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'Gender Bender Day': BC elementary school encourage kids to dress trans in ‘day of affirmation’

An elementary school in British Columbia encouraged staff and students to "dress outside their comfort zone" Thursday for a "day of affirmation" to show support to staff, students and parents who identify as trans, non-binary, or 2-spirit.

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Mia Ashton Montreal QC
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An elementary school in British Columbia encouraged staff and students to "dress outside their comfort zone" Thursday for a "day of affirmation" to show support to staff, students and parents who identify as trans, non-binary, or 2-spirit.

Cedar Grove Elementary School posted the Gender Bender Day on the school’s calendar explaining that students, parents, and staff who identify as transgender would greatly appreciate a day of affirmation.

Quillette editor Jonathan Kay shared a screenshot of the event on Twitter with the school’s name blacked out, but then Marc Emery named Cedar Grove Elementary School in the replies and suggested such an event was being held because of SOGI 123, the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identification curriculum that is to be found in schools all across the province.

Kay questioned the practice of asking children still young enough to believe in Santa to provide emotional support for their adult teachers who are supposed to be teaching them the three Rs.

SOGI 123 was established in 2007 by the Arc Foundation and has since become ubiquitous in the education system throughout BC. According to a recent report by Gender Dissent, the Arc Foundation is now looking to roll out the program on a national scale and has received a significant grant from the Trudeau government in order to do so.

SOGI enjoys the support of the Canadian public because on the surface it sounds like a harmless anti-bullying initiative. The SOGI 123 website explains:

"SOGI stands for sexual orientation and gender identity. Since we all have a sexual orientation and gender identity, it includes all of us. Every student understands and expresses their gender differently, with interests and choices that are common or less common for their gender. Some students may be unsure of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Others may identify specifically as lesbian, gay, straight, bisexual, queer, two-spirit, transgender, cisgender, or other. A SOGI-inclusive school means all of these experiences and identities are embraced and never cause for discrimination."

But critics argue that there are costs to adopting the SOGI 123 approach.

"Under the program’s policies, girls are no longer allowed to have single-sex spaces like washrooms and change rooms. Participation in school sports is also on the basis of self-ID, which means that girls must compete with boys for team spots and podiums," writes Eva Kurilova for Gender Dissent.

SOGI 123 is also responsible for requiring that schools immediately affirm every child who self-identifies as transgender, allow a change of name and pronouns, and keep the information from the child’s parents if the child requests it.  Many experts believe that socially transitioning a child helps to lock in the gender identity making medical transition almost a foregone conclusion. In the US, families are starting to bring legal action against schools for performing this powerful psychotherapeutic intervention on their child without their consent or knowledge.

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