Rival candidates join forces in Coquitlam, B.C., to show solidarity for transgender rights
Green Party's Nicola Spurling joined at sign-waving rally by opponents from NDP and Liberals
A B.C. election sign-waving rally looked a little different Thursday in the riding of Coquitlam-Maillardville, when B.C. Green candidate Nicola Spurling was joined by her main political rivals in a show of solidarity for LGBTQ rights.
Spurling, a transgender woman, was joined by NDP incumbent Selina Robinson and Liberal candidate Will Davis in response to a man who crashed Spurling's rally Wednesday wearing a sandwich board reading "I [heart] J.K. Rowling" on the front and "gender ideology does not belong in schools" on the back.
"The fact that we can show cross-partisan support is amazing," Spurling said of the rally.
"We're in the last days of the campaign, so I know how unbelievably busy we all are. And the fact that they would take time out of their day to show up at my event and show solidarity is absolutely incredible."
It means so much to me that <a href="https://twitter.com/selinarobinson?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@selinarobinson</a> and <a href="https://twitter.com/willdaviscanada?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@willdaviscanada</a> (my two opponents in Coquitlam-Maillardville) are taking time out of their busy days tomorrow to show up at my sign waving event and to stand up to transphobic hate. I love this cross-partisan support! <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/bcpoli?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#bcpoli</a>❤️🏳️⚧️🏳️🌈—@NicESpurling
Spurling said the man with the sandwich board "got up in my face with his camera" and made her volunteers very uncomfortable.
She said he also identified himself as the person behind the "I [heart] J.K. Rowling" billboard that went up briefly on Hastings Street in Vancouver.
Rowling has been criticized for writing that allowing individuals to self-identify their gender could pose a threat to women and children who are not transgender. Earlier this year, the famous author threatened to sue Spurling.
On social media, the man who crashed Wednesday's event posted that he intended to attend Spurling's Thursday rally as well.
Spurling is asking everyone to remain respectful.
"I want to leave this gentleman alone. I don't want him to experience a physical confrontation or anything like that," she said.
"But I also want to show him and show everyone that the LGBTQ+ community here in Coquitlam is very much supportive of us queer folks."
Proud to stand with you <a href="https://twitter.com/NicESpurling?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@NicESpurling</a> and <a href="https://twitter.com/selinarobinson?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@selinarobinson</a> Trans Rights are Human Rights. Let's do better together. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Coquitlam?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Coquitlam</a> - Maillardville <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/bcpoli?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#bcpoli</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/standuptohate?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#standuptohate</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/transphobia?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#transphobia</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/LGBTQ?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#LGBTQ</a>—@willdaviscanada
Party candidates join forces
Rainbow flags were waved alongside party signs as rival candidates also spoke out against hate and intolerance at the Thursday rally. Robinson said she supports Spurling and was proud to see all three party members stand together.
"Hate has no place in Coquitlam-Maillardville, or any other place in this province or in this country," said Robinson. "Trans rights are human rights and I'm here to provide support to Nicola, and to my community."
It was a sentiment echoed by Liberal candidate Davis.
"I think its essential that we all stand up to discrimination, to intimidation, to hate, and I'm happy to lend my voice to this day," he said.