Pride is a celebration born of protest against discrimination and violence, and for equal rights.
While we've come a long way, the hard-won rights of queer folx around the world are never guaranteed. We must continue fighting for equality — here in BC and around the world.
During the 1990’s the NDP was BC’s first government with an out gay MLA, and the first to bring in adoption rights and pension benefits for queer couples. Now in 2022, we're still working hrd to deliver meaningful, impactful progress for the queer community. Some of these include:
1. A new independent Human Rights Commission
In 2002, the BC Liberals eliminated the Human Rights Commission, making BC the only province in Canada without one. We’ve re-established the commission and made it fully independent. Our new Human Rights Commissioner, Kasari Govender, started work in September 2019.
2. PrEP is now free
Pre-exposure prophylaxis, known as PrEP, is now available for no cost to all British Columbians at high risk of HIV infection. We expanded access in January 2018 and as of summer 2021, nearly 7,500 people have been prescribed this important medication.
3. Top surgeries available in every BC Health Authority
We’ve expanded upper surgery access from just Vancouver and Victoria to now include Burnaby, Kamloops, Kelowna, Port Moody, and Prince George, helping people — and those who care for them — stay closer to home.
4. Lower surgeries now available in BC
We were the first province in western Canada to introduce gender-affirming lower surgery, including supportive aftercare. Interested in gender-affirming surgery? Find out more here.
5. X gender marker option available for BC IDs
We’ve made it easier for British Columbians who do not identify as male or female to display an X marker in the gender field of their BC issued driver’s license, identity card, birth certificate, and BC Services Card.
6. Eliminating unnecessary gendered language in BC regulations
We know words matter and language is powerful. That's why, in 1972, one of the first regulations BC's first ever NDP government eliminated was the 'Male Minimum Wage Act' which guaranteed a minimum wage for work only to male British Columbians. We updated it to include both genders. But now, that's not enough (and shouldn't be).
In 2021, our BC NDP government removed more than 600 clauses in 70 laws that applied unnecessarily gendered language and replaced them with gender neutral alternatives. And we're not done — our government is looking at replacing an additional 3,400 clauses in our laws.
7. Bringing SOGI 123 to all 60 BC school districts
We believe all students deserve to be welcomed, included, and respected in a safe learning environment while being fully and completely themselves. As of May 2019, all of BC’s 60 School Districts and independent schools have adopted SOGI 123. You can find out more about SOGI 123 here.
8. Supporting a federal ban on conversion therapy
On August 1, 2019 Attorney General David Eby, Minister of Health Adrian Dix and Vancouver-West End MLA Spencer Chandra-Herbert sent a letter to the federal government to add conversion therapy to Canada’s Criminal Code.
While Conversion therapy was already prohibited in BC's public health care system, we knew it was time for the federal government to take a crucial next step and ban this harmful, unethical and dangerous practice. The ban finally passed in the federal House of Commons and Senate in December 2021, coming into effect in January 2022.
BC is stronger when everyone is truly free to be who they are.
We will always keep working to build a more inclusive province for everyone - no matter who you are, or who you love. Happy Pride!