After Coun. Rebecca Bligh’s announcement Friday that she is resigning from the Non-Partisan Association over concerns about the new board’s anti-SOGI affiliation, the party’s other elected councillors, school board trustees and park board commissioners issued a statement affirming their support for the city’s LGBTQ2S+ community and SOGI 123.
“The NPA Caucus members strive at all times to create a safe and inclusive city for all people,” the statement reads. “We will continue to stand for inclusivity and will strongly oppose anything that detracts from that objective. We believe it is important for our Caucus to speak out with a strong, unequivocal voice and express our unyielding continued support for our LGBTQ2S+ community and SOGI 123.
“We fully understand and support our colleague Councillor Rebecca Bligh in her decision to sit as an independent Vancouver City Councillor at this time, and we look forward to continuing to work closely together with her to serve all residents of Vancouver.”
NPA Coun. Lisa Dominato, who also served a term as a Vancouver School Board trustee before running for council in 2018, previously worked for the Ministry of Education and led the development of the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identities (SOGI)123 policy, which aims to help school districts and teachers create an inclusive environment for students of all sexual orientations and gender identities.
Dominato issued a statement on social media Friday night.
“I can state unequivocally that I do not share or support the values and views that have been reported by media to be held by certain members of the NPA Board,” she said.
Newly elected NPA board members Phyllis Tang and Ray Goldenchild both attended an anti-SOGI meeting in 2018, News1130 incorrectly reported. However, it has been since reported that Goldenchild did not attend the event.
UPDATE to @rebeccaleebligh leaving the NPA:— Sean Boynton (@boyntonwords) December 7, 2019
Turns out new board member Ray Goldenchild was never at the 2018 “anti-SOGI” meeting that sparked the move.
It was this man on the left. Ray is on the right. Can YOU tell the difference? More coming @GlobalBC https://t.co/0DYJiH9WDr pic.twitter.com/wQibuhS4xn
Correction: A source on the NPA board incorrectly identified a man in a photo (yellow-striped shirt) I took at a 2018 anti-SOGI meeting as Ray Goldenchild. He has been identified as someone else. Haven’t seen any other proof Goldenchild was there. I regret the error. @NEWS1130— Lauren Boothby (@laurby) December 7, 2019
Tang and Goldenchild were elected to the board Nov. 25, along with eight other new directors. They were subsequently elected to the executive — Goldenchild as secretary and Tang as treasurer.
NPA president David Mawhinney emailed a statement to the Courier Saturday morning.
“We regret to receive Councillor Bligh’s resignation from the NPA Caucus,” he said.
“We believe her decision is in light of recent news reports alleging the party’s newly elected executive have been involved in the anti-SOGI movement. These news stories are false. There is no evidence that either our secretary Ray Goldenchild, or our treasurer Phyllis Tang have ever made any anti-SOGI statements. In addition, the NPA is in full support of the statement released by the remaining caucus supporting the LGBTQ2S+ community as we always have.”
Others from the NPA caucus showed support for Bligh on Twitter following her announcement.
On who and what I stand for. I’ve always supported inclusion of all people. I’m proud to stand with Vancouver’s #LGBTQ community. There’s no room for any other view. It’s not up for debate. I’m proud our full NPA Caucus stands with the community and Rebecca Bligh.— Sarah Kirby-Yung 楊瑞蘭 (@sarahkirby_yung) December 7, 2019
Rebecca, you have my full support and admiration.— Tricia Barker (@TriciaBarker49) December 7, 2019
This story had been updated since it was originally posted.