Teachers, Christians duel over B.C.'s sexual orientation program
Rowdy and dueling rallies were held around Victoria Saturday on the controversial issue of the B.C. government's sexual orientation and gender identity program, or SOGI.
Opponents to SOGI say the school system is trampling on their religious and parental rights to deal with the sexual orientation issues of their children at home.
Christian blogger Laura-Lynn Tyler Thompson, took to a microphone to tell the crowd gathered outside the legislature that cancelling SOGI doesn't mean opponents wants gay, lesbian, bisexual and transsexual or queer students harassed.
"We don't want them to be bullied. All we are saying is that we don't want you confusing our kids," she said Saturday.
Conversely, teachers, LGBTQ advocates, and the provincial government officials, expressed their support for the education program, which encourages openness and respect for everyone in the classroom, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.
NDP Education Minister Rob Fleming said in a statement:
"All of B.C.'s provincial education partners for K-12 schools are committed to ensuring every school - both public and independent - is a place where students feel safe, accepted, respected and welcome regardless of their sexual orientation, gender identity, race, religion or background.
"In 2016, the B.C. Human Rights Code was amended to ensure that gender identity and expression are protected under the code. There is no room for any type of discrimination in our schools," wrote Fleming.
The province said nearly one in five, or 19 per cent, of B.C. high school students identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual or not exclusively heterosexual.
It also says, in the past 12 months, lesbian, gay and bisexual youth were seven times more likely than heterosexual youth to attempt suicide.