A crowd of around 200 people gathered in downtown Kelowna on Wednesday to protest provincial protocol allowing sexual orientation and gender identity policies in B.C. schools.
Often called SOGI, the province says the policy allows schools to be fully inclusive and that everyone is welcome, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
However, critics say SOGI policies are forms of indoctrination.
For example, a group called Hands Off Our Kids says “we refuse to stand by while the government and school system allow sexually explicit content and gender ideology to be distributed in our classrooms.”
In Kelowna, two crowds assembled at Stuart Park, one protesting SOGI policies, which comprised most of the gathering, and one supporting SOGI policies, which numbered very few, around two dozen.
Protests also took place in Penticton, Vernon and Salmon Arm.
One resident, Tasha Arnall, a mom of two children, said she has concerns with some of SOGI’s policies, specifically, easily accessible library books, which she claims had inappropriate content.
“Some of the sexual content is really inappropriate for some age groups,” Arnall told Global News. “I think there’s something missing about categorizing what is appropriate for kindergarteners and up to high schoolers.
Arnall also said she’s “sick of the division and the hate and I think there’s a lot of misunderstanding on every side. If we could focus on the things that we do agree on – which is more than we think – then we could move forward for our children.”
Two other protesters that Global News spoke to said they were against sexual teaching in school.
On the other side, resident Art Treger, a parent of two kids, was one few who showed up to support SOGI policies.
“I want every kid to know they’re safe,” Treger told Global News. “There’s no reason to make kids have to live in fear. Not every home is safe to talk about this with their parents. “Sometimes school is the first place they get to (talk about it).”
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