Two people were arrested after stealing signs at duelling rallies over the province’s Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity curriculum (SOGI 123) at the B.C. Legislature on Monday. The man and woman were led away from the legislature grounds in handcuffs after taking signs from people who were at the legislature to speak out against SOGI.
WATCH HERE: Activists steal signs at Victoria SOGI rally
The two rallies, one opposed to SOGI, the other in favour, were taking place about 30 metres from each other on the legislature grounds. British Columbia is in its second year of providing information to educators across the province “in creating inclusive classrooms for all students.”
“It is upsetting. The message seems to be they want to steal our signs,” said anti-SOGI rally organizer Laura-Lynn Tyler Thompson. “Our only issue is that we don’t think schools should be teaching gender fluid ideology. It goes against our core beliefs.”
Some at the rally in favour of SOGI apologized on the legislature lawn after the arrests took place.
Incorporating gender orientation to the school curriculum was to keep the policy consistent with the province’s update to the B.C. Human Rights Code in 2016. Under the code, trans people are protected from discrimination.
“People deserve information and it’s actually really positive for school culture to have a pro-diversity stance around orientation and gender,” said SOGI supporter Kingsley Strudwick. ”
The province’s website says the teachers are best suited to access what is appropriate for discussion in the classroom.
“Teachers may talk about stereotypes in families, toys and TV, while secondary teachers encourage students to critically analyze our world for how these stereotypes affect our interactions,” reads the website. “Concepts around sexual orientation and gender identity mature as children age.”
Education Minister Rob Fleming says that all 60 school districts in the province supports the SOGI curriculum. He says parents have the right to pull their children out of class discussing gender fluidity, but that only a small group of parents are actually opposed to the policy.
“We have as close as we can have to a consensus in the school system. That is a remarkable achievement. There are those that polarize the issue that want to drag society back,” said Fleming. “There are a handful people who are trying to make this about something out and are not representing what SOGI in the classroom is about.”