LGBTQ Community Disappointed with Kelowna-Lake Country MP

Written on 07/21/2021
Staff Columnist

The LGBTQ community in Kelowna is insisting that a local MP answer to the fact that she voted against a bill that would ban conversion therapy across Canada — Kelowna Capital News reported.

On July 12, Kelowna Pride held a town hall where many community members attended and expressed their disappointment with Conservative MP Tracy Gray for voting against banning conversion therapy.  Bill C-6 would put a stop to the therapy practise that tries to change a person’s sexual orientation to heterosexual and gender identity to cisgender. The practice has been deemed abusive and harmful by many psychologists.

Those who participated in the town hall said they felt betrayed by Gray after she previously claimed she is an LGBTQ ally.

“Moving forward, there will be deeper considerations on how (Kelowna Pride Society) engages with politicians to avoid rainbow and pinkwashing. Voting for a crosswalk and a parade is great, but allyship needs to be deeper-rooted than that,” said Bobby Bissessar, communications director for Kelowna Pride Society.

Some attendees also suggested Gray resign because they feel her vote is part of holding back the LGBTQ’s progression toward justice in Canada.

“What would I like to see happen? Tracy Gray’s resignation. Barring that, the community coming together to express that her actions are unacceptable and to make it clear that she is unwelcome at our events and to make sure she isn’t given another chance come the next election,” said UBC student and Kelowna resident Casey Broughton.

The LGBTQ community also expressed that other councillors should step up as allies and reiterate their support to ban conversion therapy. Wilbur Turner, an advocate of LGBTQ rights, said he will be forming a coalition to help people take political actions towards elected representatives.

“Because there is a possibility of a federal election in the fall, there will be a lot of action towards that… There is a big opportunity for us to be really engaged with the election process,” said Turner.

Gray and the 61 Conservative MPs voted against the bill claiming the wording implies that parents having a conversation with their children about sexuality is illegal. Bill C-6 passed the third reading in the House of Commons on June 22 in a 263-63 vote.

“I always take a thoughtful and pragmatic approach to decisions, and simply without this legislation being better, I did not vote to send it to the next stage in the parliamentary process,” said Gray in a statement in June.

 (Image Credit: Olivia Sullivan/Sound Publishing)