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Hate Has No Home in North Bay
I have been sitting with this blog for some time now, as hate is a hard subject to tackle, especially when it’s directed at you personally, or your 2SLGBTQ+ community. As you read and research things, you find it even harder to understand why hate is so in your face these days compared to years ago. Hate has always been around forever, but it just seems to have grown, or perhaps more reported on with 24/7 news and social media platforms.
An organization called OUTLoud North Bay works with 2SLGBTQ+ youth, giving them a safer space to go to. Recently, they wanted to give an opportunity for local youth to try drag. When I think about this, it would be no different then when I was a kid, trying on mom’s make up or shoes, so it seems normal to me for the youth wanting to try these things to express themselves. However, what happened was far beyond what anyone saw coming.
There is a fringe radical group called “Libs of TikTok”, that is based out of the USA, and they take the information from drag shows, Pride organizations, Youth 2SLGBTQ+ and other equity seeking groups, sharing it with their over one million followers, who then set out to destroy anyone who is not the same as them. Individuals then receive threats of violence, hateful comments, and such. What is worse for us, even Canadians are part of this group doing the same thing. Not only have they threatened these organizations, but they also threatened supporters, sponsors, and the like.
The police across Canada have resources for this kind of thing. However, according to them, it can be hard to convict anyone of these crimes, even though threats of violence is a crime in Canada and the USA.
When Canada tried to address this kind of online hate crimes, the Conservatives decided it would fall under a freedom of expression issue for all Canadians. But is it? Should one be allowed to express hate towards other people? Threaten them with death because they are who they are? This is what these politicians are protecting. However, we can all agree finding the balance is difficult, especially because no one wants to stifle freedom of expression, but no one should be subjected to hate of any kind. What do we do?
One thing is clear, that Pride events are vital to the survival and change of society to stop hate everywhere. However, sometimes I believe that these events have lost their way some what. It is great to celebrate accomplishments by having a Pride parade and other great events, but where are these organizations when it comes to standing shoulder to shoulder against hate? Where are they when it comes to speaking out and holding politicians accountable for their actions on lack of support to equity seeking groups? Where are they when it comes to changing policy or the law that would benefit everyone?
There is a balance for Pride organizations and equity seeking groups, but it just seems many have forgotten this over the years. Pride’s work is not done until we are all equal and all free from hate, every city, every province, every country. That is when Pride triumphs.
Until then, we stand together, we support each other, and we are there when we are needed. Let’s get all Prides in Canada to find their balance again, and let’s change the world to where no hate exists anymore, because that is a true Canadian and that is what we are about. In the end, love (and support) wins!
Stay Safe Pigeon.
About the Author
Geri Atrick is co-host of Not So Str8 Talk, a show that focuses on marginalized & 2SLGBTQ+. Geri also organizes national events around music and the arts, is deeply passionate and active in politics, and is an advocate on many social justice issues. Giver her a little wine and you will never know what she will say. Check out the show at www.str8talk.ca or at Hunters Bay Radio