Second “Million March” Against 2SLGBTQ Education Fails To Draw Significant Nation-Wide Numbers

Anti-2SLGBTQ+ protesters took to the streets across the country on Saturday, but in far smaller numbers than last month, as the weather and confusion around scheduling kept some supporters at home.

Canadian Anti-Hate Network

A Toronto counter protester holds up a Pride flag during an action against anti-SOGI demonstrations outside of Queen's Park. Source: Peter Smith/Canadian Anti-Hate Network

Far fewer protesters turned out on Saturday as the second iteration of the national “One Million March For Children.” 

Part of the recent swelling of anti-2SLGBTQ+ street protests, these events oppose comprehensive sex education and teaching about gender identity in public classrooms. The weekend rallies took place across the country, with some of the largest occurring in Red Deer, Alberta; Toronto, Ontario; and Winnipeg, Manitoba. 

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Describing itself as advocates “for the elimination of the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (SOGI) curriculum, pronouns, gender ideology and mixed bathrooms in schools,” on its website, Saturday turned out to be largely a bust for the organizers, who just last month, managed to draw significant crowds across Canada. 

The official website of the 1MMFC lists 62 events, though New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Yukon all read “check back for updates” as of Saturday — no updates were ever provided. 

The numbers varied from city to city, however, it does appear that most counter protests were larger than the anti-2SLGBTQ+ demonstrations. In some places, like Saskatoon, the 1MMFC did not even show up, while in Toronto, a small crowd of speakers and protesters at the provincial legislature was surrounded by hundreds of pro-SOGI activists. 

In Windsor, Ontario, the protest that drew in over 1,000 people just over a month ago, hovered around 100 on Saturday. Winnipeg posted similar numbers, with the CBC estimating around 150 people attending the demonstration. 


     Source: Peter Smith/Canadian Anti-Hate Network


There were brief calls to call off the entirety of the protests, as one Ottawa organizer, Kamel El-Cheikh, took to Twitter last week to announce that the march was cancelled, citing “unforeseen circumstances and the plethora of Canadians consumed with this Palestinian conflict.”

The message was later updated to say only the Ottawa event had been cancelled, with another message signed by El-Cheikh citing “safety” concerns as the primary issue. Other cities, including Pickering and Whitby, Ontario were also shuttered, with no reasons given, though attendees were encouraged to attend the Toronto march.

Besides diminished numbers, the 1MMFC protest has seen a fracturing among its organizers. Earlier in the month, El-Cheikh released a since deleted TikTok video asking followers to leave online groups run by another protest leader, Bahira Abdulsalam. Abdulsalam’s name was removed from the Hands Off Our Kids website sometime before October 10, according to the Internet Archive.

In Newfoundland, 1MMFC was called off due to the weather. Around 100 attendees of a counter protest in St. John's still showed up, turning the event into a rally of support of the 2SLGBTQ+ community.


Source: Peter Smith/Canadian Anti-Hate Network


Last month’s protests drew supporters and counter protesters alike to multiple Canadian cities. While many of the attendees were outnumbered by their opposition, other locations saw those in favour of 2SLGBTQ+ education dwarfed. 

During September’s Calgary march, organizer Mahmoud Mourra handed the microphone to a young child, who told the crowd that gay people are “psychopaths” and “disgusting.” Mourra was charged with hate-motivated (anti-2SLGBTQ+) criminal harassment, “which Calgary police say stems from online activity that happened in June,” according to CityNews.

Part of a broad group of different protesters, there has been a large effort to target any initiatives focusing on 2SLGBTQ+ inclusion by individuals and far-right groups. The past two years has seen candidates for school board trustees run on platforms almost exclusively targeted at sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) education. 

Often taking the moniker of defending parental rights, the “Parental Rights Movement” (PRM) is a far step from the reasonable concerns of parents. The PRM makes little distinction between a parent’s rights to a child and over a child. This includes a parent’s right to the details of a child’s private life, regardless of maturity and a parent’s rights over a child’s access to comprehensive sex education.

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