At an historic meeting of Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation last evening, Vancouver became a World leader in addressing barriers faced by Transgender and Gender-Variant members of our community. The motion passed by the Board establishes a Trans and Gender-Variant Working Group that will provide recommendations to the Board on how Vancouver parks and recreation spaces can be more inclusivive for these members of our community on a number of issues including, among others, from signage to programming. I spoke in support of this motion and could not have been prouder of Vancouver.
Good evening, Chair and Parks Board Commissioners. My name is Dean Malone and I am here this evening to speak in support of the motion recommending the establishment of a trans and gender variant inclusion working group. Amongst other commitments I have made to Vancouver communities, I am currently Co-chair of the City of Vancouver LGBTQ Advisory Committee to Vancouver City Council.
I am speaking tonight in support of this motion as an ally of trans and gender variant communities and as a queer man who has experienced first-hand, exclusion, both institutionally and societally in the understanding of sexual orientation.
More importantly however I am supporting this motion not because of my personal experience, but because I accept that there are citizens of Vancouver, contributors to what makes Vancouver one of the most inclusive and beautiful cities in the World, who are currently experiencing exclusion. Exclusion from being able to fully utilize public spaces that they are expected to financially support, but cannot fully access.
Your support of this motion requires leadership. Leadership often requires that we accept that there are experiences that are not our own, experiences which may be quite difficult to fully understand from our own context. What this motion does is acknowledge that there are gaps, inequities that must be more fully understood. Inequities that must be addressed in public policy and planning. Inequities that exist at the very core of our rights as human beings. Your support of this motion puts into action your commitment to provide, preserve, and advocate for parks and recreation services that benefit all people and communities.
I support ensuring the full inclusion of trans and gender variant people - my friends, my colleagues, and citizens of Vancouver, to all public spaces. I am encouraged and proud that once again Vancouver is taking an international lead in progressive social inclusion. As co-chair of the LGBTQ Advisory Committee to Vancouver City Council, I pledge our support to the formation and outcomes of this working group.
I thank you in advance for your favorable support of this motion and I acknowledge and thank all those including Commissioner Loke, Drew Dennis and Metha Brown, who have shown their leadership in bringing forward this historic action. Thank you.