Groups supporting and opposing policies regarding LGBTQ2 children in schools met at the Legislature Wednesday afternoon.
The protests focused on parental rights, school policies on gender identity and how teachers should relate to transgender youth.
The group called “The Million Children of March 4” began its day at The Forks and City Hall before ending at the Legislative Building.
They said their mission is to protect children from being taught gender ideology, s****l indoctrination and exposure to explicit s****l content and to ensure that parental consent remains paramount.
The group supported policies recently pa*sed in New Brunswick and Saskatchewan, which would require children under 16 to obtain consent from their parents before teachers can use their preferred names and pronouns.
“We must prevent children from being put in danger. They are innocent. They are not old enough to decide that I am going to change my gender and there should be absolutely no p**nographic books in schools,” said protester Mavis Friesen.
While counter-protesters believe such policies constitute a violation of children’s rights.
“I am the parent of a trans child. I am also a pastor in an affirming congregation here in the city and I believe that love is important and should be shared,” said Rev. Tricia Gerhard.
Counterprotester Laura Weibe said it appears the discontent stems from misinformation about the community.
“Also just getting information from places that may not offer the most unbiased education regarding our community, there are so many places to get information.”
However, protester Carol McGann said it didn’t come from a sense of hatred towards the community. “The reality is we support LGBTQ, what we don’t support is our children being indoctrinated in school and being taught and shown things they shouldn’t be taught and show them until they are more mature.”
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Meanwhile, Marc Kuly, a professor at the University of Winnipeg, called the nationwide protests worrying and frustrating.
“I have seen what happens when politics, misinformation and fear combine and become their target as a vulnerable group of people. »
Kuly also says the parental rights issue is a nonstarter. “In Manitoba, parental rights are enshrined in the Public Schools Act. There is no shortage of information for parents and there is no agenda in schools, except that of respect for the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
The Manitoba Teachers Society, which participated in Wednesday’s protests, says it stands by what is taught in Manitoba cla*srooms.
“We have teachers and teacher librarians who ensure that the books students select are age-appropriate and consistent with the curriculum,” said Nathan Martindale, president of the Society.
Winnipeg police say they have been closely monitoring the protests and there have been no incidents to report. The demonstration dispersed in the middle of the afternoon.
— With files from Teagan Rasche of Global
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