Sexual Assault Against Trans Minor at Victoria Conference Centre

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Sexual assault against transgender minor at Victoria Conference Centre.

On June 22, a transgender minor was sexually assaulted at a demonstration by 1 Million Voices For Inclusion against the third annual We Unify conference at the Victoria Conference Centre. A complaint has been filed with the Victoria Police Department. Details are withheld in order to protect the victim and witnesses from retaliation.

The suspect is a counterdemonstrator identifying with Gays Against Groomers, an organisation designated as a hate group by the Southern Law Poverty Center. We have evidence this character was a guest at the We Unify conference. We Unify even gloated about it on its official Twitter feed; so much for its disingenuous denial that the event was endorsing transphobia.

1 Million Voices For Inclusion has been warning the City of Victoria that We Unify was openly promoting transphobia by rallying notorious transphobes to its conference, and that transgender people would get hurt as a result. We addressed the city council on June 13, to remind it of its Declaration of Ongoing Solidarity with Gender-Diverse Residents of Victoria and of its legal obligations under the BC Human Rights Code.

We’ve bombarded every council member with over two thousand emails via a letter writing campaign. We have reached out to the media, and so did the Victoria Pride Society in outrage. We have secured the backing of two Members of the Legislative Assembly: Sonia Furstenau and Grace Lore. The City cannot reasonably claim it couldn’t anticipate such an incident would happen.

And yet the City replied that hate speech is somehow protected under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and refused to deny We Unify a public venue for its event, while Destination Greater Victoria likewise claimed its hands were tied over contractual obligations. Not only does it blatantly contradict human rights law, very similar allegations have recently been deemed receivable in Chilliwack Teachers Association v. Neufeld (No. 2), 2024 BCHRT 180.

In the aftermath of this incident, we have reached out to Mayor Marianne Alto and Destination Greater Victoria CEO Paul Nursey, requesting comments. They have not replied, their silence is a betrayal of their commitments to inclusivity.

The City of Victoria is squarely responsible for the sexual assault that took place in front of its venue. We are in touch with Lawyers Against Transphobia and are contemplating legal recourse against both We Unify and the City of Victoria over this scandal. We also call upon our allies for support. Because trans rights are human rights.