Some of you may have seen me in the SOGI123 parents videos. This is an excellent resource, and I am proud of BC’s Ministry of Education for introducing it.
Ever since Trustee Neufeld spoke out about SOGI123, I have avoided responding to the many discussions posted in letters to the Progress. I have not been so reticent on social media.
For me, the issue is about raising our children to know the truth about human sexuality and gender identity, and to cease teaching from a simplified and untrue binary model. It is about a responsibility – as people in community – to be truthful.
I find it strange that some are challenging the rights of the Province and School District to use SOGI123 as a teacher resource. It is not helpful to anyone, especially to children, to confront the school system by repeating long held religious and traditional beliefs that say human beings are either male or female. The Christian scriptures support a prevailing Jewish and Christian world view that comes out of the thinking and language of the generation that produced them. Arguments from scripture alone are ineffective in a secular world, and can be damaging in a religious world.
I also find it strange that anecdotal and experiential evidence are discounted. Many of us have family members or know of those who are in the LGBTQ2+ community, and are simply being themselves as they have always been. Orientation cannot be caught or acquired in the sense many of the letters have suggested, it just is. SOGI123 recognizes this fact and does not seek to indoctrinate or convert children through experimentation or temptation. It does seek to provide tools to help children understand and accept sexual orientation and gender identity as diverse. This is the truth and it is healthy, but understandably not held by everyone.
Parents have a responsibility to nurture their children, and to be on top of what goes on in public education. I get it. But there are limits. Our education system is “our” education system, belonging to everyone. It cannot be run by parents whose agenda is religious, or whose understanding of sexual orientation and gender identity is restrictive and incorrect.
Teachers deserve our trust and the freedom to present to children what most of us know to be true. It is unfair to bind British Columbia to ancient and untrue models. Those who are proponents of SOGI123 are not the bullies. The bullies are those who reject children who do not fit in a binary model, and call them exceptions, or damaged, or sinful, or sick. The bullies are those who advocate that we continue our traditional patterns of exclusion and discrimination. There are deviant behaviours, sexually, which continue to be prosecuted under law. SOGI123 and sexual orientation and gender identity have nothing to do with endorsing such.
So as you vote for Trustees on Saturday, please keep in mind that SOGI123 has never been a danger to children – you have to trust the 800 or so professional teachers in Chilliwack to make it so – and it is time we taught the truth in schools.
Rev. John Sovereign