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Candidates discuss LGBTTQ issues

Kinew in spotlight at Pride Winnipeg forum

John Woods / Winnipeg Free Press</p><p>NDP candidate Wab Kinew (Fort Rouge) says he is transforming ‘into a more respectful person.’</p>

John Woods / Winnipeg Free Press

NDP candidate Wab Kinew (Fort Rouge) says he is transforming ‘into a more respectful person.’

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 28/3/2016 (1240 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Wab Kinew has an invitation for June 5.

Kinew, the Fort Rouge NDP candidate recently called out for his past homophobic and misogynist slurs in tweets and rap music lyrics, was one of six candidates who participated Monday night in Pride Winnipeg’s election forum at the downtown Alt Hotel on issues affecting the LGBTTQ community.

Also in attendance were NDP candidate Barb Burkowski (Transcona), Liberal candidates Kurt Berger (Elmwood) and Shandi Strong (Wolseley), and Progressive Conservative candidates Heather Stefanson (Tuxedo) and Shannon Martin (Morris).

Kinew, in response to a question about whether he would attend this year’s Pride Winnipeg parade June 5, said he’d never been to a Pride Parade and had never been invited. What followed was a personal invitation for Kinew from Pride Winnipeg president Jonathan Niemczak.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 28/3/2016 (1240 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Wab Kinew has an invitation for June 5.

Kinew, the Fort Rouge NDP candidate recently called out for his past homophobic and misogynist slurs in tweets and rap music lyrics, was one of six candidates who participated Monday night in Pride Winnipeg’s election forum at the downtown Alt Hotel on issues affecting the LGBTTQ community.

Also in attendance were NDP candidate Barb Burkowski (Transcona), Liberal candidates Kurt Berger (Elmwood) and Shandi Strong (Wolseley), and Progressive Conservative candidates Heather Stefanson (Tuxedo) and Shannon Martin (Morris).

'One of the things that I can do is to talk about how I've grown'— NDP candidate Wab Kinew

Kinew, in response to a question about whether he would attend this year’s Pride Winnipeg parade June 5, said he’d never been to a Pride Parade and had never been invited. What followed was a personal invitation for Kinew from Pride Winnipeg president Jonathan Niemczak.

"Is this an invitation?" Kinew asked with a smile.

"It is absolutely (an invitation)," said Niemczak, as the room erupted in laughter.

"Then I’ll come," Kinew said.

Niemczak noted the parade is open to everyone — no invitations are necessary — and Premier Greg Selinger has attended the past two years.

Among the evening’s topics were correct terminology to refer to members of the LGBTTQ community, the definition of "dead name" — a person’s former name no longer used after transformation, guidelines for referring to someone respectfully, such as not using "gay" as an all-encompassing term as it describes the sexual orientation of men who are attracted to men, and educating adults to become more inclusive and accepting of all lifestyles.

Kinew kicked off the discussion about the need for continued education in LGBTTQ issues by offering a personal pledge.

"I’ve been scrutinized quite a bit recently for homophobic slurs that I’ve used in the past in social media," Kinew said. "I think that one of the things that I can do is to talk about how I’ve grown and my own story of transforming myself into a more respectful person. That might be one of the ways to reach out to people who have already gone through the education system."

The NDP made an announcement, delivered by Burkowski, who said the NDP, if re-elected, would task a minister to be responsible for LGBTTQ issues. This announcement was positively met by the 25 various community stakeholders in attendance. Ripples of good-natured laughter followed a subsequent question from Albert McLeod of Two-Spirited People of Manitoba as to what name would be assigned to that portfolio.

"The minister of gay?" McLeod said with a grin.

One of the evening’s most interesting discourses took place in response to a question from University of Manitoba professor Robert Mizzi, a researcher in peace education and sexual diversity, regarding Manitoba’s Bill 18 anti-bullying legislation.

Bill 18 includes a clause requiring schools to accommodate students who want to start anti-bullying clubs such as gay-straight alliances (GSAs).

Mizzi said there is a danger of a two-tiered system under the bill as some schools are embracing and implementing GSAs, while some are not, and he asked candidates what they would do about it.

All three party representatives agreed there needs to be a follow-up to the mandates of Bill 18 and a determination as to whether more resources are needed to improve its implementation.

ashley.prest@freepress.mb.ca

Ashley Prest

Ashley Prest
Reporter

Ashley works the general assignment beat.

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