VICTORIA – British Columbia’s Human Rights Commissioner, Kasari Govender, says she is disturbed about “hate-fuelled marches” planned in several communities around the province and across Canada on Wednesday.
Posters created by a group called “1MillionMarch4Children” says participants are “standing together against gender ideology in schools,” which is a reference to Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity programs being taught in B.C.’s public schools.
The statement from Govender says peaceful demonstration protects democracy and generates debate, but the human rights of the trans and LGBTQ community “is not up for debate.”
She says an inquiry by her office showed almost two-thirds of LGBTQ students don’t feel safe at school, compared with 11 per cent of heterosexual students, and attempts to erase them from school curriculums are hateful.
A statement from the City of Whitehorse says it is aware of a march planned for Sept. 20 in the Yukon city, and says anti-LGBTQ messaging that targets community members will not be tolerated.
Bylaw officers in Whitehorse are aware of the planned march as well as a counter-protest and the city says RCMP will be monitoring.
Govender says in a statement that those who want to “protect” their children by removing school-based supports for gay, bisexual, trans and other students are misinformed.
“As a parent, I plead with those who may think they are protecting their children: Erasing LGBTQ2SAI+ people from our curriculum will not change your child’s identity, but it will make schools, and the LGBTQ2SAI+ people in them, less safe,” she says in her statement.
Trans people have become the focus of a “surge of disinformation, conspiracy theories and hate,” says Govender.
“This is not only about hate on the basis of gender identity; these rallies are an affront to human dignity, expression and rights for all of us,” she says.
A letter from Govender to Premier David Eby, urges him to release details about the effectiveness of 12 recommendations Govender’s office submitted to the province in March.
The recommendations flowed from a public inquiry that examined reports of hate in B.C.
Those recommendations provide a “road map of how to take tangible and transformative action against hate,” says Govender.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 19, 2023.