Opposing rallies in Vancouver Monday. (Kat Slepian photos)

EDITORIAL: Speaking out for sexual identities

Both sides of SOGI debate for B.C. schools show signs of bravery, but not all are heroic

Heroes come in all sizes.

If that basic truth didn’t register before, it should this week after nine-year-old Michael Boyd – a third-grader at Surrey’s Walnut Road Elementary – made the decision at the scene of two competing rallies in Vancouver Monday to offer himself up as a veritable poster child for the pro-SOGI 123 movement.

Of course, it shouldn’t really matter what side of the argument you fall on to see strength of character in Michael’s actions. Regardless of whether you are for or against the pilot project that aims to create inclusive classrooms for students of all sexual orientations and gender identities, you can applaud a child for being willing to reveal a most personal side of his own identity to fight for an issue that affects him and others personally.

Public opponents of the provincial SOGI (Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity) education program certainly show their strength of character in their own ways, allowing themselves to be labelled intolerant, homophobic and arguably worse by those who can’t comprehend what drives them to speak out on an issue that appears not to affect their own lifestyles. Indeed, one can only assume that they, too, are doing what they know to be right.

However, while proclaiming one’s opinion on an issue may get it heard, getting it understood can be an entirely different matter.

SEE: Conservative Langley activist opposes LGBTQ education project

SEE: Opponents of LGBTQ program to file human rights complaint against Surrey School District

In Michael’s case, his point is clear. He wants to be able to live his life as he sees himself in a safe, comfortable, welcoming environment – and he wants others to be able to do so, too.

The reason SOGI opponents protest is not as clear. They seem to believe that because society has in the past promoted and accepted two genders, that’s all there should be, now and forever more. If there’s more to their argument, handmade signs that spout such slogans as “God created man & woman” and “Stop child abuse by the Ministry of Education” don’t really make it understood, while printed signs like “Parents have rights” and “Don’t mess with our children” could certainly be proclaimed by all sides.

If the motivation of anti-SOGI protesters is merely faith-driven, it limits the number of people they will convince. If it is based on more than that, they owe it to those whom they publicly criticize to explain their objections.

While marching publicly and holding up signs may be considered brave, only those who do so with pure heart should be considered heroes.

Peace Arch News

 

Surrey student Michael Boyd, with his grandmother Susan Thomas. (Kat Slepian photo)

Just Posted

UPDATED: Pedestrian fatally hit on railway in Agassiz

Police, fire and ambulance responded

Column: Chilliwack’s RBC Cup win a dream come true

Jacob Bestebroer spent hours wondering what a championship might feel like, and finally found out.

Fraser River at Chilliwack may have peaked but freshet isn’t over

Forecast free of rain is good news as river should remain high but not get higher

Big brew tanks headed for Chilliwack will look like beer cans

Snap a #beertanks selfie if you spot one of the massive tanks en route to Chilliwack

VIDEO: Chilliwack RCMP descend on home where camper fire happened Sunday

Three days after blaze in driveway, heavy police presence and at least one arrested

Police release video on how to ‘run, hide, fight’ if there’s an active shooter

Vancouver police offer video with input from E-Comm, BC EHS, Vancouver Fire and Rescue

B.C. mom makes huge donations of breast milk

North Delta mommy has donated roughly 25 four-litre jugs of her breast milk to babies in need

5 to start your day

Two-year-old found unresponsive in pool, third sex assault in less than a week in Surrey and more

Two-year-old found unresponsive in pool

Mission RCMP located toddler after she went missing from a local daycare

Toronto opening 800 emergency spaces to deal with influx of refugee claimants

Beginning Thursday, Toronto will temporarily house refugee claimants and new arrivals in 400 beds in the city’s east end.

Breaking: Trump cancels summit with North Korea

Trump cancels June 12 summit with North Korea’s Kim, citing ‘tremendous anger and open hostility’ in recent statement

Rivers rising: Floods in B.C., New Brunswick a warning of what’s to come

In B.C., thousands of residents are returning to homes this week marked with red or yellow signs indicating a health inspection is necessary

North Korea demolishes nuke test site with series of blasts

North Korea has carried out what it says is the demolition of its nuclear test site in the presence of foreign journalists.

Wildfire sparks near perimeter of devastating 2017 Elephant Hill fire

Ground crews and aircraft are responding to an estimated 50 hectare wildfire approximately 55 kilometers northwest of Kamloops, near the Deadman Vidette Road.

Most Read