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Parents' and educators' group sends message of support to LGBTQ kids in light of anti-SOGI talks

Last Updated May 30, 2019 at 3:20 am PDT

FILE - Rallies for and against SOGI 1 2 3 at BC schools took place on April 23, 2018 outside the BCTF office in Vancouver. (Lasia Kretzel, NEWS 1130 Photo)

A group of parents and teachers supporting SOGI sent out a letter critiquing a series of local anti-SOGI presentations

B.C. Families for Inclusivity opted to write a letter supporting LGBTQ kids and SOGI rather than protest

An anti-SOGI presentation was held at Surrey Pentecostal Assembly Wednesday night

SURREY (NEWS 1130) — Members of a Facebook group of more than 1,000 B.C. parents and educators are sending a message of support for LGBTQ kids in light of controversial presentations attacking SOGI 123 taking place across the Lower Mainland.

They say SOGI — which stands for sexual orientation and gender identity — is about protecting children’s rights to safe and inclusive schools.

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High school teacher Kathryn Ferguson is part of the group B.C. Families for Inclusivity that sent an open letter critiquing the series of anti-SOGI presentations by Jenn Smith. A ‘Christian only’ version of the talk took place at Surrey Pentecostal Assembly on Wednesday night.

Instead of protesting the event, she says the group opted for a different approach.

“The letter is basically a sense of support for our LGBTQ2+ youth and really looking at how detrimental these presentations are to our youth,” she says. “Every time those words are spoken, it rings back as hate. It sounds like ‘something is wrong with you, something is wrong with who you believe you are and who you inherently are.’

“For us, our goal here was to put a story, get people to get beyond the propaganda and the rhetoric and to really think about the people in your community, your neighbours, the people you run into at the grocery store and realize that everyone is a part of SOGI.”

She says SOGI resources help kids feel welcome, regardless of their gender or sexual orientation.

Parent Constance Carriere-Prill who has LGBTQ children, says she thinks these types of presentations are misleading.

“People fear what they don’t understand, and people hate what they fear. At the end of the day, if people are not understanding something, if they’re being given the wrong information, it perpetuates fear, it perpetuates hate,” she says.

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She questions the validity of information shared in the anti-SOGI talks, saying she hopes people who are confused or concerned about SOGI will speak with teachers, educators and other experts who can explain it to them.

“The only way to counteract discrimination against LGBTQ people is proper education. Events like tonight go against the grain for that,” she says.