Thousands of demonstrators gathered in cities across Canada on Wednesday as a conservative movement against “gender ideology” in schools was confronted by pro-LGBTQ+ protesters.
The nationwide peaceful protests, organized under the banner “1 Million March for Children,” stretched from Vancouver to Ottawa. A website that promoted the protest said its mission was to advocate “for the elimination of the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (SOGI) curriculum, pronouns, gender ideology and mixed bathrooms in schools.”
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau condemned the marches, posting on X, “Transphobia, homophobia, and biphobia have no place in this country. We strongly condemn this hate and its manifestations, and we stand united in support of 2SLGBTQI+ Canadians across the country — you are valid and you are valued.”
At demonstrations in many cities, people held signs declaring, “Leave our Kids Alone!” and “Stop Gender Ideology,” while counterprotesters declared “Protect Trans Kids.”
GARLAND SAYS INCENDIARY MEMO DIRECTING FBI TO USE COUNTERTERRORISM TOOLS ON PARENTS NEVER RESCINDED
“Trans people – they exist in society, and they deserve inclusion, just like everyone else,” activist Celeste Trianon told Canadian outlet CTV News. Trianon led a counter demonstration in Montreal, where police reportedly placed themselves between the competing demonstrations outside the offices of Premier Francois Legault.
“We need to talk to people, teach them the right vocabulary, the proper words, at an age-appropriate time, in order to explain that inclusion is a good thing. We need to make sure that their trans and queer peers at school feel welcome,” Trianon said.
SEN. TIM SCOTT SLAMS RANDI WEINGARTEN FOR COMPARING ‘PARENTAL RIGHTS’ TO SEGREGATION
Nathan McMillan, a protester in Toronto, told CBC News he was demonstrating to “support children and the importance to maintain their innocence,” expressing his concern that gender-identity content is not age-appropriate for young school children.
“There’s a lot of political rhetoric going on right now about what’s happening in our schools,” he said. “I think it’s important that we keep kids out of these important discussions that really are between parents and their children. Teachers and institutions, unions, big money, they shouldn’t be having these types of conversations with kids in such an overt fashion.”
RANDI WEINGARTEN DENIES COMPARING ‘PARENTAL RIGHTS’ ADVOCATES TO SEGREGATIONISTS DURING PODCAST INTERVIEW
The debate in Canada mirrors controversies in the United States between school boards and parents over content permitted in the classroom.
Viral confrontations at U.S. school board meetings have shown angry parents objecting to pro-LGBTQ+ content available in schools that they say is not age-appropriate or too graphic to be shown to children. A nationwide movement to get parents more involved in their children’s education has prompted Republican governors to enact various forms of “parental rights” legislation.
The most controversial of these efforts was a law signed by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, derided by critics as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, which banned classroom instruction on “sexual orientation” or “gender identity” in kindergarten through third grade.
CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP
Opponents of the conservative movement say “right wing extremists” are hiding a bigoted and discriminatory agenda behind the “parental rights” slogan that will harm LGBTQ+ youth. Critics have accused parental rights groups like Moms for Liberty of endorsing censorship, pointing to school boards that have removed books from shelves after parents expressed their concerns.
The protests in Canada proceeded mostly peacefully, though Ottawa police said five people were arrested on Wednesday. “Three arrests were made for public incitement of hatred, one for assault, and one for obstructing police,” police said.