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Rally to Protect Trans Rights – Message from Wilbur Turner

Message at the Rally Against Hate to Protect Trans Rights by Wilbur Turner, Founder and chair of Advocacy Canada. Hundreds gathered at Stuart Park in Kelowna on October 15, 2023.

My dear queer siblings, friends, allies and champions of equality,

kʷu yʕayʕát kʷuʔ čn̓k̓ʷɬn̓xiʔm̓ 

We all join in together / We are all a part of it together.

Today, we gather in unwavering unity against the dark cloud of hatred that seeks to shroud the queer community. Let me proclaim this unequivocally: none of the targeted assaults against the queer community make any semblance of sense, nor shall we accept them.

It is senseless to reject the lived experiences of our trans youth and trans siblings; it is senseless, and we shall not entertain it. 

It is senseless to dispute the mountains of irrefutable scientific and medical evidence attesting to the existence of trans individuals; it is senseless, and we shall not be swayed. 

To cloak this struggle in the guise of parental rights is senseless, and we shall not acquiesce. 

To deny the rights of precious and vulnerable children is senseless, and we shall not permit it. 

To assert or harbour the belief that educators are engaged in the sexualization of our children is senseless, and we shall not be silenced. 

To contend or believe that the educational initiative known as SOGI 123 is synonymous with sex education is senseless, and we shall not be fooled. 

To cast an unjust and sweeping judgement upon the entire queer community, labelling us as groomers, is senseless, and we shall not be tarnished by such falsehoods.

Who amongst you stands in unwavering solidarity with this cause?

The pivotal query that confronts us is this: how can we disarm those who assail our community and anyone who champions the rights of our fellow citizens, who simply yearn to live without discrimination and violence?

Our initial course of action is clear: we must stand shoulder to shoulder, just as we do today. Reclaiming our space, both in physical presence and through the resonance of our voices, is nothing short of imperative.

Who among you shares this profound conviction with me?

Solidarity, dear friends, is the bedrock upon which we must construct our fortress. However, our duty extends far beyond this gathering.

Eradicating misinformation through a public education campaign grounded in facts rather than fear is a non-negotiable imperative.

Facts over fear!

Exercise your right to vote as though your very life depends on it, for indeed, it does. The act of voting is nothing short of vital.

Engage in the democratic process with fervour. Consider running for public office, or extend your support to those progressive voices that champion our cause. Participation in our democracy is absolutely essential. Being a silent bystander is not an option.

Embrace the power of community organizing, for the strength of our collective effort is indispensable.

And now, my dear queer siblings, I implore you to remember this above all else: You are perfect in your own unique way, and you are cherished with a love that knows no bounds. You belong! 

Let us march forward, for the fight for trans rights is not a matter of convenience; it is a moral imperative and a testament to our shared humanity. Let’s not put our humanity back in the closet.

Thank you, and let the flame of justice burn ever brightly in our hearts!

Photo Credit: NowMedia/Corvin Vaski