Deb Hope: A Lasting Legacy

A tall poppy stands out among the shorter flowers

Waking up to an ordinary warm May morning, I held onto my cooling cup of coffee, the rising sun casting long streams of light across my living room floor. Then, as the familiar cadence of the morning news broke through the quiet, a headline shook me from my routine; Deb Hope, a stalwart of BC’s evening news, had passed away at 67.

Deb had been a nightly presence in our lives for years, her unwavering dedication to 6 o’clock TV journalism becoming a familiar comfort. From her humble beginnings as a junior reporter to her rise as one of BC’s most iconic journalists, she made even the most complex stories accessible. Her infectious laughter, tireless work for charities like the AIDS Walk for Life, and unwavering dedication to the province she loved made her a beloved figure both on and off the screen.

The news of her passing settled heavily over my morning. An ordinary day had suddenly become a poignant moment of reflection. I found myself reminiscing about those times when I, entrenched in “eggo mode,” saw Deb on TV. Her empathetic reporting on transgender families in BC resonated with me at a time when I was still wrestling with my own identity. Her unwavering support for queer community was a lifeline, a beacon during my hushed exploration.

A heavy resonance encircled my mind as I read about Deb’s battle with Alzheimer’s, a disease that had cruelly stolen her from her people. The vibrant woman I admired had been relegated to the isolating world of a memory care facility, a stark contrast to the dynamic newsroom she once commanded. Her story echoed my own fears and grief, a haunting parallel to my father’s ongoing struggle with Lewy Body Dementia. Like Deb, his dementia was diagnosed nearly a decade ago.

The announcement of her passing served as a stark reminder of the fragility of our minds, of the preciousness of memory, and the bitter reality of diseases like Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. It was a profound moment of shared struggle, a painful resonance that underscored my shrinking time with my father.

Deb Hope was more than just a news anchor to me. She was a voice of reason during a time when I was questioning my identity, her reporting on transgender rights provided a sense of acceptance and encouragement in a time and place when we could only count on such acceptance and encouragement from YouTube, maybe Reddit, and seldom Tumblr.

A few years later, life brought us together in an unexpected way. When I finally mustered enough courage to join the (cis)women’s acapella group Lions Gate Chorus, I had the privilege of sharing the risers with Deb, experiencing first-hand the warmth and kindness I had come to admire on screen. I found her to be accepted in a genuine way, and I felt like I could “drop my shoulders” around Deb. We “clamshelled” through “Hello Dolly” and “Something Good” and so many other song-and-dance routines.

The sorrow I feel is viscous and full. I feel sadness for someone who faced her own challenges in her final years. She had unknowingly accompanied me through one of the most challenging periods of my own life. Deb’s advocacy, particularly for transgender rights, left an indelible mark on me. Her GlobalNewsBC TV TRANSformation stories were a testament to her commitment to giving voice to the unheard. Those stories resonated with me, providing courage and inspiration at a time when I was questioning my gender.

Today, I find the world soft and bending, the absence of Deb’s voice echoing in the silence. Her loss is felt, not just by me but by all those whose lives she touched. But even in the sorrow, there’s gratitude. Gratitude for having known her, for the impact she made, and for the legacy she leaves behind. As we mourn her passing as a grieving public, we also celebrate her life, her work, and the lasting impression she made. Deb Hope, though you are no longer with us, your legacy lives on in our hearts and in our minds.

Disclaimer: This blog shares general information only, not professional advice or recommendations. Consult healthcare providers for personal guidance. Decisions based on content are the reader's responsibility. Thank you.

Clayre runs a group practice of three queer and trans therapists, including youth therapist Audrey Wolfe, RCC, LGBT therapist Camber Giberson, RCC, CCC, and gender-affirming therapist Clayre Sessoms, RP, RCT, RCC, CCC, ATR-P. Work with us: book a session.