Sounding the Alarm on SOGI written by Ron Hughes

Part 1: Let Kids Be Kids!

In recent months many thousands of Canadians have taken to the streets to protest what they see as the harmful indoctrination and premature sexualization of children taking place across the country, mostly through SOGI (Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity) content in school classrooms and libraries.

These events have been met with well-organized, strident counter-protests and the condemnation of various political and social leaders, who have routinely branded the protesters as "hateful," "far right" extremists and the like. Count me among those who have been so branded. I participated proudly in both of the country-wide protests that have been falsely characterized as "hate–fuelled marches." Yet I hate no one, and in five decades as a Canadian voter I have never cast a ballot for a right-wing party. Neither, to address another accusation so often thrown about by critics of the protests, am I "anti-LGBTQ." In fact, three of my own family members, all of whom I love dearly, are gay or lesbian. I have absolutely no doubt that many of the Canadians who carried anti-SOGI signs in September and October could say the same: not guilty on all counts.

What, then, motivated the marchers, many of whom continue to participate in ongoing smaller-scale protests in BC communities such as Abbotsford and Surrey? Sometimes the simplest explanation is best. Whatever unsavory agendas or emotions may have driven a few, the vast majority of us marched for just what we said we would: the protection of children. One might say the signs told the story, signs with messages such as "Stop Sexualizing Children," "Leave Our Kids Alone" and "Teach Geography, Not Pornography." On the last of these, while it may not be fair to say that schools are "teaching pornography," it is certainly true that school libraries across BC and Canada offer many books that can be described as age-inappropriate, sexually explicit, or even pornographic in some cases. In this piece, the first of a series, it is such materials that we shall consider.

Fair warning: you may find the images below to be quite shocking, offensive even. If so, you should understand why I say I'm sorry but I'm not really sorry for presenting them to you here. Please consider it a perhaps rude but necessary awakening. Though you will for obvious reasons see them only very rarely in mainstream media, all of these images are taken from books that are available to children and adolescents in schools all over BC. If the images presented in these books are deemed too offensive to publish in newspapers read mainly by adults, if—as we shall see—the words written in these books are too offensive to be heard by the adults who pass the laws that govern our province, how can they possibly be deemed appropriate for children to access in school libraries?

In my experience, most parents shown these images readily agree that they are not. Most find it hard to believe that these materials are in school libraries. Yet it cannot reasonably be denied that they are. One can verify that the books discussed here are in the libraries mentioned—and many more—by visiting (Destiny Discover is a library management web app used by schools across the US and Canada.) If the reports from sources such as CBC news cited here are not sufficient proof that these books actually contain the images shown, one can confirm it by visiting a public library or a bookstore. I have, and they most certainly do.

Many parents will be shocked by the graphic depiction of oral sex in Gender Queer, banned in numerous American school libraries but available in BC secondary schools such as Vancouver's Templeton, Surrey's Clayton Heights and Victoria High. Fewer will be convinced by the author's claim that this book could be "lifesaving." Yet such are the grounds on which such books are often defended.

Gender Queer: A Memoir by Maia Kobabe

Thus, when on October 4th MLA Bruce Banman read to the BC Legislature a passage from another school library book, Eleanor and Park—the language of which was deemed by the Speaker too offensive to be heard by the assembled members—Education Minister Rachna Singh responded with assurances that "our schools are places… which are safe, inclusive and welcoming for all students."

We're often told that because kids need to "see themselves" in literature, it's essential for school libraries to have books that feature LGBTQ characters. This seems fair enough at first glance. Most parents would not be upset about, for instance, a tastefully told love story featuring such characters.

What has not been explained is why kids need to see graphic images or explicit descriptions of those characters engaging in a range of sexual activities. Nor has anyone explained why students need—or just how they are made "safe" by—detailed instruction on "how to use sex apps," "boy-on-boy sex," "bumming" (anal sex), or perverse sexual practices such as "eating poop" and "peeing on people in a way considered sexy." Yet this is exactly what they get in This Book is Gay, a SOGI-approved book available in the libraries of numerous BC schools. Most of these are secondary schools but for some reason at least one elementary school, K. B. Woodward in Surrey, has seven copies of it!

This Book is Gay by Juno Dawson

Meanwhile, in the libraries of high schools such as Cowichan Secondary, students can find not only graphic images but explicit, detailed instruction on masturbation, including the use of "butt plugs," in books such as Let's Talk About It.

Let's Talk About It: The Teen's Guide to Sex, Relationships, and Being a Human
by Erika Moen and Matthew Nolan

Let's Talk About It: The Teen's Guide to Sex, Relationships, and Being a Human by Erika Moen and Matthew Nolan

Numerous elementary school libraries also feature illustrated books that depict children masturbating, such as It's Perfectly Normal, available in a dozen schools in the Nanaimo-Ladysmith district alone, or Sex is a Funny Word. Of the latter, a "SOGI-inclusive" book described in the title preview as "an essential resource about bodies, gender, and sexuality for children ages eight to 10," there are over 90 copies in Vancouver School District libraries, though it remains unclear why comic books that entice children to experience the joy of "Touching Yourself" are considered necessary or appropriate for eight-year-olds.

Sex is a Funny Word by Cory Silverberg, Fiona Smyth (Illustrator)

It's Perfectly Normal: Changing Bodies, Growing Up, Sex, and Sexual Health
by Robie H. Harris, Michael Emberley (Illustrator)

Perfectly normal or not, in simpler times it was assumed that children would discover such things for themselves—without encouragement or instruction—when the time was right. Many parents see that as a more natural and desirable process. These days, however, it seems that school boards and the librarians that they employ often do not take parental feelings into account when books for school libraries are selected and approved.

Consider the case of Carolyn Burjoski, a veteran teacher who was suspended in 2022 by an Ontario school board for questioning the age-appropriateness of another SOGI-approved book, Rick by Alex Gino, which is available in school libraries across BC and Canada. As National Post writer Adam Zivo has explained, Burjoski felt that the book "might lead children to think that there is something wrong with them if they don't have sexual feelings at a young age." Speaking of the main character, an 11-year-old who unlike his best friend—was not "thinking about naked girls all the time," Burjoski proposed a far simpler and more sensible explanation than that offered by the book, which absurdly has poor Rick wondering whether he is "asexual" and/or "aromantic." "Maybe Rick doesn't have sexual feelings yet," she said, "because he is a child." In other words, perhaps Rick has not yet entered puberty.

Books like Rick, added Burjoski, "could put pressure on kids to start thinking sexually before they are ready to do so." Clearly, this teacher is concerned about the loss of childhood innocence. Many Canadians share this concern if the signs carried by numerous protesters are any indication: "Let Kids Be Kids!" It is just one of the reasons why so many of us are sounding the alarm on SOGI.
Do you know what's in your child's school library?

Note: I've only covered a handful of the many books which contain similarly objectionable material and are available in school libraries in BC and across the country. For more information on this, see, and I will also continue to cover this topic on X, formerly Twitter, where you can find me at

Acknowledgments: I'd like to express my appreciation to some people who are fighting the good fight against SOGI and kindly took the time to personally share their thoughts, experiences and knowledge with me as I prepared to write this article. Thank you so much, Jim McMurtry, Chanel Pfahl, Amrit Birring, Zanbka Malik and, last but definitely not least, Pierre Barns, whose tireless efforts researching the topic covered here have been invaluable.

Upcoming: In the next article of this series, we'll take a close look at another issue that for good reason is even more alarming to many parents: the SOGI-inspired "gender identity" teachings promoted in schools across the country that are progressively leading ever more children to identify as the opposite sex, often with devastating consequences. Too many of our young people have already become lifelong medical patients with mutilated bodies. Everyone who cares about the health and well-being of children and adolescents needs to understand the role that SOGI in our schools is playing in these developments.

Author: Ron Hughes (writer/teacher)
Twitter: @RonaldNHughes