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Sunday, August 16, 2009

Vancouver lesbian couple denied boarding by transit driver

"... It was embarrassing and it was painful. I don't want to have to experience things like that in Vancouver. I'm used to being very comfortable." - Ashlee Gowriluk

If you're like the hundreds of thousands of other Metro Vancouver-area commuters who rely on transit, 7 days a week, to get you where you're going, you take the city's transit system for granted; you can pretty much get on and off wherever you need to along a bus or Skytrain route - whether for work or pleasure - and never think twice about it.

But, imagine for a moment being denied access to a city transit vehicle...

What if you set out for the day, destination ahead, plans in place, transit fare in hand... you wait for your bus to arrive and then when try to pay your fare and board, all of a sudden, not only are you denied access, but you're also ridiculed in front of a now disgruntled group of bus passengers?!

Wait... is this 1955? No, it can't be... why, yes, it IS Vancouver, BC, that wonderful soon to be host city for the 2010 Winter Olympics (Welcome, World!), a major west coast metropolitan city and yes, yes, yes, a bus driver denied access to a paying customer because she dared to identify herself as one half of a lesbian couple!

QueerTwoCents.com supports Ashlee Gowriluk 100% in her complaint against Coast Mountain Bus Company.

CBC reports:
A Vancouver woman is demanding a public transit bus driver be suspended after she alleges he tried to deny her and her common-law girlfriend a bus ride. Ashlee Gowriluk, 25, said she was boarding a bus in Vancouver last Sunday morning with her monthly FareCard, which is good for up to two adult fares and four children on Sundays, according to the local transportation authority.

However, Gowriluk said the driver told her girlfriend she would have to pay to board the bus, claiming she would have to be a man for the Sunday rules to apply. Gowriluk disagreed and called TransLink, which confirmed that she was right. But she said that wasn't good enough for the driver. "He sat there for a good five minutes and announced to everyone on the bus they should tell us to get off," she said. Gowriluk said that didn't happen, and when she and her girlfriend refused to disembark, the driver eventually drove away, stating he would never stop for them again.

Read full article at cbc.ca.

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