“What made him think I needed to receive this,” the professor said.
Richmond Board of Education candidate Dean Billings sent unsolicited photos of trans people to a teacher, according to tweets that surfaced on Saturday morning.
According to teacher Mark Reid, he received pre- and post-surgery photos of a young trans boy from Billings at 12:31 a.m. on Friday evening September 16 “without warning, context or prior interaction”.
The photos were followed by the messages “Hello. You might not realize it, but here’s a picture of what you’re supporting” and “In British Columbia. Now.”
Billings had followed the Richmond-based teacher on Twitter about a week ago but only interacted with him last night.
“That’s literally how he introduced himself to me,” Reid said.
Reid said he felt “surprised and confused” when he received the messages. “Which made him think I needed to receive this.”
Although he has “no idea” why Billings sent him the messages, Reid’s “best guess” is that it’s because he’s “a teacher, gay and [values] inclusion.”
In a statement to Richmond NewsBillings said his DM was in response to a tweet Reid tagged him on Friday morning, as well as the “larger conversation the tweet was part of.”
“I sent direct messages to other people with views different from mine and had conversations during which we discovered that we were closer to the center than we thought”, a- he declared.
Billings clarified that he didn’t send any images, but rather a link to a tweet from activist Chloe Cole (@ChoooCole on Twitter). The image in the tweet appears to be a screenshot from Instagram, and Billings told the New that he does not know where the image comes from.
“The internet is full of celebratory photos before and after surgery,” he added.
‘Awareness’ of gender-affirming care is a problem, says candidate
Billings told the New that most people in Richmond “frankly have no idea that minors can consent to gender-affirming care and what it actually entails”, and “awareness” was an issue.
He also claims that “inherited standards of decency” prevent the media from accurately reporting the story “by including graphic details such as gender-reaffirming outcomes of care or graphic content from school libraries in Canada.”
“Like the burning of Vietnamese villages or videos of George Floyd, once the general public sees what we are doing, I predict that we will understand that Gender Affirming Care is a euphemism for costly and irreversible medical interventions and will follow the path Sweden and Finland to get away from it,” he says.
The Newhowever, chose not to show the graphic image Billings was referring to because the origin and authenticity of the image as well as whether the subject of the image had consented to its distribution were not known.
According to the Provincial Health Services Authority (PHSA) Primary Care Toolkit for Gender-Affirming Care for Trans, Two-Spirit, and Gender-Diverse Patients in British Columbia, Minors (Those Under 19) can consent to gender-affirming care as long as they understand “the nature and consequences and the reasonably foreseeable benefits and risks of the care”.
The PHSA defines gender-affirming care as “processes by which a health care system cares for and supports an individual, while acknowledging and acknowledging their gender identity and expression”.
The health care provider must determine if the minor is capable of consent; explain treatment options to them and ensure that they understand their nature, consequences and reasonably foreseeable benefits and risks; and make reasonable efforts to determine whether the processing is in the “best interests” of the minor.
In terms of gender affirmation surgery, as shown in the image, a person must have reached the age of majority (19) to be eligible for the surgery. The PHSA website states that upper surgery is “sometimes possible” before age 19, and an additional readiness assessment may be recommended by surgeons.
“…assessment and treatment of gender dysphoria in youth requires appropriate training, family engagement (where possible), and awareness of developmental and well-being considerations mental,” reads PHSA’s toolkit.
The New previously reported Billings’ desire to review the Richmond School District’s Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (SOGI) Policy and the recommendations of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Committee.
Billings had said the SOGI policy should promote “self-acceptance and anti-bullying without teaching gender-affirming pseudoscience”.
He also thinks DEI policy should focus on “low-status men at risk of suicide, drug abuse and political extremism.” He suggested “modernizing” the policy, “aggressive anti-racist content and philosophy” should be removed from learning materials, and “basic level anti-racist content should provide positive messages to any reader”.
Just yesterday, Education Minister Jennifer Whiteside and K-12 education partners issued a joint statement announcing the formation of the provincial SOGI K-12 Collaborative. Grade 12, which is committed to “creating safe, respectful and welcoming learning environments for all students in British Columbia”.
“All 60 school districts, independent schools and First Nations schools have SOGI-inclusive codes of conduct and policies in place and many participate in the BC SOGI Educator Network,” the statement read.
“Students deserve to have the full support of teachers, administrators, support staff, administrators, parents, guardians, caregivers and their communities, as we work together to create learning environments where all students are free from discrimination so they can thrive and succeed in their school years and beyond.
With files by Maria Rantanen.