UPDATED SATURDY, OCT. 7:
Event organizer Stacey Wakelin heard what she’s calling “great news” Saturday from the ARC Foundation.
Matt Carruthers, B.C.’s SOGI education lead, will be attending her Langley information meeting (Thursday, Oct. 12) , as a member of the panel.
“So this means we will have someone with knowledge and experience that can field all questions related to the SOGI curriculum, Wakelin said.
The public is invited to a civil meeting about the new Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (SOGI) 123 curriculum in public schools.
The group Langley Parents for Inclusivity, which hosted a support rally before the Langley School Board meeting Sept. 26, is hosting the Thursday, Oct. 12 meeting at the Langley Township Civic Facility.
“So it is for anyone that has questions regarding the new SOGI curriculum,” explained Stacey Wakelin, who founded Langley Parents for Inclusivity.
That includes parents, family members, and any member of the community.
“If parents want to bring their children, I will leave that up to their discretion,” she said.
She added that the meeting is not connected to the school district and is not a debate about people are for or against SOGI. The province mandates that SOGI be used in public schools, and it is based around various court rulings and human rights tribunal decisions.
“This is not the school board. This is parents helping parents,” Wakelin said.
A moderator, lawyer Susanna Quail, will oversee the discussion, and experts will be there to provide information. The panel includes Rev. David Taylor of St. Dunstan’s Church in Aldergrove, sexual health educator Saleema Noon, therapist Jill Newman, and Joel Harnest, who does education and training for QMUNITY.
“In my mind it’s just important that anyone with questions has a good source to find their answers,” she said. “I feel there is a desire in the community to have a dialogue, and I thought it was important to be facilitated by experts in their field.”
The meeting idea came up after she encountered several people who had questions but felt asking them implied they were against SOGI.
“They just have questions and they feel like they are being labelled as a hater,” Wakelin said.
Questions will be submitted before the meeting begins, and there will be an open question portion closer to the end of the meeting. Questions can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. The event poster notes that “hatred of any kind will not be tolerated and violators will be removed from the premises.”
“It’s very important that this is a respectful, safe space,” she commented.
People planning to attend will want to ensure they have read the curriculum, available online at sogieducation.org.
Wakelin said people who have read it still often have questions. That’s why this meeting is being organized.
The meeting will start at 6:30 p.m. in the Township’s Fraser River Presentation Theatre which has 200 seats.