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1 Million March 4 Children: The Ongoing Fight To Eradicate Queer Kids

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Toronto MU chapter.

Content warning: this article contains references to anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric. 

On Sept. 20, 2023, Canadians nationwide got together to share their views on transgender rights for children. One of the multiple demonstrations took place at Queens Park, not too far from Toronto Metropolitan University’s (TMU) campus. 

Group beliefs

The two groups at the foundation of the march are Hands Off Our Kids and Family Freedom, organizations strongly against LGBTQ+ education and school curriculums. Together, they make up the crowds at the protests across Canada, also known as 1 Million March 4 Children. 

According to Kamel El-Cheikh, founder and chairman of Hands Off Our Kids, the protests are taking place as a way to enforce traditional family values and ensure parents have complete control of their children’s rights until they turn 18.  

However, Family Freedom states that it values the LGBTQ+ community. Yet, the research they promote on their website views the community as a social epidemic

Both groups believe the current and suggested curriculum across Canada highlights LGBTQ+ identities in a way that indoctrinates underage students. They believe that the queer community has an “agenda” that can only be avoided through its erasure from school systems. Both foundations are primarily made up of parents, as parental rights are their primary concern. 

Harm behind anti-trans rhetoric

The information used by anti-trans protesters is often misleading. Although they include real statistics, they create harmful claims based on personal or religious beliefs. 

For example, Family Freedom claims that because there is an increased number of young queer people in comparison to older generations, these young people are the subject of indoctrination. This claim is unrelated to the original statistic and pushes a harmful agenda about being a part of the LGBTQ+ community. There could be alternate reasons for an increasing number of queer children, such as the growing rate of acceptance towards the lifestyle, which creates a more welcoming environment for people to be who they are. 

Many members of these groups also support the passing of anti-trans legislation, such as laws that would expose children to their potentially dangerous and homophobic parents and prohibit people from accessing gender-affirming healthcare.

Gender-affirming healthcare has been proven to drastically improve the mental health of transgender people in multiple studies. There is scientific support that transgender people are real and not a symptom of mental illness. Because of this, many health professionals agree there should be conversations about their healthcare from a younger age to prevent long-term harm. 

LGBTQ+ community’s response

In retaliation to the gatherings created by the respective organizations, thousands of members and allies of the LGBTQ+ community came together in counter-protests

Groups, such as the 519, organized a counter-protest to create community and provide safety for those fighting for transgender rights. 

Overall, both protests remained peaceful, with only one arrest logged from the event. 

Cris Nippard

Toronto MU '27

Cris Nippard is a writer for Her Campus. Their writing focuses on a range of topics, from social justice issues to pop culture. As a non-binary Black person, LGBTQ21A+ and Black culture, her work often touches on the experiences of these groups. Cris started the first year of their undergraduate degree for Journalism at Toronto MU in September 2023. Along with Her Campus, they are a copy writer for Youthquaker Magazine and has written and produced for The Tall Chair. When she’s not working on journalistic endeavours, Cris is often found taking her cat for walks. They are often seen with their headphones on listening to a variety of music and true crime. As someone who has lived in Toronto their whole life, Cris enjoys exploring new areas of the city and vintage shopping Downtown.