Canadian Anti-Hate Network
Members of a group, Gays Against Grooming, an anti-transgender advocacy organization made up of individuals who identify as lesbian, gay, or bisexual, have been banned from displaying its flags at protests and events hosted by the Freedom Party of British Columbia (FPBC).
Both organizations are primarily anti-transgender groups focused on sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) education programs in the province’s schools.
While previously sharing space at rallies, the alliance between FPBC and Gays Against Grooming appears to have broken down.
Despite the rainbow flag appearing at a roadside protest in early January, by January 7, FPBC leader Amrit Birring took to social media to disavow anyone displaying the symbol at his events in the future.
“We won't allow any of these flags in any of our rallies anymore,” Birring wrote alongside pictures of rainbow flags that incorporate the symbol of Gays Against Groomers, a similarly named US group. “Any bringer of these flags, be warned. Don't try your luck! We don't care if it has progressive symbol [sic] or Gay Against Groomers or grooming symbol in it, 80% is rainbow, the representative of SOGI 123 and tyranny/abuse on our children.”
Gays Against Groomers, an American anti-2SLGBTQ+ organization that has previously complained online about Gays Against Grooming’s use of their name and symbols, sells the flags on its website.
In-fighting is a common feature of Canada’s various far-right factions, though what triggered the sudden divide between the two after appearing alongside each other at the same rally is not clear.
Gays Against Grooming and FPBC did not respond to emails requesting clarification.
Screen capture taken from Amrit Birring’s Facebook page. Source: Facebook
Scott Geiler, one of several administrators on the Gays Against Grooming Facebook page has been publically reacting to being cut out of FPBC events.
“Anti-LGB people like Amrit would rather keep the conflating and amp up hate on homosexuals,” he wrote in a long post on Facebook. He casts transgender and queer people as the enemies of gay people and accuses Birring of assisting “the queers in destroying our cultural symbol [the rainbow flag].
The FPBC has been the most active in organizing rallies to recall BC’s Minister of Education and Child Care Rachna Singh and against what it views as the indoctrination of children through the education system.
A registered political party with Elections BC, the party is led by software developer, Amrit Birring. Birring previously ran for Mayor of Surrey in 2022 with People’s Council Surrey and in the 2021 federal election for Fleetwood–Port Kells with the People’s Party of Canada, losing both times with 1.9 and 2.7 per cent, respectively.
The party says it stands for “freedom of medical choice, children’s rights for a robust education free of indoctrination, right for affordable housing as per Canadian incomes, and wants to lower taxes.”
He makes references to a variety of conspiracy theories during interviews, including that his opposition during a mayoral race was “bought by forces,” a “pedophile agenda” targeting the education system, and that schools teach that European-descendent people are inferior.
What is Gays Against Grooming?
GAG is a small advocacy organization similar, but not connected to, the US-based group Gays Against Groomers. According to its website, the organization is a “group of gays and others from across Canada taking a “public stand against the sexualization and medicalization of minors.”
In response to GAG, Gays Against Groomers put out a public notice on their Twitter stating that they had no international chapters and that anyone using their likeness
“It has come to our attention that someone from Canada is using our likeness and posing as our organization. We have nothing to do with these people and there is no connection between us,” they wrote on X, formerly Twitter. “We do not have any official international chapters at the moment.”
According to a post by an individual involved in organizing the 1 Million March For Children in Septemeber 2023, Gays Against Grooming was involved in the event.
An organizer for Gays Against Grooming who leads small rallies in North Vancouver, Kristopher Kamienik, was charged with hate offences after he stole a Pride Flag and cut it into pieces with scissors. Local anti-fascist activists report he burned the same flag at a reoccurring protest shortly after.
Weaponizing the real problem of grooming, groups like Gays Against Grooming attack policies and programs that include education on gender identity and transgender identity.
The Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network defines grooming as “manipulative behaviours that the abuser uses to gain access to a potential victim, coerce them to agree to the abuse, and reduce the risk of being caught.”
It is a profoundly damaging issue that has long been conflated with the 2SLGBTQ+ community. Organizations like Gays Against Grooming perpetuate the same conspiracies and language used against the community for decades.