Victoria’s queer community says hate and violence against them ‘surging’

Victoria's queer community says hate and violence against them 'surging'

In Saanich, someone seems scared of a rainbow. A multicoloured Pride flag representing equality and a celebration of all forms of love was defaced.

“It appeared the suspect, or suspects, took quite some time to use a roller to black out the flag,” said Cst. Markus Anastasiades with Saanich Police.

Saanich Police believe someone covered the Pride flag crosswalk at Pearkes Recreation Centre with black paint sometime Tuesday night into Wednesday morning.

It’s an act B.C.’s Premier David Eby today called reprehensible.

“To see someone paint over a pride sidewalk is disgusting,” said Eby.

To counter what they say is increasing hate and violence against the 2SLGBTQIA+ community, provincial politicians are raising the pride flag on the legislature lawn today.

“It’s also a statement of that joy and celebration in opposition to what we have seen as growing hate, homophobia, and transphobia as recently as this week,” said Grace Lore, MLA of Victoria-Beacon Hill.

In Waterloo a 24-year-old man has been arrested for a targeted, hate-motivated, stabbing spree in a gender issues class.

“It is shocking and unacceptable,” said Waterloo Police Chief Mark Crowell.

For Michael Robach with QMUNITY, a non-profit organization based in Vancouver, B.C. that works to improve queer, trans, and Two-Spirit lives, the examples of Waterloo and Saanich serve as yet another example of the surging hate and violence targeting the queer community.

“I know there’s a lot of noise right now, and it’s scary,” said Robach. “This surge has maybe crept up on us. But it has shown itself in very explicit ways. It’s not just online anymore, it’s protestors showing up to events we hold, it’s active threats ahead of events we’re going to host.”

The trend, understandably, is unsettling.

“I feel scared,” said Robach, who worries beyond physical danger, it will push people back into the closet. “I feel scared for myself but also for folks in the community who are more marginalized than me.”

As pride week kicks off in Victoria, the press conference to raise the Pride flag on the lawns of the legislature was briefly interrupted by an onlooker’s brief boo’s.

They were drowned out by those unafraid of colourful crosswalks in their communities, instead blacking out the hate and discrimination they say doesn’t belong.

“We must continue to denounce the rising threats, hate, misinformation, and violence against 2SLGBTQIA+ communities that we’re seeing here in B.C., and around the world,” said Kelli Paddon, parliamentary secretary for gender equity.

Kori SidawayKori Sidaway

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