Tim Stevenson cites lack of LGBT representation
Aby Charlie Smith
great deal of attention has focused on lack of ethnic diversity on the incoming Vancouver city council, but there’s also a lack of diversity when it comes to sexual orientation and gender identity.
In a phone interview with the Straight, soon-to-retire Vision Vancouver councillor and LGBT community champion Tim Stevenson said that he plans to raise this issue when he delivers his goodbye speech on Tuesday (October 30).
“How is the gay community going to be represented by some straight guy that says, ‘Oh, I know all about gay people?’ ” Stevenson asked.
This was the first election since 1984 when an openly gay man was not elected to Vancouver city council.
Many out-and-proud LGBT candidates fell short in their attempts to be among the 10 councillors elected on October 20. They include Onecity’s Brandon Yan, Vision Vancouver’s Tanya Paz, the NPA’S Justin Goodrich, Yes Vancouver’s Brinder Bains, and independent Rob Mcdowell, who is a member of the city’s LGBTQ2+ advisory committee.
Two of Vancouver’s best-known transgender people, Morgane Oger and Jamie Lee Hamilton, were also defeated. Oger was seeking a spot on the school board and Hamilton ran for the park board.
One incoming NPA councillor, Rebecca Bligh, is a volunteer with the Dr. Peter Centre, which serves many members of the LGBT community.
In 1984, COPE’S Sue Harris was the first out lesbian to be elected in Vancouver, as a park-board candidate. The first openly gay man elected to Vancouver city council was the NPA’S Gordon Price in 1986. In 1996, Hamilton was the first transgender candidate for Vancouver city council, with COPE. The first out lesbian to be elected to council was COPE’S Ellen Woodsworth, in 2002.
councillor Hector Bremner from the mayoral nomination.
Bremner formed his own Yes Vancouver party and, like Young, ran for mayor.
In the October 20 election, NPA mayoral candidate Ken Sim lost to labour-backed candidate Kennedy Stewart by fewer than 1,000 votes. Young got almost 12,000 votes and Bremner about 10,000.
In a new interview with the Straight, Charko said that it could have been an easy victory for the NPA “if they had been more accommodating to those that ran”. been true with Bremner. “They should have made it so that these people stayed within the group [NPA],” Charko said.
Charko ran as a council candidate under Young’s Coalition Vancouver ticket but did not make it into the winners’ circle.
Glen Chernen, who lost the NPA’S mayoral nomination to Sim, expressed interest in running for council with the NPA.
Chernen eventually left the NPA and joined Young’s Coalition Vancouver as a council candidate. Like Charko, Chernen did not win.