Six-year-old told by teacher that “girls are not real”: case to proceed to a full hearing

Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms

The family brought the claim for discrimination on the basis of gender identity, for teaching NB and her class there are no such things as girls or boys. NB identifies strongly with her biology as a girl. The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms ( filed an amended application on the family’s behalf, including a claim for discrimination on the basis of sex, noting the child’s rights to security of the person and equality under sections 7 and 15(1) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms had also been infringed.

The teacher drew a gender spectrum on the board and asked each student to identify where they fit on the spectrum. NB indicated that she was on the furthest end of the spectrum marked “girl.” The teacher then told the class that “girls are not real, and boys are not real”. This was extremely upsetting to NB.

NB went home and told her parents, repeatedly asking why her identity as a girl was “not real.” She stated that she was not sure if she wanted to be a mommy when she grew up, and asked if she could “go to the doctor” about this issue. NB also expressed feeling that she “had to do something” about the fact that she is a girl. This followed a lesson by the teacher on the concepts of gender spectrum and sex changes

“If everyone has a gender identity, and gender identities are protected under the Code, then NB’s gender identity as a girl should be protected,” said Justice Centre staff lawyer Lisa Bildy. “If the School Board can accommodate the inclusion of trans and other gender identities into the classroom setting, then surely they can accommodate the inclusion of children who experience no discord between their biology and their sense of self.”

Neither the school nor the teacher obtained parental consent to teach this young child that her sense of self as a girl was a fiction. The parents allege that the teacher’s conduct undermined their daughter’s foundational concept of identity.

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