The story of ‘Mary’ that the Children’s Hospital Foundation of Manitoba posted on X on Nov. 15 has drawn much criticism.
The Children’s Hospital Foundation of Manitoba sent out a social media post Nov. 15 highlighting the experience of “Mary,” aged 10, “who just wants to feel like a ‘real girl.'” The full account on the foundation’s website details the journey of Mary (a pseudonym) and the foundation’s preferred approach to gender change.
The story drew much criticism on the X social media platform. The original post was full of comments saying Mary is too young for gender-affirmation, with some positing Mary may be a boy who likes feminine things rather than a transgender girl.
Among the commenters were a couple of high-profile parents who have been vocal on the issue since their own children received gender-affirming care they felt to be inappropriate, including Shannon Boschy of Ottawa and January Littlejohn of Florida.
Billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk responded with one word: “Unconscionable.”
The foundation raises donor support for children treated for all kinds of health conditions at the Health Sciences Centre (HSC) Winnipeg Children’s Hospital. The Epoch Times reached out to the foundation and the hospital to see how they respond to such criticisms, and to ask for more details about how they administer gender-affirming treatments. They did not reply by deadline.
The foundation’s account of Mary’s experience starts by saying the child loves to dance, and magenta is Mary’s favourite colour. Mary started to feel like a girl at the age of seven. “Femininity—dresses, rainbows, and girl roles in games and on screen in Disney movies—felt like the only areas that truly aligned with her identity,” it says.
It quotes the child: “I just wanted my name to be female and I still want my body parts to be female.”
The child’s parents are called “heroes” for supporting Mary in changing genders, including helping Mary choose a new name. They told the foundation they saw signs of Mary being a girl at the age of five.
“Mary has some big concerns about her life ahead as a transgender female,” it continues. Those concerns include not being able to have a baby and how to tell future boyfriends about the gender change.
It seems from the post that the child is not yet receiving any physical treatments, aside from perhaps being encouraged to engage in the practice of “penis-tucking.”
The post says Mary is “eagerly anticipating the day her doctors allow her to take hormones that will aid her transition.” It suggests binding as a way to “alleviate the discomfort of being in the wrong body.”
The post also suggests guidance in social transitioning, and having a speech pathologist help change the sound of the child’s voice to that of the desired gender.
The post heavily cites research and advice from “Dr. Bhatla, a pediatric resident at HSC Children’s Hospital.” The Epoch Times could not find any information about a Dr. Bhatla at the hospital.
Dr. Bhatla’s research, it says, shows health-care systems have a “structural transphobia.” This is evident, it says, in gender-transitioning children being called by their old pronouns. It also says gender-affirming treatments are not accessible enough; for example, a child may spend two years on a waiting list.
The doctor “advocates for a healthcare system that is not just supportive but actively seeks to empower.”
The post places an emphasis on Mary being “healthiest” when living as a girl and that her parents are “focused on her being happy and healthy.”
It says pediatricians and the Gender Diversity Affirmation and Action for Youth (GDAAY) program at the hospital has worked with Mary.
The foundation has posted another account of a young person being treated through GDAAY. A teenager named Quinn is on hormone treatments, it says. GDAAY also provides consultation on surgeries.
The extent to which children can receive gender-changing surgeries and treatments has been much-debated internationally. Some U.S. states have passed laws prohibiting sex-change surgeries for minors.
Puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones can have various effects on children, including decreasing bone density, limiting growth, limiting fertility, and more, according to the Seattle Children’s Hospital, which includes the side-effects in its protocols that urge doctors to provide youth with “gender-affirming medical care.”
At the national Conservative Party convention in September, delegates voted to adopt a policy proposal banning sex-change procedures for minors.
The policy says that a future Conservative government would “protect children by prohibiting life altering medicinal or surgical interventions on minors under 18 to treat gender confusion or dysphoria, and encourage positive mental and physical health support for all Canadians suffering from gender dysphoria and related mental health challenges.”
The policy is non-binding and it will be up to Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre whether it is adopted.