SOGI 1 2 3 Storms Over Saskatchewan
A concerned teacher and grandparent in Saskatchewan does a deep dive into ARC Foundation’s eastward occupation of the education system
The issue of requiring parental consent for children to change their names and pronouns at school is heating up in several Canadian provinces. Both the Prime Minister and the Conservative Party leader have jumped into the commenting pool, the Prime Minister expressing shock and the Conservatives a form of awe.
But if people in Saskatchewan are listening to the president of the Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation (STF), or the news, it seems a firestorm of outrage and disbelief has erupted here since the then-Education Minister, Dustin Duncan, announced on August 22, “new parental inclusion and consent policies for Saskatchewan schools,” including a policy for the Use of Preferred First Name and Pronouns by Students. The Minister also hit the pause button on third-party organizations being invited into classrooms to present sexual education materials to students, specifically mentioning the ARC Foundation.
Student safety is “threatened,” suggests the STF president, Samantha Becotte, who responded to the announcement on X (formerly Twitter). “The Federation is calling on the government to reverse this policy decision and engage in meaningful consultation with its sector partners and expert teachers.” According to Becotte, the ministerial announcement is lacking in judgement, thereby jeopardizing the health and wellbeing of children.
Legal action against the policy change has already begun in Regina on behalf of “rainbow organizations” including Egale, one of Canada’s most prolific third-party contributors of gender and sexuality materials to classrooms. The premier has stated that, if necessary, he would invoke the Charter of Rights and Freedom’s nothwithstanding clause that would keep the new policies in place for five years.
SOGI (Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity), is not new educational content. It has been actively promoted by the Canadian Teacher’s Federation (CTF) since 2002. SOGI concepts are embedded in numerous educational publications in addition to third-party documents and classroom materials freely provided to schools by pride and rainbow organizations.
The ARC Foundation’s SOGI program was planned for implementation in Saskatchewan public schools in fall, 2023.
Based in Vancouver, British Columbia, and commending itself as a an “innovator in SOGI-inclusive education,” ARC’s strategy is to focus “all efforts” on its flagship educational program, SOGI 1 2 3, whereby 1=Policies, 2=Environments, and 3=Resources. The program is already mandated in all of British Columbia’s sixty public school divisions and is now present in six Alberta school divisions. In order to continue its march east across the country, ARC required more support.
Almost $400,000 in federal funding was provided to ARC in August, 2022 by the Department of Women and Gender Equality Canada (WAGE) to “complete environmental scans of new regions, design and pilot delivery of SOGI 1 2 3 in French, and create digital tools and assets to support educators.” (Previous articles by Eva Kurilova in Gender Dissent describe ARC’s purpose and its previous financial sources.)
At the Saskatchewan School Board Assembly
A few months following receipt of their new funding, ARC delegates arrived in Regina, Saskatchewan to deliver the keynote speech at the 2022 Fall General Assembly of the Saskatchewan School Boards Association (SSBA). The three-day assembly included both the public and Catholic school divisions. Present at the assembly were “board members, administration, staff and partners in education and collaboration,” and included the president of the Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation. The theme was “Innovation, Inclusion and Investment.” The “inclusion” aspect was addressed by ARC.
ARC Executive Director Reg Krake (he/il), experienced in many areas excluding education, and National Program Director Scout Gray (they/them), spoke about incorporating SOGI-inclusive education via Saskatchewan’s 2020-2030 Provincial Education Plan Framework. The framework for the decade is student-centered; “I” statements include: “I am learning what I need for my future; I feel safe and supported; I belong. I am valued. I can be myself.” Few would argue that these values are important. How to meet those goals is the question, especially when equity (as separate from and nowhere near equal), identity and inclusion, are the drivers. (An STF document, Inclusion, Diversity and Human Rights, explains the terms.)
The focus on safety, the self and identity however, fails to acknowledge that identity formation is a lifelong process. Rather, identity now, this minute, is the driver, and is reiterated in ARC’s presentation, Creating Provincial Alignment and Leveraging a Peer-to-Peer Distribution Model.
To decode the presentation, ARC asks not what it can do for Saskatchewan, but how the school board association itself “fits into SOGI inclusive education” (slide 19). ARC confusingly defines SOGI for the school board representatives as “all of us” – we are all SOGI, apparently, as it “encompasses all individuals regardless of where they identify on the sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression spectrums” (slide 3).
This premise that we are all SOGI is the core of the educational program, as humans are redefined, categorized, and boxed; children identify themselves daily, based on “gender something” and “pronoun something.” What this does to a student’s sense of self is untested and unquestioned. Students must constantly search for the right words to self-define, even if it’s “just” cisgender, an invented term lacking linguistic force.
ARC pursues standardized gender education across the country using a common language and model. In its presentation to the school board association, ARC refers to the Saskatchewan Ministry of Education’s 2015 guide, Deepening the Discussion: Gender and Sexual Diversity. This document, and the shorter, updated version for 2023, along with the existing teacher federation publications and resources, firmly established gender ideology instruction in the province, thus swinging the door wide open for SOGI 1 2 3.
ARC submits to the teacher’s federation that since SOGI is already being taught “across the curriculum,” that it should be unified, but under ARC’s terms. Slide 14 from the ARC presentation, features the Deepening the Discussion guide, and declares all areas of the curriculum as “opportunities to develop students’ understanding of gender and sexual diversity.” The appendices to Deepening the Discussion provide further information on SOGI in Saskatchewan, gender concepts, and areas they are applied:
Following ARC’s presentation to the SSBA, ARC advertised for, and hired, a Saskatchewan SOGI Team Lead, “Amanda” (she/her):
ARC’s provincial SOGI team leads, in turn, conduct workshops for SOGI school leads, that address topics such as “the History of Heteronormativity in Canada,” and “Decolonization and Settler Sexuality and Indigenous Queer Identities,” as offered to the St. Albert Public School District:
At a Saskatoon School Board Meeting
SOGI 1 2 3 was again referenced in a document attached to the agenda of a Saskatoon School Board meeting in April, 2023. Entitled Strategic Plan Accountability Report: Well-Being. However, as the item was not on the meeting agenda, it was not open for discussion.
ARC’s website and its school board assembly presentation maintain that the “health, freedom and safety of students are at risk” and that “about 40 percent of youth experiencing homelessness identify as 2SLGBTQ+.” Yet the materials do not provide any data or real-world information to validate the claim, such as the age, sex, location and number of students experiencing homelessness.
The wellness report for the school board trustees does not mention kids who identify away from their sex as “requiring continued attention” but does mention female students and indigenous students who require continued attention as they “rated feelings of anxiety and depression well above Canadian norms.” Interestingly: the correct but now controversial term “female” is used to refer to girls.
Why are the children suffering? Could some girls and some vulnerable indigenous kids be struggling with the continual, never-ending gender push in schools, and suffer especially from a lack of support? Pushing gender is a serious problem. Girls have unique realities as they mature. Period bullying is a problem. Girls are the group who are transitioning in the West at an exponential level, as if a body could actually change sex and not merely take on the appearance of the other. But kids are plainly not mature enough to make transgender lifestyle decisions. As the child psychiatrist Susan Bradley explains, the kids, especially those who are autistic, “can’t decide what they want for breakfast.”
In Time to Think: The Inside Story of the Collapse of the Tavistock’s Gender Service for Children (Swift Press, 2023), Hannah Barnes reported on the incredible 4,700 per cent rise of girls pursuing transition between 2009 and 2019 at the (now shuttered) U.K. Tavistock Gender Clinic. Now the detransition phenomenon is accelerating as young people reconnect to their biological self, realise that they were hoodwinked and their bodies irrevocably damaged or sterilized, many without sexual function or feeling. When kids are taught that they could be born in the wrong body, that they need pronouns to identify themselves along with a “Two-Spirit” identity, that biology is unimportant and it’s only how you feel that counts, they are rightly confused. For teachers to teach against evidence-based science is unconscionable as they encourage body-mind disconnect, as the diagram attests, here, from Deepening the Discussion (2015):
Talking with the school board director
I attempted to explain this very problem in June 2023 to the director of education for Saskatoon Public Schools, Mr. Shane Skjerven. Skjerven does not consider SOGI 1 2 3 to be a program. “Not a program,” he said, “not a curriculum, but merely a resource,” not realizing that his interpretation was a direct contradiction to that of the Ministry of Education, which does indeed describe SOGI 1 2 3 as “a program.”
As I outlined what SOGI 1 2 3 entails for children and young people – that it teaches that boys can actually be girls and girls can actually be boys – he was adamant that “no Saskatchewan teacher” would teach that, thereby revealing his lack of understanding of the SOGI 1 2 3 approach which gaslights students and skews their self-perception, thereby confusing and destabilizing many of Canada’s children.
Ironically, director Skjerven recommended that I read Deepening the Discussion. Seemingly unaware of the document content, he rejected my position that children must learn to trust their instinctual ability to discern the sexes and that this ability has always been, and is still, essential for reproduction and safety. Skjerven did not like what I had to say and refused to grant me permission to speak at the last school board meeting before summer.
What do school boards do? Who decides that Canadian children need SOGI gaslighting? For what are they responsible? In Saskatchewan, “The duties and powers of school boards, and the trustees who serve on them, are set out in Section 85 of The Education Act. Among them are:
To hire and direct the director of education
To approve the budget
To approve the program of studies
To determine the facility plans
To appoint qualified teachers
School board trustees have a great deal of power, as no doubt ARC Foundation is aware, and they “speak with one voice” once a collective decision has been made. Perhaps that’s why, in one Saskatoon board meeting, when an individual observing the proceedings stood up and stated a need for discussion around SOGI 1 2 3, several trustees rose together, picked up their binders and left, citing some kind of special meeting.
Trustee responsibilities also include working with parents: The Saskatoon Public Schools website states, “When the voices of parents and taxpayers are added to the conversation, people pay attention.”
Yet this is what some concerned Saskatoon parents and approximately thirty members of Action for Canada, who had become aware that SOGI 1 2 3 could be entering Saskatchewan, were met with when they attended the last school board meeting of the year on June 20, 2023:
Two uniformed police officers monitored the meeting (a brand new occurrence).
A registration sheet to enter personal details of attendees (also a new occurrence)
Cameras recorded the proceedings (not unusual, but people said they felt uncomfortable)
Refusal to allow any of the Action for Canada attendees speak, as SOGI 1 2 3 was not included in the agenda.
A few days after the Saskatoon school board meeting, more voices were heard in the small town of Lumsden, Saskatchewan, north of Regina. Parents were outraged with a particularly “fun and accessible” resource from Planned Parenthood that had made its way into a high school student’s hands. “Intended for gay, bi and queer young people” the 58-page brochure, actually a set of playing cards, consists of graphic sexual vocabulary illustrated through letters of the alphabet. The angry voices were loud enough that Planned Parenthood was subsequently suspended from presenting in schools. Encouraging, perhaps, though motivation for the sudden ban may simply have been to win back votes lost in a Lumsden by-election before the Planned Parenthood sex card fiasco.
Then, just one month later, following questions and complaints and direct pressure placed on Premier Scott Moe at a Saskatchewan Party public barbeque, Saskatchewan's Education Minister announced “new parental inclusion and consent policies,” including the order that “boards of education must immediately pause involvement with any third-party organization, such as ARC Foundation and the SOGI 1 2 3 Program, connected to sexual health education as the ministry undertakes review of educational resources to ensure alignment with curriculum outcomes.”
While the announcement specifically references “sexual health education,” it does not address the fact that the Ministry of Education ministry encourages teachers, through its Deepening the Discussion guide, to promote “SOGI-inclusivity across the curriculum” and to insert SOGI 1 2 3 principles in “every area of study.” The announcement does not mean, then, that all teachers will instantly stop teaching gender ideology. It does mean, though, that since Federal Bill C-16, colloquially known as the “transgender rights bill,” was brought into force in 2017, that Saskatchewan is possibly the first province in Canada to apply the brakes on third-party service providers of sexual health education in public schools.
Federal Bill-16 and the school acts
The legislative summary of Bill C-16 (An Act to Amend the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Criminal Code) refers to provincial school acts of Manitoba and Ontario for gender identity policy:
Ontario’s Education Act also includes references to both “gender identity” and “gender expression” in the contexts of addressing bullying in schools and promoting positive and supportive school environments.
Manitoba’s Public School Act calls on school boards to accommodate pupils who wish to establish activities and organizations that promote “the awareness and understanding of, and respect for, people of all sexual orientations and gender identities.”
The provincial school acts focus on how one feels and how one dresses – it’s one’s mood and wardrobe that matters, or the colour of one’s hair, rather than one’s immutable biological state. While Bill C-16 quotes the above acts, neither it nor the provincial acts actually define gender identity or gender expression.
Moreover, while the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (1982) protects sex-based rights (that is, rights due to persons on the basis of their biological sex), the Human Rights Codes of all ten provinces and three territories contain demonstrably conflicting protections for gender identity and gender expression. Further confusing the issue, Saskatchewan, in revising its Human Rights Code in 2018, declared that “sex’ means gender.”
The politicized classroom
Returning to the Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation announcement on X: President Samantha Becotte expressed “deep frustration and disappointment” on behalf of Saskatchewan’s 13,000 teachers. Claiming to be “deeply dissatisfied” with the “dangerous” knee jerk reaction” of the Ministry which now allows parents to know what their kids are doing in school, Becotte accused the provincial government of “politicizing the classroom.”
Of course, the reality is the reverse. Pulling external materials into the classroom, from no matter what source, that teach to gender ideology does exactly that politicizing.
Further to Becotte’s message on X, the STF released a press statement that included names of the federation's “experts” who are eager to accommodate the ARC Foundation’s SOGI 1 2 3 program. They are:
The Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation
Saskatchewan School Boards Association
League of Educational Administrators Directors and Superintendents
Saskatchewan Association of School Business Officials
Representatives from the Ministry of Education
Officials, all. But parents? Or a reasonable representation of teachers? The federation accuses the Saskatchewan Party of “using education as a political weapon.” But recall that the federal Bill C-16 directly references the school acts. Plainly, education is political.
Let’s look more closely at the teacher federation and the politicization and indoctrination of kids:
The Canadian Teacher’s Federation (CTF) is “a collective voice for K-12 educators across Canada.” It “promotes and supports quality inclusive publicly funded public education,” and advocates for “adequate resourcing, labour rights, and social justice across Canada and around the world.”
A CTF publication from 2002, Seeing The Rainbow: Teachers Talk about Bisexual, Gay, Lesbian, Transgender and Two-Spirited Realities, established new terms and language to describe gender non-conforming personalities and sexual preferences. In 2005-2006, the then-CTF president stated in a Gay-Straight Student Alliance Handbook,“History has shown us that bisexual, gay, lesbian, trans-identified and two-spirited (BGLTT) persons have been among the minority groups because of their sexual orientation and gender identity.”
What history that might be is not clear, since people did not identify in any of the new categories until they were invented and squeezed under the trans umbrella. Revisioning the past or creating a new backstory for transgenderism is a huge task, requiring newly-minted terminology (two-spirit) and the creation of novel, special identities.
Definitions and terms have evolved, from “lesbian” and “gay” in the past to the multitude of terms and definitions associated with gender nonconformity today, from “being a heterosexual ally,” to “queering the classroom.” Adoption of diversity, equity and inclusion ideologies is evident throughout the entire SOGI 1 2 3 Program as well as the teachers’ federation’s legacy materials.
https://publications.ctf-fce.ca/products/gay-straight-student-alliance-handbook The author of this handbook, Kristopher Wells, is the founder of Camp fYrefly, “a national leadership retreat for sexual and gender minority youth,” now operated independently by the Centre for Sexuality.
One final example from Saskatchewan educational materials
Deepening the Discussion, 2023, actually provides a third-party-sourced body diagram from Egale, that expands on their previous half man/half woman body diagram, shown above. According to Egale, we have a seemingly definitive image of “Human Identity,” but with the disclaimer that the terms associated with each identity component “are ever evolving.”
The diagram explains that some children are not just transgender, but also “fluid,” and “flexible” entities. Their interests and behaviours can change from day to day. They may feel they are a girl some days and a boy on others. Students are taught that the “challenge of our society” is that it “imagines that male and female designations are ‘real’ categories” while the truth is that male and female are just “socially constructed ideas.”
Confusing diagrams such as this one do students no favours. Kids are not encouraged to understand and to care for themselves as holistically unified mind-body beings. If Saskatchewan’s Teachers’ Federation were truly concerned with what kids need to feel safe, they would give them a solid foundation and understanding of themselves as naturally sexed individuals, based in material reality, not in air-fueled, academic theories that shove kids into ideological boxes.
Imagine this classroom scenario:
Teacher: Can I step outside the box and just be me? Put up your hand if you know the answer!
Student: Oooh, ooh, I know!
Teacher: Yes Jay?
Kidding aside, since the preparation of this report, observers and critics of the transgender crusade in Canada are identifying as cautiously optimistic due to three welcome events:
On September 9, the Conservative Party of Canada voted to accept policy changes that include prohibiting puberty blockers and surgeries that remove healthy organs and tissue from the bodies of children under 18 years old. Another policy that made the cut is to affirm the rights of females for female-only spaces.
Also on September 9, Canada’s first women’s speakers corner was held without incident in a suburban park south of Ottawa. Organized by Women’s Rights Matter, several of the speakers publicly condemned gender theory indoctrination and in-school transition of children.
And on September 20, an historic nation-wide protest, the Million March for Children, was attended by record numbers of parents, grandparents and concerned citizen allies from truly diverse social, political, religious and cultural groups. Demonstrating and marching in unified throngs in cities and towns across Canada, they sent the government the clear message that they’ve had it with classroom indoctrination of children. An angry counter-protest in Ottawa was actually led by federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh, and Canada’s “feminist” Prime Minister was quick to dismiss the public’s concern and condemned the entire event as transphobic, homophobic, biphobic hate.
While the Saskatchewan Teachers' Federation President Becotte is convinced that the government is politicizing the classroom, as if a new phenomena, the peaceful protests of thousands in Saskatchewan on September 20 reveal that the people see the problem for what it is: indoctrination of their children.
Books and resources to help families resist gender identity ideology:
Lost in Trans Nation: A Child Psychiatrists Guide out of the Madness by Miriam Grosman, MD, 2023
Trans: When Ideology Meets Reality by Helen Joyce, 2021
Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters by Abigail Shrier, 2020
Our Duty Canada offers support and resources to Canadian parents of children experiencing “gender” ideation.
Transgender Trend calls for evidence-based healthcare for children and young people suffering gender dysphoria and for factual, science-based teaching in schools.
Genspect Parent Stories gives a voice to parents who are concerned that their kids are receiving inadequate healthcare.
Gender Dysphoria Support Network is an international group that aims to offer emotional understanding and support to families of individuals affected by gender dysphoria, by meeting regularly in small groups and by providing information, understanding and encouragement.
Parents with Inconvenient Truths about Trans (PITT) is a space for parents that have been impacted by gender ideology to share their uncensored stories, experiences, and thoughts.