Ken Denike and Sophia Woo

Don’t you just love it when people do or say things that negatively impact on other people’s lives, then, when they’re called out on it and even disciplined for it, they act like they’re the victims?

That’s what Vancouver politicians–and former members of Vancouver municipal political party the Non-Partisan Association, or NPA–Ken Denike and Sophia Woo are doing, in terms of at least two lawsuits (that I know of) that they’re involved in as plaintiffs, one against the Vancouver School Board to get their transgender policy overturned or at least amended, and a defamation lawsuit against the NPA and Vancouver city councillor Elizabeth Ball.

To bring everyone up to speed, the NPA ousted Denike and Woo for actions they took outside of the proper party protocols, and for comments they made about the LGBTQ community on various occasions, most notably at a press conference, where they stated that ‘a policy regarding sexual orientation and gender identity could decrease the enrollment of international students and therefore hurt the Vancouver School Board’s budget’ and ‘the policy, which allows transgender students to use the bathroom of their choice, could hurt real estate prices’ (because, as we all know, real estate prices and property values trump human rights). Now Denike and Woo are claiming the NPA are falsely accusing them of being homophobic and transphobic. I, for one, must not know what homophobia and transphobia are, because these comments sound homophobic and transphobic to me–and they’re merely the tip of the iceberg in terms of comments they made about the LGBTQ community, including comments they’ve made at a picnic for the Christian Social Concern Fellowship.

But worse is the lawsuit against the Vancouver School Board, as the lives of children could be impacted if the plaintiffs of this lawsuit win. So many youth have committed suicide over the years on account of having been bullied for openly identifying as gay, bisexual, or transgender, or otherwise not conforming to outdated ideas of gender and gender roles. Denike and Woo have demonstrated that they’re willing to sacrifice the well-being, and even the lives, of children in order to gain votes from a certain segment of the population–in this case, by all appearances, conservative Christians who just can’t seem to get with the times.

As a citizen of Vancouver, I think the Non-Partisan Association did the right thing in ousting Ken Denike and Sophia Woo, even if it was only a public-relations move (though I’m giving the NPA the benefit of the doubt here and assuming they actually care about the rights of everyone who lives in Vancouver), and wish them the best of luck in resolving their legal snafu with Denike and Woo. And I hope the courts see the lawsuit against the Vancouver School Board vis-a-vis its transgender policy for the joke that it is, and throw it out. As for Denike and Woo, I have only this to say to them: Learn what real defamation is, and knock it off with the crocodile tears and temper tantrums.