Law Matters John Carpay

Law Matters John Carpay

In March of 2015, Alberta’s Progressive Conservative government rushed a bill through the legislature in a matter of hours, requiring every school in Alberta to set up a Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) at a student’s request. Politicians promised the public that GSAs would merely be peer support groups, not political clubs that advocate for an ideology.

Four years later, events have disproven the claim that GSAs are harmless social clubs. In a court action to challenge the GSA law that forces teachers and principals to keep secrets from parents, sworn affidavits from parents and children paint a very different picture.

Speaking from her own experiences with her school’s GSA, one girl states in an affidavit: “I had no idea that GSAs were a lot more about transgenderism than supporting gay students and reducing bullying.” This vulnerable autistic girl was persuaded by her school’s GSA that she was actually a boy, and encouraged to use a boy’s name and male pronouns at school. Adults involved with the GSA told this girl how easy and beneficial it is to simply “transition” to the opposite gender with puberty-blocking drugs, hormones, and eventually surgery. Girls were encouraged to use “packers” (a fake penis and testicles that a girl can wear to appear to be a boy) and “binders” to flatten their breasts.

The girl was taught that her parents were untrustworthy, and abusive for not supporting her “transition.” Her religion was mocked and attacked in GSA meetings. She attempted suicide, but fortunately her father came into the bathroom and was able to untie the resistance exercise bands from her neck.  Later, after leaving the GSA and no longer identifying as a boy, she testified: “Once I came out as a girl, I wasn’t popular anymore. Most students didn’t want to talk to me anymore. I spent a lot of time alone and even did a group project alone because nobody wanted to sit with me. I was sad and wished I could be invisible.”

GSAs provide access for activists to reach and teach other people’s children. For example, Maria De Leeuw of Olds, Alberta, volunteered to lead the high school’s GSA, taking her own children (ages five and seven) with her to Olds GSA meetings.  De Leeuw has spoken publicly about how “a couple of the students were a little weirded out that I was there — ‘who’s this lady? She’s not anyone’s parent, she’s not a teacher, she doesn’t work here’.”  She drove students from the GSA to a “Queer Prom” in Calgary and to other GSA clubs in neighbouring areas. She showed the kids The Rocky Horror Picture Show, a movie featuring sex, cannibalism, and drug use, as well as Brokeback Mountain, which includes 11 sexual scenes and one scene of extreme violence.  De Leeuw says that GSA students like to come to her home because “I let them say the F-word and teachers do not. But I haven’t met a lot of their parents.”

Political activists see parents as dangerous and untrustworthy. For example, one high school student has sworn an affidavit about attending a GSA Conference in May of 2018. The conference, held off school property, lasted for the entire school day. He was told by GSA activists that he should not tell his mother about his attendance at the conference, and that she would never find out he had missed all his classes. Thankfully she found out anyway, as mothers usually do. The conference included a “drag show” with “drag queens” dancing. Upon leaving, each student was given plenty of condoms, and a graphic booklet featuring two naked males, demonstrating (step-by-step) exactly how one should engage in anal sex.  The GSA materials provided to students did not discuss the dangers of sexually transmitted infections that may occur from having multiple sex partners.

The fact that GSAs promote a libertine vision of sexuality should not surprise anyone. One need only spend 10 minutes on GSA websites, and read what GSAs say about themselves, to know the truth. If the law was truly about “peer support groups” to help vulnerable students, the law would not have required schools to set up GSAs. The law would have instead said “every school shall establish and facilitate a peer support group at the request of a student.” But sometimes it takes a court action to expose the lies of politicians and activists.

 Lawyer John Carpay is president of the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms ( which represents parents and schools in their constitutional challenge to Alberta’s GSA law.