UPDATE: NPA school trustees speak against anti-homophobia policy in Cantonese video shot at Christian picnic
Update December 17:
The LGBT newspaper Xtra obtained a copy of the now-private video of the Christian Social Concern Fellowship picnic that was posted on YouTube. It was originally posted on August 20 but was public access was blocked on December 16 after anti-homophobia activists and local media outlets became aware of it.
Here is a copy of the video, which features dialogue in Cantonese and English:
According to Xtra, calls have been made for Denike and Woo to resign.
Only days after a video against same-sex marriage in America surfaced featuring NPA school trustees Ken Denike and Sophia Woo, yet another video has been revealed involving Denike and Woo speaking against measures to prevent homophobia in Vancouver schools.
A video posted to YouTube on August 20 (it is unclear on what date the video was actually shot) captured a meeting by the Christian Social Concern Fellowship, in which Denike and Woo appear as guest speakers.
Public access to the video was blocked today and it has been labelled as private.
In the video, Woo speaks in Cantonese and Denike speaks in English to a group of about 15 to 20 people assembled on lawn chairs in a park on a sunny day at a CSCF picnic. Woo and Denike make references to policy 5.45, the Burnaby School Board’s policy against harassment due to gender identity or sexual orientation. (The policy was approved on June 14.)
Woo says in Cantonese that Vision Vancouver has a person associated with them called Ryan Clayton who wants to put something in the curriculum that’s compulsory. She also says that COPE also has someone, Jane Bouey, who agrees with Clayton. However, she states that "we" obviously disagree and are against it. (She doesn’t mention specifically what that “something” is at the beginning and is quite vague.)
After Denike speaks in English, Woo repeats in Cantonese what Denike said, stressing that in Vancouver, “We shouldn’t protect one special group. This is not how we have done things in Vancouver in the past.”
During the question period, the unnamed CSCF group leader tells the audience in Cantonese that Ken has been a trustee for 22 years and that he is very “knowledgeable and experienced”.
An audience member asks in Cantonese how many trustees are against the new curriculum. Woo explains that there are at least two (her and Denike), but that the now-former NPA trustee Carol Gibson also said that she would oppose. She explains there are nine trustees, so they need five against it for it not to pass.
There is quite a bit of confusion amongst the audience as to what is currently in place and what the “compulsory curriculum” would entail, so Woo and the CSCF leader take some time to explain it. They explain that in 2004, it was COPE who approved an anti-bullying booklet for teachers that raised concerns. (The booklet was published in 2006 by the anti-bullying and anti-homophobia organization Out in Schools. According to Denike and Woo, the booklet contained a link to a gay men’s health website that they felt was inappropriate for teenagers. It had been reprinted in October with the link removed.)
In the video, the CSCF leader says in Cantonese that people shouldn’t be forced to learn about special interests. He says that they are not against it as an option to learn, but it shouldn’t be mandatory. He asks everyone to tell their friends who want to protect their children and grandchildren. He argues that they pay property tax, city tax, and more, which goes to schools, so why should they not speak up?
This video surfaced only days after anti-homophobia activist Ryan Clayton became aware of another video that Denike and Woo had also participated in. In a video uploaded to YouTube on December 6 and produced by the Washington, D.C.–based Marriage Anti-Defamation Alliance, an organization against same-sex marriage, Woo and Denike talk about the Out in Schools anti-bullying booklet.
The former chair of the CSCF, Charter Lau, was a Burnaby Parents’ Voice school board candidate and spokesperson. Lau and Parents’ Voice opposed policy 5.45.
In November, Lau was criticized for posting a video on the CSCF website in a section entitled Campaign Against Sexual Abuse on Children. The video contained censored images of partially unclothed or naked children in suggestive poses. CTV News reported that Burnaby mayor Derek Corrigan stated that the images were “very, very disturbing” and thought it was inappropriate for arguing a case against child pornography. The video was subsequently removed.
With Cantonese translation by Michelle Da Silva.
You can follow Michelle da Silva on Twitter at twitter.com/michdas. You can follow Craig Takeuchi on Twitter at twitter.com/cinecraig. You can also follow the Straight's LGBT coverage on Twitter at twitter.com/StraightLGBT.