Concerned parents and trustees representing them gathered on the lawns of the Ontario legislature over the weekend to protest the sexualization of children in publicly funded schools.
Coined the '1 Million March for Children,' this movement aims to unite diverse backgrounds and faiths to protect children's innocence by eliminating the teachings of sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) curriculum in schools. This includes changing children’s names and/or pronouns without parental knowledge or consent and adhering to gendered bathrooms in schools.
Counter-protesters showed up ahead of the demonstration after being called to action by the Canadian Federation of Labour (CFL). The union stated that "enough is enough" in response to the "ultra-conservative right" protesting the "teaching of 2SLGBTQIA+ content in schools."
A mother from South Africa explained that her family emigrated to Canada because their children's lives were in danger.
“We didn’t know we were going to come here to fight a different war,” she said. “I have a five-year-old who's in senior kindergarten and her little mind can’t fathom the stuff that she’s being exposed to… we don’t want you to force your ideologies onto our kids when they can’t make sense of it.”
Another demonstrator said, “You can be whatever you want, that’s fine, but leave our kids alone!”
“The underrepresentation of this even happening,” was another mother’s point of contention about the event itself. “Now that we’re here and see a lot of the parents talking, I can feel the personal frustration.”
“I don’t necessarily agree with all of the chants and people yelling at each other. I think both sides can come from a place of love and there’s a place for both [views]. I believe that we should all have the freedom to share what we’re going through. I agree when it comes to legislation that parents come first, no matter what. I spent a lot of time creating a baby and my heart is in it. I don’t want to be removed from major decisions in her life until she’s of proper age.”
One protester mentioned there appears to be a pattern of confusion happening at schools with the idea of identity fluidity.
“They have to play, let them be children,” said another.
Former Waterloo Region District School Board Trustee Cristina Bairos got to the root of the issue, stating that the movement aims to stop the sexualization of children.
“People need to start paying attention. Democracy is completely gone. There’s no debate. All we asked for at the board was a motion for them to have a filtration system [that aligned book appropriateness for elementary, middle and high school designations] and they dismissed it. I’m not here to tell you what to think. Figure out what’s going on and vote for yourself because this is something fierce.”
“They cannot tolerate a different opinion,” said Durham District school board trustee Linda Stone as the podium was swarmed with rainbow flag-yielding agitators. “They hate anybody that disagrees with them. It’s sick. We need to be able to talk together.”
Another demonstrator condemned the union's call for counter-protest and the aggressive tactics deployed thereafter.
“When you don’t have the truth, when you can’t defend your position, your only alternative is slander and violence… it’s become obvious that the people who promote and support gender ideology don’t really love children, they love their ideology. The children are just fodder to support that ideology.”
Gender medicine survivor, lesbian, mother and transman Scott Newgent also gathered in solidarity with concerned parents to share the harrowing health effects of medical transition.