Pro-SOGI supporters came out to cheer on better sex and gender identity education in B.C.’s schools on Monday. (Katya Slepian/Black Press)

Protesters argue both sides of B.C.’s SOGI curriculum at teachers’ union office

The sexual orientation and gender identity program was launched as a pilot project last year

Hundreds of people passionate about B.C.’s sexual orientation and gender identity education curriculum turned out to duelling rallies for and against the program on Monday in both Vancouver and Victoria.

At the BC Teachers Federation office in Vancouver, one side chanted slogans like “Love wins out!” and “It’s 2018, not 1958!”, while the other side held signs saying, “Stop sexualizing our children!” and “Parents have rights.”

Pro-SOGI protesters came to voice their support of the inclusive curriculum. (Katya Slepian/Black Press)

Soldiers of Odin came to protest SOGI in Vancouver on Monday. (Katya Slepian/Black Press)

A group of parents and teachers opposing the SOGI curriculum had initially planned to demonstrate outside the BCTF office today, but another group of people supporting the curriculum planned to show up as well.

SOGI was introduced as a pilot project last year and was rolled out B.C.-wide in September. According to the program’s website, it provides tools for teachers to create inclusive classrooms where students of all sexual orientations and gender identities feel safe.

“SOGI is about altering our culture and the political hijacking of our public education system to which parents are saying no,” said right-wing activist Kari Simpson, who led the opposing group.

“We’re going to outlaw SOGI123 in the public education system.”

Right-wing acitivist Kari Simpson rallies the crowd against SOGI. (Katya Slepian/Black Press)

Being against the curriculum was not about being against gay rights or transgender rights, Simpson added, but against pushing “a political agenda” on children.

Teacher Julia Poole said she was “shocked” by the lack of evaluation of the SOGI curriculum.

“It is non-inclusive, it is not non-discriminatory and it lacks regard for faith groups.”

Anti-SOGI protesters came to voice their displeasure with the inclusive curriculum. (Katya Slepian/Black Press)

Morgane Oger, a transgender activist who spoke at the pro-SOGI rally, told Black Press Media she wasn’t surprised by the strong turnout, especially from students and teachers themselves.

“There are still people here who think that trans and gay people, gender diverse people, are an abomination,” Oger said.

“I’m here because that’s abhorrent and disgusting.”

READ: Surrey third-grader comes out to offer face for pro-SOGI rally

She said although SOGI might be new to the curriculum, it’s only giving teachers the tools to uphold the protections enshrined for gender identity and sexual orientation with the country’s Charter of Rights.

“Everyone in Canada deserves to be equally protected and equally respected.”

Nine-year-old Michael Boyd and his grandmother, Susan Thomas, attended the Vancouver rally to show support for the SOGI curriculum.

Michael, who is transgender, said he wanted to talk publicly about his gender for the first time at Monday’s rally.

Pro-SOGI protesters at Monday’s Vancouver rally. (Katya Slepian/Black Press)

“I want to say it,” Michael said, referring to his chosen pronouns of “him” and “he.”

The Surrey boy first told his family he was trangender “as soon as he could talk,” Thomas said.

“It’s something that, as a grandmother, I feel like I need to have his back and speak up for him.”

Michael Boyd, 9, says his the teachers at his Surrey school have been supportive. (Katya Slepian/Black Press)

The Surrey School District has “been awesome” in their support of Michael, she added.

“If we were in any other place, there would be a lot of issues that come from bullying and misunderstanding.”

Editor’s note: The initial story identified Morgane Oger as an organizer for the pro-SOGI rally. Oger was not an organizer, but a speaker at the rally.


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

UPDATE: 5 injured in plane crash following Abbotsford International Airshow

One in critical condition in incident involving vintage plane

Slippery suspect evades RCMP near Clearwater twice in one week

Anyone with information urged to contact RCMP or Crime Stoppers

B.C. Wildfires 2018: Thousands prepare to leave their homes at a moment’s notice

Northwest B.C. and Cariboo seeing most fire activity in province as crews battle 490 fires

Man Tracker Invitational returns to Clearwater

By Jaime Polmateer The fourth annual Man Tracker Invitational is taking place… Continue reading

Wildfire smoke fills North Thompson Valley – people advised to be mindful of their health

Many areas of the province are currently fighting active wildfires, with evacuation… Continue reading

A look at B.C. wildfire smoke from space

NASA provides a timelapse of smoke covering B.C. from space

Child dies in boating incident in Okanagan

A North Vancouver family was boating on Kalamalka Lake in Vernon when the incident occured

B.C. Wildfires 2018: Province calls for federal aid

More fires have burned in B.C. already this year than did in all of 2017

Kayak in Indian Arm waters off B.C.’s Deep Cove and feast on famous doughnuts

About a half hour drive from Vancouver, Deep Cove is a great kayaking spot for locals and tourists

Child, 4, attacked by cougar near Fernie

The BC Conservation Officer Service said it happened while the family was fishing

Trans Mountain pipeline protesters practise resisting police at Camp Cloud

Last week, a Supreme Court judge granted the City of Burnaby an injunction ordering protesters to remove everything from the site

Gun used in Fredericton killings is legal, man had licence

Police Chief Leanne Fitch said the long gun is commonly available for purchase, and is not a prohibited or restricted weapon

Ontario will sell pot online when legalization comes in the fall

There are further plans to have pot in private retail stores in early 2019

Woman missing after car swept away by mudslide near Cache Creek

A search is now underway for Valerie Morris, who has been missing since the afternoon of August 11.

Most Read