about not only my well-being but especially the well-being of the youth in our youth group.”
Giroux said that seeing the community’s reaction to the protest gives her hope.
“That’s one of the beautiful things about an action like this. It reminds us all that we are not alone and that we can win this fight. That we will project trans kids,” she said. “I hope this shows the government that they need to stand behind trans and queer people, trans and queer youth, instead of dividing the province for voters.”
UR Pride not only took to the protest over the weekend to fight the policy but has also filed an originating application in the Saskatchewan Court of King’s Bench requesting a judge strike down the changes.
Giroux said while they are busy fighting in the courts, she says there is plenty residents can do.
“I’ve been telling everybody, do what you can, write to your MLA. Make your voice heard,” she said. “Now is the time to get mad; now is the time to get out there and take action.”
Damara Juneau originally started the idea for the rally.
“It stemmed from just a strong moment of anger towards this policy,” she said. “I used to be a teacher in southeast Saskatchewan, and I just knew how harmful this was going to be for the youth I taught previously.”
She says she never expected to see many people share her frustration about the policy.
“This is more than I could have ever expected. It was so nice to see all the people show up today for trans youth in Saskatchewan.”
Juneau feels that this new policy is dangerous for the province’s youth.
“We’re going to see an increase in suicide and mental health decline. We’re going to see increased homelessness for youth. I think it’s so dangerous to have a policy like this in place,” she said. “We need to be there for our youth and make sure that they are safe.”
It’s more important to have a safe space for trans kids and than to have them feel like they’re better off dead than to be here as who they are and who they’re meant to be,” she stated.
As a former teacher, Juneau said she had many students with preferred names and pronouns who didn’t want to tell her parents.
“I’ve had students say that they have pronounces that they would like to share with me that they don’t feel comfortable sharing at home, and I’ve been able to honour that.”
Juneau added that she hopes that the Government will listen to the protest and what those in the gender and sexually diverse community are saying.
The rally in Regina follows hundreds of people protesting the new policy in Saskatoon last week.