Those incensed about Surrey School Board’s refusal to provide a venue for a rally against the SOGI (Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity) 123 curriculum program may be missing a certain irony in their position.
A group called Parents United Canada says it is filing a human-rights complaint, because the board barred it from renting Surrey’s Bell Performing Arts Centre for the rally. Yet the aim of protecting the human rights of students – as embodied by SOGI – seems to be exactly what such a rally would oppose.
On the program website, SOGI is described as a means of equipping “educators of all backgrounds and experiences with tools and resources for supporting marginalized LGBTQ students and for creating safer and more inclusive school environments for all students.”
Not so, according to Parents United Canada and its allied organization Culture Guard, which while describing itself as working for a “civil, responsible and just society,” has made it clear it is not prepared to entertain any discussion of the realities of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender identification in the world today.
For this organization, acknowledging such realities can only offer support for “deviancy.” More than that, Culture Guard claims, SOGI is part of an active agenda, continent-wide, to “undermine your relationship with your children, undermine societal values and to sexualize your children.” In other words, for them, education equals indoctrination.
It’s interesting to speculate what kind of protective bubble or cocoon such parents believe their children are living in. Chances are, if they are attending public schools, they are already exposed to some of the realities of students identifying as LGBTQ. The fact is that children talk to other children, and not always about a list of subjects their parents might approve.
Casting our minds back to our own childhoods, we must realize that knowledge of sexuality – and its many variations – is always the province of schoolyard discussion, long before being formally covered by educators. And human nature being what it is, such immature discussions are all-too-often characterized by malicious gossip, ignorance, name-calling and bullying.
Do we really prefer such an ill-informed, approach to an ordered and enlightened curriculum that could dispel centuries of ignorance and prejudice and help all children – no matter how they identify – deal with some key realities of human existence?