This story has been updated from the original version.
An anti-SOGI group could soon be hosting an event at your local church.
Canadian Council for Faith and Family Values, a Burnaby- and New Westminster-based faith group, has hosted at least three “STOP SOGI 123” events in the Lower Mainland since mid-July. SOGI is a B.C. educational resource that promotes inclusiveness of the sexual orientations and gender identities of children and their families. Four meetings are scheduled in New West churches over the next two months, and other churches in Burnaby have also expressed interest, according to an event organizer.
No further details on the location or time of the events were given.
New West's Free Methodist Community Church (320 8th St.) hosted one of these meetings on Thursday evening for parents who want to “raise their children with love and wisdom,” according to a Facebook event. The group says SOGI 123 is a threat to children, parental rights and traditional and Christian values.
That meeting was met with a counter protest or "love rally" by those who support the LGBTQ community and the SOGI policy.
Pastor Brian Hornibrook, lead pastor of Free Methodist Community Church, said he learned about the group through other New West pastors. He invited the group to make a presentation because members of his congregation are concerned about the SOGI curriculum and are worried teachers are not properly informing them of what their children would be taught regarding sexual education and gender identity.
Laura-Lynn Tyler Thomson, former* co-host of the Christian talk show 700 Club Canada, is one of the speakers at these events. She told the NOW the meetings tend to be private events by host churches, but church members may invite friends or family members to attend.
A New West Record reporter attempted to go to a meeting in New Westminster this week but was not allowed to enter the church.
Tyler Thomson said she and her co-presenter Jenn Smith, a transidentified man*, have hired security guards to “protect” the meetings because protesters have disrupted their talks in the past.
She said security will turn away anyone they think is a protester.
“We are presenting to faith-based people who are interested, and they can bring friends who are not faith-based, but we are protected,” Tyler Thomson said. “We are in a church. This is not our first rodeo.”
No audio or video recordings are allowed because the organizers are concerned recordings could be taken out of context.
According to the SOGI 123 website, it is less of a curriculum and more of a policy, which includes SOGI-inclusive lesson plans, meant to make schools inclusive and safe for students of all sexual orientations and gender identities. It includes policies, like a school’s code of conduct and how to make environments safe and inclusive, and curriculum resources that can be used in lesson plans to further the goals of the overarching policy.
This story was updated to include information that Jenn Smith is a transidentified man, on his request. It was also corrected to reflect that Laura-Lynn Tyler Thomson is no longer a co-host of the 700 Club Canada.