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Counter-protest in Fort McMurray outnumbers protesters in opposition to gender, sexual training

Supporters of the 2SLGBTQI+ group had a much bigger turnout than a deliberate protest in opposition to sexual, gender training in colleges.

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Not more than 30 individuals protesting how intercourse and gender are taught in school rooms spent Saturday afternoon close to the Fort McMurray courtroom home on Franklin Avenue. However they have been met with dozens of counter-protesters who began outdoors Peter Pond Mall and crossed the road to take up most house outdoors the courtroom home.

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The individuals opposing sexual orientation and gender id (SOGI) training in colleges are a part of 1 Million March 4 Youngsters, a nation-wide protest motion that has rallied in dozens of cities and cities throughout Canada. A Fort McMurray rally in opposition to SOGI in September introduced a whole lot of people that marched from the Jubilee Centre to the Catholic and public faculty divisions.

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Satisfaction YMM, an advocacy group for the 2SLGBTQI+ group in Fort McMurray Wooden Buffalo, organized Saturday’s counter-protest after studying one other rally was occurring.

The anti-SOGI protesters have been disenchanted with their turnout. Councillor Shafiq Dogar made a short look, however didn’t keep lengthy. Many supporters on the September rally have been Muslim, and protesters on Saturday blamed their turnout on Muslim supporters feeling rattled due to the Israel-Gaza Battle. Connie Shields, an organizer of the native anti-SOGI protest, insisted Unifor and the Canadian Union of Public Workers (CUPE) paid Satisfaction YMM to protest her aspect.

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Mitchel Bowers, board chair of Satisfaction YMM, laughed when instructed about this accusation and stated his supporters confirmed up as a result of they really supported the trigger.

“I’m actually pleased with the help we’ve got. Fort McMurray actually turned out for the 2SLGBTQI+ group,” Bowers stated in an interview. “I might have beloved to have much more present up, however I’m evaluating the scale of the counter protests and the protests. I’m actually pleased with our numbers. Our voice must be heard louder than theirs.”

Protesters in opposition to educating sexual and gender training in colleges in downtown Fort McMurray on Saturday, October 21, 2023. Vincent McDermott/Fort McMurray In the present day/Postmedia Community

No arrests or fights at Saturday rallies

SOGI opponents stated that they had no issues with the 2SLGBTQI+ group, however objected to their values being taught in colleges. This consists of using various pronouns for workers and college students. They felt bullied into accepting the values of 2SLGBTQI+ group, after they as a substitute needed a “stay and let stay” method between individuals, no matter their sexual or gender id.

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“We don’t hate them and we’re not hateful individuals, it is a peaceable protest. However we don’t want SOGI taught to kids in colleges,” stated Zulkifl Mujahid, an organizer of native anti-SOGI protests, in an interview. “Youngsters can’t consent to any of this.”

Bowers described the anti-SOGI protests as hateful and misinformed. He stated it can be crucial college students see individuals with totally different sexual and gender identities represented of their lives. This teaches kids about variations and is nice emotionally for college kids figuring out as 2SLGBTQI+, he stated.

Bowers, who identifies as two-spirited, by no means noticed queer individuals represented rising up. This made him really feel alienated and that there was one thing unsuitable with him. He tried suicide a number of occasions. Bowers fears holding SOGI training out of faculties will trigger related hurt to college students.

“For those who select to not train kids about an id or actuality, the queer kids who’re amongst them don’t see themselves represented. They ask the query, ‘what’s unsuitable with me?’ That was my expertise as a child I didn’t see the place we have been rising up,” stated Bowers.

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“Educating sexuality isn’t sexualization. Educating individuals about love and acceptance is what we’re educating.”

The weekend and September rallies had no violent clashes or arrests. Solely two protesters allied with Satisfaction YMM spoke with anti-SOGI protesters. Talks weren’t heated, however either side felt the opposite aspect was unreasonable.

Satisfaction YMM additionally rejected claims that anti-SOGI protesters “invited Satisfaction YMM to take a seat on the desk” and speak. The group additionally doubted their sincerity, arguing not one of the native organizers of the anti-SOGI protests have joined Satisfaction YMM’s free on-line seminars or workshops on inclusion.

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