A Kelowna LGBTQ2S and allies community panel will address Bill C-6, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (conversion therapy) in an online Town Hall at 7 PM July 12, 2021. Parliament passed the bill with a vote of 263-63 with 62 Conservative MPs and 1 Independent MP voting against. Kelowna Lake Country Conservative PM Tracy Gray was one of those voting against. The bill is now with the Senate.
“Conversion therapy”, also known as sexual orientation and gender identity and expression change efforts, are deeply harmful, scientifically discredited practices that target vulnerable LGBTQ2+ Canadians. To protect people from this cruel treatment, all levels of government should work to undermine the efforts of people and organizations conducting these practices – as well as support the development of positive, affirming programs and services.
There has been a groundswell of interest to protect our community from the harms of conversion practices and tactics and hold our elected representatives to account. In response, Kelowna Pride is hosting this Town Hall, which will be led by community advocates Matt Stewart and Wilbur Turner. Input from the community will inform a response to MP Tracy Gray as well as a path forward in protecting LGBTQ2S people from the harms of conversion practices.
The Town Hall is meant to be informative, educational, and open to community input. The objective is to come out with:
- a respectful and clear action plan on how to deal with this issue with our elected representatives and what allyship from them looks like in action
- formation of a working group/task force to facilitate a local municipal ban on “conversion therapy” and research/document what supports and resources are/should be in place to support those who are impacted or vulnerable to conversion practices
“Community voices have demanded that action be taken in light of the vote on Bill C-6,” says Wilbur Turner, community leader and former President of Kelowna Pride. “Many people have contacted Gray on this issue, and all have come away feeling disappointed and frustrated. The idea that the definition in the bill needs to be clarified is simply unjustified. Her office had no consultation with our community on this, and being the bill impacts us immensely it is glaringly obvious that we are not being represented.”
“This Town Hall will be grounded in efforts towards decolonization; we approach this work to support the community and dismantle the oppressive systems that impact our queer and/or Indigenous siblings,” according to Davina Kula, Director of Education & LGBT2Q+ Youth Initiative, Kelowna Pride Society.
Online Town Hall Access:
Live stream: Kelowna Pride Facebook Page
Date: Monday, July 12, 2021 at 7:00 PM
Davina Kula, Director of Education & LGBT2Q+ Youth Initiative
Kelowna Pride Society
Wilbur Turner, Community Advocate
Wilbur Turner (he/him), who identifies as gay and queer, lives in Kelowna on the unceded traditional land of the syilx peoples and has contributed on many levels to LGBTQ2S rights, both locally and internationally.