As the Pride flag was raised at city hall in B.C.’s capital on Friday, the city also used the occasion to call out recent hate and threats made against the 2SLGBTQ+ community.
On Thursday, organizers cancelled an all-ages drag show scheduled for Saturday (June 18) at Caffe Fantastico in Victoria.
Caffe Fantastico said in a follow-up post that “in the past week our staff here have been harassed by callers, who have been ignorant to what a drag show is, and have berated us for hosting a family-friendly drag show event.”
Event organizer For The Love of Drag cancelled the show after one of those calls included a threat of gun violence, which Caffe Fantastico owner Ryan Taylor said was very upsetting to staff, organizers and performers.
Those hateful and homophobic calls and threats of violence “have no place in our community,” Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps said in a Friday statement.
“Pride month is about celebrating love and the right we all have in a free country like Canada for everyone to love whom they choose, to express their gender how they choose and to feel safe in all places and spaces to do so.”
As the city also marks the start of Pride Week, Helps said Pride Month is about celebrating and honouring diversity, celebrating inclusion and making space in the community for love in all its forms.
“That is what makes us strong as a community. In these uncertain times, we need to come together as a community, not tear each other apart,” the mayor said. “To all 2SLGBTQ+ members of Victoria’s community, and all our allies, know that you are loved, and that love will always prevail over fear, hate and anger. Happy Pride.”
Victoria Beacon-Hill MLA Grace Lore also expressed support for the coffee shop and celebrated how the region has the country’s highest proportion of trans and non-binary residents.
“Wherein someone threatens violence out of hate, homophobia and transphobia and suggests others are bad for our kids…Not here… Not on our watch. No way,” Lore tweeted in response to the threat. “Love and drag over hate every single day.”
Victoria police are investigating two separate reports related to the calls.
Anyone with information can contact VicPD at 250-995-7654, ext. 1, or report anonymously to Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.
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