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200 people gather at city hall on September 20th 2023 to counter hate and aggression directed at the LGBTQ+ community (Adam Riley / Acadia Broadcasting)

Residents rally in support of the LGBTQ+ community

By Adam Riley Sep 21, 2023 | 12:27 PM

More than 200 people gathered at city hall in support of the LGBTQ+ community, hours after a smaller group protested the teaching of what it calls “Gender Ideology” and the sexualization of children in schools through newer sexual education programs.

Thunder Pride Chair Scotia Kauppi says the protesters seen earlier in the day both in the city and across the country are misinformed and their support of that is disheartening.

“They need to know what body parts are, what different families are, who you can love. In school it doesn’t go past any of that. It just goes to what’s going on and who you can be, not how to be that. That is up to every individual person.”

Kauppi says Thunder Bay has always been a loving and welcoming place and the support seen from residents Wednesday evening is proof that bigotry has no effect on what is happening here.

However , over the past year Pride organizations in the city, and across the country, have seen increased hostility being directed at them, including death threats.

(Adam Riley / Acadia Broadcasting

That’s something Thunder Bay – Superior North Lise Vaugeois, who spoke at Wednesday’s rally, says is becoming more common. Especially due to outside influence which is being repeated by those in positions of power.

“This is something that started in the United States, but is bleeding into Canada. I do think that its shameful that there are elected leaders who have taken these positions, putting children at risk, pitting parents against other parents, pitting parents against teachers.”

Vaugeois believes this is creating enemies and the conflict has been invented for political gain.

Among the other dignitaries was municipal, educational and religious leaders who came out in support.