VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – A member of the society that runs the Vancouver Pride Parade is stepping down claiming not all political parties are being treated equally as they try to participate in this year’s parade.
Tim Ell says the way which Vancouver Pride Society asked parties to sign a pledge supporting equality for transgender people has been unfair and not every party is being treated the same.
“It’s not the end of the road for me at all,” says Ell, who adds he will continue to work for equality issues. “I just can’t put my name next to some of the political shenanigans that have been going on in the background. It’s not what I signed up for and I don’t believe that the Pride Society should be involved in that.”
“I believe that we are a political organization at our core, but we should not be partisan.”
Tim Richards is the President of the Vancouver Pride Society and disagrees with Ell’s assertions.
“We’re definitely not a partisan organization,” says Richards. “We’re asking political parties for an executive signing officer from their board to sign, and then for politicians and candidates — and hopefully to get hopefully more and more people to sign the Trans Equality pledge to join in.”
“I’m hopeful that we’ll see all participants and people coming to enjoy the fabulous parade on Sunday to actually sign up on the Trans Equality pledge. That would be amazing.”
Last week it emerged the BC Liberals had been blocked from participating for failing to sign the pledge.
“On the face of it the Trans Equality Now pledge is an amazing thing,” says Ell. “When you peel away the layers of the onion you’re seeing something that isn’t actually what it appears to be, which is really disappointing because we have this opportunity to do this work.”
“Trans equality doesn’t seem to be a priority when you actually look at the work that’s being done. That’s being undermined.”
The Liberals say transgender people are already protected under human rights legislation despite non-explicit language in existing human rights legislation.
“We’ve been a little bit misled as directors into believing all political organizations have been treated fairly and that was not the case,” says Ell. “From the very beginning there have been two sets of standards, one applied to parties that would be seen as favourable to LGBTQ issues and to our fight for rights and then obviously a different set of standards applied to parties that have not been seen like that in the past.”
But Richards feels the explicit language in legislation outlining protection for transgender people is necessary.
“It needs to be explicit,” says Richards. “Other provinces have recognized that. I hope that we’ll catch up here in B.C. and actually look at what other provinces have done and the reasons for that. I believe being explicit, as we’ve been explicit in asking for people to support equality, it’s just really, really important.”
“What’s really amazing is the number of organizations that have signed our pledge.”