Prominent parental rights advocate Chris Elston, also known as Billboard Chris, and student activist Josh Alexander say they are looking forward to their long anticipated protest against gender ideology in Ottawa – despite plans by trans activists to disruptively counter-protest. 

True North spoke with both Elston and Alexander on Thursday.

The pair announced their intention to protest in Ottawa back in April, demanding “education over indoctrination” in publicly funded schools. Elston had held a similar protest in the capital back in 2021.

Both have stressed the need for peaceful dialogue.

“Our goal is to bring awareness to the issue of gender ideology in the schools. Both myself and Chris believe conversations are incredibly powerful and important. We hope this event will spark successful dialogue,” Alexander told True North.

Not long after the rally was announced, trans activists began discussing a counter-demonstration. Activists say they plan to “drown out” the “hate” from Alexander and Elston with their counter-protest.

Left-wing groups Horizon Ottawa, Community Solidarity Ottawa and the Canadian Anti-Hate Network are calling on people to show up to “support queer and trans kids.”

“To counter this assembly of transphobic fascists, we will rally the community at 10am at Broadview and Wellesley. We have partnered with Community Solidarity Ottawa, as well as a number of other community organizations and labour unions to hold a counter-protest against hate, transphobia, and fascism,” reads a news release from Horizon Ottawa.

“We are planning a joyous celebration of the queer and trans community that will impede the transphobic fascists from reaching our schools.”

Horizon Ottawa also claims that “there is a growing alignment between transphobes, anti-mask/anti-vaxx activists, former so-called “freedom convoy” supporters, and the extreme right – neo-nazis, white supremacists, and right-wing accelerationists.”

Meanwhile, Community Solidarity Ottawa is telling counter-protestors to bring “noisemakers” and to not speak with “far right media outlets” and independent journalists.

When asked if they had anything to say to counter-protestors, Elston told True North, “I don’t have anything to say to the counter-protestors, except ‘thank you’ for helping me to reach millions of people.”

Alexander added that “many are under the impression that we are spreading a message of hate. In all honesty my message doesn’t stem from any form of hate. I am concerned about the direction of this country. I know that my generation is under attack and I will do everything I can to defend it.”

In the past, trans activists have shown to be aggressive and violent when mobilizing to defend their gender ideology and queer theory agenda – including outside of school board meetings. The potential for violence is something that concerns Elston.

“I worry there will be violence from the counter-protestors,” said Elston. “They want to stop all peaceful conversations about this subject, and they have violent extremists among them who would love to turn this into a riot.”

“I’ve been assaulted more than 40 times, and in October 2021 on this same street, I was mobbed by 200 counter-protestors, punched in the head twice, spat on, painted on, had my signs destroyed, and my car keyed. I know that if given the opportunity, the counter-protestors will get violent.”

Ottawa-Carleton District School Board director Michele Groux has asked for the protest to be moved to another location, one that is not close to schools. Elston rejected the request, telling the board, “your students have nothing to worry about, except from your own teachings.”

Elston also told True North he is “working with Ottawa police to try to keep (counter protestors) on the other side of the road, away from us.” 

Alexander says the messaging to his supporters has been very clear. “I expect all conduct to be above reproach. I’m looking forward to a successful event.”

True North asked the Ottawa Police Service about its plans to deal with Friday’s event amid planned counter-protests from trans activists – but they did not respond in time for publication.

Elston and Alexander’s “education over indoctrination” is scheduled to take place in Ottawa on Friday, at the intersection of Broadview and Carling, at 11:00am.

True North’s Harrison Faulkner will be on the ground to cover.