Taking to the streets in Huntsville over gender education in schools

In response to Ontario’s sex education curriculum, hundreds walked from Huntsville High School to town hall to make their voices heard on Wednesday, Sept. 20.

One group was there for the One Million March for Children, while the other group counterprotested in support of the rights of the 2SLGBTIQ+ community in schools.

Around 9 a.m., several people had gathered near the high school. Some addressed the group favouring the protest, holding signs that read “Hands off our kids” or “Stop brainwashing our children.”

A few metres away, another group held rainbow flags and banners supporting gender diversity. Councillors Helena Renwick and Scott Morrison were among the group.

“We are here to show kids in the LGBTQ community that they have allies,” said Morrison. “We want the kids to feel safe in school. That's supposed to be the safest place for them, and if they see us here, maybe they realize that we've got their backs, and we always will.

“The school's role is to provide education in all things, including gender and sexuality,” he added.

At around 10:30 a.m., both groups moved from the high school to the town hall, accompanied by the OPP, ensuring everything was in order. Once there, the counterprotesters were located on the south side of the Main Street, on the steps of town hall, while the protesters gathered on the sidewalk across the street.

Several cars passed by and used their horns to support one or the other side.

Some people from the counterprotest shared their stand.

“Education fills the space where hate can take root. When kids are educated, they're less vulnerable to hate,” said Huntsville resident Miranda Thomas. “It's essential to help kids feel like they're not alone. It's important to help kids feel like they're not weird or wrong.”

Of the 12 protesters approached for an interview, only Canadians for Truth's Perry Graham and Christy Graham, who helped organize it, would speak on the record and explain the reason for their participation.

“We were standing here to protect the kids against the agenda in the school system,” said Christy. “We're against the sexualization of children, which is what the agenda aims to do. We want to support and protect our kids from being indoctrinated.”

At 11:20 a.m., several people began to leave and by noon the march was over.

According to the OPP media officer Dana Morris, the OPP's Provincial Liaison Team was present to maintain a safe environment and effective dialogue between all groups impacted by the demonstration.

Julian Orlando Chaves is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of the Huntsville Forester. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.

Julian Orlando Chaves, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Huntsville Forester