Controversial Chilliwack B.C. school trustee Barry Neufeld is back in the news again, this time for being honoured with a community hero award.
Neufeld has made headlines in the past for his stance on issues relating to gender identity, transgender people, and SOGI 123.
In May, the Chilliwack School Board censured Neufeld’s Facebook post that linked COVID-19 and transgender rights, and targeted the country’s top doctor.
His post drew condemnation from B.C.’s education minister, Chilliwack’s school board chair, and transgender rights advocates. He later apologized for his comments, including the attack on chief medical health officer Dr. Theresa Tam.
Neufeld had claimed that the World Health Organization was “perpetrating fear” over COVID-19 and attacked its backing of transgender-supportive education and the right to access abortion.
He called Tam a “major player in the corrupt World Health Organization” and suggested she has been dishonest with Canadians about her gender.
Neufeld has previously come under fire, namely when he compared gender transitioning to “child abuse” and called gender confusion a “sexual addiction.”
He won his community award, presented by Chilliwack-Hope MP Mark Strahl, for “going above and beyond to make our community a better place during the COVID-19 pandemic.” It thanks Neufeld for making a difference in the lives of people who live in the community.
In a statement to Global News, Strahl said he started the awards to “encourage members of the community to nominate those who went above and beyond to help and care for others.”
He said more than 100 people, businesses, and not-for-profits were nominated and he didn’t endorse or oppose any nominations.
He said everyone who was nominated received an award, including Neufeld and another school trustee, Willow Reichelt.
“These awards in no way serve to endorse any recipient’s personal views, including those of Mr. Neufeld,” Strahl said in the statement.
However, Elizabeth Beacom, director of the Chilliwack Pride Society, told Global News that presenting an award to someone with a history of anti-LGBTQ2 comments is “not great optics.”
“It’s disappointing and a little confusing from my perspective within the community just because it’s designed to recognize making the community better and I really feel that Neufeld’s actions are completely the opposite of that.”