Approximately 150 people attended a meeting Tuesday night to rally opposition to policies meant to make LGBT students feel safe and welcome in Abbotsford schools.
They heard that the provincially mandated Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (SOGI) administrative procedure passed by the Abbotsford board of education in February would normalize and encourage sexual minorities and gender identities and that this amounted to a “culture war.”
The event was held at Garden Park Tower on Clearbrook Road and was organized by resident Leonard Remple and Kari Simpson of Culture Guard, a social conservative group.
Both Simpson and Paul Dirks – a New Westminster pastor known for anti-transgender activism – gave long speeches, showed videos and answered audience questions over two and a half hours.
Dirks quoted studies he says suggest many transgender youth regret transitioning and said their high rates of suicide attempts are a result of underlying mental health issues, not prejudice and bullying.
“Don’t trust me,” Dirks said, encouraging the audience to read research published in the New Atlantis – a social conservative journal.
Dirks said the increasing number of young people identifying as transgender is a “social contagion.”
Simpson, who has long campaigned against LGBT initiatives, railed against SOGI. She made several jokes about gay and trans people, including referring to transgender women pictured with former Premier Christy Clark as “good-looking men” and recounting how her granddaughter mocked transgender people on social media.
Kari Simpson has the audience in stitches telling a story about her granddaughter mocking trans ppl pic.twitter.com/oJBrQBvDq7— Kelvin Gawley (@KelvinGawley) October 4, 2017
She rallied the crowd to vote out politicians at all three levels of government who support SOGI policies and asked for donations from the crowd.
“We are in a war for our nation and our children,” Simpson said.
She calls #SOGI "a political, sectarian agenda" she tells audience her group needs money to fight court battles.— Kelvin Gawley (@KelvinGawley) October 4, 2017
Glen Hansman, president of the B.C. Teachers’ Federation, told The News that the SOGI policies are in line with court rulings and his union’s values of tolerance.
Abbotsford school board chair Shirley Wilson said she was not concerned to learn people are talking about the policies and that she supports the SOGI procedures and inclusion of resources meant to help teachers foster an inclusive school environment.
More to come on this story in Friday’s edition of the Abbotsford News and on AbbyNews.com