Press Release: VPS Board clarifies political party involvement in the 2015 Pride Parade

(Vancouver, B.C.) “The Pride movement started as a protest march to demand our rights as full and equal citizens, regardless of our sexual orientation or gender identity,” says Vancouver Pride Society (VPS) President Tim Richards.

“While substantial gains have been made for Gays and Lesbians, Transgender and Gender-Variant people have been largely left behind,” adds Vice-President Chrissy Taylor.

“The TEN Pledge returns the VPS to its roots and the Society is taking a firm and public stance in support of a marginalized part of our community,” says Taylor.

Due to the complex structure of political parties, there has been some confusion as to who can sign the Trans Equality Now Pledge on behalf of the party. On July 21st, 2015 the board met to clarify their position:

  • A member of the political party’s board of directors or equivalent governing body must sign the pledge on behalf of the party, as opposed to a riding association, electoral district, or equivalent body.
  • Any elected official or candidate for election must also sign the pledge to participate in the Parade.

“No political party will receive special treatment for the Parade. Political parties that march must sign the pledge on behalf of the party. If they refuse to stand up for LGBTQ2+ rights, they have no place at the Parade,” says VPS Parade Coordinator Bry Leckie.

The annual Pride Parade is one of the largest parades in the country, attracting hundreds of thousands of people and has been long considered the thing to do for people, political groups, organizations, and community groups to show their support for the LGBTQ2+ community.

“This year people watching the parade can take comfort knowing that the groups they see march in the parade support trans rights and the tenants of the TEN campaign,” says Richards.

The VPS encourages the BC Liberals to sign the pledge and support the bill to include gender identity in the BC Human Rights Code.

There is an opportunity for real change here in BC with the private member’s bill introduced by Spencer Chandra-Herbert. This bill would fulfill the request of the pledge to ensure that Transgender and Gender-Variant persons are protected in the BC human rights code.

“Premier Christy Clark has long considered herself a champion of anti-bullying, so we would welcome her taking a stand for our community,” says Taylor.

“The TEN Pledge is more than words on a page or a box that you check off. It is a commitment to supporting Trans and Gender-Variant people, and this is a great opportunity for the BC Liberals to demonstrate that commitment,”  says Richards.