New West names, groups exclaim "no place for hate"

The stance was taken in support of the LGBTQ2S+ community

Mayor Patrick Johnstone, left, took a break from the UBCM to show support at counter protests in Vancouver on Wednesday, Sept. 20. 📷️ @pjnewwest on X/Twitter.

People across the province—and the country—on Wednesday showed up to counter protests tied to a stance against the way gender ideology is discussed in schools. On the part of New Westminster, there were folks with ties to the community who were not afraid to let others know where they stood.

Prior to Wednesday, there had been discussions that those against resources related to the discussion of gender ideology and sexual orientation in schools would be demonstrating at various sites across Canada. In preparation for this, parents and allies organized counter protests in support of what is typically referred to in BC as SOGI, or SOGI 1 2 3.

“SOGI 1 2 3 helps educators make schools inclusive and safe for students of all sexual orientations and gender identities. At a SOGI-inclusive school, students' gender does not limit their interests and opportunities, and their sexual orientation and how they understand and express their gender are welcomed without discrimination,” explains the home page of the SOGI 1 2 3 website. 

Right now, SOGI 1 2 3 resources can be found in BC and Alberta, with the group hoping to make its way further east.

New West Mayor Patrick Johnstone was among those in the crowd in Vancouver, not far from where the Union of BC Municipalities convention (UBCM) was taking place.

“A break from the [UBCM] gave time to join friends and allies in denouncing the misinformation and hate being projected towards Trans, Queer, and Questioning youth in our community and in our schools,” he explained over X/Twitter.

“It is distressing to see people so vocally attacking youth and wanting to take away their right to live their true lives; it is heart-lifting to see [10 times] as many people show up to say there is ‘No Space for Hate,’” said Johnstone, using the last four words to make reference to the title of some of the counter protests supporting the LGBTQ2S+ community.

“We shouldn’t have to,” he continued, “but I’m glad so many people do.”

Johnstone wasn’t the only one showing support, with Community First—Johnstone’s party—as well as the New Westminster District and Labour Council, New West Schools, and the New Westminster School District Parent Advisory Council sharing statements and posts in support of SOGI-related practices. School board Trustee Danielle Connelly of the New West Progressives also showed her support, posting to say “#LoveisLove” and #NoPlaceforHate.”

On X/Twitter, New West Schools reiterated its statement, re-sharing a post from June.

(DPAC) underscored the importance of a welcoming environment throughout the district.

“We firmly assert that any group endeavoring to undermine or segregate our community has no place in the inclusive environment of BC public education,” the statement from DPAC explains.

“Regrettably, some groups have been disseminating misinformation and, in doing so, go against the inclusive environment of BC public education.”

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