Vancouver resident Morgane Oger is determined to make an electoral first in the province.
Oger, an IT entrepreneur and owner of a marina outside the city, wants to become the first openly transgender member of the legislative assembly of B.C.
The significance of possibly pulling off such a feat is well understood by the transgender woman and single parent to two schoolchildren.
“Fundamentally, what it represents is that we are considered to be people like everybody else,” Oger told the Straight in a phone interview. “And that, finally, in Canada, if I’m elected, it will mean that we’re trusted enough to be treated like everyone else.”
By her count, there are some 600 elected members in the House of Commons at the federal level and in provincial and territorial legislative assemblies across the country. But according to her, none of these representatives is an out transgender, an indication of how her community is behind in social acceptance.
However, the chair of the Trans Alliance Society is encouraged that times are changing.
At the provincial level, the government passed legislation in July this year to add protections in the B.C. Human Rights Code for transgender people. And in May, the federal government introduced legislation to add gender identity and expression to the list of prohibited grounds for discrimination in the Canadian Human Rights Act. The measure is pending in the House.
Oger is seeking the nomination of the B.C. NDP to run in Vancouver–False Creek in next year’s election.
If chosen, she will be challenging incumbent B.C. Liberal representative Sam Sullivan, a seasoned politician who was once mayor of Vancouver.
Oger related that she and Sullivan have met on two occasions. She said the second time was during this year’s Pride parade, and that he asked to have a photo taken with her.
“I’ve told him that I was intending to run against him,” she said about Sullivan, “and I’m sure that he’s a man of great character.”