Claiming to defend the “innocence of our children” two Lower Mainland activists opposed to SOGI, the province’s inclusive online resource for teachers across B.C., have planned a rally in protest of the tool at the B.C. legislature, Sept. 29.
The event, called “Free B.C. from SOGI 123” is organized by transgender speaker Jenn Smith and includes Laura-Lynn Tyler Thompson, a parent, blogger, author and former co-host of The 700 Club Canada with former ties to Culture Guard, a right-wing Christian group.
|Laura-Lynn Tyler Thompson will be at the anti-SOGI rally Sept. 29 at the B.C. legislature. Photo contributed|
SOGI – sexual orientation gender identity – is not a mandatory curriculum, but a set of resources for teachers who choose to use it, says SD61 trustee Jordan Watters, to better reflect the diversity of all students and the families from which they come.
SOGI was developed with support from the provincial government and school districts have the choice whether to participate.
“People are confused about what it’s all about,” says Watters, who is running for re-election and who worked on implementing SOGI for teachers in Greater Victoria.
“People are spreading falsehoods about what the actual resources are,” she points out. “It’s a kind of hysteria.”
According to the SOGI website, 64 per cent of LGBTQ students feel unsafe at school.
The resources are designed to make learning more inclusive for all students, free of discrimination, Watters says, adding that in the consultation phase there was “no opposition from parents” in Greater Victoria.
“People think it is the Ontario sex ed curriculum because that got a lot of play,” Watters continues. “That’s not what SOGI is, at all.”
Smith and Thompson were part of an anti-SOGI rally at the legislature in April where a pro-SOGI rally quickly outnumbered their supporters, many from up-Island.
Thompson told the Victoria News that she didn’t believe children should be able to choose their own gender, calling SOGI videos “disturbing” and “upsetting.”
The protest is “to show opposition to SOGI 123 and its totalitarian assault on the minds of our children,” according to the event press release.
Thompson is currently running for a seat on the Burnaby school board in School District 4.