Hamilton

1 of Hamilton's LGBTQ advisors steps down to focus on trans protocol

Cole Gately was appointed as a voluntary advisor role a month ago.

Mayor says it's a positive step for the city

Cole Gately and Deirdre Pike were appointed at the end of June to help develop a community-wide action plan for the city. (CBC photo illustration)

One of the city of Hamilton's newly appointed voluntary special advisors on LGBTQ inclusion and equity has stepped down.

The mayor of Hamilton, Fred Eisenberger, released a statement on Friday morning saying that Cole Gately stepped down from his volunteer position in order to focus his efforts on his job, which is working as the diversity and inclusion facilitator for the city's transgender and gender non-conforming protocol, and as chair of the Hamilton Trans Health Coalition.

His stepping down is the next natural step, Eisenberger said in a phone interview. "It's entirely his decision to step away and continue on with the work that he's doing."

The mayor appointed Gately and Dierdre Pike at the end of June to be volunteer special advisors. The goal, Eisenberger said in a statement, was to help the city develop a community-wide action plan on "how we move forward together toward a shared goat of equity and inclusion for all."

The decision to appoint the two came after violent clashes at this year's Pride event, and after a dispute over whether the Pride flag would fly at city hall.

Pike agrees with Eisenberger that it is the right time for Gately to step down.

"Working together with him on this was important," Pike said, "but there's a lot of competing needs, and it was important for him to focus on that."

She's referring to the city's trans protocol, and says that the city council's advisory committee has made it clear that more work is needed on the city's protocol. It needs to be a focus, she said, so Pike says that Gately's decision to step down is following the direction of the advisory committee.

In an email to CBC, Gately wrote that it was entirely his decision to step down.

"I can be more useful getting back to my roots," Gately wrote, "which are working in the community to help improve the health and wellness outcomes for Trans and Non-Binary people in Hamilton and continuing in my role as long-time community advocate and educator."

CBC reached out to the chair of the city's LGBTQ advisory committee, Cameron Kroetsch. He declined to comment.

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