(Submitted by Jenn Smith)

LETTER: Anti-trans activist weighs in on Chilliwack school board byelection

Jenn Smith says voters should choose someone who will reduce polarization among trustee

I thought I would take a few minutes to express my thoughts on the upcoming Chilliwack school board byelection as somebody that was at one point contemplating running for trustee and as somebody that identifies as transgender.

While I have had some confrontational dealings with the Chilliwack school board over the years, it should be understood that my primary concern has always been related to SOGI-123 and materials therein that I believe confuse youths and put them on a path that leads to towards lifelong dependence on pharmaceutical medications and eventually physically altering surgeries (this is the subject of my current quest to get a national inquiry).

I fully support all efforts to reduce bullying in schools but believe we must be very careful when exposing vulnerable youths to materials that could confuse them. Some people disagree with this assessment and that is fine, but I think it is an important position to at least be heard.

READ MORE: B.C. teacher suspended for 15 days for sharing ‘Stop SOGI 123’ pamphlets with PAC member

READ MORE: B.C. Education minister, Chilliwack-Kent MLA-elect call for Neufeld to step down

Many citizens in Chilliwack are concerned about this and it is my hope that after the upcoming election the trustees of School District 33 will work to be open to all views and not just those of one particular political persuasion or the other. We have had enough conflict.

While I have been frustrated over the years by the unwillingness of what we will call the “left-leaning” members of the board to even hear dissenting views, it certainly was not and is not currently my hope that the pendulum should swing over to the right side of the spectrum either, because that will just polarize the debate in the opposite direction.

I myself have actually been attacked by both sides of this debate and the media at different times, but I have always wanted what is best for our most vulnerable youths and hope all trustees and the media will rise above the left/right conflict and keep the children in mind without forgetting the rights of parents and the interests of taxpayers.

When Chilliwack residents go to the polls to vote for a new trustee I hope that their primary interest will be to vote for the candidate that they believe will be the most likely to listen to all citizens of Chilliwack, and not exasperate or continue the political polarization we have seen inside the school board over the last few years.

The primary interest of school board trustees should be in serving the interests of the children of Chilliwack, not the interests of any political party or persuasion.

I hope all parties involved, including the media, can rise above ideological differences and seek in earnest to do what is best for our youths.

Jenn Smith

transgender activist

READ MORE: Anti-SOGI advocate says he’s filed a B.C. Ombudsperson’s complaint against Chilliwack School Board

• Send your letter to the editor via email to editor@theprogress.com. Please include your first and last name, address, and phone number.

• READ MORE: Chilliwack Progress Letters

LGBTQSOGI 123