Victoria, B.C. is looking to make the city more welcoming for trans, non-binary and two-spirit people and is looking for advice from residents.
The city held the first of several community consultations earlier this week to hear suggestions on what would make their services, programs and spaces more inclusive.
“This is the beginning of a really important conversation,” said Marianne Alto, a Victoria city councillor who attended the consultation event on Tuesday.
“It’s just a way for the city to begin to acknowledge that our population is extremely diverse and that we welcome and want to include all of our residents, regardless of who they are.”
Some of the most common examples include gender-neutral bathrooms or improving inclusivity in places like public swimming pools, Alto said, but the conversation goes far beyond that.
“We want to make sure that what we do in the public domain reflects a true measure of accessibility for anybody who wants to come to this city,” she told CBC’s All Points West.
Chance to create change
The city started looking at these questions a couple of years ago and, in 2017, adopted a motion to re-evaluate policies and programs.
That includes everything from improving city signs to changing how forms are phrased to re-evaluating city staff training, Alto said.
Initially, Victoria conducted “ad hoc consultations” before hiring a private consulting firm to work with the community.
The community consultations are part of that and, Alto said, there will be at least three more events open to the public for feedback.
“There’s a whole series of different themes that the city actually has authority to create change and take action on,” said Alto.
“We’re hoping that we’ll get those directives and be able to present that to council.”