An 11-year-old Saskatchewan boy has taken to YouTube to voice his opinion on an Alberta mother’s rap song which criticized Alberta’s transgender guidelines for schools.
“I don’t support that,” Anthony James of Saskatoon said of the woman’s message. “We’re here to say that that message that that lady gave is incorrect.”
James was responding to M.H. Wiebe’s rap video “Gender Bender,” which equates being transgender with losing identity. Wiebe speculates that there are only a handful of children “who switch gender pretense” in Alberta, therefore it’s not an issue worth pursuing.
“Is this really, really such the issue, to focus and put our taxes into,” the lyrics of her song said.
In her rap, Wiebe encouraged “children of grace” to “seize the day” and speak up for children. So James did just that.
In a video posted to YouTube Tuesday, James—who said he’s not transgender himself but knows how it feels to be “out of place in an area of sex or gender”—asked Unitarians to send in messages of support for transgender people, particularly children.
“She hauls on religious people in her video. I don’t think that’s fair because religion… it was actually one of the first places that I was safe, where I can feel myself,” James said.
He wants to make sure all children feel safe and loved.
“If you haven’t felt a place where you feel loved, you have to keep looking because it’s out there somewhere for you. Don’t stop looking until you find a place where, in your heart, you feel safe and loved and accepted.”
After putting out the call, James received messages from Unitarians across Canada. James’ video shows dozens of pictures of men, women and children of all ages holding up messages of support.
“Transphobia is against my religion,” read one message.
“We are people of faith and we love you exactly as you are,” read another.
“You have the right to live and be who you are, not as someone else wishes you were. We stand with you,” read another.
James said his campaign to get more people to share their messages of support isn’t over; he hopes to extend it beyond the borders of Canada.
“I think it’s very dangerous, guys, to say to a bunch of Unitarians, Unitarians, speak up. Because we will,” he said.
“My name is Anthony James and I approve this message.”
Alberta’s education minister introduced the guidelines in January for school boards to follow regarding LGBTQ students, including what they can wear, what sports they can play and which washrooms they can use.
David Eggen said the guidelines follow up on a government promise made in November to help the province’s 61 school boards as they draft policies to keep LGBTQ students welcome and safe.
The drafts were to be submitted to the province for review by the end of March. Ninety-eight per cent of Alberta school boards submitted their plans by the deadline.