A pride flag and a transgender pride flag were raised in Halifax on Thursday on behalf of the Nova Scotia government.
Tony Ince, provincial minister of the Public Service Commission, along with a Enrique Ferreol, co-chair of Pride Nova Scotia Government Employee Network were a couple of the attendees.
“The great news is that our workplace, as government employees, we have great support from our leadership in terms of promoting the awareness of 2SLGTBQI people,” Ferreol said.
Ferreol said there is still a need for everyone to achieve a greater awareness and better respect for others in the community, especially those with lesser known identities such as transgender.
“One of the priorities is to really make sure that we, as employers, really put in place all the things that are needed so that when somebody comes to work, they feel fully included,” Ince said.
He added that all employers should share the same aspiration, and the ultimate result would be a better workforce.
Morgan Manzer, chair of Halifax Pride, said people in the community face marginalization, especially people of colour and trans members; some challenges including getting housing and employment.
Another concern is so-called conversion therapy, which is claimed to turn gay people straight.
“The government should follow the lead of other governments in banning this practice,” Manzer.
Randy Delorey, the provincial health minister, said to reporters that the government doesn’t condone conversion therapy.
When asked if he wants to make it illegal, he responded: “I’m not sure. No one’s come forward to suggest from a clinical perspective that that’s a necessary step but, again, because it’s clearly not a medical condition that would need to be responded to.”
Ince said he hasn’t spoken about the subject with his government colleagues, but “when I’m at the table, and we have those conversations, I will express my opinions on how individuals should be seen as individuals, and not try to correct somebody based on sexual orientation.”
Chris Cochrane said, as a trans woman of colour, there are people who don’t accept her, including people from her own community
“Just because something is now a law does not mean it’s morally accepted,” she said. “Accepting someone is fully understanding who they are, taking the time to know people, taking the time to know where they’re coming from and where they’re going.”
Cochrane and others interviewed for this article noted there has been significant progress for people in the community, but there is more work that needs to be done.