At the end of WWII, the Nuremberg tribunal’s first proceedings concerned the doctors who performed torturous experiments on concentration camp prisoners. In response, the Nuremberg Code was developed, and is considered the most important document in the history of the ethics of medical research. The first point among a list of 10 principles states that the voluntary consent of the subject is absolutely essential:
“This means that the person involved should have legal capacity to give consent; should be so situated as to be able to exercise free power of choice, without the intervention of any element of force, fraud, deceit, duress, overreaching, or other ulterior form of constraint or coercion; and should have sufficient knowledge and comprehension of the elements of the subject matter involved as to enable him to make an understanding and enlightened decision.”
One might expect that this code would preclude surgeons from advertising “gender affirming” procedures on youth-centric social media platforms like TikTok, leading to breast removal on girls as young as 13. One might also think that doctors who took part in such practices would be considered medical charlatans, and additional medical/ethical provisions might be put in place penalizing practitioners who willfully abandoned their Hippocratic oath. In a saner world than ours, political representatives might enshrine additional safeguards into a parliamentary bill criminalizing the performance (and monetization) of experimental surgical procedures on youth, too young to vote, drive, or buy cigarettes, and who certainly are not equipped to consent to unnecessary medical interventions which have dire and irreversible long-term repercussions.
But on December 1, the Canadian House of Commons passed Bill C-4, which intends to prohibit both adults and children from being subjected to harmful conversion therapy practices. Unfortunately the bill includes amendments that achieve the opposite.
It is understandable that many people do not immediately understand the meaning of “conversion therapy,” as it’s used in the bill. Traditionally, the term meant trying to change a gay or lesbian person’s sexual orientation to heterosexuality, something no longer commonly practiced in Canada. But even when it was, it often took place within the context of parents’ fears around the costs of being gay or lesbian, leading them to consult the family doctor, priest, rabbi in an attempt to set their (often anguished) kids straight, as it were, rather than an evil desire to torture their kids into heterosexual submission.
Even so, there is no disputing the fact that damage was done in the name of conformity, as is always the case. (Witness the current abuse of women who refuse to say that men, too, are women, and then just try to feel pride in our oh-so “inclusive” times.) But at least in the past there was a chance for some kind of serendipity to occur in a young lesbian or gay person’s life. A humane, cautious, and measured presence might appear — whether in the form of a therapist, teacher, peer support group, a book, or simply someone’s unconventional great aunt — and provide the example or empathy required to allow a period of grace, which might then evoke perspective, and, in the end, lead to self-acceptance.
Not any more. Now, with the unanimous passing of Bill C-4, it has become a crime to counsel self-acceptance to a child (or adult) who may be confused or fearful about an inability to adhere to strict and meaningless gender stereotypes. Now, if a therapist counsels a child or teen that caution is required in making decisions about the very common physical discontents and puberty-based confusions of adolescence, she risks being accused of harmful conversion therapy practices, and potentially subject to five years in prison. All in order to protect the sacrosanct doctrine of “gender identity,” rather than the complexities of children’s lives.
And where do gay and lesbian youth stand in this legislation? They are technically covered in the bill, since the same penalties will be applied for attempting to alter sexual orientation. But which gay men and lesbians are actually being protected when the truth is that droves of young people are being indoctrinated — even forced (given there is now no legal alternative) — to believe in the illusion of “trans”?
Today, under bills like these,, “conversion therapy” is in fact what could be referred to as “transing away the gay,” which entails psychological meddling and physical invasions that convince young homosexuals they are in fact the opposite sex, and therefore heterosexual. Puberty blockers and experimental surgeries are now the chosen methods of dealing with youth who don’t “fit” gender stereotypes and heterosexual norms. In Vaishnavi Sundar’s documentary film, Dysphoric, which exposes the effects of gender identity ideology on women and girls, endocrinologist William Malone says:
“Approximately 85 per cent of children or adolescents with gender dysphoria will have resolution of their distressed feelings if they are allowed to go through normal puberty. The majority of those children and adolescents will be lesbian, gay, or bisexual as adults.” An advisor to the U. S. based Society for Evidence Based Gender Medicine, he advises that “what is occurring is an unregulated experiment on children, and frequently clinics are not even collecting long-term outcomes.”
Bill C-4 is a betrayal of those it pretends to safeguard. It is legislation written in false affinity with a term that once had meaning and was a practice that could cause harm, but had largely become obsolete as a result of compassion, political activism, and a will toward progress. By incorporating “gender identity” into this kind of legislation, rather than criminalizing conversion therapy, another form of “conversion therapy” becomes mandatory, promoting fear of homosexuality by treating children who are same-sex attracted — or do not adhere to strict, regressive “gender” protocols — as though they have “wrong bodies” or mis-matched minds that must be corrected via intrusive and irreversible methods. It is capitulation to conformity of a most dire kind — and it is for this that our political representatives gleefully applauded one another in our House of Commons on December 1st, and placed us as far away from the safeguards outlined in the Nuremberg Code as we could be.
Many of us cling to the idea that the irrational notion of “gender identity,” as well as the devastating acts taking place in its name, is a pendulum poised to reach its zenith, then swing back down in the other direction, toward sanity. With the passing of Bill C-4 it has become harder to deny that the pendulum is really a wrecking ball.
Brenda Brooks is at work on her third novel, the story of a woman in peril.