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McGinn aiming to be first out lesbian in BC legislature

Safety for queer youth in schools still an issue, she says

PROUD POLITICIAN. Jenn McGinn is the NDP's candidate for the riding of Vancouver-Fairview in May's provincial election. Credit: publicity photo

Former Vancouver parks board candidate Jenn McGinn wants to be the first out lesbian in the BC Legislature.

“That would be cool,” she says. “I hope it would inspire other women.”

She is the NDP’s candidate for the riding of Vancouver-Fairview in May’s provincial election.

The former two-term president of the Britannia Community Centre will be running for the seat vacated by the NDP’s Gregor Robertson, Vision Vancouver’s candidate for mayor in November’s civic election.

McGinn’s main opponent in the race will be Liberal Margaret McDiarmid, former president of the BC Medical Association.

McGinn is the former executive director of the South Granville Seniors Centre and now works in business banking for VanCity — both positions that have helped inform her on the issues, she says.

She says the building of the Canada Line along the Cambie corridor has hurt dozens of small businesses in the neighbourhood with no relief from the Gordon Campbell Liberals.

McGinn also says seniors are hurting from cuts to health services as well as the lack of affordable housing.

And they’re all issues that affect the queer community she says.

“I want to be a voice for the people of Fairview and stand up to Gordon Campbell,” she says.

“I’ve always been the kind of person that stands up and fights for the little guy and the underdog,” she says.

McGinn joins fellow NDP-er Spencer Herbert as the current queer candidates in the city looking for a seat in the provincial legislature.

Herbert is running in the new riding of Vancouver-West End.

Prior to a riding redistribution, much of that riding was Vancouver-Burrard held by gay MLA Lorne Mayencourt. Mayencourt recently signaled his intention to give up his seat in the provincial legislature and run on the Tory ticket in the federal election slated for Oct 14.

He is seeking the Vancouver Centre seat in the House of Commons.

Mayencourt, a controversial figure as an MLA, championed safer schools legislation but failed to convince his Liberal colleagues to explicitly ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

While McGinn says some action has come about as a result of Mayencourt’s work, she says schools remain unsafe for queer youth.

“That will certainly be an issue I’ll be looking at,” McGinn says.