UPDATE: 4:09 p.m.
Kelowna-Lake Country MP Tracy Gray is accusing Kelowna Pride of playing “partisan politics” for banning her from Pride events.
“It is sad Kelowna Pride is choosing to engage in partisan politics rather than actually discuss the fact that Bill C-6 did not pass immediately in the Senate with concerns cited over broadness in the legislation. It has been sent to a Senate Committee to be studied,” said Gray in an emailed statement to Black Press Media.
Gray refused to apologize for voting against the bill, calling it “flawed legislation.” She claimed that many members of the LGBTQ2S+ community have reached out to her expressing their support, saying that activist groups such as the Kelowna Task Force to Ban Conversion Therapy do not represent everyone in the community.
“The question is if Kelowna Pride will ban the federal Liberals if an election is called by the Prime Minister which subsequently will stop Bill C-6 from becoming law,” said Gray. “I will not apologize for voting against flawed legislation and once again state that I am against conversion therapy.”
Kelowna-Lake Country MP Tracy Gray is banned from official participation in any Kelowna Pride events.
Kelowna Pride Society has requested that Gray stays away to ensure that Pride remains a safe space for the LGBTQ2S+ community. The call comes after the Kelowna Task Force to Ban Conversion Therapy submitted a letter to the society after Gray voted against Bill C-6, a federal bill that would ban conversion therapy across the country. Conversion therapy is an umbrella term for discounted practices that aim to change someone’s sexual orientation or gender identity. It is a traumatic and hurtful practice.
“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,” wrote Kelowna Pride Society in an emailed statement.
The society is also calling on Gray to issue a full and sincere apology for the vote. It also calls on municipal and provincial governments to enact legislation to ban conversion therapy and share research on how vital those policies are.
“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,” said Kelowna Pride Society. “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.”
Black Press Media reached out to Gray multiple times for comment but did not receive a response in time for publication.