EDMONTON, Alberta, February 27, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Alberta’s teachers’ union has come under fire from parents for hosting a keynote address by an LGBT activist who frequently posts sexually explicit material on social media.
The Alberta Teachers’ Association defended its decision to host pro-LGBT activist Dr. Kristopher Wells for an address on February 22 to the Palliser District Teachers’ Convention.
Wells is the Faculty Director for the University of Alberta’s Institute for Sexual Minority Studies and Services, and his university bio credits him for creating a variety of initiatives for gay students, as well as advisory roles with the Canadian Senate, Canadian Teachers' Federation, Alberta Teachers' Association, Public Health Agency of Canada, and various local governments, through which he holds considerable influence in shaping LGBT-related policies.
On February 20, the Alberta-based Parents for Choice in Education (PCE) wrote a letter to Alberta Teachers Association president Greg Jeffrey asking him to review a range of conduct they argued should disqualify Wells from participating in the event. They noted that he has shared sexually explicit material on social media, promoted a cartoon comparing Christians to Nazis, defended public sex acts, publicly mocked private correspondences from parents, and promoted various materials that graphically encourage sexual experimentation among minors.
The letter, signed by PCE Executive Director Donna Trimble and PCE Communications Advisor Theresa Ng, argues that elevating Wells is inconsistent with the ATA’s duty to “ensur[e] that anyone entrusted to provide support to staff and students exemplifies only the highest professional standards of public conduct.”
Nevertheless, Jeffrey issued a statement published on the ATA's website dismissing PCE’s objections as “without merit.” Calling Wells a “prominent and well-regarded expert in the field of education and gender issues” and a champion of LGBT staff and students, he reaffirmed the ATA’s support for both “the quality of his work” and his “professionalism.”
“The current campaign to discredit Dr Wells is driven by an organisation that lobbies against virtually all initiatives designed to support sexual and gender minority students,” Jeffrey declared.
At PCE’s website, Trimble responded by noting that the ATA neglected to directly address any of the specific examples they had raised. She further asked, in light of the fact that the ATA defines education standards for all of Alberta, how residents can “have any confidence in the state of public education when the bar of so-called ‘professionalism’ is set at this level.”
PCE compiled screenshots of Wells’ controversial social media postings in a separate post (WARNING: graphic content). One shares a cartoon in which a masked Christian is about to execute a kneeling man wearing a rainbow flag, with shadows cast on the wall of a Nazi officer doing the same to a Jewish prisoner. Others criticize Toronto police for enforcing laws against sex in public parks, which Wells suggested does nothing but “build fear & distrust of police.”
On June 13, 2016, the Edmonton Metro quoted Wells as declaring that critics of Alberta Education’s “Guidelines to Best Practices” document were peddling the “kinds of messages” that “turn into violence”—a reference to the Pulse Nightclub shooting that had occurred the night before in Orlando, Florida, in which Muslim extremist Omar Mateen murdered 49 people. Wells has also promoted links to so-called “community support” videos and websites that encourage K-12 students to participate in “group masturbation,” teach them oral sex techniques, and graphically describe and endorse a variety of other sexual acts.
LifeSiteNews has also covered Wells’ ideas on multiple occasions. Last April, Alberta Progressive Conservative leader Jason Kenney told the Calgary Herald that he believed “parents have a right to know what’s going on with their kids in the schools unless the parents are abusive” in response to questions whether schools should have to inform parents that their children self-identify as homosexual or transgendered. Kenney called it a “complex” issue, to which Wells tweeted, “The only things that seems ‘complex’ is Kenney’s failed support for LGBTQ youth.”
In July 2016, Wells endorsed Canadian Blood Services’ decision to reduce the waiting period for sexually-inactive gay men to donate blood from five years to one, despite concerns over tainted blood, by declaring “it’s time to move forward.” In September 2013, LifeSiteNews covered the case of Wrenna Kauffman, then an eleven-year-old girl, whose parents allowed her to start living as a boy on Wells’ advice. The report noted that Wells had previously assisted a “sex role swap” for a Catholic school student as young as Grade 2.