Members of the Soldiers of Odin group attended the anti-SOGI rally. (Black Press files)

B.C. Hells Angels invited to rally by anti-SOGI organizer

The Culture Guard group has helped Hells Angels in the past, said its executive director.

The organizer of an anti-SOGI123 rally in Vancouver Monday said she invited members of the Hells Angels to attend.

“We invited the Hells Angels, we invited anybody who has children and who has a stake in education that is opposed to SOGI is welcome to stand with us,” said Kari Simpson of the Culture Guard group.

She said some accepted the invitation and attended.

“They’re also fathers, and mothers, and they don’t often get involved in these things,” said Simpson, who is based in Langley. “We’ve had their support in the past when we’ve helped their members with child apprehensions years ago.”

“Parents are parents and everybody has a stake in education,” Simpson said.

“They give really good protection, unlike the VPD [Vancouver Police Department],” she added.

The VPD was not aware of any Hells Angels attending the event, said Const. Jason Doucette, a media spokesperson for the department.

A pro-SOGI protester from Langley said she and her fellow rally members didn’t spot anyone wearing Hells Angels colours or clothing at the rally.

“I find that really alarming,” said Stacey Wakelin, a parent who has been among the organizers of local pro-SOGI events.

She said the presence of Hells Angels members won’t stop her from attending future rallies.

“I’m past the point of being afraid,” Wakelin said.

However, she worried what effect it could have on others, particularly vulnerable people in the LGBTQ community.

SOGI stands for sexual orientation and gender identity.

SOGI 123 was introduced as a pilot project last year and was rolled out B.C.-wide in September. According to the program’s website, it provides tools for teachers to create inclusive classrooms where students of all sexual orientations and gender identities feel safe.

The program has generated controversy, and pro- and anti-SOGI rallies have been held in Langley and other Lower Mainland communities.

Rallies were held Monday in Vancouver and Victoria, with each side represented.

READ MORE: Protesters argue both sides of B.C.’s SOGI curriculum at teachers’ union office

“It was truly diverse, unlike the other side,” Simpson said, citing the participation of Sikh and Muslim anti-SOGI protesters.

Also among those taking part were the controversial Soldiers of Odin. The group is an offshoot of an anti-immigrant group in Europe. The Canadian offshoots say they do not share an ideology with the European groups, and accept people of all origins.

However, they have clashed with anti-racism demonstrators locally, with three Soldiers of Odin arrested by the VPD in March of 2017 following a scuffle with marchers organized by the Pacific Coalition Against Bigotry.

Simpson dismissed concerns about the group.

“I think those are probably overplayed, like us being called a hate group,” she said.

– with files from Black Press Digital

Just Posted

Wires left dangling after van crashes into hydro pole in Dashwood

Road closed while BC Hydro crews dealt with situation

Parksville powerlifter qualifies for world championships

Buhler sets personal bests in both raw and equipped lifting events

Police go on hunt for distracted drivers in Parksville Qualicum Beach

One motorist ticketed for not wearing a seatbelt and using a cellphone while driving

Motorists attempted CPR on victim in fatal Highway 4 crash west of Whiskey Creek

Witnesses say three vehicles involved in collision; man in 70s confirmed dead

Parksville’s mystery cowboy revealed

Kevin Gourlay’s horse garners attention for being ‘parked’ outside a liquor store

Sparks fly as SUV speeds down wrong side of Highway 1 trying to flee RCMP

Captured on video, the vehicle headed westbound against oncoming traffic before crashing

Fire crews battle large blaze at Courtenay hostel

Courtenay Fire Chief Don Bardonnex said nobody was injured

Illegal cannabis club in Port Alberni ticketed again

RCMP seize cannabis, issue fine for second time in five months

Motorcyclist dies after three-vehicle crash on old Island Highway

Accident happened at 12:15 p.m. Friday near Country Club Centre in Nanaimo

1,300 cruise ship passengers rescued by helicopter amid storm off Norway’s coast

Rescue teams with helicopters and boats were sent to evacuate the cruise ship under extremely difficult circumstances

Tofino’s housing crisis causing some to seek shelter at the local hospital

Tofino’s housing crisis is pushing the town’s ‘hidden homeless’ population into the forefront.

B.C. university to offer first graduate program on mindfulness in Canada

University of the Fraser Valley says the mostly-online program focuses on self-care and well being

Late-season wave of the flu makes its round in B.C.

BC Centre for Disease Control reported 50 per cent jump in flu cases in first weeks of March

Province announces $18.6 million for B.C. Search and Rescue

The funding, spread over three years, to pay for operations, equipment, and training

Most Read