“You have no idea what it is to live life with the fear that your child could commit suicide at any time,” says Violet Collinson with tears in her eyes. “And anything that encourages that, I’m against.”
Collinson has a deeply personal connection to today’s rally: She says her own son is transgender.
Collinson was one of dozens demonstrating in front of the Legislative Assembly on Wednesday in response to the 1 Million March 4 Children protests happening at the same time across the country.
The 1 Million March was organized in response to what its founders see as the sexualization of young children in schools. They oppose “Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (SOGI) curriculum, pronouns, gender ideology and mixed bathrooms in schools,” according to their website. Roughly 100 demonstrations were planned across the country yesterday, from Whitehorse, Yukon to St. John’s, Newfoundland. More than 1,000 demonstrators on both sides crowded Parliament Hill in Ottawa, and the demonstrations forced traffic shut-downs, according to CBC. No 1 Million March demonstration was planned for anywhere in the Northwest Territories.
The Yellowknife solidarity march was organized by the Northern Mosaic Network (NMN), a Yellowknife-based organization that supports members of the LGBTQ+ community and their families and allies.
“By gathering today, we show our community that we can come together and demonstrate the importance of the safety of 2SLGBTQIA+ people of all ages, that children deserve safe and equitable access to gender-affirming care, and that transgender & non-binary peoples’ identities are both real and valid,” the NMN wrote on its social media in advance of the rally. “The time for visible allyship is now!”
The protests and counter-protests were sparked in part by legislative changes in places like New Brunswick: In that East Coast province, changes were made to Policy 713 earlier this year that would require students under the age of 16 to obtain parental consent for teachers to use their preferred name and pronouns. A similar policy was adopted in Saskatchewan earlier this year.
Collinson worries about these policies. “It’s against people’s choice and right to decide who and what and when they tell their truth,” she says.
The organization behind the 1 Million March did not respond to a request for comment by time of publication.