Hundreds of California Parents Rally to Protect Kids From Gender Transition

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Event organizers hope to rally support for a ballot initiative would order schools to inform parents if their child expresses intent to change genders.

Hundreds of outraged parents and community members gathered March 16 in Los Angeles to raise awareness of the secret gender transitions of minors, indoctrination at public schools, and infringement of parental rights.

Hosted at Glory Church downtown under the banner of “Time to Stand,” the gathering drew together dozens of faith-based organizations from California and beyond, as well as hundreds of pastors, parents, community leaders, and concerned citizens, to express their collective concerns.

“There’s a crisis in California for the children,” Sarah Stephens, founder of one of the event organizers, Make California Gold Again, said in an interview before the event. “Boys are competing in girls’ sports; boys are going in girls’ bathrooms; kids are taking hormone treatment and puberty blockers; kids are having surgeries done on their bodies. It’s really a tragedy.”

Sarah Stephens, founder of Make California Gold Again, speaks at the Time to Stand rally at the Glory Church in Los Angeles on March 16, 2024. (Sophie Li/The Epoch Times)
Sarah Stephens, founder of Make California Gold Again, speaks at the Time to Stand rally at the Glory Church in Los Angeles on March 16, 2024. (Sophie Li/The Epoch Times)

Ms. Stephens said that such practices go against the very essence of education.

“We need children to be able to grow up in an environment without indoctrination, where they can simply learn how to read and write and do the basics in life,” she said.

Other groups at the event included Leave Our Kids Alone, Protect Kids California, Our Watch, Don’t Mess with Our Kids, and many others.

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Event organizers estimated that at least 300 people attended.

Outside the venue, several dozens of demonstrators showed up—holding the LGBT flag and various signs—and shouted at the attendees. The group left before the event concluded.

One of the event’s main focuses is to garner support for a proposed ballot initiative, the Protect Kids of California Act of 2024.

The initiative, if passed, would order schools to inform parents if their child expresses intent to socially transition at school, ensure fair competition in girls’ athletics by restricting participation to biological females, and prohibit puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, and transgender surgeries for minors.

Nicole Pearson, a lawyer from Newport Beach and a member of Protect Kids California, called the ballot initiative a “last resort,” after multiple similar bills failed to even reach hearings in the Legislature.

“The Protect Kids CA ballot initiative is the silver bullet,” Ms. Pearson said. “There is polling that shows that across the state this is not a partisan issue; this is not a religious denominational issue. … It doesn’t matter, Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians, Independents, all agree that we need to protect children.”

In addition, Ms. Pearson—accompanied by Jennifer Kennedy, one of the attorneys involved in drafting the initiative—urged individuals to disseminate information and gather more signatures so the initiative can appear on the November ballot.

(L-R) Jennifer Kennedy and Nicole Pearson speak at the Time to Stand rally at the Glory Church in Los Angeles on March 16, 2024. (May He/The Epoch Times)
(L-R) Jennifer Kennedy and Nicole Pearson speak at the Time to Stand rally at the Glory Church in Los Angeles on March 16, 2024. (May He/The Epoch Times)
Children hold petitions for the Protect Kids of California Act of 2024 at the Time to Stand rally outside  Glory Church in Los Angeles on March 16, 2024. (May He/The Epoch Times)
Children hold petitions for the Protect Kids of California Act of 2024 at the Time to Stand rally outside  Glory Church in Los Angeles on March 16, 2024. (May He/The Epoch Times)

Among the speakers was also detransitioner and activist Chloe Cole, who opposes so-called gender-affirming care.

Ms. Cole, who was only 12 years old when she told her parents that she wanted to transition to a boy, underwent breast removal surgery at 15, a decision she regrets. Ms. Cole, now 19, said doctors falsely informed her parents that she was at risk of suicide if she didn’t undergo the transition.

“I was not suicidal, however, until years later after being drugged and operated on,” she told the audience.

Ms. Cole—who grew up in the Central Valley near Modesto—said her experience is not an isolated case, but rather part of a trend affecting thousands of children in the state.

“My blossoming femininity was ripped away from me by a rogue medical industry, supported by an anti-human ideology and a dangerously powerful California Legislature,” she said. “You cannot afford to wait until it is your child getting ripped from your arms by the California government.”

Chloe Cole speaks at the Time to Stand rally at the Glory Church in Los Angeles on March 16, 2024. (Sophie Li/The Epoch Times)
Chloe Cole speaks at the Time to Stand rally at the Glory Church in Los Angeles on March 16, 2024. (Sophie Li/The Epoch Times)

A mother who lost her daughter over four years ago to the transgender movement echoed Ms. Cole’s sentiments.

“[The school] made her believe that by going through these changes, her life was going to be better. They promised her that her depression would disappear. And that was a big lie,” said Abigale Martinez. “I don’t want any parents to [experience] what I went through,” she said. “This pain doesn’t have a name, doesn’t have a beginning or an end.”

Sonja Shaw, president of the Chino Valley Unified School Board, whose district faces a lawsuit from the state regarding its transgender parental notification policy, addressed the audience via a video message.

“We witnessed firsthand the actions of Sacramento politicians and those all over the world,” Ms. Shaw said. “It was as if our children were on a fast-moving train headed towards a horrific destination without brakes, but God said no. Our involvement stems from a moral obligation, echoing the call of God for us to act as voices for the voiceless, beacons of light in a world that is shrouded in corruption and evil.”

Dozens of faith-based organizations, as well as hundreds of pastors, parents, children, and community leaders, join the stage at the Time to Stand rally at the Glory Church in Los Angeles on March 16, 2024. (Sophie Li/The Epoch Times)
Dozens of faith-based organizations, as well as hundreds of pastors, parents, children, and community leaders, join the stage at the Time to Stand rally at the Glory Church in Los Angeles on March 16, 2024. (Sophie Li/The Epoch Times)

Last July, Chino Valley Unified made headlines as the first school district in the state to introduce a policy requiring schools to notify parents when their child identifies as a different gender.

Since then, state officials criticized the district, alleging that the policy violates privacy laws and poses risks to the safety of LGBT students. In October, a San Bernardino County judge issued a ruling that blocked the district from enforcing the policy, citing concerns of discrimination.

In response to the ruling, the school board voted earlier this month to update its policy, specifying that notification should occur only if a child requests to change any information in their official or unofficial record.

Several other school districts across the state have followed suit, adopting similar parental notification policies since then.

May He contributed to this report.

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