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Letters: Richmond MP’s vote makes youth quit

Some younger Richmond News readers have some choice words for Richmond MP Kenny Chiu
Kenny Chiu
Richmond MP Kenny Chiu

Open letter to MP Kenny Chiu and Youth Council Members:

Recently, it has come to our attention that, on June 22, 2021, MP Kenny Chiu voted against a ban on conversion therapy.

The subject of the vote was an act to amend the Criminal Code regarding conversion therapy, a dangerous and disproven practice that is responsible for greater rates of attempted suicide among LGBTQ2S+ youth.

Regarding the vote, MP Chiu remarked, “the definition in [the bill] was so poorly worded, so unsound, that any rational individual would recognize it as an empty virtu[e] signal.”

As members and allies of the LGBTQ2S+ community, we find his rationale to be an excuse for the continuation of his past homophobic behaviour; the actions of MP Chiu speak far louder than his words.

Despite being the MP for Steveston-Richmond East and Shadow Minister for Diversity, Inclusion, and Youth, he has failed to support the educational Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (SOGI) policy introduced in Richmond.

Attendance at an anti-SOGI meeting as recently as 2019 indicates his true stance.

Once again, actions speak louder than words.

It is hypocritical of MP Chiu to state support of causes like inclusion and mental health while making decisions like his aforementioned vote that harm the same communities he claims to champion.

On his website, he insists he “is firmly against the harmful practice of conversion therapy,” contrary to claiming “professional support, parental counselling, and religious community guidance freely chosen by LGBTQ2[S+] Canadians to limit sexual behaviour or de-transition [should not] fall under the government’s broad definition of conversion therapy.”

Essentially, by saying LGBTQ2S+ people are able to “limit” their “sexual behaviour” or “de-transition,” he is perpetuating the myths driven by homophobia that sexual orientation and gender identity are a personal choice (e.g., someone who is homosexual can “revert” or “choose” to be less so).

Furthermore, MP Chiu promises, “if this legislation does not pass before the next election, a Conservative government, with the support of MP Kenny Chiu, will ban all forms of the immoral practice of conversion therapy.”

Clearly, he will only claim support for banning “all forms” if it favours him politically, not to advocate for his constituents.

Our intentions for joining this council were to work on engaging and empowering all youth in Richmond; this youth advisory council was meant to provide MP Chiu with our perspective on issues so that he could make decisions that aligned with youth.

Instead, we were faced with the opposite.

At present, our continued participation in this council would make us enablers of actions that harm those we call our family, friends and neighbours.

Therefore, we will no longer participate in this council and prompt our fellow council members that support the LGBTQ2S+ community to do the same.

Mina Chong &

Krishangi Dandapure