Recent events have reflected a rising insecurity for gender non-conforming Vancouverites, and require increased city action to strengthen inclusion and safety
VANCOUVER (Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh Territories) - November 20th is Transgender Day of Remembrance. As communities gather to honour trans, gender diverse and two-spirit people whose lives were lost to anti-trans violence this year, OneCity Councillor Christine Boyle has tabled a motion at Vancouver City Council to create, and implement, a renewed Trans, Gender Diverse and Two-Spirit (TGD2S) Action Plan, with a focus on inclusion and safety.
The motion is tabled amid a striking rise in transphobia, driven by an organized, and widespread, campaign of misinformation and fear-mongering, which included rallies against Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity-inclusive education across Canada.
“Two months ago today, rallies across B.C. and Canada were incited and fueled by harmful misinformation targeting our trans and gender-diverse neighbours,” said Councillor Christine Boyle, OneCity Vancouver. “I was glad to see Councillors from all parties speak up and stand up for Vancouver’s trans community. But action must follow words. I call on Mayor Sim and Vancouver City Council to commit to strengthening our TGD2S Inclusion Strategy. We live in more dangerous times, and municipal policy must be strengthened to match them.”
The City of Vancouver adopted its TGD2S Inclusion Strategy in 2016. It planned for the strategy to be reviewed and renewed in 2020, but that work was delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Through the passage of this motion, which has the support of Queer groups from across Vancouver, the City will continue its commitments to the TGD2S community by creating and implementing a renewed TGD2S Action Plan with a focus on inclusion and safety. This work must be adequately funded in the 2024 budget.
The Transgender Day of Remembrance is an initiative started by transgender advocate Gwendolyn Ann Smith as a vigil to honour the memory of Rita Hester, a transgender woman who was killed in 1998. Communities around the world now host vigils on November 20 to honour lives lost amid ongoing violence toward trans communities. To mark this day, the Trans, Two Spirit, Genderqueer, and Intersex March is hosting an Event and Vigil for Transgender Day of Remembrance at the Vancouver Art Gallery Steps at 7:30pm on Monday November 20th.
Cllr Boyle’s upcoming Trans, Gender Diverse and Two-Spirit (TGD2S) Inclusion and Safety Action Plan motion can be found here.
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Aaron Purdie, Executive Director, HIM Health Initiative for Men Society:
"We, the Health Initiative for Men, affirm and applaud this motion because of it's focus on increasing safety for the group that is simultaneously the heart and soul of our 2SLGBTQIA+ communities, and the most marginalized members of our city. We need Vancouver City Council to be leaders and role models in the creation of a Vancouver where everyone is safe. The only way this can happen is by intentional planning and accountability by people with power and influence. When Trans, Gender Diverse, and Two-Spirit people are made to feel safe, everyone is safe."
Anoop Gill (she/her), Executive Director, QMUNITY:
“This motion is a clear message to the 2SLGBTQIA+ community that we, as a city, can lead by example for how leaders are ensuring safety and inclusion for all. Trans, nonbinary, and gender diverse people deserve the right to be free from harm, discrimination, and violence. Transphobia and transmisogyny are a product of colonization on this land, and there is a deep history right where we are standing of honoring and celebrating trans and Two-Spirit lives within Indigenous nations. Resisting transphobia means committing to truth and reconciliation at all levels of government, and we applaud and wholeheartedly support this motion.”
Norma Lize, Communications Manager, Rainbow Refugee:
“Trans and Gender Diverse refugees and newcomers are some of the most active and yet most marginalized community members in Vancouver. Some of the big issues facing Trans and Gender Diverse newcomers in Vancouver are safety, accessibility, access to safe affordable housing, and knowing they are not alone when facing hate. The City of Vancouver must demonstrate its commitment to the Trans and Gender Diverse community and this motion is a step in the right direction.”
Brandon Yan, Executive Director, Out in Schools:
“Protecting and uplifting Two Spirit, trans and gender diverse individuals is a required commitment to universal human rights. Out On Screen and the Vancouver Queer Film Festival celebrates the vibrant spectrum of our shared humanity through our programming, which is made possible in part by the support of the City of Vancouver. We believe that embracing and safeguarding people of all identities ensures a tapestry of inclusivity where every thread contributes to the beauty of our collective existence on the lands of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh. We support a review and renewal of the City's commitments to Two Spirit, trans, and gender diverse people in a world that is increasingly targeting, polarizing, and denigrating their existence.”