British Columbia

Autism B.C. board member Laurie Guerra resigns amid anti-SOGI concerns

Controversy arose after newly-elected Surrey city councillor reportedly participated in anti-SOGI 123 event

Controversy arose after newly-elected Surrey city councillor reportedly participated in anti-SOGI 123 event

Autism B.C. director Laurie Guerra has resigned after controversy arose over her participation in an anti-SOGI 123 event. (Safe Surrey Coalition)

Autism B.C. says director and past president Laurie Guerra has resigned.

Guerra was the subject of a petition asking she be removed from the organization's board of directors over her participation in an anti-SOGI 123 (sexual orientation and gender identity) gathering last week in Surrey, B.C.

"It was an easy conversation," said Autism B.C. president Gary Robins. "She didn't want to put any more stress on our organization and she feels she has enough on her plate as a councillor with the city [of Surrey] and so she offered her resignation."

Robins said Autism B.C. had suffered some "collateral damage" in its association with Guerra, but that criticism that the organization itself was not inclusive to the LGBT community was unfounded.

"There's no evidence of that," he said. "In all of our programs across the province, there hasn't been any evidence that we have been anything other than inclusive."

According to the Autism B.C. website, Guerra had been an active board member for more than 13 years.

She was recently elected a first-time city councillor in Surrey.

SOGI 123 is a resource for B.C. teachers and school administrators aimed at addressing discrimination and bullying around sexual orientation and gender identity.

CBC News made a number of requests to speak with Guerra but she has not responded.

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