Demonstrators March Nationwide to Protest Gender Ideology in Schools
OTTAWA, TORONTO, MONTREAL—Thousands of demonstrators took to the streets in cities across Canada on Sept. 20 to protest the teaching of gender ideology in schools. Counter-protestors also gathered nearby to denounce what they viewed as “hateful” rallies against transgender children.
The national event, known as the “1 Million March for Children,” was organized in response to parental concerns regarding the teaching of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (SOGI) in schools. The event’s official website outlines its objectives of eliminating the SOGI curriculum, pronouns, and mixed-gender bathrooms.
These protests coincide with recent policy changes in schools, as provinces like New Brunswick and Saskatchewan now require parental consent for students under 16 wishing to change their names and pronouns at school. Previously, schools could make these changes without informing parents.
Opposing the rallies, counter-protestors argue that they represent attacks on the LGBT community. They also claim that New Brunswick and Saskatchewan’s policies infringe upon children’s rights.
In Ottawa, over a thousand individuals congregated on Parliament Hill before marching through the city streets, while counter-protestors carrying pride flags and signs assembled on Wellington Street. The crowd of protestors chanted slogans such as “Leave the kids alone” and “No more silence.”
Earlier in the day, leaked video conferences revealed the plans of dozens of union organizers to disrupt the protest. One of the organizers claimed that the protests were not truly protecting children, but rather attacking them and their communities.
A significant number of protestors against gender ideology have backgrounds in ethnicity and religion, with Muslims playing an active role in the movement. Elias, a Muslim father, expressed his family’s withdrawal of support from the Liberals and NDP due to their endorsement of gender ideology. He expressed the desire for his children to grow up without external influences and criticized the lack of focus on economic issues.
Those who have experienced communism also participated in the protests, expressing concerns over the erosion of freedom of expression in Canada.
Maxime Bernier, leader of the People’s Party of Canada, lent his support to the protest for parental rights, emphasizing his party’s alignment with the cause. He urged Conservative Party supporters seeking greater prominence for the issue to join his party.
While the Conservative Party recently passed non-binding resolutions limiting transgender healthcare access for minors and barring transgender Canadians from women’s spaces, Pierre Poilievre, the Tory leader, did not address the protests or indicate if the resolutions would become party policy.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau implicitly acknowledged the protests without specifically referring to them. He condemned hate and manifestations of transphobia, homophobia, and biphobia, while expressing unity and support for 2SLGBTQI+ Canadians.
The Ottawa Police Service announced two arrests for inciting hatred and one for causing a disturbance during the protests.
In Toronto, hundreds of protesters gathered in Queen’s Park, where a man declared over a loudspeaker that one cannot change their gender. Scott Speidel, one of the organizers, reported approximately 100 similar protests being held nationwide.
John, a retired teacher who left on the cusp of the transgender movement’s rise in education, noted the shift in power dynamics that occurred when teachers were required to acknowledge students’ truth while ignoring their own objective truth.
Zess Pedias, a former Liberal Party delegate, joined the Toronto protest, expressing opposition to governmental interference in raising children and a desire to teach moral values to kids without external influence.
Counter-protestors surrounded the supporters of parental rights at one point, but both sides remained calm, with police officers on bicycles separating them. The protesters then marched through the city, shouting slogans such as “Leave our kids alone.”
The Toronto police made one arrest during the demonstration, with a 47-year-old woman charged with carrying a weapon and possession of a weapon while attending a public meeting.
In Montreal, protestors and counter-protestors faced off while police officers stood between them. Muslim children carried signs proclaiming “Parents know best” and “I belong to my parents.”
Michelle Layne protested against gender ideology, stating that “God made two genders.” She voiced her belief that it is not the government’s role to dictate to parents and that they should have the right to raise their children according to their values.
Sophie Archambault participated in the protest to advocate for keeping children’s innocence intact, calling for the government to teach children to love each other and have healthy relationships.
The Montreal police stayed vigilant during the protests, but did not engage with either group.
Overall, these protests demonstrate the ongoing debate surrounding the teaching of gender ideology in schools and the clash of opinions between proponents and opponents on this issue.