The Saskatchewan government received 18 official complaints during the summer, before passing a law which would require parental consent for a child to change their pronouns or names while at school.

Emails obtained by the Canadian Press via an access to information request show that parents were raising concerns with the Saskatchewan government in June and July of this year. 

The emails pressed the provincial government to do something in response to the way pronouns, sexual education and Pride events were being presented in schools. 

Many of the emails referenced how the New Brunswick government had previously handled its response to said issues in schools. 

Under the new law, students under the age of 16 who want to change their name or pronouns will have to first receive permission from their parents. 

Additionally, third-party organizations are no longer allowed to present sexual education in schools and parents are permitted to pull their children out of certain courses.

“If New Brunswick can take a stand against this UN-backed deterioration of our society, surely Saskatchewan can also take a stand as well,” said one email, according to Castanet.

Another email, written by the grandparent of a student, wrote, “It’s OK to be proud of being LGBT+ but not of being straight … we have gone from the ditch of persecuting non-heterosexuals to the ditch of giving in to their every whim.”

Another parent wrote, “I want God taught in school if (gay) Pride is taught. If there is a Pride week/day, then I want a God week/day, and a Black week/day, a white week/day, an Irish week/day, a straight week/day, a week/day for every single race, religion, culture in the whole school.”

Another parent, who pulled their child from Pride activities from their school, wrote that parents should be aware of these activities, in case they wish to do the same.

“There has been a lot of pushback on Pride this year, and I feel 100 per cent that it’s because gender ideology isn’t merely being celebrated — it’s being pushed down our throats.”

The provincial government is facing a court challenge from the UR Pride Centre for Sexuality and Gender Diversity at the University of Regina over the rule. UR Pride is being represented by Egale Canada, an LGBTQ+ advocacy group.

The court challenge is expected to be heard in January, at which point the Saskatchewan government will likely argue that the case is moot. 

The 18 letters received “are just one snapshot,” said the government, of what is actually “thousands” of parents that it has heard from. 

“As a government, we had been considering this policy for several months, particularly following the decision of one school division to exclude parents from obtaining crucial information about their children,” said the government.

“Many school divisions in Saskatchewan had similar practices in place before the policy was implemented.”

Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe and Education Minister Jeremy Cockrill have both said that they received support from “thousands” of residents who are in favour of the policy change.

Former education minister Dustin Duncan argued that students cannot go on a field trip without parental consent and that changing their name or pronouns should be no different.