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

TNG block roads, question gov’t on moose hunt

Chief Joe Alphonse confirmed Thursday they’ve deactivated the Raven Lake Road and the Mackin Creek Road just before the Island Lake turnoff

UBCM passes historic resolution brought forth by CCRD

If the resolution is successfully realized, it will mean groundbreaking change for local governments

Bella Coola RCMP appeal for public’s help in wake of suspicious fires

Four suspicious fires in the span of four months prompted local RCMP to bring in fire specialist

Municipal spending outpaces population growth 4-fold in B.C.: report

Canadian Federation of Independent Business has released its annual operational spending report

Series of suspicious fires prompt Bella Coola RCMP to bring in special investigator

Police investigate four fires set between June and Sept. in 4-Mile

Watch out for Pavement Patty: Drivers warned outside B.C. elementary school

New survey reveals unsafe school zones during 2018 back-to-school week

Update: Search called off for missing plane between Edmonton and Chilliwack

Search efforts were concentrated along the Highway 5 corridor between Valemount and Kamloops

Why Whistler for ski jumping in 2026? Calgary proposal gets pushback

Calgary 2026 proposes re-using the 2010 ski jumping venue Whistler for that sport and nordic

Despite progress, threat of 232 tariffs dominates NAFTA negotiations

Any deal is seen to require congressional approval before Dec. 1 to survive new Mexican government

VIDEO: Hundreds line highway as family brings home body of B.C. teen

Northern B.C. showed their support by lining Hwy 16 as Jessica Patrick’s body returned to Smithers.

B.C. MP Todd Doherty receives award for saving man who collapsed on a plane

Conservative MP was flying from Vancouver to Prince George, B.C., in June last year

Alleged border jumper from Oregon facing 2 charges after police chase in B.C.

Colin Patrick Wilson charged with dangerous operation of motor vehicle, flight from a peace officer

More than 35 B.C. mayors elected without contest

No other candidates for mayor in the upcoming local election in 22 per cent of B.C. cities

‘Hero’ kid fighting cancer helping with B.C. Children’s Hospital fundraiser

Penticton’s Wills Hodgkinson helping raise funds for B.C. Children’s Hospital

Most Read