Friends across Pacific Mountain region,
Please extend your prayers and gratitude to Calgary-based, Affirming Connections for their unwavering commitment to providing education, resources, and beams of God-Love supporting 2SLGBTQiA+ children, youth and adults.
We received this URGENT NOTICE from Affirming Connections today, and encourage all United Church people to read and act.
There is a counter-movement called 1 Million Voices for Inclusion organizing on social media (https://www.facebook.com/groups/325603693311023/media). They are helping to list the community organized counter-demonstrations across Canada.
You are warmly encouraged to share this post, Affirming Connections URGENT NOTICE, and these images to your friends, family, networks, colleagues, etc.
This Wednesday, September 20th, anti-2SLGBTQIA+ activists plan to rally at legislatures, city halls, and school board offices across the country under the “1 Million March 4 Children” banner. While they claim to be in support of “parental rights,”* this is explicitly an anti-2SLGBTQIA+ rally.
They’re supported by a big tent of far-right and conspiratorial groups, including Christian Nationalists, white supremacists, and anti-public education activists.
5 THINGS YOU CAN DO
- Counter-Demonstrate, using the advice found in the Pride Defense Guide, Safety Plan, and Faith Community Guide. Find out what is happening in your city and make plans with community partners.
- If you’re in the Calgary area, counter-demonstrators are gathering across from the Harry Hayes building between 8:30am-2pm on the 20th. Be sure to read the Pride Defense Guide to prepare before you go.
- Plan an alternate event at the same time on the 20th. This could be anything from a coffee hour to a vigil, simply – a place to connect and find solace.
- Use all of your available communication channels to show your support: church signage and property, e-newsletters, websites, social media, and connections with local media. We have created some images that you can use in your messaging, that you can see below, and download for free here.
- Connect with your faith community and work together to find out what your ministry can do to respond faithfully to these issues.
- Contact politicians, in particular school trustees/MP’s, to express your support for gender-affirming policies and inclusive education, and your opposition to policies that would forcibly out trans youth (sample letter).
- Community Relationships
- Reach out to local 2SLGBTQIA-led and solidarity groups and ask how you can be of service and what kind of allyship would be most helpful to them. Building these relationships and trust can take time, but it’s well worth it.
- Pastoral Care
- If you feel equipped to offer support to those who are being targeted by these hate groups, be sure those around you know you’re available.
- Ask for support! This is an extremely worrying and intense time for queer folks. Find contact info for Affirming Ministries through Affirm United/S’affirmer Ensemble here, and resources from Affirming Connections here. You are not alone.
We encourage everyone to share positive messages of Public, Intentional, and Explicit affirmation to the 2SLGBTQ+ community, particularly from a faith perspective.
Since religion is being weaponized by many of these extremist organizers, it’s imperative to share a different narrative about faith, and to categorically denounce hate and bigotry.
- You can share the below images by downloading them through our Google Folder here.
- Messaging and images created in partnership with Affirm United/S’affirmer Ensemble, and the Regional Minister: Justice and Communication for Living Skies, Prairie to Pine, and Northern Spirit Regional Councils of the United Church of Canada.
- *The concept of “parental rights” is a red herring. “Parental rights are not a recognized concept under Canadian constitutional law. Parents have powers and obligations that they must exercise in the best interest of their child, but the best interest of the child always takes precedence,” says Professor and Bioethicist Florence Ashley. Canada has signed onto The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, an important agreement by countries who have promised to protect children’s rights.