Egale strongly condemns the assertions made by Edmonton Catholic School Board trustee Larry Kowalczyk. His statements that characterize transgender youth as having a “mental disorder” are offensive and uninformed.

It is widely accepted in the medical community that being transgender is not an illness of any kind, and it is shameful that an elected politician working within the education system has made these statements in the public sphere. It is vitally important that our educators and their policy-makers are accepting and open to differences within the student population, as this plays a large role in the mental well-being of students. Acceptance has been proven to play a critical role in health and mental wellness for LGBTQ youth.

It is in the spirit of Christianity to be inclusive and supportive of marginalized populations, and we hope that, moving forward, the trustee will consider the diversity of Edmonton Catholic School Board’s student body as an asset to be celebrated.