Rallies across Canada draw thousands for and against gender ideology in schools
CALGARY, Alberta (OSV News) -- Hundreds of parents, grandparents, kids and parental rights activists participating in the "1 Million March 4 Children" stood in front of the Harry Hays Building in downtown Calgary Sept. 20, brandishing signs declaring, "Leave our kids alone" and "Education, not indoctrination."
Directly across the street, a smaller horde of counter-protesters stood under a Pride flag and placards with messages like "Trans kids matter."
The physical distance separating the dueling sidewalk protests -- with a significant police presence in between -- was roughly 30 steps, but the ideological expanse between these two sides is as wide as Canada itself.
Hands off Our Kids, a grassroots movement against what it considers LGBT indoctrination in the classroom that was originally founded by Muslim parents, played a key role in spearheading demonstrations in front of parliament buildings or municipal landmarks in different Canadian communities -- Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa, Ontario, and Vancouver, British Columbia, to name just a few -- all on the same day and joined by thousands. Other prominent groups joined the effort, including Campaign Life Coalition, the national pro-life and pro-family organization.
The protests originated to support school policies that require young people to have parental consent before changing their first names and pronouns. The New Brunswick government was first to bring this into law and was quickly followed by Saskatchewan, with Ontario, Manitoba and Quebec also voicing support. The counter-protests were organized by those saying these policies are "hateful" toward the trans community.
In Fredericton, New Brunswick, Premier Blaine Higgs, whose government kicked off the debate, joined the march against LGBT policies on the front lawn of the legislative building.
"The situation is pretty straightforward," said Higgs. "It’s kind of amazing that there’s even a discussion of what the role of parents should be with their kids' lives."
Mahmound Mourra, organizer of the Calgary march, told The Catholic Register, a weekly newspaper based in Toronto, that he is standing up to create a better future for his five children and the kids they could bring into the world one day.
"I see the future bright in my kids' eyes," said Mourra. "I want them to be protected in a safe and secure environment. I'm not against any LGBT. I share all the love and respect for them. I don't agree with what they do, but as a human brother in humanity I respect them and their personal choice, and they must respect our choice as a parent who wants to determine his or her kid's life."
The "1 Million March 4 Children" in Calgary was a more elaborate visual and audio experience than the quieter pro-LGBT demonstration. The former boasted a greater diversity of signs, megaphones to galvanize loud chants and even featured a musical performer who adapted Pink Floyd's anti-authority anthem "Another Brick in the Wall" especially for the occasion. The lyrics "We don't need no education" became "We don't need no sexucation" and "We don't need no thought control" became "We don't need pronoun control."
Trevor Simpson, a Christian, captured this spirit in his sign that read, "Tired of being held hostage by the alphabet community."
"At 52 years of age I feel as if I allowed this to happen on my time," said Simpson. "Tolerance has gone far enough. The school systems do not need to be teaching this indoctrination."
Aware that many LGBT organizations, cultural groups and even government leaders in the march cities condemned these events as "hateful and discriminating," protesters shouted the phrase "we come in peace" numerous times in an effort to dispel this widely circulated notion.
Dora Bena, a grandmother and educator, displayed a poster stating, "We affirm that children are beautiful the way God made them." She wants the world to turn back to God's intended design.
"There is a lot of confusion being pushed on our children, and I believe God made everything really simple," said Bena. "He created us male and female. I know that there is diversity, the spectrum and all those kinds of stuff, but I think if we get away from the way He designed stuff, people are getting confused and people are getting hurt. I feel sad for people who are struggling with this, but also do feel like they have (been pushing) their agenda onto those who it is not appropriate, especially children."- - - Quinton Amundson is a staff writer for The Catholic Register in Toronto.