The Vancouver Pride Society won't let the governing B.C. Liberals in their annual parade, which takes place on August 2.
That's because nobody on the B.C. Liberals' board of directors has signed the society's Trans Equality Now pledge promising equal rights to transgender and gender-variant people.
Three times since 2009, B.C. Liberal MLAs have refused to support NDP MLA Spencer Chandra Herbert's bills to offer explicit protection for the trans community in the B.C. Human Rights Code.
On July 20, Chandra Herbert once again introduced a bill in the legislature to add "gender identity" and "gender expression" to the list of grounds for which discrimination would be prohibited under the code.
Earlier this month, Attorney General Suzanne Anton claimed in the legislature that even though these words are not mentioned in the code, it "protects all persons, no matter what their gender identity is".
Herbert replied that the human rights codes in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador, and the Northwest Territories all provide explicit protection for gender identity and expression.
"This government almost stands alone in refusing to support transgender British Columbians," Chandra Herbert said. "Why will this government not act when people across this nation are standing up against hatred, raising the rainbow flag of inclusion and standing up for their transgender citizens? Why do the B.C. Liberals refuse to do the same?"
In a 2012 news release, the B.C. NDP acknowledged that "protections for trans people have been 'read into' the human rights code".
However, the party argued at the time that given high rates of violence and the magnitude of discrimination in housing and employment, these protections "need to be more clearly written out".
The Vancouver Pride Society's recently announced TEN pledge requires a member of a party's board of directors or equivalent governing body to sign on behalf of the party.
In addition, any elected official or candidate must also sign to be permitted to march in the Vancouver Pride Parade.
“The TEN Pledge returns the VPS to its roots and the Society is taking a firm and public stance in support of a marginalized part of our community,” VPS vice president Chrissy Taylor said in a news release.
It's not good enough for a riding association to sign. According to an article in Daily Xtra, the B.C. Liberal Vancouver–West End constituency association signed the pledge and was going to participate in the Vancouver Pride parade. However, it was later kicked out.
The pledge will also likely rule out federal Conservatives from participating.
In the past, Premier Christy Clark and federal Conservatives in Vancouver Centre have walked in the parade.
Meanwhile, a group that was banned from the parade for the past two years has been allowed to return this year.
The Canadian Foreskin Awareness Project/Foreskin Pride was prohibited after its spokesperson, Glen Callender, revealed his penis in a full-frontal run in 2012.
Callender has maintained that he had actually cleared this in advance with the parade director, but it ended up causing so much controversy that CAN-FAP was banned in 2013 and 2014.
This year, Callender has agreed to adhere to an explicit no-nudity clause in the parade. He decided to do this even though nudity was tolerated in the event from its inception until 2012.
"I think this unfortunate burst of prudery came from within the Pride org itself, which is a very sad thing for Vancouver's LGBT community, because we now find ourselves in the almost unimaginable position of having a Pride society that is to the right of both City Hall and the VPD when it comes to tolerating harmless public nudity," Callender noted.