Dad jailed for discussing teen’s gender dysphoria
Canadian father says a court sanctioned “state-sponsored child abuse”
In June 2020 Erin Brewer choked up as she concluded an hourlong interview with Canadian father Robert Hoogland. In violation of a court-imposed gag order, he spoke with Brewer about his opposition to his teenage daughter taking testosterone. “I’m feeling really sad right now that you could be put in jail because you’re standing up for your daughter,” Brewer said.
On March 16, Hoogland was jailed for contempt of court after the British Columbia attorney general issued an arrest for him. A judge on March 19 denied a petition for his release. He will remain imprisoned until April 12, the date of his trial, and faces up to five years in prison if convicted.
Brewer’s YouTube interview and other articles and media content with Hoogland’s name, picture, and story are now unavailable in Canada. Hoogland recently removed his name and a photo of him and his daughter from his social media and crowdfunding pages.
Despite the Canadian government’s efforts to silence Hoogland, his story has brought to light the dangers for parents in the country who resist or question school officials, therapists, and doctors intent on fast-tracking gender-dysphoric children into medical treatments and surgeries.
Hoogland said his daughter suffered mental health issues and began acting out in fifth grade. She started seeing a school counselor and cut her hair. By seventh grade, she was going by a male name at school without Hoogland’s knowledge. With support from the girl’s mother, Hoogland’s ex-wife, she met with Wallace Wong, a transgender-affirming psychologist who works in British Columbia and California. In 2018, Wong referred Hoogland’s daughter to a facility that would prescribe cross-sex hormones.
Hoogland’s objection to his daughter taking testosterone led to a court battle. Testosterone treatment carries known risks including infertility, bone damage, blood clots and strokes, endometrial cancer, and increased red blood cell count, among other effects. It can permanently lower a woman’s voice and cause her to have facial hair for the rest of her life.
In 2019, the British Columbia Supreme Court ruled that Hoogland’s daughter, then 14, could take the hormone drugs without his consent. The judge barred the father from referring to his daughter by her birth name or feminine pronouns and from speaking publicly about the situation. A subsequent ruling allowed Hoogland to refer to his daughter as a girl but kept him under a strict gag order, which he defied.
In a February 2020 interview with The Federalist, Hoogland called his daughter’s experience “state-sponsored child abuse.”
“I had a perfectly healthy child a year ago,” he said. “That perfectly healthy child has been altered and destroyed for no good reason.”
Hoogland’s lawyer, Carey Linde, said his client’s decision to go public was “a principled position of civil disobedience.”
“His position is that he has lost any sense of involvement, participation, or control over his now-16-year-old child,” Linde said. “He’s not doing any of this for that child’s benefit, but he wants to raise [the] issues for parents of other young girls because up until recently, the mainstream media has not discussed it.”
Hoogland’s story caught the attention of Canadian academic and clinical psychologist Jordan Peterson and other commentators and children’s rights activists who are willing to question transgender ideology. Peterson told his 1.3 million Twitter followers that Hoogland’s arrest was inevitable as the nation moved toward adopting Bill C-6, which would bar counselors from helping people overcome unwanted gender dysphoria and same-sex attraction and would strip away parental rights for children who wish to identify as the opposite sex.
Meanwhile, Brewer said she respects Hoogland for his stand. “If people don’t hear these stories, there is no way to address the issues,” she said. “I hope the court realizes this is a huge violation of his rights as a father.”
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