(Vancouver Rape Relief photo)

Funding for B.C. rape crisis centre cut over transgender policy

Vancouver Rape Relief and Women’s Shelter will not receive further city funding unless rules change

Canada’s oldest rape crisis centre has been stripped of its funding after staff refused to accept transgender women into their shelter and programs.

City councillors voted March 14 to give grant money to the Vancouver Rape Relief and Women’s Shelter this year, but will terminate any future funding until its policy changes.

During that meeting, staff from the crisis centre told council, as well as transgender activists including Morgane Oger, that they are committed to ensuring the safety of anyone who calls their crisis line, including transgender people, but that the fight for women’s liberation can only be done “in a woman-only space, with other women, who have the shared experience of being born without a choice to the oppressed class of women.”

Some councillors, including Christine Boyle, argued that both trans women and sex workers deserve access to the centre’s services.

In a news release following the vote, shelter staff called the decision discriminatory.

“Since 1973, our group has responded to close to 46,000 women seeking our support in their escape from male violence,” the release reads. “Since we opened our transition house in 1981, we have housed over 3,000 women and over 2,600 children.”

This isn’t the first time the shelter has been confronted for its policy.

In 1995, Kimberley Nixon launched a human rights complaint after she was denied volunteer training because she was transgender. The B.C. Court of Appeal ruled in favour of the shelter, following several years in court.

The shelter’s services are only available to “born females” who have experienced male violence. The funding from the city has been used over the past decade for education and outreach.


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Chilliwack wades into backyard chickens in urban areas

Permit came with several conditions and can be reconsidered by council

Big Bar Landslide saw long awaited blasting this week

Pressure has been on senior governments working with First Nations to remove blockage for months

Two prolific offenders from Alberta lead RCMP on chase across Fraser Valley

Men first reported in Chilliwack ending with allegedly stolen vehicle in an Abbotsford pond

From the Chilliwack Progress Archives: Fearing an Aryan invasion

In 1995, Chilliwack Mayor John Les was concerned about the idea of an ‘Aryan Fest’ coming to town.

COLUMN: Trying to look forward while looking back

Reader suggests re-running a 2015 Times column after recent racism towards Indigenous people

VIDEO: 2020 BC Winter Games wrap up in Fort St. John as torch passes to Maple Ridge

More than 1,000 athletes competed in the 2020 BC Winter Games

Winds up to 70 km/hr expected across Metro Vancouver

Winds are expected to subside overnight

Still six cases of COVID-19 in B.C. despite reports of Air Canada passenger: ministry

Health ministry wouldn’t comment on specific flight routes

Violent ends to past Indigenous protests haunt Trudeau government

Trudeau adopted a more assertive tone Friday, insisting the barricade must come down

Fraser Health warns some schools of possible COVID-19 exposure

A sixth COVID-19 patient is a woman in her 30s in the Fraser Health region who recently returned from Iran

High-risk sex offender cuts off ankle bracelet, on the loose in Vancouver: police

Vancouver police said Kirstjon Olson, 38, is a provincial sex offender with 27 court-ordered conditions

HIGHLIGHTS: Day one and two at the 2020 BC Winter Games

Athletes had sunny – but cold – weather to work with in Fort St. John

Most Read