Inspired by Trish Kelly’s clipped electoral run for the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation in July, Xtra hosted a town hall Sept 9 to ask how openly sexual political candidates can be without compromising their electability.
Is there a “queer line” — a line that reminds voters, and the political parties that rely on their support, too much of our sexual orientation — that candidates can’t cross?
In addition to Kelly, Xtra invited three more panellists and the community to consider these questions together at the Fountainhead Pub.
Kelly, a food policy specialist, is a performance artist and community activist and has co-edited lesbian erotica. Joining her on the panel were Councillor Tim Stevenson, BC’s first openly gay MLA; Jim Deva, Little Sister’s co-owner, who has spent a career fighting the censorship of our community’s stories and sexuality; and Romi Chandra Herbert, PeerNetBC co-executive director, who founded BC’s first gay-straight alliance in 1997 in Maple Ridge and has been helping queer youth find a voice ever since. An activist in his own right, Chandra Herbert is married to Vancouver-West End MLA Spencer Chandra Herbert.
“I think it was a really gutless and stupid decision that somebody made that somehow Trish was not going to be a viable candidate in the city of Vancouver,” Deva told the town hall.
“Masturbation is a really healthy thing to talk about,” Deva continued, referring to Kelly’s video on single life and self-loving that led to her withdrawal from Vision Vancouver’s slate. “Society would be a lot better and a lot more healthy if it actually talked about sexual issues. We have to be sexually honest with each other, and with society.”
Watch the video above to find out what else the panellists had to say.