A prisoner of conscience over transgender ideology
Canadian father sentenced to jail time for violating gag order
A Canadian judge last week sentenced a father in British Columbia to six months in jail for speaking about his daughter’s treatment for gender dysphoria. A month earlier, law enforcement arrested and jailed Robert Hoogland without bail for criminal contempt of court.
Hoogland has fought a two-year legal battle with school officials, mental health and medical professionals, and the provincial government arguing they infringed on his parental rights by allowing and encouraging his minor daughter to receive cross-sex hormones without his consent. Hoogland has gone on the record in media interviews about his specific case and the trend of gender dysphoric children, girls in particular, being pushed into medical treatments and surgeries.
His daughter, now age 16, says she has identified as a boy since age 11. When she was 14, a pediatric endocrinologist at the British Columbia Children’s Hospital (BCCH) Gender Clinic began administering testosterone injections even though Hoogland refused to consent to the treatment. The hospital argued the daughter could choose to receive the injections under the province’s Infants Act, a law allowing minors to make medical decisions independently as long as a healthcare professional believes the child is capable of consenting and that the treatment is appropriate.
During the sentencing hearing on April 16, British Columbia Supreme Court Justice Michael Tammen said Hoogland “blatantly, willfully, and repeatedly” disobeyed a court order restricting the publication of any information that could identify those involved in the case. “No member of the public can decide when, in what circumstances, and which court orders to follow,” Tammen said, according to the Toronto Star. “Unless and until successfully appealed, court orders must be obeyed. They are part of the legal fabric of society and, thus, the law.”
Hoogland disobeyed the gag order intentionally, knowing a jail sentence was likely, his attorney Carey Linde told me. He called it an act of civil disobedience to bring awareness to three issues: first, sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) policies that allow school officials to socially transition children to the opposite gender without parents’ knowledge or consent; second, the British Columbia Infants Act that allows doctors to sidestep parents and give minors puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones, experimental treatments with serious known risks; and third, increasing cases of rapid-onset gender dysphoria, a term used to describe social clusters of transgender-identifying adolescent females.
“And now he is a prisoner of conscience,” Linde said.
He pointed out the case of Keira Bell, which he said illustrates the validity of his client’s “gut instinct” and “intuitive parental concerns.” Bell, a British woman, successfully sued
a London gender treatment center last year for fast-tracking her into cross-sex hormones and a double mastectomy. The U.K. High Court found children cannot give informed consent for experimental and irreversible treatments.
Hoogland’s case is spurring others to speak up. Chris Elston, a father of two daughters, started peacefully protesting across Canada last year wearing a sign that reads “Children Cannot Consent to Puberty Blockers.” He hopes to start a grassroots movement of street conversations about the dangers of transgender ideology. He released a video on Monday about Hoogland’s sentence. “We need to take a stand now,” Elston said. “We can’t have more situations like what we had today, where a father who is just trying to protect his girl is rotting away in prison for half a year, losing his job, getting a criminal record. It’s madness.”
Hoogland pleaded guilty last week as part of an agreement with the agent of the attorney general stipulating that they would recommend a sentence of 45 days and 18 months’ probation. Tammen instead determined Hoogland deserved a significantly higher penalty of six months and ordered him to donate $30,000 to a children’s charity, noting Hoogland raised more than $50,000 for his legal fees using a crowdfunding page that contained information in breach of the court order.
On Wednesday, Linde asked the Court of Appeals of British Columbia to give Hoogland interim release and bail while the case is pending. The court has not yet responded.
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