A crowd of close to 300 protesters came out to the Windsor Pavilion in Oak Bay on May 2 to show their support for SOGI 123, a sexual orientation and gender identity resource used in B.C. schools. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)

OPINION: Anti-SOGI group revels in backlash

Jenn Smith’s ‘transgender perspective’ thrives with discord

The evening started with picnics, popsicles and pop music and ended with a piercing fire alarm, Soldiers of Odin and the arrival of the Oak Bay Police and Fire Department.

Transgender speaker and political critic Jenn Smith brought his anti-SOGI event, the Erosion of Freedom, to the Windsor Pavilion May 2 and was promptly met with the unrelenting opposition of Greater Victoria’s LGBTQ+ community and its allies.

As he walked in, flanked by a small support staff, the bright and colourful crowd lifted its signs to the sky. “SOGI SAVES LIVES,” they chanted, repeating the phrase again and again until Smith disappeared inside the building.

But the protest didn’t stay outside. Protesters occupied the talk itself, holding hands at the front of the room with Pride flags draped over their shoulders, singing a Coast Salish warrior song. Eventually a fire alarm was pulled.

Jenn Smith’s talk was over before it started, which is exactly what he hoped for.

READ ALSO: VIDEO: Hundreds of protesters drown out anti-SOGI speakers in Oak Bay

The protests, tension and high emotion of the crowd was recorded and clipped into videos shared to YouTube where protesters were ‘doxed’ – their identities outed, and shamed.

Protesters lined the room where the Erosion of Freedom event was supposed to take place. They created so much noise and commotion, the event was essentially cancelled. Since then video clips of protesters have been posted on alt-right Youtube and Facebook accounts. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)

Smith has taken to Facebook – the place his supporters fester – to share the footage, calling protesters “free speech trampling spoiled rotten children” and the protest an “assault on freedom.”

And its true that he never got a chance to share his earth-shattering thoughts on SOGI 123 with the room, which was instead overpowered by “monsters” with noise makers and glitter rainbows on their cheeks.

In other words, the event, despite being a colossal failure at face value, has done everything Smith hoped it would.

So while his poster-making skills leave something to be desired, you can’t be fooled by the tactics of the ‘free speech’ toting caricatures that flourish in the dark caverns of the web – where the most vulnerable viewers are those with the niggling fear that something they are owed is being taken from them and their defenseless children – seemingly ready to undergo gender reassignment surgery simply at the mention of the non-binary in a school setting.

For Smith, there is power and polarization in dissension – and painting the LGBTQ+ community as a pitchfork-wielding, trigger-sensitive mob is exactly what he hopes will push people from indifference to “activism.”

And with social media, it doesn’t matter if Smith makes an impact in Greater Victoria at all. The people who actually came to listen to him talk aren’t valuable to Smith’s bizarre travelling show – it’s the sharing of bias-confirming video clips and comments that really propel his “activism.”

But in the end, hundreds of people stood in solidarity that night and collectively, showed that their strength very much exists in the real world and can drown out hatred, in whatever form it takes on.

READ ALSO: Police respond to anti-SOGI protest in Oak Bay



nina.grossman@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Property registration crucial for Oak Bay’s deer contraception program

Got deer? Want them gone? Do your part, register your property!

Active senior celebrates 100 years with fanfare at Oak Bay manor

An inspiring Oak Bay senior marked a milestone Tuesday. Marion Devitt, known… Continue reading

Saanich sponsors Jeux de la Francophonie giving $50,000 for the French-language Games

Couns. Susan Brice and Nathalie Chambers opposed funding, citing substantive and procedural concerns

Port Renfrew man charged with animal cruelty

Hot coffee poured on dog’s face, say police

VicPD arrest reportedly armed man wanted on Canada-wide warrant

The man was found near Centennial Square on Tuesday afternoon

VIDEO: Black bear caught climbing tree in Langford neighbourhood

Triangle Mountain residents on alert following bear sighting

Report of dead body in B.C. park actually headless sex doll

This discovery, made at Manning Park on July 10, led police to uncovering two other sex mannequins

Grand Forks fire chief found to have bullied, harassed volunteer firefighter: report

WorkSafeBC, third-party human resources investigation looking into allegations complete

Taekwondo instructor, 21, identified as B.C. bat rabies victim

Nick Major, 21, an instructor at Cascadia Martial Arts in Parksville

15-year-old with imitation gun caused ‘dynamic’ scene at Nanaimo mall

No one was harmed in Monday’s incident, say Nanaimo RCMP

B.C. on right road with tougher ride-hailing driver rules, says expert

The provincial government is holding firm that ride-hailing drivers have a Class 4 licence

RCMP investigating alleged ‘sexual misconduct’ by cyclist on BCIT campus

BCIT said they were reviewing video evidence of the incident

New home cost dips in B.C.’s large urban centres

Victoria, Kelowna, Vancouver prices decline from last year

Graphic suicide scene edited out of ‘13 Reasons Why’ finale

Suicide prevention groups support the decision

Most Read