LGBTQ comments by ‘supportive’ Saanich councillor well-intentioned

Coun. Fred Haynes “has been very supportive” of the LGBTQ community, says a local LGBTQ activist. While Haynes comments show more work needs to be done, they were well-intentioned.

A local activist for Saanich’s Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans-Gendered Community says comments from Coun. Fred Haynes that LGBTQ events should be more inclusive were well-intentioned but perhaps also show that more work needs to be done.

“I confess I laughed a bit when Haynes made his comment,” said Ryan Clayton, a local educator and facilitator. “I think he is very well intentioned but I think he misunderstands why events and spaces focused on LGBTQ people exist.”

Haynes made the comments at Monday’s council meeting. that he wants local Lesbian Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer events to be more inclusive.

“When we talk about LGBTQ events, it’d better be inclusive,” he said. “It could be L, G, B, T, Q and Straight, because in recognizing these events just as LGBTQ, how does somebody, who is straight as a demographic, also participate without being outed as other than straight?” he asked. Haynes said he himself does not have an answer to that question. “I want to raise that as a recognition. I myself like to attend these events. I am a [happily] married heterosexual. That is who I identify as. So that is just a little sensitivity I bring to the equation there.”

Haynes made those comments as council unanimously approved a series of recommendations in support of the LGBTQ community. They included among others a blanket policy to raise the pride and trans flags during Greater Victoria’s annual Pride Week, scheduled to run July 1 to 9 this year. Council last year voted to raise the flag for the first time.

Historically, heterosexual people have never been excluded from society because of their sexual orientation, which is why the LGBTQ community has had to carve out spaces and events specifically for themselves, said Clayton, who served on Saanich’s LGBTQ subcommittee tasked with advising the Healthy Saanich Advisory Committee on issues concerning the LGBTQ community.

The committee Monday submitted its final report, which found among other points that members of Saanich’s LGBTQ community experience a high rate of harassment. “Most of the respondents (65.38 per cent) reported having experienced some form of harassment, ranging from silent harassment to physical violence,” it read.

Many members of the LGBTQ community have been made to feel unsafe in a lot of “majority” spaces, said Clayton. “There will always be a need to gather as a community, focused on our community, to talk about the issues and challenges facing our community.”

Clayton, however, is also prepared to give Haynes the benefit of the doubt. “That being said, Haynes has always been very supportive and I’m thrilled he wants to join our community in our celebrations,” said Clayton. “The whole reason we had an LGBTQ committee was to ensure council addresses some of the blind spots they may have regarding our community in Saanich and I think this just shows we always have more work to do to build understanding.”

Haynes made his specific comments about more inclusive LGBTQ events while commenting on a recommendation directing staff to investigate the mechanics and costs of designing a window sticker that would welcome all citizens.

“The idea may be to embed it [recognition of the LGBTQ community] in a larger welcoming sticker,” he said. “We have heard some concerns about how much is enough, how far should we go? So there may be a role to play, to look at that sticker that is welcoming to everybody, but inside that sticker, we make sure that we recognize the importance of this community.” Haynes then made his comments about the need for more inclusive LGBTQ events.

While council approved the various measures unanimously, levels of rhetorical support for the recommendations varied.

Coun. Leif Wergeland warned against moving too quickly in questioning the need for a sticker recognizing the LGBTQ community. “Do we need still to point out the obvious?” he asked. Coun. Dean Murdock, however, dismissed those concerns. “On the idea of something being obvious, it may seem obvious to some of us that everyone is welcome,” he said. “But that may not be the impression that is conveyed to everybody.”

Just Posted

VIDEO: Saanich resident shocked when trespasser licks security camera, rummages through mail

‘I found the situation really bizarre,’ said the Gordon Head resident

BC Ferries crew member taken to hospital after getting struck by bow doors

Two sailings between Horseshoe Bay and Departure Bay were cancelled

Bulk or boxed candy? Trick-or-treat maps help Canadian families prepare for Halloween

Census Mapper uses 2016 census data to predict busiest neighbourhoods

Black Press Media celebrates women who are making a difference

Helping others is the cornerstone of the work Shannon Drew does in… Continue reading

Goldstream Food Bank on the search to fill Christmas Hampers with toys

Volunteers are looking for new toys for infants to 11-year-olds

ELECTION 2019: It’s so close, it could come down to who turns out to vote

Black Press Media’s polling analyst on the origins of predictive seat modelling in Canada

Jack’s Devils beat Quinn’s Canucks 1-0 in NHL brother battle

New Jersey youngster scores first career goal against Vancouver

Two charged after owner’s wild ride through Kamloops in his stolen truck

Crystal Rae Dorrington, 37, and Derrick Ronald Pearson, 32, facing multiple charges

Judge orders credit union’s bank records for Kelowna social worker facing theft allegations

The man is accused of negligence, breach of contract, fraud and a conspiracy with Interior Savings

Leaders pour it on with rallies, boosts for candidates as campaign reaches peak

The federal election campaign has reached a crescendo

Allegations of racism lead to ministry investigation at Vancouver private school

St. George’s School was contacted over what the school describes as ‘deeply offensive behaviour online’

Not a political question: Thunberg calls for climate action in Alberta

Edmonton police estimated the size of the crowd at about 4,000

Zantac, the over-the-counter heartburn drug, pulled in Canada, U.S.

Health Canada also investigates possible carcinogen in some ranitidine drugs

B.C. public safety minister says cannabis edibles not in stores til January

Mike Farnworth says he wants regional issues considered when it comes to licensing

Most Read