Vancouver Pride bans B.C. Liberals from parade after controversy about Chilliwack MLA Laurie Throness

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      It looks like a B.C. political party won’t be allowed to partake in an annual celebration of queer rights and communities due to concerns about the views of one of its party members.

      After Press Progress reported on June 30 that B.C. Liberals advertised in Christian lifestyle publication The Light Magazine, which has run content against SOGI [sexual orientation and gender identity] resources in B.C. schools and in favour of conversion therapy (a discredited practice that attempts to change a person’s sexual orientation).

      Although B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson had issued a statement on June 30 that there is no room for homophobia, transphobia, or discrimination in his party and that they would immediately ensure that their advertising reflected those values, Chilliwack-Kent MLA Laurie Throness said on July 3 that he would continue to advertise in the magazine.

      On July 15, Vancouver MLA Spencer Chandra Herbert called for Throness to be removed from the B.C. Liberal caucus or remove him from his role as opposition critic for the Ministry of Children and Families.

      Then on July 16, the Vancouver Pride Society also stated that it would not allow the B.C. Liberals to participate in its online parade, which will take place on August 2, if this action was not taken against Throness. 

      CTV News Vancouver reported on July 19 that B.C. Liberals confirmed that no one from the party, including Throness, will be advertising in the publication.

      In a statement on social media, the Victoria Pride Society stated today (July 21) that it acknowledged Wilkinson’s statement the B.C. Liberals will end all advertising in The Light Magazine. However, the society also said it is calling upon the party “to firmly demonstrate their allyship to the LGBTQ2* community through action and accountability”.

      Victoria Pride stated that any “demonstrated tolerance within the party for homophobic and transphobic views” will affect any future applications to participate in their parade and festival.

      The Virtual Victoria Pride Festival was held on July 5, featuring a virtual stage with performances by House of Jimbo, Caleb Hart, Daniela Jackson, and more.

      However, the Chilliwack Progress reported today that the Vancouver Pride Society has informed the B.C. Liberal party that they won’t be permitted to participate in this year’s parade as they did not remove Throness from the caucus or his role as child care critic.

      The Georgia Straight has contacted the Vancouver Pride Society for more information.

      When the Georgia Straight contacted the B.C. Liberals for comment, they issued a statement that they "regret Vancouver Pride’s decision to exclude us from the 2020 virtual parade, but respect that this is their decision to make" and that "BC Liberal MLAs will continue to participate in Pride events in communities throughout BC, consistent with our support for the LGBTQ+ community and our commitment to fighting homophobia and transphobia in all forms". 

      You can follow Craig Takeuchi on Twitter at @cinecraig or on Facebook. You can also follow the Straight's LGBT coverage on Twitter at @StraightLGBT or on Facebook.