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Protests for and against LGBTQ2S+ inclusive education in Kitchener and Guelph

Hundreds gathered in downtown Kitchener and Guelph Wednesday for competing protests over LGBTQ2S+ inclusive education.

Demonstrations, under the banner 1 Million March 4 Children, were organized in cities across Canada Wednesday.

According to the group’s website, they are advocating for the elimination of what they call “sexual orientation and gender identity curriculum, pronouns, gender ideology and mixed bathrooms” in schools.

Counter protests were mounted in response, calling the 1 Million March 4 Children movement homophobic, transphobic and against human rights.

“They use a lot of language of ‘parents rights’ but what they are essentially saying is children do not have the right to self-autonomy,” said David Alton with GroundUp Waterloo Region, one of the groups who organized a counter protest.

Around 1,000 protesters and counter protesters gathered in Kitchener’s Carl Zehr Square.

The scene at Carl Zehr Square in Kitchener. Protesters against queer-inclusive education are in the foreground. Counter protestors are on the other side of the fountain. (Chris Thomson/CTV Kitchener)

“[We’re here] to send one message and only one message, to leave our kids alone to choose their own choices, to not let anyone force them to choose something they don’t understand,” said Nrur Abdulmajid, who attended the rally with a ‘Children can’t consent’ sign.

“Let education be A,B,C and 1,2,3 and that’s it.”

Waterloo regional police said no arrests were made related to the Kitchener demonstration.


Multiple organizations including the City of Kitchener and the Waterloo Region District School Board released statements Tuesday expressing solidarity with LGBTQ2S+ people ahead of the protests.

“Unfortunately, underlying some of the motivations behind these demonstrations are hate and inaccuracies about what is happening in schools," the school board said. "We continue to focus on creating inclusive, safe spaces, and ensuring the well-being of all students and staff… especially those most marginalized."

In a statement Wednesday, the Waterloo Catholic District School Board said it will: “Stand against any actions that may discriminate against our students and staff under any of their protected grounds, which include gender identity, gender expression, sex, and sexual orientation.”

Protesters with the 1 Million March 4 Children and counter protesters meet in front of Guelph City Hall on Sept. 20, 2023. (Dan Lauckner/CTV Kitchener)


In Guelph, hundreds turned out, with counter protestors outnumbering those with the 1 Million March 4 Children.

“When we talk about parental rights, we have to understand that children's rights trump parental rights,” said counter protester Morgan Dandie.

Tygha Germain said she attended the 1 Million March 4 Children to support parent rights and partially based on her Christian religious beliefs.

“I believe in what I believe and I'm okay with other people having different beliefs, I just think that if you go to public school there has to be room for all of those beliefs,” said Germain.

Counter protesters dance in downtown Guelph. (Dan Lauckner/CTV Kitchener) Top Stories

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