British Columbia’s education minister, Rob Fleming, believes that people against new in-school LGBT inclusivity policies have gone too far. Critics have gone as far as to launching personal attacks on teachers, parents, and LGBT youth.
The sexual orientation and gender identity policy, SOGI 123, was first inducted by the Ministry of Education in September 2017. The school policies were created after gender rights were amended to the Human Rights Code in 2016.
The sexual orientation and gender identity policies were created to help ensure that all students feel welcome and protected while in school. The policies allow students to participate in ways that reflect their gender identity and expression.
The document allows students to dress in clothing that they feel comfortable in as well as participate in sports teams that are reflective of their identity. In the document, it is also stated that students are allowed to use whichever washroom they feel the most comfortable in.
The guidelines not only help to protect students from discrimination regarding their gender identity, sexual orientation, and gender expression but teachers too.
From the beginning, Fleming understood that not everyone would be welcoming of the new policy change. He understands that parents will have questions and concerns and there will be those who push back.
Organizations like Culture Block, the Canadian Christian Lobby (CCL), and Parents as First Educators in Ontario, are actively working to remove the sexual orientation and gender identity policy. Using a combination of legislative means, protests, and declarations of indoctrination, these groups hope to change the current policy.
For LGBT students, the pushback from the community is causing stress. Cole Dirks, a 16-year-old student from Langley School in British Columbia, transitioned between Grade 8 and Grade 9. Shortly after his transition, the new SOGI policy arrived. Cole explains that the pushback of the policy makes him feel attacked for who he is.
Although critics are trying to push back on the policy, Fleming explains that they are failing. He states that their complaints have actually provoked interest in SOGI policy. You can find public and even some private schools throughout Canada new adopting SOGI policies.