Parents said they are speaking out against indoctrination of children by schools.
A massive wave of protests centred around gender and sexual education in schools has swept across Canada. Thousands of parents and other protesters gathered across Greater Toronto area on Wednesday under the banner '1 Million March for Children', Canada-based outlet CBC News said in a report. The group had one demand: To "protect our children from indoctrination and sexualisation". One of the protesters, a woman age 47, was arrested for allegedly bringing a weapon to the protest, the outlet further said.
Jane Agosta, who took part in one such protest, told CBC News that she came out in support of her child, who she said is currently transitioning. Ms Agosta said she wanted to speak out against the inflammatory messaging of the provincial government.
"We spend a lot of time just keeping children safe and loved and accepting of themselves - and to insinuate that we might actually be spending time indoctrinating them is absolutely ridiculous. We just want our children to be safe, loved and cared for," she said.
In response, counter-protests were also organised, with groups meeting at places like Queen's Park, where thousands gathered.
"I was a teacher and I am openly queer," one of the protesters from the group, Kit Etcheverry, told Global News. "I grew up in a household where I wasn't able to be myself until my 30s and it is really important that all children know that there are people that love them and support them."
Benita Pedersen, the co-ordinator of '1MillionMarch4Children' in Edmonton, accused the schools of "planting seeds in the minds of young children to start thinking about transgenderism".
She told the outlet that Wednesday's march was not about hate or discrimination.
What Canada's schools said about the issue?
Toronto District School Board (TDSB), Peel District School Board (PDSB), Durham District School Board (DDSB) and Halton District School Board (HDSB) issued separate statements before the protest saying they all support the LGBTQ community.
"We support everyone's human rights and expression of gender," the TDSB statement said, according to CBC News.
It also said that schools do not tell students who they should be, but welcome them as they are.