Women Transforming Cities hosted its 24th Café in partnership with Qmunity, featuring discussion on municipal issues for LGBT2Q+ individuals.
Keynote speakers included Tiffany Muller Myrdahl of Women Transforming Cities; Dara Parker, Executive Director of QMUNITY; and Danielle Jarvis of Jarvis Legal and member of the trans* and gender inclusion working group for the city of Vancouver.
LGBT2Q+ individuals and allies were invited to learn about recent successes in urban inclusiveness and civic advocacy, and to participate in discussion to identify areas of need within our cities and strategize solutions to ensure equity.
Tiffany Muller Myrdahl
TMM is a feminist geographer, an urbanist, the Ruth Wynn Woodward Junior Chair (2012-15) at Simon Fraser University and sits on the boards of Women Transforming Cities and Women in Cities International. She uses oral history, community storytelling, and other participatory strategies to understand how people experience social difference in everyday life. Her research contributions include a gallery exhibit, an archive of lgbtq oral histories, and social policy assessments, as well as academic materials. Her forthcoming book, Here is Queer: Sexual difference and urban change in a small Canadian city, is under contract with University of British Columbia Press.
Dara is the Executive Director of QMUNITY, where she has oversight of finance, resource development, human resources, communications, and strategic planning across BC.
Dara is a community planner with a background in diversity and inclusion and over 15 years’ experience working in social-profits and local government. Dara began her career working in international development and has travelled to over 50 countries, spanning five continents. Her CIDA-funded youth engagement work in Lesotho (Southern Africa), inspired her to return to pursue a Masters in Planning at the University of British Columbia, with a focus on how to build inclusive cities.
Dara is a skilled public speaker who is regularly asked to speak on diversity and inclusion. A regular commentator on current issues, she has been featured on Global BC, CTV, CBC, CKNW, The Globe and Mail, The National Post, The Vancouver Sun, The Georgia Straight, and The Vancouver Courier.
Dara’s notable achievements include: working for Kids Help Phone, the United Nations Association in Canada, the City of Burnaby, and Cuso International. For three years Dara consulted with UN-Habitat on their inaugural Youth Advisory Board, helping mainstream youth participation throughout the organization.
Dara volunteers as Co-President of the United Nations Association in Canada Vancouver Board, promoting public engagement on global issues. In 2010 Dara took a sabbatical year travelling in Colombia and Spain to learn Spanish and write about the intersections of culture and sustainability.
Danielle is a lawyer based in Vancouver, BC and the Gulf Islands (Galiano) and is currently running her own law firm called Jarvis Legal focusing on business, real estate and First Nations. Prior to starting her own firm, Danielle Articled and then practiced law at one of the large national firms as a corporate/commercial lawyer for 6 ½ years, and during that time transitioned (male to female). Danielle identifies as a woman, though accepts the adjective ‘trans’ as part of her identity, if it’s something that needs to be disclosed or shared.
By way of background, Danielle is originally from a small town in Central Alberta. Prior to law she spent many months backpacking and living around the world and was involved in a number of entrepreneurial ventures, including owning and operating a tour company and working as a computer consultant.
“Why does talking about LGBT2Q+ issues at the municipal level matter?”
TMM: “Policies like equal marriage and social inclusion have changed the landscape for lgbt2q people. However, we would be wrong to assume that “it has gotten better” for all lgbt2q people in all contexts. The issues facing all city residents -transit, housing, poverty, aging, access to amenities, etc.- have specific implications for lgbt2q people, whose needs are often overlooked in both subtle and overt ways.”
Dara Parker: “Despite the legal equalities fought and won for by LGBTQ communities, the day-to-day reality for many people is one of inequality. We need to work on translating our legal equalities into lived equalities, so that every single person can live a life where they are not just free from discrimination, but celebrated for their uniqueness.”
Danielle Jarvis: “Because we are your friends, acquaintances, colleagues, family and/or neighbours. Municipal policies can go a long way to help to foster dialogue, respect and understanding with respect to LGBT2Q+ individuals and issues, or hinder this.“