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Counter protest planned for anti-SOGI rally at Coquitlam City Hall

“Denying the existence of trans and gender diverse people — including calls to erase trans and LGBTQ2SAI+ people from our province’s curricula — is hate," writes Kasari Govender, BC's Human Rights Commissioner.
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The Tri-Cities Pride Society will hold a counter protest to an anti-SOGI rally that’s expected to be staged outside of Coquitlam City Hall tomorrow.

The local group says it plans to make a stand at the 1 Million March 4 Children that’s being organized by Hands Off Our Kids on Wednesday, Sept. 20.

Demonstrations to rally against sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) in Canadian classrooms are also being held in 70 other communities.

“Anti-SOGI protests are dangerous” the Tri-Cities Pride Society said in a statement issued to the Tri-City News on Monday, Sept. 18.

“By opposing policies and initiatives that promote inclusive education and protection of LGBTQ2AIS+ rights, they are promoting the increased stigmatization and marginalization of our communities. It also causes direct harm to LGBTQ2AIS+ youth when they see public opposition to the protection of their emotional wellbeing in schools.”

The society said it will fly Pride flags at the event, as well as distribute pamphlets to promote SOGI in the educational system.

It’s also directing the public to a website that has SOGI resources developed by the BC Confederation of Parent Advisory Council and BC's Ministry of Education.

Meanwhile, in response to tomorrow’s marches across the country, BC’s Human Rights Commissioner has also weighed in.

In a statement, Kasari Govender said that “denying the existence of trans and gender diverse people — including calls to erase trans and LGBTQ2SAI+ people from our province’s curricula — is hate." 

Govender has also penned a letter to the BC Premier David Eby to urge him to take action and stand up for the human rights of the trans and 2SLGBTQIA+ people.

The 1 Million March 4 Children comes nine months after a protest outside of the City Centre branch of the Coquitlam Public Library where a drag queen story time was being held for families.

The next month, Coquitlam council unanimously supported Dr. Charles Best Secondary’s Gay–Straight Alliance in its request to raise the Pride flag at city hall in June and to organize a Pride gathering in July.



Statement from BC’s Human Rights Commissioner:

"In response to news of hate-fuelled marches planned in cities and towns across B.C. for Sept. 20, 2023, Commissioner Kasari Govender issued the following statement:

I am very disturbed by news of hate fuelled marches planned for Sept. 20, 2023, in several places across B.C. The right to peaceful demonstration is an important tool to protect our democracy and generate debate. But as Human Rights Commissioner, I want to be very clear: the human rights of trans and LGBTQ2SAI+ people are not up for debate.

Denying the existence of trans and gender diverse people — including calls to erase trans and LGBTQ2SAI+ people from our province’s curricula — is hate, and hate should have no place in our community or in our schools. Trans and LGBTQ2SAI+ people don’t just have a right to exist — they have a right to thrive, to be loved and to have their human dignity recognized, represented and respected, as we all do.

As shown in my Office’s recent Inquiry into hate in the pandemic, 62 per cent of LGBTQ2SAI+ students feel unsafe at school, compared to 11 per cent of cisgender or heterosexual students.1 As a parent, I plead with those who may think they are protecting their children: Erasing LGBTQ2SAI+ people from our curriculum will not change your child’s identity, but it will make schools, and the LGBTQ2SAI+ people in them, less safe. To all young people I say: You have rights and you matter. I stand with you with pride.

Now is the time to take action to address the campaigns of misinformation and organized hate that give rise to marches like these. Hate is not the amorphous, unsolvable issue it may at first appear to be. In fact, in March 2023, I delivered to B.C.’s Legislature the results of our public inquiry into experiences of hate, including 12 recommendations that provide a roadmap of how to take tangible and transformative action against hate. Today I have issued a letter to Premier David Eby calling on the provincial government to show how these recommendations are being implemented.

When we stand together against anti-trans hate, we stand together against all hate. In recent years, trans people have become the focus of a surge of disinformation, conspiracy theories and hate. This is not only about hate on the basis of gender identity; these rallies are an affront to human dignity, expression and rights for all of us. I condemn these rallies for their attempts to erase and marginalize trans and LGBTQ2SAI+ people. In our schools, in our communities and across our province, there is no space for hate."