Posted by Laura-Lynn Tyler Thompson on Wednesday, October 3, 2018

British Columbia’s plan to teach young children about sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) in public schools is meeting with resistance from the province’s Asian and Muslim communities.

Public discussions have shown up a clear split along ethnic and racial lines, with Asians, Muslims and new immigrants opposed to the SOGI curriculum that has the most support from liberal and Caucasian Canadians.

Last week, tensions boiled over at a public debate among candidates vying for a seat on the school trustees’ board in Burnaby.

Police were called in when Larry Hayes, an incumbent of the Burnaby Citizens Association seeking re-election, was accused of pushing a woman holding her child at the end of a heated debate on October 3.

In a video clip, Mr Hayes can be seen jostling with Yali Trost, an ethnic Chinese woman, after they had engaged in an argument at the Byrne Creek Community School.

The video was shot by Charter Lau, a Burnaby First Coalition candidate who is seeking a seat on Burnaby City council in the October 20 municipal election. Mr Lau has demanded that Mr Hayes apologise to the woman whose baby can be heard crying loudly after the physical encounter between the two adults.

Mrs Trost supports SOGI opponent Jimmy Zhao who was among the 10 candidates gathered at the debate organized by the district parent advisory council. The majority of the SOGI opponents at the event was Asian who argue that children as young as six should not be exposed to sexual orientation concepts.

SOGI has emerged as a hot electoral topic in Metro Vancouver cities that have sizeable population of young families.

“They are too young to understand sexuality issues. We don’t want to confuse them at such a young age,” said David Shao, a parent of two young children.

According to BC’s education ministry, SOGI is an inclusive term that represents all individuals regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. It includes lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, two-spirit, heterosexual and cisgender.

The ministry says children must be taught to accept sexual diversity to reduce bullying of those who do not identify themselves as heterosexuals.

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