1MVFI Addresses City Council To Oppose We Unify Conference

Red textured banner background with rainbow glitter and trans flag on left and right sides. 1MVFI logo in top left corner with headline that reads "Fill the room" in red cutout letters and more glitter and paint effect and blue, pink and rainbow glitter hearts. Paper label with words: "WHEN: Thur, June 13, 2024 at 6PM" and "WHERE: Centennial Square Water Fountain" with text underneath that reads, "VICTORIA CITY COUNCIL MEETING". On the right side there is button pin that says "CANCEL THE CONFERENCE" referring to the We Unify 2024 Conference featuring transphobic speakers in a publicly owned venue during pride month.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 1 Million Voices For Inclusion, a network of advocates for transgender and nonbinary people, will address the Victoria City Council on Thursday, June 13, 2024, demanding it deny We Unify use of the Victoria Conference Centre to spread transphobia at its upcoming conference on June 22-23, 2024.

We Unify’s Reclaiming Canada conference features a lineup of concerning speakers having been flagged for hate speech against the 2SLGBTQIA+ community. Among them are:

  • Lauren Southern, a provocateur banned from multiple countries altogether;
  • Artur Pawlowski, notorious for his opposition to a ban on conversion therapy for homosexuals and protesting a rainbow crosswalk;
  • John Carpay has compared the rainbow flag to the swastika and denounced 2SLGBTQIA+ rights as authoritarianism;
  • Zuby, a vlogger known for performing a stunt mocking transgender people and his professed support of transphobe J.K. Rowling;
  • Drea Humphrey of RebelNews makes a living by glorifying their likes.

Lauren Chen, who recently made headlines accusing Biden of “minimizing” Easter Sunday by having it collide with the transgender day of visibility in 2024, has since been taken off the list.

1 Million Voices For Inclusion recently retaliated by launching a letter campaign calling upon the Union Club of British Columbia and the Victoria Conference Centre to deny We Unify its venues; at the time of this writing, it has received over 1600 signatures. The Union Club responded the same day by repudiating the organization.

In contrast, the City of Victoria issued a statement stating that the Victoria Conference Centre is a public facility available to everyone, invoking the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms in its rationale.

This stance contrasts with its Declaration of Ongoing Solidarity with Gender-Diverse Residents of Victoria, released last October, in which it “condemns any and all anti-SOGI mobilizations that seek to undermine the rights and dignity of gender-diverse individuals and their families within our city” and “calls upon community leaders to denounce attacks on transgender and gender-diverse individuals.”

Ace Mann, president of the Victoria Pride Society, said that 1 in 10 people living in “so-called Victoria” currently identify under the rainbow umbrella. Stats Canada’s last census stated that we are the city with the most gender-diverse population. Recent Ipsos poll numbers show that the general acceptance of queer people among Canadians has fallen from 61% to 49% in just three years. 

“These statistics remind us that our journey is far from over,” Mann continued. “Inviting hate-fuelled rhetoric into our city, during Pride month, is dangerous. This event is not welcome in this city!”

Events hosting transphobic panelists have multiplied across Vancouver Island as of late. One also welcoming Artur Pawlowski as a speaker was held at the Oaklands Chapel in this city. Another took place at the Cowichan Community Centre featuring Meghan Murphy, who is under fire for her ostracising stance on transgender women in public spaces.

As a community, we are responsible for creating safe, welcoming, and affirming spaces for everyone, regardless of gender identity or expression. We believe that the Victoria Conference Centre needs to uphold the inherent rights of all Canadians to live free from persecution and violence and reconsider offering space to those who promote hate in any of its forms.

On Thursday, allies will gather at Centennial Square for a rally at 6 PM and attend the city council meeting starting at 6:30 PM. 1 Million Voices For Inclusion is the last to address the council that night.