NDP candidate hopes to give LGBT community greater voice at Queen's Park
Lyra Evans is the first openly transgender candidate to represent a major party in a provincial election
A formerly homeless woman in Ottawa is now the first openly transgender candidate to represent one of the major political parties in an Ontario provincial election.
Lyra Evans, 25, is the NDP candidate for Ottawa–Vanier.
She said she's using her personal experiences to bring issues affecting the homeless and LGBT communities to the forefront.
Environmental protection and access to higher education are issues she's advocated for in the past. Evans has been involved with numerous community organizations including Planned Parenthood and the Youth Services Bureau of Ottawa.
The Salvation Army's plan to build a huge facility on Montreal Road is what pushed her to enter politics, she said.
"I found it abhorrent the way they were disregarding the needs of the homeless," she said. "Moving the shelter takes them away from all the services that have been put in the [ByWard Market] area."
Evans said the government needs to put more money into the housing first model as a method of getting people off the streets.
No openly transgender candidate has ever been elected in a provincial election in Ontario. Evans, who came out as transgender six years ago, said there's a general lack of LGBT representation in politics — something she aims to fix.
"I really think it's important that we have role models for young people so people don't feel ashamed of who they are, and feel like they can come out," she said.
Another transgender woman, Christin Milloy, ran in 2011 for the Libertarian Party of Ontario.