Meet the new Bishop

Same as the old Bishop.

“(Bishop Fred Henry) was a very bold bishop in terms of his statements. I’m sure that he has created controversy. I don’t think it’s for that purpose. I think he wants to be provocative, he wants to sort of allow people to understand the truth that might be at stake in some of these social issues,” said William McGrattan, 60.

Coming from Peterborough, McGrattan will be installed as Calgary’s eighth bishop at a mass Monday at St. Mary’s Cathedral, attended by 30 Canadian bishops, local priests and an expected crowd of about 1,000. He is taking the helm of a diocese that covers 79 parishes and missions, 317 Catholic schools and more than 400,000 parishioners who have been guided by the same faith leader for almost two decades.

Bishop Henry was a polarizing figure. Lauded for his work with the poor and on climate change, his conservative positions on same-sex marriage and gender identity were often at odds with those outside, and sometimes inside, the church. He spoke against students receiving the human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccine, encouraged the Catholic School District to abandon casinos as fundraisers and closed three aging churches in Lethbridge in favour of a 1,200-seat mega-church. 

Right, so the Catholic church’s previous representative in Calgary was a science denialist piece of shit who openly flouted Alberta’s human rights laws for the entirety of his tenure. And, as we’ve previously discussed, the current government has the unenviable position of discovering the extent of human rights abuses perpetrated by the Catholic church in this province and now has to deal with the prospect of reining them in or joining the Progressive Conservative’s legacy of tolerating the abuses.

None of this is surprising, particularly to Queer Catholic and ex-Catholic Albertans. So meet the new boss, same as the old boss:

“With regard to gay-straight alliance, even that very terminology creates a sense of what I would say not an agenda but is promoting a certain lifestyle. In Ontario, we call that respecting differences so that we allow young people to know there are differences and that we need to respect those without labelling them with those particular terms.”

Perhaps the most controversial issue in Alberta schools of late is the NDP government’s new guidelines to protect the rights of gay and transgender students and teachers.

Although new to the province, McGrattan did not sidestep the issue.

“I have found them to be a little more strident, a little more directive in terms of how they’re trying to promote this particular theory. And I refer back to that terminology. It is gender theory, it’s not truth and therefore I think we begin to organize our society and establish relationships based on a theory.”

“It’s not truth”?

And it makes you hope they’ll think the same thing about gravity, because then maybe they’ll just… float the fuck away.

–Tim Minchin


Torturing kids and tearing families apart, how very Christian of you

I’ve mentioned in passing before on this blag that children’s services and family court often collude to produce a living hell for trans people. We have yet another example of this in Illinois.

The parents of a young trans girl sought out medical care for their child’s type 1 diabetes and epilepsy at a faith-funded clinic called Advocate Hope Children Hospital. While both conditions have been confirmed by experts, the AHCH took it upon themselves to accuse the parents of child abuse because they were affirming their child’s gender. And, once again, it fucking worked–at least so far.

A lawyer representing the family told LGBTQ Nation this all started last month, with the parents trying to get medical help for their daughter, who has type 1 diabetes and epilepsy. Although they agreed to something called a “therapeutic separation,” the attorney confirmed the parents never signed any documents surrendering their parental rights or authorizing any treatment of her gender identity, and in fact have attempted to have her moved to another hospital.

But last week, the Illinois Department of Children and Families reversed an earlier decision to not get involved. DCFS took protective custody of Stevie on Monday, according to the family’s attorney, Rina Infelise. She told LGBTQ Nation in a phone interview Sunday evening that this kind of move requires a legal hearing, and so both the parents and DCFS are due in court this week to face a judge, who will decide Stevie’s fate.

A religious hospital fucking kidnaps a patient, and it’s the parents who are the abusive ones? Are you fucking kidding me?

I just wilt with impotent rage at these circumstances. Time and time again the experts have said that allowing children to explore and express their gender facilitates their health. Time and time again the courts have mandated gender policing despite its iatrogenic effects. When are these fucking dinosaurs in court going to catch the fuck up? How many god damn perfectly health and happy families are they going to torpedo while we wait for reality to sink in to these fuckers?

I hope the parents win their case. It’s days like these where I wish a just god did exist to smite these self-righteous assholes that do this to healthy families. I can’t fucking stand it. It’s scientifically illiterate, morally bankrupt, and all around a giant clusterfuck of wrong.


Institutionalizing gender roles

This topic would be more amusing to cover if it weren’t another example of trans kids having their lives ruined by trans-antagonistic parents.

In an ongoing parental custody dispute two Albertan judges have ordered that the child may not wear “feminine” clothes in public.

No, literally, I’m not making this up. Judges have decided to micromanage what clothes this child can or cannot wear.

What’s happening is the child, assigned male at birth, is questioning their gender. Their mother is supportive, indifferent to how her child chooses to express themselves as long as they are happy. Their father then told the courts that his child’s “gender confusion” was caused by the mother, and his tactic worked. The latest ruling gave primary custody to the father, who I assume is now forcing his child into a male gender role.

Smith and the child’s father are separated and share custody.

Smith says she told the father what had happened and about her decision to support their child. Weeks later he served her with papers seeking primary custody, blaming Smith for the child’s gender confusion and anxiety.

When the two went to family court in Medicine Hat in December, 2015, Judge D.G. Redman kept Smith as primary caregiver, but in his interim order, said the child will not be permitted to wear clearly female clothes in public, but if he chooses, he could do so in private.

Then earlier this year in February, the case went before Judge F.C. Fisher and in his interim order, he again stated the clothing restriction and granted primary custody to the father. Smith was given limited access.

By this past September, the interim clothing order was revised by a third provincial court judge. Judge G.K Krinke said after consulting with a parenting expert, the parents must provide both boy and girl clothing options and the child can then choose from those options.

Thankfully the third judge in this case has the sense to get the father to fuck off and let the kid decide for themselves. Hopefully the kid feels safe enough to persist in doing what they want concerning their gender expression, even if the father doesn’t like it. But that still leaves a nine month period where two judges felt perfectly justified to restrict what clothes a kid could legally wear, and more importantly it seems extremely unlikely the father will allow their child to seek our gender affirmative care in the event they do understand themselves to be transgender.

It cannot be understated how much I loathe it when parents weaponize their kid’s gender variance in custody battles. Dog above the mom better win. Thanks to Bill 7, she can submit a human rights complaint, and has.