Garrison: More work to be done to protect LGBT community’s rights

As Pride Week continues, MP Randall Garrison says visibility is key to acceptance

It wasn’t long ago that pride parades and demonstrations, now large scale celebrations, were more political in nature, more of a protest against legal issues and the treatment of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community in society.

Randall Garrison, MP for Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca and the NDP’s critic for LGBT issues, says the community has taken progressive leaps forward, but there’s still work to be done.

“As that political and legal agenda has decreased, I think the importance of the visibility part has increased,” said Garrison. “I think the biggest and best protection against homophobia is people being visible, and I think pride plays a very big part in that.”

Over the years he has seen firsthand the event grow and evolve into what now attracts thousands of people of all sexualities and backgrounds, and has become as much a community celebration as it is a statement. Garrison said when he was on Esquimalt council (2008-2011) it was the first council in the region to take part in Victoria’s pride parade, something many councils now do.

“That’s all quite positive, since there are queer people everywhere,” Garrison said.

In his political role Garrison is still working hard on gender issues. His private member’s bill has been through second reading and has gone to committee. The bill’s aim is to amend the Canadian Human Rights Act to specifically include gender identity and expression.

Of all the groups included in the LGBT community, Garrison said it is the transgendered community that still faces the most misunderstanding, intolerance and hate crimes. This bill would remove legal grey areas for transgendered people, and would add gender identity and expression to the hate crimes section of the criminal code.

“It would remove any ambiguity and put transgendered people on the same legal basis as everyone else in the Human Rights Code,” Garrison said.

With the support of 15 Conservative Party members, Garrison is optimistic the bill will pass, although some compromises may have to be made at the committee level.

Anti-bullying is another issue that Garrison and his colleagues will be pursuing, along with pushing the government to take more of a stand internationally when it comes to LGBT rights. There are still more than 70 countries where homosexuality is illegal.

Garrison and his partner are involved in many of the pride events going on in Victoria this week, including the Cabar-GAY opener, the Big Gay Dog Walk, Pride and the Word, and the pride parade.

“It’s as important as any other human rights issue and I’ve always argued that the rights for my community are basic human rights. They’re not special rights, we’re just wanting to enjoy the same rights as everybody else.”

kwells@goldstreamgazette.com

 

Pride Week events

SATURDAY:

• Big Gay Dog Walk – 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. – Dallas Road at Cook Street – This fun pride event gives four-legged friends the opportunity to support the cause. Dog owners of all genders and sexualities will come together for this simple, fun daytime event with their best friends.

 

SUNDAY:

•Pride Parade – Noon – The big event starts at Government Street and Pandora Avenue and works its colourful, proud way towards the legislature, finishing up at MacDonald Park in James Bay. Come out, see the spectacle and support the cause. And hey, everyone loves a parade.

• Pride Festival – 1 p.m. – MacDonald Park – After the parade, the fun kicks off at MacDonald Park with this culmination of the week. Food, drinks, entertainment, a kids zone and events will all be happening in celebration and recognition of the LGBT community.

For more info visit victoriapridesociety.org.

Just Posted

Malahat snow-covered as flakes fall across Greater Victoria

Snowfall warning in effect for parts of Vancouver Island

What’s going on this weekend in Greater Victoria, Feb. 22 to 24

Music, theatre, musical theatre, and home shows

UPDATE: Saanich Police respond to weapons incident on Veron Avenue

Police are asking the public to avoid 800-block until further notice

Sooke distillery wins an international award for best gin

After less than four years, Sheringham is racking up the awards

Victoria mayor preparing to tour Alberta oil sands

Lisa Helps heads to Alberta after an invitation came from Calgary councillor Ward Sutherland

Fashion Fridays: Must have wardrobe basics

Kim XO, helps to keep you looking good on Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

POLL: Will you be wearing pink to take a stand against bullying?

Schools and workplaces across Greater Victoria and around the province will be… Continue reading

Skier dies at Revelstoke Mountain Resort

Cause of death has not been released

National Energy Board approves Trans Mountain pipeline again

Next step includes cabinet voting on the controversial expansion

Cryptocurrency exchange CEO who suddenly died leaves Kelowna house in will

Gerald Cotten, holding the keys to money tied up in his virtual currency exchange, died in December.

Regulator’s report, coming today, unlikely to settle Trans Mountain pipeline battle

The Trans Mountain pipeline will remain a controversial topic both in the political ring and out

Australian woman killed in avalanche at Whistler

The woman and her partner were reportedly rescued by ski patrol, but she did not survive

B.C. legislature moving suspended staff controversy to outside review

Whale watching, Seattle Mariners trips billed as emergency preparedness, Speaker Darryl Plecas says

Trudeau tells Canadians to listen to clerk in SNC-Lavalin matter

Privy Council clerk Michael Wernick delivered a blunt assessment at the House of Commons justice

Most Read