Kelowna-Lake Country MP Tracy Gray has been banned from all Kelowna Pride events after she voted against a bill that would ban conversion therapy federally.
Kelowna Pride Society has requested that Gray stays away to ensure that Pride remains a safe space for LGBTQ2S+ community members. 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. Gray, however, refused to apologize and instead accused Kelowna Pride Society of playing “partisan politics.”
“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 also called Bill C-6 a “flawed legislation” and claimed that many members of the LGBTQ2S+ community have reached out to her expressing her support. She said that activists group such as the task force 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 Pride Society disagreed. “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,” it said.