Although the City of Vancouver has expressed its support for trans and non-binary people, it is unable to stop an upcoming rally from happening.
On the Transgender Day of Visibility (March 31), the City of Vancouver issued a statement reaffirmed its support for the LGBT+ community, including all trans and non-binary community members.
“The City is committed to reducing the barriers that trans people face in accessing vital services such as housing, and actively invests in organizations that support trans people in Vancouver,” the statement explained.
In addition, the city also addressed a possible protest to be held on April 10 at šxʷƛ̓ənəq Xwtl'e7énḵ Square (the Vancouver Art Gallery plaza).
Trans activist Morgane Oger told the Georgia Straight that she had seen an image for the event and sent it to the Vancouver Police Department’s LGBT+ liaison and well as a Vancouver city councillor.
According to the image in circulation, the event is being held in protest against “child medical-transition and gender identity ideology in schools”.
In October 2018, the B.C. government stood its ground in keeping SOGI (sexual orientation and gender identity) resources in schools despite pressure from Christian-based opposition. In addition, other Christian leaders expressed their support for SOGI resources in the B.C. school system.
In response to the possible upcoming protest, the city reiterated its stance on hate.
“The City of Vancouver has zero tolerance for hatred, racism, and discrimination,” the city stated. “We stand against transphobia and all forms of inequity that affect our communities.”
However, the city also explained that it cannot stop the event from taking place.
“In accordance with the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the City cannot prevent people from assembling on public property for exercising their right of freedom of expression. We want to be clear that we do not issue permits for any rallies or protests.”
One of the individuals appearing in the image for the protest, controversial Chilliwack school board trustee Barry Neufeld, was reported on March 25 as advising parents to withdraw their children from public schools, allegedly accompanying the comment with a link to an article about an increase in trans people.
Neufeld has a history of sparking criticism for opposing SOGI and LGBT issues and making inappropriate and offensive statements, including questioning the gender identity of Canada’s chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam in May of last year.
He is currently facing legal action for a conflict of interest allegation regarding comments he made about personal financial matters in relation to a board decision during a school board meeting.