In response to a protest of SOGI 1 2 3, a counter-protest took place at Creston’s public library Oct. 21.
Organizers Nicholas McCready and Sarah Sherban of OUTspoken Creston say they were encouraged by the turnout.
“We had differing people from different areas and very supportive,” said Sherban.
“We had roughly about 60 people there, which was a huge jump from the nine or ten that we had initially had.”
The counter-protest and protest initially ran at the same time, however, after some conflict, McCready and Sherban say they felt safer rescheduling.
“On our first one, a minor was pushed out into the road,” said McCready.
“That was really scary. So that did force us to change how we did things the next time to keep everybody safe. That part was very disappointing.”
McCready says it seems like misinformation was being shared during the protest.
“We just wanted to offer another narrative for the topic because SOGI 1 2 3 is not a mandated curriculum in any way. It’s a resource for teachers and educators to access. So, it’s all consensual.”
Protestors of SOGI 1 2 3 carried signs saying “hands off our kids”, “stop the brainwashing” and “keep porn out of school”.
McCready says that’s a misunderstanding of what SOGI 1 2 3 is.
“The basics of SOGI 1 2 3 is to get children to understand their human rights. Originally the idea was to get children to understand the BC human rights code. That’s race and gender, sexuality, disability, all of those things.”
“It’s not informing children on how to transition, on what sexualities to choose from, or how to have sex, which is a wild thing that was brought up. There are no photos of positions. There isn’t anything like that. It’s about getting children to understand the diversity around them because they are already asking questions.”
McCready says children are asking questions of queer people all the time and resources like SOGI 1 2 3 can give them correct, direct, and informative education and responses to those questions.
Sherban says seeing how many people were part of the original protest was disheartening.
“As an active member of the Creston community, I’ve been in the customer service field here for about ten years. It was extremely disappointing to see so many familiar faces and so many people who have feigned friendliness and kindness turn around and be so misguided in their anger and frustrations. It was really hurtful to see some of the behavior coming from grown adults in our community.”
However, Sherban adds seeing the support for the counter-protest was uplifting.
“To hear the honks and the support that came from people in our town and the solidarity and visibility that they showed shows that there is support, there is knowledge, and there is a way for us to show that you’re not alone. We’re here, and you don’t have to worry about as much when you have community with you.”