A group of about 30 people, including young children, parents and grandparents, gathered on the Vedder Road highway overpass in Chilliwack Monday, to protest a teaching resource called SOGI 123.
They held signs with phrases such as “Hands off our kids,” “Stop SOGI” and “Stop Harming our Children.”
Protesters say they are against the resource, despite it being approved by the Ministry of Education. The Chilliwack protest was planned to coincide with a North American wide protest called Sex Ed Sit Out. Larger protests were held in Vancouver and Victoria on Monday at 11 a.m., and counter protests from SOGI 123 supporters were also held.
While SOGI 123 isn’t sexual education curriculum, it does challenge traditional gender roles.
Chilliwack secondary student Hannah Henshall spoke to The Progress atop the overpass, and said she strongly believes the SOGI 123 program is “pushing an agenda.”
“I support people having freedoms, but not pushing their agenda on me … It’s damaging their little minds,” she said of younger students. “When they are little, they are trying to grow up mature.”
She said people should encourage boys to be boys, and girls to be girls.
Hannah and her sister Naomi both said they haven’t noticed a change in the classroom since the SOGI 123 program has been implemented, and they haven’t gotten into deep discussions at school about it because it’s “really sensitive right now” and they feel people are quick to judge them for not supporting the resource.
“A lot of them don’t want to listen,” Hannah said.
SOGI 123 has been hotly debated in Chilliwack since a local trustee spoke out harshly about the resource on his Facebook page.