A leader in the LGBT community is calling on the province to better communicate with concerned parents regarding new gender and sexual orientation policies in British Columbia schools.
Colin McKenna, the president of Parents and Family and Friends of LGBTQ (PFLAG) Vancouver, said parents would likely be relieved if they better understood what will be taught under the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity program (SOGI), a provincially mandated program that focuses on inclusivity and representation of diverse families.
"Unfortunately there's a lot of rhetoric that scares parents, and rightfully so, they don't understand what it's about," said McKenna who warned about the potential spread of misinformation.
The discussion around the appropriateness of such lessons erupted on Monday when Chilliwack, B.C., school board trustee, Barry Neufeld, took to Facebook to criticize SOGI as a "weapon of propaganda" and state his support of "traditional family values."
For some parents, the program feels like too much information for their young children.
In Langley, parents packed a September school board meeting to protest SOGI, and other parents have come forward with concerns.
But McKenna argues the lessons are age appropriate and necessary to make all students feel safe and welcome in public schools.
For example, kindergarten students will learn what constitutes a family and why using the word "gay" as an insult is harmful and why name calling is unacceptable. Read more via CBC