SOGI 1 2 3 helps educators make schools inclusive and safe for students of all sexual orientations and gender identities (SOGI). At a SOGI-inclusive school, students’ biological sex does not limit their interests and opportunities, and their sexual orientation and how they understand and express their gender are welcomed without discrimination.
SOGI started in Vancouver and will be rolled out in Vernon schools this coming fall, with plans to expand across Canada. It is a resource for teachers to promote inclusion and diversity. As a parent, I teach my child to be kind to others regardless of race, orientation, religion etc. If my child were gay I would want them to be welcomed with kindness in various circumstances as well. However, I am against SOGI for the following reasons:
1. SOGI focuses on sexual orientation and gender identity only. There are many other reasons why children bully others due to differences. For example, there are children with physical attributes or disabilities, there are children who wear cultural attire and there are children of visible minorities. Are these children not important? What is wrong with an anti-bullying program that encompasses all differences vs solely focusing on the LGBTQ population?
2. SOGI celebrates alternative lifestyles that may conflict with family values. There are many cultures and religions that value the traditional family. If a student stated that they believed that a relationship was between a man and a woman but respected choices that were different, would this viewpoint be accepted in the classroom? Part of tolerance and inclusive environments is being respectful to all opinions, cultures, and religions.
3. School district policy states that discussions pertaining to religion must be neutral and objective, however, SOGI is a pro-gay curriculum. SOGI policy states that materials must be presented positively. SOGI policy states: “Classroom materials and activities will contain positive images and accurate information about sexual and/or gender diversity.” There are many emotional, physical, and mental issues that coincide with alternative lifestyles. I want my children to be aware of the negative health risks with these lifestyles. This is not being homophobic, it is being scientific and providing our children with all facts.
4. There are many studies that support that gender ideology harms children and confuses children. “The American College of Pediatricians urges healthcare professionals, educators and legislators to reject all policies that condition children to accept as normal a life of chemical and surgical impersonation of the opposite sex. Facts — not ideology — determine reality.” (2017).
Finally, there is enough work for teachers to do regarding math, science, spelling, and reading. Teach our children to be kind, but leave cultural ideology and politics out of our children’s classrooms.
J. A. Malcolm