‘Felt like we were being targeted’: Alberni gallery hit with anti-Pride posters

'Felt like we were being targeted': Alberni gallery hit with anti-Pride posters
Angela Skaley points to where she found the anti-Pride poster at the Grove Art Gallery.

The Grove Art Gallery in Port Alberni was hit with anti-Pride hate last week when two hateful posters were found glued to the door and outdoor bulletin board.

“I walked up to the door and saw it posted right here,” Angela Skaley told CHEK News.

Skaley is the arts administrator at the Grove Art Gallery and couldn’t believe what she found.

“My reaction was instantly fear because I felt like we were being targeted. We had recently posted about our Pride events in our newspaper so I was a little fearful thinking that someone was attacking us,” she said.

Those feelings soon turned to anger and frustration because of what the image depicted.

“It was the Pride flag designed in a way to resemble a swastika and some text about the design not being coincidental,” added Skaley.

She tore the posters down and called police. The RCMP is investigating.

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Pride flags fly around the city and events last week went off as planned, which the local Pride society and the art gallery were determined to do.

“The events that we had scheduled still ran, and they were a huge success, and we’re so happy that we were able to be a part of that,” Skaley said.

The Alberni Valley Pride Society says it has been a difficult year for members of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community.

READ ALSO: ‘Not surprising’: New poll finds ‘declining support’ for Canada’s LGBT+ community

“It has been a difficult year for our 2SLGBTQIA+ community, with witnessing anti-SOGI 123 protests in September, reading hurtful comments online, and now hearing about the hate that was displayed at the Grove Gallery during Pride Week. During those difficult times, we remind ourselves of the amazing community allies that support us,” the Alberni Valley Pride Society said in a statement to CHEK News.

“Education is very powerful and if anyone wants to learn more about what we do, how we support the community to be inclusive of all and how to accept 2SLGBTQIA+ individuals for who they are please reach out to us.”

Meanwhile, others in the community say they’re disappointed but not surprised.

“It’s just ridiculous, but it only happened the one time, so I’m hoping that nothing like that’s popped up around town,” said Hatchet Craig. “I don’t think I’ve heard any other places have been defaced.”

Craig, a member of the Pride community, says that while there is often much anti-Pride messaging online, he feels safe, supported, and accepted in Port Alberni.

If anyone has information about who put up the posters, you’re asked to call the Port Alberni RCMP at 250-723-2424.

RELATED: ‘Cowardly acts’: RCMP investigate Pride flag vandalism in North Cowichan

Dean StoltzDean Stoltz

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