A lost opportunity

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Last week’s 1 Million March 4 Children event – contrasted with a quickly-organized Minden Pride counter-rally – was eye-opening for a number of reasons.

First, I was surprised to see more than 50 folks turn up for the first rally and march – part of a cross-Canada movement concerned about sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) curriculum in schools. The locals joined with people across the County in calling for an end to gender-based pronouns, ideology and mixed bathrooms in schools.

A local spokeswoman added the movement’s mission is to free children from the bondage of indoctrination, breaking a system they say is designed to sexualize children.

I noted some of the people attending the 1 Million March 4 Children were the same people I had seen at the Freedom Convoys during COVID, and anti-vaccination gatherings. The same Canadian flags that showed up there, showed up here.

In many ways, these protestors are fighting all things government. They are also battling what they believe is a shift to a far left-wing, woke, agenda.

On the other side of the park, they were certainly outnumbered by the Pride-gathered folks. They argued that the idea of removing queer ideology from the curriculum in high schools is a very dangerous proposition, because it’s been proven that people who are within the queer spectrum have to have some sense of belonging. If you remove it from the education system, they argued, they don’t know where else they’re supposed to get it from.

Here’s one idea; how about their parents.

The other counter-argument was that education is not about the sexualization of children.

They called out “educate don’t discriminate” as the 1 Million March 4 Children folk yelled “God bless you.”

This division in Haliburton County – indeed this division across Canada – is a byproduct of COVID. When people live in states of fear, they do everything they can to protect their patch.

And that was the other telling takeaway from last week. Both camps stayed in their camps. No one ventured across the parking lot divide to have a discussion about their differing opinions. All said they were there for the children. However, there wasn’t much of an attempt to understand each others’ differences.

For example, if one of the 1 Million March 4 Children lot had talked to 22-year-old Poet, they would have found out that what is being done in schools isn’t classroom-based curriculum or ‘gay class.’

Poet grew up queer, always struggling with her identity, and was bullied at school.

She wishes she had been exposed to the education, or staff telling her it was fine to be who she was. That didn’t happen and she was at-risk. She thinks when resources are removed, young people fall through the cracks. Some commit suicide.

No one on either side of the Head Lake Park lot would want that to happen. The lack of discussion last Wednesday was a lost opportunity. Going forward, if we want to tackle the great divide that is growing in our County, we have to begin a dialogue to at least try to understand each others’ differences.