Candidates opposed to B.C.’s SOGI 123 program failed to make major inroads on school boards around the Lower Mainland in Saturday’s civic election.
SOGI 123 is a resource package designed to help teachers and school administrators reduce discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) in their curriculum.
The policy has stoked strong opposition from some parents, particularly those with an evangelical Christian background, some of whom have likened transgender transitioning as “child abuse,” and others who have argued parents weren’t consulted on the policy.
WATCH: SOGI presents as civic election issue despite being a provincial matter
Opponents and supporters of the policy have staged a series of recent demonstrations, prompting Minister of Education Rob Fleming and education groups to issue a joint statement in support of SOGI late last month.
Chilliwack has been the epicentre of much of the debate, since incumbent School Trustee Barry Neufeld likened gender transitioning to child abuse last fall.
Neufeld and fellow incumbent SOGI opponent Heather Maas were re-elected to Chilliwack’s seven-member board, along with Darrell Furgason who also opposes the policy.
Abbotsford also saw a pair of SOGI opponents elected, Phil Anderson and Korky Neufeld.
In both cases, the trustees make up a minority on their respective school boards.
Elsewhere, however, SOGI opponents were soundly defeated.
WATCH: Several anti-SOGI activists run for school board in civic election
Richmond elected Richard Lee, but rejected the four other members of the anti-SOGI “parent’s slate” which had argued parental rights are becoming “an endangered species.”
Richmond’s school board voted six to one to adopt the SOGI program back in June.
In Burnaby, Laura-Lynn Tyler Thompson, a vocal SOGI opponent who took a prominent role in several of the recent anti-SOGI demonstrations, finished in 11th place, while Jimmy Zhao finished last.
Candidates in Coquitlam, Delta, Langley and New Westminster who were listed on an anti-SOGI voters guide also failed in their electoral bids.
And in Vancouver, where Fred Harding’s Vancouver 1st party made waves earlier this month with a pair of videos arguing SOGI 123 had been foisted on unwilling parents, the party failed to win an seat on any of the city’s three elected bodies.