By Jonathon Van Maren
In the wake of the economic crisis caused by COVID-19 and the government response to the pandemic, you’d think that there was less money for ideological pet projects. Where the Ontario government is concerned, you’d be wrong.
According to a recent announcement from the government, it is investing “more than $800,000 to develop new services and supports that respond to the distinct needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, Two Spirit and queer (LGBT2SQ) children, youth and families in the child welfare system.” To facilitate this, the money — nearly a million dollars in taxpayer cash — is being given to the Ontario Association of Children’s Aid Societies.
Specifically, this money is intended to assist in rolling out “initiatives such as trips to inclusive and gender affirming camps for youths and expanded training for society staff that will help LGBT2SQ children and youth feel accepted and remain connected to their communities.” The Ontario government was sure to point out that this new funding was announced on the International Transgender Day of Visibility, which was founded in 2009 by a transgender activist but is now ritually recognized by world leaders from the president of the United States on down.
Jane McKenna, the Progressive Conservative Associate Minister of Children and Women’s Issues, hailed the decision as a testimony to the inclusive attitude of the Doug Ford government. “Our government recognizes more needs to be done to improve outcomes for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, Two Spirit and queer children and youth in our child welfare system,” she stated. “This investment will help develop new services and supports to respond to the specific needs of LGBT2SQ children and youth in care.” One of the key goals of the funding is to help “societies build relationships with local LGBT2SQ communities and organizations,” as if that were lacking these days.
Additionally, the Ministry of Children, Community, and Social Services noted that they support the Youth-in-Transition Worker program in providing “inclusive and gender-affirming resources and supports.” Gender-affirming, of course, means affirming whatever gender identity the child happens to choose, possibly putting them on the path to puberty blockers and sex change surgeries. This is not new— children’s aid societies in Ontario are already “required to take a child’s identity characteristics, including their sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression into account when making decisions that might affect their interests.”