Duelling rallies took place in Vancouver on Monday over the sexual orientations and gender identities (SOGI 123) program in B.C. schools.
Hundreds of people gathered outside the B.C. Teachers’ Federation office, some to show their support for the program, and others to protest against it.
For the most part, the two groups stayed apart from each other, but some mingled to talk about their opposing viewpoints.
SOGI 123 was developed for B.C. teachers through a collaboration between the Ministry of Education, the BC Teachers’ Federation, UBC’s Faculty of Education, and multiple LGBTQ organizations.
The goal of the program is to create schools where students of all sexual orientations and gender identities feel welcome and safe, including those who identify as LGBTQ+.
Competing rallies also took place in Victoria on Monday.
In Victoria, two people were arrested for stealing signs from people against SOGI.
Last October, Chilliwack school trustee Barry Neufeld was criticized for writing a controversial Facebook post about SOGI.
In his post, Neufeld said that allowing kids to choose their gender identity amounted to “child abuse.”
“At the risk of being labelled a bigoted homophobe, I have to say that I support traditional family values,” read part of Neufeld’s post.