The Penalty of Priceless Speech

Commentary, Culture Wars, Lee Harding

Usually, an article about public policy is what some leader or bureaucrat should do. But what happens when the law and the government are misguided? At that point, the “decision-maker” is simply a citizen who decides whether they will stand up or cower, whether they will speak up or remain silent.

Indulge me for a few moments and place yourself in the following scene. You’re a father and your recent divorce has been emotionally hard on your daughter, who has just entered puberty. She gets a crush on one male teacher who shuts her down. She gives a love note to another male teacher who will have no part of it. As a result, she is put in a different classroom. Then she goes to a school guidance counsellor. 

As the school year ends, you see her school yearbook and don’t find her name there. But you do see a picture of her with a male name. When you ask her about it, you find out that the school guidance counsellor told her that she was really a male trapped in a female body. And it’s thanks to this counsellor that she is going by this male name—all without you knowing.

This sounds crazy, but let’s keep going.

Between the guidance counsellor and subsequent referrals, your daughter is convinced to take puberty blockers and male hormones to transform her body into a male-like one. Alarmed, you file an injunction to stop it and start telling the media this unbelievable series of events.

Then it gets worse. A judge says that your child can give consent to hormones and a legal name change without you. And the legislation that empowers her is called the Infants Act! The judge even says if you refer to your child as a “she” or “her” or call her by the name you put on her birth certificate, it will be considered an act of domestic violence. The judge bans the media from talking to you and from naming any of the medical professionals who convinced your daughter to become a pseudo-son.

Now, you don’t need to snap out of your imagination to get back to reality. This nightmare actually is a reality—to a father in British Columbia and his daughter. We still can’t tell you his name, only that he loves his child too much to give up or to shut up. 

Recently, the dad found an ally in Laura Lynn Thompson. She decided this father had been given the wrong kind of “silent treatment.” She interviewed him for her YouTube channel and posted the video. That evening, Thompson received a legal letter demanding she take down the video in compliance with a publication ban.

“I wonder if health professionals were doing the right thing why we would have to hide their names?” Thompson asked the public in a subsequent video. “More than anything else, I’ve had to wrestle with myself, with my conscience, what I can live with. In the face of this travesty of justice, this assault on common sense, parental rights, and the absolute failure to protect a precious youth in our nation who has been used as a pawn . . . I have asked myself, ‘Am I going to bow to this establishment that wants all of this kept quiet?’”

Thompson decided to keep the video up, a decision that led her and the father into court. “I was shaking in front of this judge,” Thompson recalled. She told him about the explosive increase in gender identity referrals worldwide, how most teens with gender dysphoria lose it later, and how affirming dysphoria was hurting teens.

The Vancouver Sun reported, “There was loud applause in the public gallery after her comments, with the judge ordering people not to clap any more in the courtroom.”

And when the judge told the father he must not speak to the media, he replied, “I mean, the reason I do it, or did it, is because I am taking the best interests of my child at heart.”

The judge reaffirmed the publication ban and Thompson complied, taking down the video. She was ordered to pay court costs, albeit at a reduced amount, and counts her course of action worthwhile. 

Lawmakers and judges decide what they do. But what will we do? When our speech is no longer free we discover the price we’re willing to pay for it.

 

 

Lee Harding writes for the Frontier Centre for Public Policy.