Vancouver Pride Society president Tim Richards: Pride is about human rights

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      As Canadians celebrate 10 years of equality in same-sex marriage, there is one group in the LGBTQ community who have been left behind. Transgender and gender-variant citizens do not enjoy equal protection under the laws of this country. There is no explicit reference to gender identity under the Canadian Human Rights Act or the British Columbia Human Rights Code, and acts of criminal violence based on gender expression are not considered hate crimes in Canada.

      This spring, the Vancouver Pride Society launched our Trans Equality Now campaign, which requires every organization wishing to march in Pride 2015 to sign a pledge agreeing to support transgender rights. It’s a bold decision, and it’s the right thing to do.

      Last week, we learned that Premier Christy Clark’s political party has refused to sign the pledge. They argue that transgender British Columbians are already well-enough protected by the Human Rights Code, and there’s no need to add explicit protections under the law. This, despite the fact that race, colour, ancestry, place of origin, religion, marital status, family status, physical or mental disability, sex, sexual orientation, and age are explicitly mentioned in the code. This week, a former B.C. human rights commissioner called on the government to update the code to include transgender citizens.

      The B.C. Liberals have chosen not to join hundreds of other organizations and political parties in signing the Trans Equality Now pledge. By requiring them to sign before marching, we’ve been accused of being partisan. Nothing could be further from the truth: the Vancouver Pride Society is a fiercely non-partisan organization. We’ve treated all political parties equally and respectfully. We have asked every organization who seeks to march at Pride on Sunday to agree to the same pledge, and we’re saddened that the B.C. Liberals won’t sign.

      We understand that not everyone agrees with our decision to require all Pride parade participants to sign the Trans Equality Now pledge. It’s sparked robust conversation among our communities and allies—which is a very good thing.

      At the end of the day, our goal is to ensure that everyone marching in Pride is committed to our shared goal—advancing human rights for all LGBTQ people. We’ve come a long way as a community, but there’s much work ahead to ensure full protection under the law for all.

      Pride is this Sunday; we’re again inviting Premier Clark and her team to sign the pledge and walk alongside us—not just in the Pride parade, but 365 days a year.

      Vancouver Pride Society president Tim Richards and vice-president Chrissy Taylor at the Vancouver Pride Week proclamation ceremony at Vancouver City Hall on July 27, 2015.
      Craig Takeuchi



      John Ong

      Jul 30, 2015 at 4:32pm

      I find it sad that the Pride Committee is preaching inclusion and acceptance and practicing exclusion by this very demand that all participants should agree with them, or not be allowed to march.


      Jul 30, 2015 at 4:54pm

      This has soured my enthusiasm for the Pride Parade. Organizers appear to be bullies by excluding anyone who doesn't let them twist their arm to sign on the dotted line on something that can open up a potential legal can of worms when one group is singled out for protection on legislation that protects us all already. Then, if you don't agree with the bullies, they further taunt and bully and try to score political points like by MLA Hebert casting you as anti LGBT rights if you don't sign their misguided pledge.

      Wilbur Turner

      Jul 30, 2015 at 5:01pm

      It is very fitting and absolutely in keeping with the mandate of any Pride organization to stand up for and advocate for explicit protection in our laws for all members of the LGBTQ community. Many provinces in Canada have already defined explicit protection for transgender citizens. It is sad to hear so many firsthand stories of suffering, victimization and discrimination against our transgender community members. It is time for us all to join together in achieving the goals of the Trans Equality Now pledge.

      Wilbur Turner
      President, Fierté Canada Pride

      Susan Thomas

      Jul 30, 2015 at 5:06pm

      Why would Chisty Clarke want to march if she doesn't support the transgendered community?


      Jul 30, 2015 at 5:19pm

      Remember parades past when Kim Campbell marched but Hedy Fry stayed away? Oh how we laughed. Now it looks like ego and power tripping are the themes this year. Sign the paper or no parade for you! How times have not really changed.


      Jul 30, 2015 at 9:16pm

      Alas, Preemie is pandering to her reationary "base".
      But she won't mind missing the parade. More time with the family! They can run a few red lights...maybe have a campfire.

      Many Faces of Bullying

      Jul 31, 2015 at 12:38am

      It seems sadly ironic to see an image encouraging society to 'erase bullying' used in this commentary regarding the objectives of the parade. The Pride Society's ultimatum and its timing have distracted the discussion from the important topic of human rights - this comes across as bullying in its own right, rather than promoting inclusivity.


      Jul 31, 2015 at 1:07am

      I suspect that Christy, and the rest of the party, probably equates sex with gender identity, so it's no wonder they think transgendered folks are protected with the way the CHRA is currently written.


      Jul 31, 2015 at 1:14am

      The other day I actually had to listen to someone repeat an opinion contrary to amsoc principles. I nearly had a nervous breakdown. So, I am suing my employer for failing to provide a safe workplace environment where Ingsoc reigns supreme.

      James G

      Jul 31, 2015 at 7:27am

      Complete sophistry.
      Noble goals but using blunt tools and stupid strategy.