Kelowna Pride Society Statement

Written on 08/11/2021
Kelowna Pride Society


Regarding MP Tracy Gray and Conversion Therapy

(Kelowna, BC) Conversion therapy is a discredited and harmful practice that centres around a series of physical, psychological and spiritual interventions designed to change an individual’s sexual orientation. It is a pseudoscience and has rightly been banned in many jurisdictions around the world. The Kelowna Pride Society wholeheartedly condemns the practice.

On June 22 of this year, Bill C-6: An Act to amend the Criminal Code (conversion therapy) passed its third reading in Canada’s parliament. Among other things, this adjustment to the Criminal Code makes it an offence for a person to be forced to undergo conversion therapy against their will, for a child to undergo conversion therapy, for individuals to recieve financial or material benefit from conversion therapy and for the promotion or advertising of conversion therapy.

MP for Kelowna — Lake Country, Tracy Gray, was one of the few dissenting voices who voted against Bill C-6. In the time since Gray's explanation of her vote has done nothing to convince the Kelowna Pride Society that she is an ally of our community or an advocate for the needs of 2S-LGBTQIA+ people in our area.

Earlier this month, the Kelowna Pride Society received a letter from the Kelowna Task Force to Ban Conversion Therapy. The letter came out of a community town hall that was held on July 12, 2021, in response to Gray’s vote and her subsequent statements and comments in the media. The letter contained a series of requests from the Task Force, and the Kelowna Pride Society would like to make the following clear at this time:

  • We agree with the Kelowna Task Force to Ban Conversion Therapy — MP Gray’s decision to vote against Bill C-6 shows a disregard for the 2S-LGBTQIA+ community and demonstrates that she is not an ally

  • With that in mind, at this time, MP Tracy Gray is banned from official participation in any Kelowna Pride events — we request that she stays away to ensure that Pride remains a safe space for those in the 2S-LGBTQIA+ community

  • We are calling on MP Tracy Gray to issue a full and sincere apology for voting against Bill C-6 in June of this year — this would be the first step in the long road to potentially rebuilding trust

  • We continue to call on our municipal and provincial governments to enact legistation to ban conversion therapy and to share research that shows how vital this is

  • Let’s be extremely clear: anything short of a full conversion therapy ban shows clear and blatant disregard for the safety of the 2S-LGBTQIA+ community

At its core, Pride is a celebration of love, a push for equality and the protection of 2S-LGBTQIA+ rights and a safe space for members of the 2S-LGBTQIA+ community. It is open to all who wish to come to it in this spirit. MP Gray has demonstrated through her actions that she is no ally of the 2S-LGBTQIA+ community and therefore she is not welcome at upcoming Kelowna Pride events.

About the Kelowna Pride Society

The Kelowna Pride Society (KPS) is a non-profit organization committed to serving Kelowna's LGBTQ2+ community. KPS creates events and offers programs to connect the community. The organization depends on volunteers, membership, sponsorship and patronage to thrive, and KPS is grateful for the support it is receiving from the community. KPS hosts the popular annual Kelowna Pride Festival (formerly the Okanagan Pride Festival) which, in a typical year, draws visitors from throughout the Okanagan, British Columbia, Canada, and the United States.  

Kelowna Pride 2021 will take place from September 10 - 19, 2021.

The Kelowna Pride Society would like to respectfully acknowledge that they operate on the unceded, traditional territory of the syilx (Okanagan) people.

For more information, please contact:

Dustyn Baulkham, General Manager

Pronouns: he/his/him

Kelowna Pride Society

Email: dustyn@kelownapride.com

Phone: 250.826.7197

Website: KelownaPride.com

 

Bobby Bissessar, Director, Communications

Pronouns: he/his/him

Kelowna Pride Society

Email: bobby@kelownapride.com

Phone: 778.302.9996

Website: KelownaPride.com