Rules barring discrimination on the grounds of gender identity, gender expression and perceptions of sexual orientation and gender are now part of the City of Vancouver’s harassment-free workplace policy.
The city’s LGBTQ Citizens Advisory Committee recommended that they be included.
City council passed the new policy unanimously Jan 21.
“It sends a message throughout the system that we will not accept discrimination,” says lesbian city councillor Ellen Woodsworth.
The new policy will be forwarded to the Vancouver Police Department and Vancouver Fire and Rescue services “to see if they can expand their policies,” Woodsworth adds.
“It’s a step toward us getting the language into the [provincial] Human Rights Code,” Vancouver School board trustee Jane Bouey says.
While sexual orientation is included as a protected category in the code, gender identity and expression are not explicitly listed.
“If they had it there, we wouldn’t have to have it in every institution,” she adds.
What’s more, says Bouey, the concept of perception is vital for inclusion.
She points to the case of former North Vancouver school district student Azmi Jubran, who was taunted and bullied in high school with homophobic epithets. He is not gay.
“Anybody can be the victim of homophobia or transphobia,” Bouey notes.