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.


December 16:

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.



Dianne G

Dec 16, 2011 at 4:23pm

How disappointing especially when so many are working so hard to challenge bullying and homophobia/transphobic comments and challenge the ignorance of such ideas and comments.

A video against same sex marriage in America - oh for crying out loud. How pathetic Mr Denike and Ms Woo.

Gene Logan

Dec 16, 2011 at 5:05pm

"This is not how we have done things in Vancouver in the past.”

No, in the past, people of Chinese ancestry, for instance, were bullied, forced into ghettos, subjected to 2nd class treatment, singled out for the infamous Head tax, deprived of any democratic rights and prevented from reuniting with family members by the Chinese Exclusion Act.

These comments by Woo and Denicke are not flippant off-the-cuff remarks, but delivered in a serious and deliberate manner. They should both hang their heads in shame.


Dec 16, 2011 at 5:41pm

Everybody has at least one uncle, aunt, sister, brother, daughter or son who is gay. Even Mr. Denike and Ms.Woo. The more we create a climate where they are accepted, the more of them will come out of the closet and help the Denike's and Woo's of the world see how backwards their way of thinking is.


Dec 16, 2011 at 6:24pm

Let me get this straight...

Sophia Woo is a mental-health expert who has a relationship with an invisible father figure who lives in the sky and commands her to do things, and apparently has told her that gay people are coming to eat her (alleged) brains.

...and we have elected her to plan our children's education?

...and people still think representative democracy works?


Dec 16, 2011 at 6:35pm

It's a shame that people forget the injustices of the past. It's cause for anger that they'd inflict the same on others.


Dec 16, 2011 at 7:24pm

Sophia woo should be ashamed. Let's vote so that she loses her rights to marry to. And if she wants to bring back how Vancouver "used to be", well, lets bring back the times when the Chinese and Dogs were not allowed to talk or walk in white neighborhoods.... just for her. Not for the rest of us Asians, who recognize and hate bullies.


Dec 16, 2011 at 8:02pm

Why was she speaking in Cantonese? The Christian Social Concern Fellowship.....sounds like a "special interest" group to me.


Dec 16, 2011 at 8:38pm

My experience in hearing Woo speak, was concern that anti-bullying focused on Gays alone and not the Geeks, Nerds and ESL kids too. Sadly she asked questions about this at a Candidates meeting and I was the only one listening enough to know she was asking about this. Everyone else thought she was specifically concerned with homophobia in schools. I worry about her discriminating against eccentric students as "insane" or "troubled" and pumping ADD meds in kids.
Even with doubts or denial of God, though, some follow the Scientific and Natural Law of opposites. It's not all faith. Atheists for Life too among Libertarians for Life, so Religion or not social issues are not always fully permissive.
Some gays think Out is too out. Some support privacy alone and make little of things. Out in Schools don't suit all people in all things and groups. Dan Savage criticized the Pride Parade in a letter to this paper as undignified, granted coughed in Bauer's coffee cup in Iowa just after (not so dignified situation either).


Dec 16, 2011 at 8:54pm

What is fascinating about the video is that Vancouver already has a comprehensive LGBTQ Policy similar to Burnaby. It was passed in 2004. Both Denike and Woo say, in the video, that Vancouver doesn't have a policy like Burnaby, and that people should vote for them to prevent one being brought into Vancouver. Now Denike was not a trustee in 2004, but it has been brought up a number of times since then. I for one have spoken about the policy at many board meetings with Denike at the table. I find it puzzling that he now doesn't seem to know it exists.

Do Denike and Woo really oppose such a policy like they say in this video? Or were they just saying what they thought this group and others with that point of view would like to hear.

In any case what they have done is reprehensible. Shame on them.