The Vancouver Pride Society has found itself in the middle of a controversy, after deciding not to allow the BC Liberals from participating in the 2015 Pride Parade.
In May, the society announced that anyone participating in the Parade must sign its Trans Equality Now Pledge, advocating for the inclusion of transgender rights in both Provincial and Federal legislation.
While the BC Liberal riding association in the West End has signed the pledge, the party has not – and now the society says it cannot march.
On Wednesday, Vancouver Pride Society issued a news release, saying it was clarifying the rules.
In order to take part both the official who wants to take part AND a member of that person’s governing body must sign this year’s Trans Equality Now Pledge.
In a written statement the parade coordinator says no party will receive special treatment and if the party can’t sign they have no place at the parade.
Society Vice-President Chrissy Taylor says she hopes the BC Liberals sign the pledge and support the bill to explicitly include gender identity in the BC Human Rights Code.
The private members bill was introduced by NDP MLA Spencer Chandra Herbert.
So far, the BC Liberals have not been willing to sign the pledge, arguing transgender people are already protected under the code.
Transgender community reacts
One transgender advocate is backing the need for groups to support transgender rights if they want to participate in the Parade.
Morgane Oger with the Trans Alliance Society says the public needs to know who doesn’t support trans rights, so advocates can prevent the discrimination from spreading.
“[The Transgender community is about] half a percent of British Columbians. Half a percent. That’s 35,000 British Columbians. This is not a small, tiny, little number of people that we’re talking about a large population.”
Oger says the pledge will make it clear to Canadians who stands on which side of the issue, and on which side of history
CKNW’s Laura Baziuk spoke to Morgane Oger about the issue:
Contentious debate follows decision
The society’s decision has caused a firestorm of debate on social media.
Twitter lit up, with much of the reaction divided along party lines.
Liberal supporters denounced the Pride Society saying an event about inclusion is now excluding some.
Other went as far as to call it political discrimination.
BC Liberals executive director Laura Miller insisted on Twitter human rights legislation protects trans-gendered people.
She also let it slip Premier Christy Clark wasn’t going to be attending this years pride parade anyway.
On the other side of the argument people said the Liberal government needs to support explicit protections for trans-gendered people.
Others from those in the BCTF and even a Vancouer city councillor applauded the decision telling the Liberals to just sign the pledge already.
BC Liberals announced today not marching in Pride parade. Due to refusal to support trans human rights legislation majority of Canada has.— S Chandra Herbert (@SChandraHerbert) July 22, 2015