Calgary Residents Rally Against Gender Identity Education in Schools

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A mass of over 1,000 individuals assembled outside the Harry Hays building in Calgary’s bustling downtown on Wednesday, the gathering punctuated by signs of protest or support towards the teaching of sexual orientation and gender identity in local educational establishments.

This sea of people was indeed the “1 Million March for Children,” organized by the people of Calgary, with a clear demand – the elimination of the teaching of gender identity in schools, a subject viewed by them as inappropriate for anyone under the age of eighteen.

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The sentiment expressed by the protest’s lead organizer, Mahmoud Mourra, was clear, “All we want is for our children to be left undisturbed in schools to mature and decide what they want from life.” He went on to express concern for all children, including potentially conflicted LGBT youths, and his desire to reserve their right to choose their own identity.

In addition to this, the protesters enforced the importance of parental freedom in determining the upbringing of their children.

As the phrase “every story has two sides” goes, counter-protesters formed a parallel wave across the street championing support for the LGBTQ2S+ community and Alberta’s education policy. They claimed that the 1 Million March was spurred by hatred and argued that embracing diversity in schools benefits not just the children of the LGBTQ2S+ community but the newer generations of Alberta as a whole.

Concealing diversity education, they said, hampers the growth of children. One anonymous participant added, “There has been a lot of misinformation from the other side, which we’re here to challenge.”

Recent events have seen an unfortunate incident where a man was arrested by the Calgary police near the protest site for carrying a weapon. Authorities, although yet to press charges, confirmed his arrest and are investigating any possible associations with the demonstrations. During this chaotic day, almost 1100 people were managed by the police, the majority of them were with the 1 Million March.

The Alberta Teachers Association came forward as well, claiming that this protest was an orchestrated attempt to sabotage the right of every student to enjoy safety in schools. ATA president Jason Schilling voiced his belief that the march was a smokescreen for promoting misinformation and intolerance towards the 2SLGBTQIA+ community. He lauded the support shown for the LGBTQ2S+ community and urged an end to the increased hostilities towards sexual and gender diverse students and school staff.

Meanwhile, both the Calgary Board of Education and the Calgary Catholic School District did not disclose the number of absent students due to the protest.

The Calgary Catholic School District released a statement affirming their dedication to serving all individuals regardless of their gender or sexual orientation, promising a respectful environment conducive to learning.

For several hours, the protesters remained outside the Harry Hays building. They transitioned from the stand-off to a march, before finally dispersing around 3:30 p.m.

Despite the intense crowd, the events of the protest remained peaceful throughout.

During the ongoing demonstrations, Mayor Jyoti Gondek found herself amidst protestors as she drove by. In a tweet later on, she acknowledged the protesters and reiterated her support for the 2SLGBTQ+ community by expressing, “Calgary is a place of love and inclusion. Your hatred has no home here.” The episode reportedly lasted a few seconds before one of the protestors broke away, allowing the mayor’s vehicle to pass through.