An historic election

Provincial elections in British Columbia take place on May 9.

Among all voters, the Liberals (30 per cent, up five percentage points from previous poll) trail the NDP (32 per cent, no change), with the Greens at 15 per cent (up three), the leaderless Conservatives at three per cent (down three) and undecided voters at 19 per cent (down six).

Four candidates are making their mark on history in the run-up to the provincial election. Morgane Oger of the NDP, Stacey Piercey of the Liberals, and Veronica Greer and Nicola Spurling of the B.C. Green Party are transgender women who are hoping to become MLAs (members of the Legislative Assembly).

--Tanya Beja, Global News

In publishing that statement, GN outed Nicola Spurling.

This was unimaginable two years ago. Until I ran, I think there had never been a transgender candidate who had made it to the ballot in Canada.

--Oger

Oger has long been an activist. She successfully fought for changes to the B.C. Human Rights Code and chaired Vancouver’s District Parent Advisory Council. And while she acknowledges that she faced more criticism as a human rights advocate than as an NDP candidate, she says her gender identity continues to attract criticism.

I attract a lot of negative and hateful feedback. That hurts. It’s painful to see how regressive some people are. One would like think we have passed that stage.

--Oger

Oger is the NDP candidate for the riding of Vancouver-False Creek.

Piercey is the liberal party candidate for the riding of Victoria-Swan Lake.

I’m transgender.

“It just follows me and it’s a part of my life, it’s no bigger an issue to me than going to church or watching a hockey game on a Saturday night.

The question is can I represent this riding, can I do a good job, and do people want me over someone else?

--Piercey

Greer is running for the BC Green Party in Surrey-Panorama.

We’ve come a long way, mainly due to people in the public eye bringing attention to transgender issues, transitioning publicly, and making it more acceptable and understood. I find that the people who are most understanding are people who have known somebody, or have somebody in the family who has transitioned.

--Greer

Greer said she has had a lifelong interest in politics and hopes to champion issues of child poverty.

I hope to accomplish a lot for human rights, Yes, I’m LGBT, but that doesn’t mean that that’s all my sole focus.

--Greer

Veronica is an incredible addition to the B.C. Green team in Surrey. She has experience standing boldly for who she is and standing up for her community. She embraces our B.C. Green principles of respect for diversity and sustainability. Veronica will make an excellent MLA for Surrey-Panorama.

--Andrew Weaver, BC Green Party

[Spurling] was outed as transgender during a TV news broadcast on Monday night, and now the provincial Green Party candidate for Coquitlam-Maillardville is hoping the slip-up won’t be a distraction on the campaign trail.

Trans people face a lot of discrimination in the form of bullying, violence, being denied employment, being denied housing and being inappropriately questioned on a variety of issues surrounding the transition process. And then there is just the general feeling of being unwelcome in society. A lot of people feel like you shouldn’t exist and that is something trans people have to deal with on a daily basis.

I don’t have any hard feelings. I was hoping it wouldn’t happen and it wouldn’t take the focus away from my campaign. I’m still hoping that it won’t shift the focus but I’m going to own the fact that this is my identity. I’m not going to deny it.

--Spurling

It was a mistake. It was an assumption that we made from some of the conversations we’ve had with Nicola. It was an assumption that she had come out.

--BC Green's communications director Stefan Jonsson

My hope is that the next person who is transgender who runs doesn’t have the word ‘transgender’ in every article written about them.

--Oger

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