Burnaby rally to support LGBT–inclusive SOGI in schools to be held on October 14

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      The debate over LGBT–inclusive sexual identity and gender identity (SOGI) issues and resources in schools has continued to be a hot-button issue in campaigns for Metro Vancouver municipal elections.

      After Vancouver 1st mayoral candidate Fred Harding released a video promising to fight the provincial government’s SOGI policy in schools, Green Party of Vancouver candidates David Wong and Pete Fry criticized Harding.

      The video has since been taken offline.

      However in response to the video, Vancouver 1st Vancouver School Board candidate Tony Dong announced that he would resign from the party as he found Harding’s video to be "abhorrent and disgusting”.

      Meanwhile, on September 26, 180 pastors and approximately 1,000 signatories sent the West Coast Christian Accord to B.C. Education Minister Rob Fleming to request all SOGI resources be withdrawn from schools in the province.

      However, an open letter signed by 62 reverends and ministers from various Christian churches and over 350 signatories also sent a letter to Fleming to express their support for the LGBT–inclusive SOGI initiative in schools.

      After a conservative Christian-based protest was held at the B.C. Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on September 29, the B.C. government and numerous education partners issued a statement to reaffirm their support for SOGI resources in schools.

      Show Up For SOGI Education

      A rally is scheduled to be held in Burnaby tomorrow (October 14) from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at Burnaby Civic Square beside the Bob Prittie Metrotown Branch of the Burnaby Public Library (6100 Willingdon Avenue).

      The Show Up For SOGI Education rally will include a series of speakers.

      Organizer Evelyn McGowan told Burnaby Now that the rally is related to anti-SOGI rhetoric used during election campaigns, particularly by two Burnaby school board candidates: Laura-Lynn Tyler Thompson and Jimmy Zhao.

      Thompson, who got into a debate on Twitter with former CTV news anchor Tamara Taggart over SOGI issues, cohosted the anti–SOGI rally in Victoria.

      Burnaby has had heated debates about LGBT issues in schools in the past, including in 2011 when the school board attempted to implement anti-homophobia policies in schools.

      Burnaby installed its first rainbow crosswalk and held its first Pride celebration in August of this year.

      You can follow Craig Takeuchi on Twitter at @cinecraig or on Facebook. You can also follow the Straight's LGBT coverage on Twitter at @StraightLGBT or on Facebook.