COQUITLAM (NEWS 1130) — As SOGI continues to be a contentious issue in the upcoming school board elections, supporters of the resource came together at Coquitlam’s Town Centre Plaza on Sunday to counter rhetoric against the government-sanctioned education on sexual orientation and gender identity issues.
Nicola Spurling, organizer and president of Tri-Cities Pride Society, hopes to raise awareness about what SOGI is. She says there are misconceptions about what the program is for, including that it teaches children “to be trans or to be gay,” while in reality it is meant to teach children there are different sexual orientations and identities.
“The purpose to highlight the benefits of SOGI education for children and making sure that we have an inclusive environment for kids to learn in,” Spurling tells NEWS 1130. “I just want children to be aware of that, so that they can be more respectful to their fellow classmates, for instance, who may be dealing with gender identity or sexual orientation issues.”
SOGI 1 2 3 is a collaboration between the B.C. Ministry of Education, ARC Foundation, local B.C. school boards, the B.C. Teachers’ Federation and others and includes education about gender identity in current school curriculum. School districts and independent school have autonomy in setting policies regarding SOGI education.
The topic has been a flashpoint in Lower Mainland cities with some people denouncing the program as “sexual indoctrination.”
Today’s event featured storytelling, poetry, personal experiences and music.
A pro SOGI 1 2 3 rally is underway in #Coquitlam, the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identities (SOGI) 123 program aims to teach kids about sexual and gender diversity within the sexual education curriculum and beyond. @CityNewsVAN @NEWS1130 @BT_Vancouver pic.twitter.com/zLRzcPbotJ
— Ashley Grace Burr (@AshleyBurr_) September 23, 2018