Numerous demonstrations are planned to occur under the “1 Million March 4 Children” banner at legislatures, city halls, and school board offices across the country on September 20th. These demonstrations seek to eliminate Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (SOGI) curriculum and policies from Canadian schools. Here is what we know so far:
- These protests are supported by a big tent of far-right and conspiratorial groups, including Christian Nationalists, COVID-19 conspiracy theorists, sovereign citizens, and anti-public education activists.
- There are at least two “brands” involved in the planned events for September 20th. Hands Off Our Kids and Family ❤️Freedom are organizing under the hashtag #1MillionMarch4Children (see below for details).
- There is a significant amount of internal conflict and confusion within the social media groups for each brand. The primary source of this conflict is over religiosity and public messaging. Hands Off Our Kids is run by conservative Muslim activists who have made explicit anti-gay and anti-LGBTQ+ statements. Family ❤️Freedom is more secular and claims to accept 2SLGBTQ+ persons as part of their anti-2SLGBTQ+ demonstration.
- The degree of local organizing varies widely. Some of the protest locations seem to only have a poster created by one of the national organizers, with no obvious local buy in. Other locations have march routes, event sponsors, and local contact names.
- Some planned protests appear to be supported by both brands, but others appear to only be organized or supported by one of the two. In some cases, protests seem to be planned for two separate locations within a city at the same time.
- Local activists can and should prepare to counter-demonstrate. Find out what is happening in your city and in the region on the 20th, and make plans with local community partners, including unions and community solidarity organizations. Check out our Pride Defence Guide for safety tips and ideas.
The “Hands Off Our Kids” brand
Hands Off Our Kids is openly religious and openly intolerant of the 2SLGBTQ+ community. Posts by their organizers in their Facebook group invoke the Biblical/Quranic story of Sodom and Gommorah, for example. Here is another example of how the organizers contrast their religion with “the pride community”:
- “we will never virtue signal to the pride community as our Ibrahamic faiths have highlighted that clearly, although we are not looking to oppress either. This is a movement for the children and straight families, we are not going to make it about any other group or political agenda, we are non-partisan.” -Kamel El-Cheik
Hands Off Our Kids lists 4 spokespeople: Kamel El-Cheikh (of Ottawa), Dr. Bahira Abdulsalam (of the Greater Toronto Area), Mahmoud Mourra (of Calgary) and David Krayden. Mourra was charged with hate-motivated (anti-2SLGBTQ+) criminal harassment in July, “which Calgary police say stems from online activity that happened in June,” according to CityNews.
Kamel El-Cheikh has said:
- “Trudeau put the pedophilia flag outside his office, that is the new integrated [sic] Pride flag!!”
- “Enough being politically correct, there is a campaign to control the birth rate and heterosexuals are a problem according to these monsters.”
- “The Forum Supports Andrew Tate, he is an example of one that confronts oppression without fear!” (“The Forum” is what El-Cheikh calls his public social media platform. Andrew Tate is a rapist, sex trafficker, and manosphere influencer, as well as a recent convert to Islam.)
- “George Soros? Hungarian Israeli American who is funding the radical left agenda; Black Lives Matter, the gender dysphoria, well surprise, surprise! Your unconditional support for Israel America has your identity hijacked. One scholar once warned in the 70’s, if we don’t address Israeli crimes, it will be a cancer that spreads to the world. (George Soros is Jewish and Hungarian-American. He is not Israeli.)
Bahira Abdulsalam has said:
- “Lets save our innocent children from #grooming and #pedophiles infiltrating our public #schools. Our most valuable assets of any nations. All of us will be held accountable on different levels except of those who speak up or take action. #1MillionMarch4Children #Sept202023”
- “Let’s acknowledge the painful legacy is slavery by stopping modern slavery in Canada. Control of thoughts in our school system and denying Canadians freedom of expression is the Modern Slavery.”
- “That is a proof that LGBTQ is an ideology that has no place in schools it is ANTI Islam, promoting Islamophobia, this ideology is ANTI Religion this is why it should be out of the education system.”
- “What is more dangerous than a genocide is promoting pedophilia in our schools and making our kids vulnerable to be victims.” (Here, the “genocide” she is referring to is Canada’s genocides of Indigenous peoples.)
- “Imagine the plus sign in LGBTQ …XYX + will include pedophilia ? Do you think this is fiction? No this is the natural trajectory. This is the hidden agenda and the way Forward according to some policy makers”
Mahmoud Mourra has said:
- “Don’t you dare to come for our kids, if you are there or you are here, if you are a straight or you are a queer, we will be the worst nightmare that make you always live in fear”
- “Every Muslim should stand behind this hero.” (The “hero” he is referring to is Save Canada leader, Josh Alexander.)
The “Family ❤️Freedom” brand:
This brand is predominantly secular and its website makes attempts to appear more inclusive. It even claims to have “Support From the LGBTQIA++ Community.” However, its stated goals are unequivocally exclusionary: From its own website, Family ❤️ Freedom are “advocating for the elimination of the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (SOGI) curriculum, pronouns, gender ideology and mixed bathrooms in schools.”
This brand claims support from numerous small “groups” as well as some well-known ones, including Save Canada, Veterans for Freedom, Gays Against Grooming, Stand United, and Indigo People/Raven News.
Perennial “Freedom Fighter” Dana Metcalfe is one of the spokespeople for the group. Metcalfe recently pulled her brand’s support for the protests planned for Queens Park in Toronto and Parliament Hill in Ottawa.
All of the following supporters of this brand have endorsed the dangerous and inciting lie that transgender and 2SLGBTQ+ persons are pedophiles who are “grooming” children:
- Save Canada, an explicitly Christian Nationalist group led by teenager Josh Alexander, has organized and participated in many anti-2SLGBTQ+ protests, and frequently engages in anti-queer hate speech on social media.
- Veterans for Freedom (V4F) is made up of former military members that oppose a swath of government policies, specifically around the pandemic response. They are closely allied with Save Canada, and have attended protests alongside the youth-led organization, providing support.
- Stand United is a far-right group that grew out of the conspiracy theory culture fomented by the COVID-19 pandemic. They promote the conspiracy that 2SLGBTQ+ people are “pedophiles” and “minor-attracted people.” Stand United leader James Davison has stated that civil war will be necessary if his goals are not realized and supports public execution of politicians for treason.
- According to their website “Gays Against Grooming Canada is aligned with Gays Against Groomers in the USA.” The founder of GAG in the US has compared gender affirming care to the sadistic experiments of Nazi scientist Josef Mengele.