Langley residents were on each side of the competing rallies for and against the SOGI 123 curriculum in Vancouver on Monday.
On the pro-SOGI side was local parent Stacey Wakelin, who was pleased with the turnout.
“It was kind of a celebration of the support that we know is in the community,” she said.
She argued that the opposition to SOGI – sexual orientation and gender identity – isn’t just about the curriculum or students, but about broader issues.
“At the core of this, it’s an anti-LGBTQ sentiment,” Wakelin said.
She noted that those opposing SOGI have sometimes misrepresented what is actually in the curriculum.
On the opposing side was Langley-based right-wing activist Kari Simpson.
“SOGI is about altering our culture and the political hijacking of our public education system to which parents are saying no,” said Simpson.
“We’re going to outlaw SOGI 123 in the public education system.”
Also backing up the anti-SOGI side were about half a dozen members of the Soldiers of Odin group.
Soldiers of Odin is an offshoot of an anti-immigrant group of the same name in Europe.
Although the Canadian branches say they do not share an ideology with the European version, they have also clashed with anti-racism demonstrators.
Three Soldiers of Odin were arrested by Vancouver Police in March of 2017 after a scuffle with marchers organized by the Pacific Coalition Against Bigotry.
– with files from Black Press Digital