What exactly is SOGI 123?

Protests and counter-protests taking place across Canada on Wednesday had some people wondering, just what is SOGI 123?

SOGI stands for Sexual Orientations and Gender Identities. The 123 is meant to reflect creating this inclusive education environment being “as easy as 1-2-3.”

To put it simply, SOGI 123 is a resource, not a curriculum, that “helps educators make schools inclusive and safe for students of all sexual orientations and gender identities.”

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“At a SOGI-inclusive school, students’ gender does not limit their interests and opportunities, and their sexual orientation and how they understand and express their gender are welcomed without discrimination,” reads an excerpt from www.sogieducation.org.

“Everyone has a sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI). It’s an inclusive term that applies to everyone, whether they identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, two-spirit, heterosexual, or cisgender (identifying with the same gender that one was assigned at birth),” the B.C. Government stated in a section of its own website.

As SOGI 123 outlines, there are three essentials for creating SOGI-inclusive schools.

  • Implementing policies and procedures to reduce discrimination, suicidal ideation, and suicide attempts for students
  • Creating inclusive learning environments with signage, word choices, and extra-curricular opportunities in order to create a space at schools that is both positive and welcoming for students
  • Incorporating learning plans that can teach students diversity and respect while including examples of SOGI topics


B.C. and Alberta are currently participating and using SOGI 123 to help create “inclusive policies, learning environments, and lesson plans,” and the SOGI website says it hopes to spread its curriculum further and grow outward from Western Canada.

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The resource education guide for B.C. and Alberta exists to help teachers implement its practices into their respective Kingergarten-Grade 12 curriculums. These practices outline ways to promote and implement student and staff leadership, inclusive language procedures, and consistent reviews to ensure student and staff rights, responsibilities, and actions are supported.

“With higher levels of discrimination and bullying, and lower levels of family, school, and community support, LGBTQ youth face higher risks for significant health challenges, including suicidal thoughts and attempts, and problem substance use,” University of British Columbia director and professor, Dr. Elizabeth Saewyc stated in B.C.’s SOGI 123 guide.

“When LGBTQ youth experience safe and supportive schools and families, they are much less likely to report these health challenges.”

However, according to the ministry of education and child care, learning about SOGI is not “mandated”, as it is not a curriculum, but schools must be in compliance with the Human Rights Code and “demonstrate that they are creating safe, welcoming, and inclusive environments.”

The ministry notes that studies show having SOGI-specific anti-bullying policies improve the safety for both heterosexual students and 2SLGBTQI+ students, “reducing discrimination, suicidal ideation, and suicide attempts for ALL students.”

That SOGI erases “biological sex” is a myth, the ministry explains, saying that the experiences of heterosexual and cisgender students and identities continue to be included in every experience in school.

“The intention of SOGI is to foster inclusive learning environments for everyone of all sexual orientations, gender identities, and gender expressions.”

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