Undeterred by a damp, cool evening, approximately 50 people rallied in favour of inclusivity in Abbotsford schools Tuesday.
The demonstration was organized by BC Parents for Inclusivity in response to recent opposition to provincially mandated anti-bullying policies and education materials relating to sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI).
Ralliers stood in the rain in front of Colleen and Gordie Howe Middle School on Clearbrook Road. They waved to passing cars with signs reading “love wins” and “you can’t fix hate but you can vote it out,” among others.
Opponents to the policies, passed by the Abbotsford school board last February, have called them “brainwashing” that will make more students gay, lesbian and transgender.
Colin McKenna, president of PFLAG Vancouver, said the rally was meant to bring attention to the issue and counter misinformation about SOGI 123 education.
— Kelvin🐙Gawley (@KelvinGawley) November 22, 2017
“There’s a lot of fear, there’s a lot of misinformation being spread about the curriculum and about the intent,” he said. “What we really want to ensure is [that] people know that LGBTQ people are here, they matter.”
Charlene Ciabarella, whose transgender daughter graduated from the Langley school district, said she wishes the SOGI policies had been in place earlier.
“I think is the SOGI program had been in her kindergarten, grade 1, if she had it growing up, her life would have been completely different … she told me she knew when she was three but she just didn’t know what it was,” Ciabarella said. “She wouldn’t have had to feel like an outsider.”