Loading articles...

Vancouver councillor focus of criticism after asking controversial question about gender identity

Last Updated Feb 27, 2020 at 9:26 pm PDT

FILE -Vancouver city hall. (Marcella Bernardo, NEWS 1130 Photo)

Coun. Colleen Hardwick asked someone appearing at city hall on Wednesday about their gender identity

Even though councillor apologized. her views still came across as derogatory: lawyer

'This was the first question the first speaker was asked': lawyer

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — She should have known better.

That’s what a social justice lawyer says after hearing Vancouver City Coun. Colleen Hardwick ask someone appearing at city hall on Wednesday about cutting off funding for the Vancouver Rape Relief and Women’s Shelter about their gender identity.

Adrienne Smith says, even though Hardwick offered an apology later during the meeting, her views still came across as derogatory.

“The chair of the city’s own LGBT advisory committee was asked in open council, after their submission, what their sex assignment was at birth. These are incredibly invasive and inappropriate questions. I’m going to give Coun. Hardwick the benefit of the doubt that she learned something, but I’m still angry about that specific question.”

Smith adds ignorance is no excuse.

“Certainly, she’s had time to Google some facts to familiarize herself with some of the elements of contemporary transphobia and focusing on people’s sex assignment, asking them about their surgical status, interrogating whether their gender identity is valid — all of these things are features of contemporary transphobia. I’m glad that she apologized, but that certainly doesn’t undo the hurt feelings that she caused.”

Smith said Hardwick’s comments made the meeting tense and uncomfortable.

“This was the first question the first speaker was asked. No question like that is ever appropriate.”

NEWS 1130 has reached out to Hardwick for comment.

City council, including Hardwick, voted against giving Vancouver Rape Relief any more grant money because the shelter excludes transgender women from receiving some of their services.