Several Metro Vancouver election candidates puzzled, dismayed with inclusion on anti-SOGI endorsement lists

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      One of the most divisive issues in this year's municipal elections has been about the B.C. government's stance on sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) issues in schools.

      Anti-SOGI activists have created and circulated lists to endorse candidates who are opposed to SOGI in B.C. schools.

      However, not all of these lists are accurate and several candidates who have been mistakenly added to these lists are displeased about being included.

      Two anti-SOGI groups which have created lists are Culture Guard and the Let's Vote Association.

      Let's Vote Association states on its website that one of its purposes is "to help Canadian citizens and permanent residents, esp. new immigrants, to participate in political parties and help to shape the parties with conservative values".

      Meanwhile, Culture Guard has been active in opposing numerous LGBT issues, including SOGI.

      Langley Township mayoral candidate Jack Froese is included on lists by both Culture Guard and Let's Vote Association.

      Froese told the Langley Times that he doesn't understand why he is on the Culture Guard list as he is neutral on SOGI issues because it is a provincial issue, not a municipal one, and is also for equality, inclusion, and respect.

      Langley City mayoral candidate Peter Fassbender was included in the list by Let's Vote. Fassbender, a former B.C. education minister, also said that he does not have a SOGI platform because it is an issue for the provincial government, school boards, and teachers.

      Meanwhile in Coquitlam, CBC News reported that mayoral candidate Richard Stewart was surprised to find he was included on a list by the Canadian Council for Faith and Family when he is a SOGI supporter.

      Similarly, Coquitlam city councillor Teri Towner also doesn't understand how she ended up on the list.

      In Vancouver, former education school trustees Sophia Woo and Ken Denike rejected the endorsement on the anti-SOGI website, which is run by Canadian Christian Lobby president Chris McCay.

      However, Woo and Denike were fine with an endorsement from the Let's Vote Association, as they considered it "neutral".

      Woo and Denike were expelled from the Non-Partisan Association in June 2014 after the pair held a press conference to express concerns about the Vancouver School Board's updates to its SOGI policy. They were the only trustees to vote against gender identity amendments to the policy in 2014. 

      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.