‘Anti-trans’ school protester met by hundreds of defiant allies chanting ‘trans kids matter’

anti anti-trans protest in Ottawa

An anti-puberty blockers protestor demonstrating outside of a school was met by over 200 people chanting “trans kids matter” and “leave our city”.

The crowd gathered outside Broadview Public School and Nepean High School in Ottawa on Wednesday (October 20) to protest against Chris Elston, surrounding him as he walked around holding a sign saying “Children cannot consent to puberty blockers.”

Elston walked silently while filming the crowd as they followed him around the school, continually chanting.

The Ottawa-Carleton District School Board, which oversees both Broadview and Nepean, previously warned parents of Elston’s protest, tweeting: “It has come to our attention that an anti-transgender protester planed a small demonstration on Broadview Avenue today, near two OCDSB schools.”

“Such acts of hatred are upsetting. We are actively monitoring the situation and ensuring there is no trespass on school grounds.”

Though the chanting crowd were largely allies, there was also an established counter-protest by local LGBT+ group Rainbow Carleton.

Christian Wright, who founded the group, said at the protest: “I’m here because I don’t think it’s appropriate to peddle misinformation about trans health care. It’s totally inappropriate, awful and vile and harmful.”

Elston claimed that his protest was not due to transphobia, but because he was concerned about people under 18 being prescribed puberty blockers and hormone replacement therapy (HRT). 

Earlier this year a leading paediatrician explained the life-saving benefits of puberty blockers for trans and non-binary youth.

“These medications work like a pause button on the physical changes caused by puberty. They are well studied, safe and completely reversible,” said Mandy Coles, a clinical associate professor of paediatrics and co-director of the Child and Adolescent Trans/Gender Center for Health at Boston University. “If a person stops taking hormone blockers, their body will resume going through puberty as it would have.”

Attacks on trans youth taking puberty blockers have ramped up in recent months and years against a backdrop of transphobia.

Several states in the United States have banned or are trying to ban trans healthcare for young people. In the UK, access to puberty blockers has been the subject of a lengthy court battle. The High Court recently overturned an effective ban on the treatment, ruling that under-16s can give informed consent for puberty blockers.