Canada reaffirms pledge to resettle LGBTQ Afghans
Taliban regained control of Afghanistan last August
OTTAWA, Ontario — The Canadian government on Dec. 31 once again said it will resettle LGBTQ Afghans in the country.
Reuters reported a spokesperson for Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Minister Sean Fraser did not say how many LGBTQ Afghans will be resettled in Canada, but said they would have “been referred by a third-party aid organization.”
The spokesperson also told Reuters the Canadian government will allow upwards of 230 female judges and their relatives who fled Afghanistan after the Taliban regained control of the country to settle in Canada. They are expected to arrive in Canada this year, but the spokesperson did not provide a specific timeline.
The Taliban regained control of Afghanistan on Aug. 15 after it entered Kabul, the country’s capital.
A Taliban judge in July said the group would once again execute people if it were to return to power in Afghanistan.
The Canadian government previously said it would offer refuge to LGBTQ Afghans.
Two groups of LGBTQ Afghans who Rainbow Railroad, a Canada-based group, helped evacuate from Afghanistan arrived in the U.K. last fall. Some of the 50 Afghan human rights activists who Taylor Hirschberg, a researcher at the Columbia Mailman School of Public Health who is also a Hearst Foundation scholar, has been able to help leave the country since the Taliban regained control of it are LGBTQ.
Rainbow Railroad is one of the many advocacy groups that has urged the Biden administration to do more to help LGBTQ Afghans who remain in the country.
Canadian police: Couple assaulted for buying Bud Light
It is believed there was a crowd of people nearby at the time of this incident. Any witnesses are asked to come forward
VAUGHAN, Ont., Canada – York Regional Police are investigating a possible hate-motivated incident in the City of Vaughan and are seeking three suspects after two people were assaulted and anti-homosexual slurs were uttered.
The incident, which happened at around 8:30 p.m. this past Saturday when a man and a woman were accosted by several males outside a liquor store. One of the suspects commented on the male victim’s choice of alcohol, Bud Light, and uttered anti-homosexual derogatory slurs as he approached the male victim.
According to a York Regional Police spokesperson Sergeant Clint Whitney, the female victim stepped between them and was then physically assaulted. Two more suspects got involved and both victims were beaten, with the male victim being knocked to the ground. A bystander intervened and the suspects fled in a black Nissan Rogue vehicle with Ontario license plate CLHL733.
The 27-year-old female victim required hospital treatment for her injuries. The 26-year-old male victim suffered minor injuries and did not require medical attention.
York Regional Police officers obtained photos of one of the suspects (Suspect #1 – see attached images).
|SUSPECT #1:Male, white, 25 to 35, slim build, short buzz-cut hair, with a tattoo on his jawline and tattoos on both hands.Wearing a black Adidas jacket with white stripes on the arms, blue jeans, and black and white sneakers with orange on the heels.||SUSPECT #2:Male, with a light-brown complexion, black hair, full black beard.Wearing a red Cristiano Ronaldo Portugal soccer jersey||SUSPECT #3:Male|
It is believed there was a crowd of people nearby at the time of this incident. Any witnesses who have not yet spoken to investigators are asked to come forward. Anyone who has information about the identity and/or whereabouts of the suspects are urged to contact police as soon as possible.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the York Regional Police #4 District Criminal Investigations Bureau at 1-866-876-5423, ext. 7441. Alternatively, information may also be provided anonymously by calling Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS or going online at www.1800222tips.com.
Global News Canada coverage:
Canada to expunge records of people convicted under “unjust” laws
New regulations also allow expungements of convictions under old laws that criminalized abortion & targeted queer people in bathhouses & clubs
By Rob Salerno | OTTAWA – The government of Canada announced on March 7 that new regulations were in place allowing people who had been convicted of historically unjust offences that targeted queer people and women seeking abortions to have their criminal records expunged.
Under the new regulations, people who have been convicted of the offences related to being found in a “bawdy house” or putting on an “indecent performance” or exhibition – offences that had in the past been used to target queer people – as well as various offences related to seeking or providing an abortion, can now apply to the Parole Board of Canada to have all records of their conviction destroyed. Deceased persons can have their records expunged by a representative. There is no fee to apply for the expungement.
The regulations are an expansion of the 2018 “Expungement of Historically Unjust Convictions” law, which originally allowed men who were convicted under laws banning “gross indecency,” “buggery,” and “anal sex” to have their records wiped.
“We need to recognize the historic injustices that wrongly targeted vulnerable communities,” said Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino of the new regulations in the House of Commons. “This is about recognizing the legacy of discrimination suffered by women and members of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community while protecting their right to choose and access safe reproductive health care. This is one more step toward building a compassionate, inclusive and diverse country.”
According to the government’s analysis included in the announcement of the new regulations, the RCMP National Repository of Criminal Records identified 18 579 records related to bawdy houses and indecent acts and 67 abortion-related convictions that may be eligible for expungement. The Parole Board is expecting up to 2500 people to apply for expungements.
Canada’s “bawdy house” law formerly criminalized anyone who worked in or was found in a place where prostitution or indecency occurred. The intentionally vague law was used regularly as an excuse to raid queer spaces – particularly bath houses.
Coordinated raids on four bathhouses in Toronto in 1981 led to the arrests of more than 300 men in one of the largest mass arrests in Canadian history. The event, dubbed “Operation Soap” by Toronto Police, sparked massive protests that are frequently cited as the start of Toronto’s Pride Festival. Bathhouse aids continued to be a semi-regular occurrence in Canada until 2002, when Toronto Police raided a lesbian event called “Pussy Palace.” In 2005, the Supreme Court ruled that consensual sex in a bawdy house is not indecent, and therefore not illegal, significantly narrowing the scope of the law.
Abortion in Canada was generally illegal unless a hospital committee determined that it was necessary to save the life of the mother until 1988. That year, the Supreme Court struck down Canada’s abortion laws as a violation of women’s right to life, liberty and security of the person.
The bawdy house and abortion laws were finally repealed from the Criminal Code in a general overhaul that had also struck out defunct laws that established a different age of consent for anal sex. The indecency law remains in the Criminal Code, but its use is generally limited.
Although the entire bawdy house law was repealed, the expungement order explicitly does not apply to anyone whose conviction stems from a bawdy house used for sex work or anyone who engaged in sex work in a bawdy house. The expungement order also does not apply to convictions for indecent acts that occur outside a bawdy house, for example, cruising in a public park.
“Canadians deserve non-discriminatory policies that put their safety first, which is why the Government of Canada recognizes that past laws and regulations were unjust and compromised the freedoms of 2SLGBTQI+ communities and women,” Minister for Women, Gender Equality and Youth Marci Ien said in a press release.
The government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has taken a number of steps to address historic injustices against 2SLGBTQI+ Canadians since being elected in 2015. In addition to repealing unjust laws and creating the record expungement program, the government issued an apology for past persecution of queer Canadians in 2017, and reached a settlement with queer government employees who had been purged from the civil service from the 1950s to the 1990s.The government also prohibited discrimination based on gender identity and expression under the Canada Human Rights Act, banned conversion therapy, and recently ended the ban on blood donations from gay men. However, a regulation banning gay men from donating sperm still exists in Canada.
Rob Salerno is a writer, journalist and actor based in Los Angeles, California, and Toronto, Canada.
Gay man sues Canadian government for right to donate sperm
The US Food and Drug Administration also maintains a total ban on sperm donations from men who have sex with men
By Rob Salerno | TORONTO – For Aziz M., becoming a father through sperm donation was a life-changing and emotionally rewarding experience. He had developed a relationship with his biological daughter and her parents. He hoped to one day do it again.
But his dreams were dashed after he came out of the closet and discovered that under Canadian federal health regulations, his sexuality made him no longer eligible to donate sperm.
Now the Toronto man (his name is being withheld for privacy reasons) is suing the government of Canada to force it to withdraw regulations that discriminate against gay and bisexual men seeking to become sperm donors. He alleges that the donor ban is unlawful under the Canadian constitution’s ban on discrimination.
“You gain nothing from giving blood, but the discrimination is harmful in itself,” Aziz says. “It feels like you’re a second-class citizen. There’s an emotional harm that you are not an acceptable person.”
Aziz says the ban bars gay and bisexual men from pursuing a deeply meaningful biological relationship.
“Sperm donation is a bit more than blood donation, because it gives you a potential to create life, to have a relationship with the recipient,” he says. “I message my biological daughter, I have a relationship with them, it’s very enriching. LGBT people are not allowed to have that same experience.”
Regulations banning men who have sex with men from donating blood and tissues, including sperm, were gradually enacted by Canada and many other countries, including the United States, in the wake of the AIDS crisis amid fears that donations from queer men might unintentionally spread HIV.
But while the federal government and the agencies responsible for collecting blood donations in Canada eliminated discriminatory rules banning men who have sex with men from donating blood last year, regulations still ban on sperm and other tissue donations from men who have sex with men unless they are abstinent for at least three months before the donation.
The US Food and Drug Administration also maintains a total ban on sperm donations from men who have sex with men.
Aside from being discriminatory, these regulations are scientifically unnecessary, Aziz says, because other regulations ensure that donors do not carry any infections.
All donors must be tested for HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases before donating sperm. Their samples are then quarantined for six months and only released if the donor again tests negative.
“The testing that is way more strict now should ensure that there is no need for the discriminatory clause,” Aziz says. “The science is there now and there’s no basis for it.”
In Canada, the ban on sperm donations from gay men exacerbates a national shortage of sperm that stems from a federal law prohibiting paying donors for their semen. Consequently, most sperm donations in Canada are imported from the United States.
Last year, Canada’s federal government released a 2SLGBTQI+ action plan to promote equality for queer Canadians. It includes a number of proposed legal reforms, such as banning unnecessary surgeries on intersex children and rewriting indecency laws to ensure they can’t be used to discriminate against queer people, but it does not mention the sperm and tissue donation bans.
In the wake of Aziz filing his lawsuit, several government ministers have made statements to the press about how it may be time to reconsider the sperm ban, but none has directly pledged to repeal it.
Multiple requests for comment on the ban to Canada’s minister for women and gender equality, who is responsible for the 2SLGBTI+ action plan, and the minister of health were not responded to.
Alice Ruby, executive director of The Sperm Bank of California, says her clinic has advocated for the US FDA to repeal its gay sperm ban.
“[The ban] reduces the number of people we can accept into our sperm donor program. We get lots of interest from gay and bisexual men. We turn them away every week. Over the course of a year, we had turned away over 400 applicants,” she says.
Banning donations from gay men doesn’t only impact the donors.
Ruby says that banning donations from gay men restricts choice from women, particularly lesbians, bisexual women, and trans people, who would prefer their child have a queer father, to ensure that the child’s biological father won’t be someone who disapproves of LGBT families.
“We’re the only Nonprofit sperm donor program in the US and we were founded specifically to provide for lesbians and single women,” she says. “We had the first population who planned to tell their children how they were conceived. They wanted an option for their children to get more information in the future. It was the first program in the nation that offered donors an option to identify themselves to their adult children in the future.
“Similar to donors seeking a similar ethnic background, some recipients choose donors who share similar values and want a donor who’s from the community,” she says.
Ruby also says the ban also exacerbates a shortage of donations from Black men and people of color.
“A high percentage of those applicants [we turn away] were Black men, and there is a shortage of Black sperm donors in the US. Not only are we turning away members of our own community (LGBT) we are turning away people who would be welcomed to serve Black and Indigenous People of Color.”
Rob Salerno is a writer, actor, and journalist based in Los Angeles, California, and Toronto, Canada.
Pride flags vandalized at a Mom & Mom bodega in Nova Scotia
“We really care about what we’re doing and someone is missing out on that experience and I feel badly for them”
LAWRENCETOWN, NS, Canada – Sue Littleton and Candice Zaina moved 1,866.0 km (1159.4 miles) from Hamilton, Ontario to Nova Scotia and opened up what most would see as a seriously quaint bodega in this coastal town just east of Halifax.
The married lesbian couple had honeymooned last Spring in the area around Lawrencetown and Littleton’s father had grown up there. In an interview this week with a local newspaper, the Halifax Examiner, Littleton explained:
“I had always dreamt of opening a shop in this exact location,” Littleton said. “It was a green grocer and butcher shop when I was a kid. I just have very fond memories of it.”
The couple opened their bodega earlier this month and was met immediately with an enthusiastic response from the local community the Halifax Examiner reported.
“Our goal is to be a bit of a general store with a bit of everything and a focus on local produce and locally handcrafted wares of all sorts,” Littleton said. “We also have an espresso counter and ultimately we’ll be adding cookbooks and kitchenware because that’s one of my passions.”
“It’s been incredibly successful. There’s definitely way more of an appetite for what we’re doing than we even imagined, which is really exciting.”
However, apparently not everyone in the town was thrilled. Prior to the shop’s actual open not long after the couple had purchased the building, they had hung LGBTQ+ Pride flags from an upper floor. But, after the bodega’s opening in early December those flags were targeted by persons unknown and taken down three times with the fourth incident taking an ugly turn.
“We figured the first time it was just some kids or someone being mischievous,” Littleton told the Examiner. “We thought someone was goofing off and pulled the flag off and the flagpole down with it with no intent of doing any damage. But when it kept happening, it became clear it was a message being sent to us.”
In a Facebook post the two women wrote about the December 23 incident:
It sure was windy last night. So windy that some human feces mysteriously landed on the flags that we found on the ground again this morning.
The flag that our friend Jim put up in solidarity at his shop down the road was also down. Strangely, the wind didn’t seem to do much other damage in the village. We have cameras now. We called the RCMP despite us both having had pretty awful experiences with cops in the past. We will not be intimidated or silenced.
The outpouring of support and love we have experienced is something very beautiful and reinforces for us why it is so important for us to continue to fly the flag.
We had a parent bring their newly out teen into the shop yesterday. They drove nearly an hour to come support us. The parent thanked us for helping them to show their kid that queer joy is possible. THAT is why we do this.
We are full of love. We will continue to spread that love no matter what. That’s what we do.
Again, we invite whoever is doing this to come in for a coffee and a treat. We would be happy to sit at our gathering table with you to talk in a civilized way about why flying this flag is important to us.
Love wins. Love will always win.
In a Friday phone conversation with the Los Angeles Blade, Littleton confirmed the incidents and then stressed that the best antiseptic to hate-filled ignorant acts such as what had occurred was to combat that hate with tolerance, understanding, and show that love indeed will always win.
Littleton told the Examiner that while she and Zaina both felt discouraged, they’re also feeling positive with the outpouring of the community and beyond. Commenting on the acts of vandalism she told the paper:
“We really care about what we’re doing and someone is missing out on that experience and I feel badly for them, that they care more about our sexuality or gender expression than about what we’re trying to do about being community, and making life fun, comfortable, and delicious.”
In the meanwhile Littleton tells the Blade, Bee’s Knees General Store and Bakery will be serving up fresh baked cheese biscuits, cookies, and lots of love.
DunnEnzies Pizza store owners called pedophiles over drag show
“While some of the show’s detractors called it a “sex show,” it’s simply not. It’s art and it’s sexy, and there’s a big distinction”
KELOWNA, British Columbia, Canada – The DunnEnzies Pizza Lower Mission location found itself targeted by anti-LGBTQ+ activists over its The Real Housewives of the North Pole drag show event last week.
Global News Canada reported that Karyn MacKenzie, one of the owners of the restaurant, said they received messages online calling them a “sick bunch of pedophiles” and “parasites” and the owners were told they should hang from the gallows.
On the day of the event last Wednesday a small group of anti-LGBTQ+ and anti-drag protestors gathered outside the restaurant.
MacKenzie also noted that prior to the event that she and her staff were also hosting other events including a Salvation toy and food drive. Dustyn Baulkham, one of the organisers said that the event’s performance featured three performers from OUT TV series Call Me Mother, a Canadian reality television series, but the performance at the pizza restaurant was considered to be an all-ages event.
Baulkham acknowledged though that not all of their shows were family friendly. “When we do drag shows, they are often a bit more adult-focused,” Baulkham told Global News.
“However, shows that we do welcome minors if they’re with a parent, because it’s that parent’s choice to expose their child to what they see fit… and there will actually be live singing as well tonight. Sure, there’ll be some adult themes within it, but that just comes with the territory.”
Baulkham pointed out, while some of the show’s detractors called it a “sex show,” it’s simply not. “It’s art and it’s sexy, and there’s a big distinction,” Baulkham said.
Detractors however see these types of performances differently. One of the demonstrators outside the restaurant who was not identified by name told Global News:
“Goddam sodomites, disgusting people,” he said, while flanked by two other anti-LGBTQ+ activists with signs, “Enabling the pedophiles, this is disgusting. You should be ashamed as a mother.” The last statement directed at an LGBTQ+ community supporter, Joelle Wolf, who said she was far from ashamed.
“Love is always going to be the answer, especially with children,” Wolf told the hecklers. “You can spout a bunch of words you don’t understand, but it’s not going to change my parenting.”
She later told Global News she was happy to take her children to the event and expose them to something different.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) said there was a minor incident between an anti-LGBTQ+ protester and a supporter of the drag show event. “They apologized to one another once police arrived and went on with what they were doing without further concerns,” the RCMP said in an emailed statement.
Transportation Secretary Buttigieg honored by Québec LGBTQ org
The annual award is bestowed on “an individual or group who has made exceptional contributions to the advancement of LGBTQ rights”
MONTREAL, Québec – In a special ceremony Wednesday evening, Fondation Émergence, one of Québec’s largest LGBTQ organizations, presented U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg with the prestigious Laurent McCutcheon Award.
Buttigieg was in Montréal representing the United States at the International Civil Aviation Organization, (ICAO) General Assembly.
The Laurent McCutcheon Award is named for Laurent-McCutcheon, the founding president of Fondation Émergence and the creator of the National Day Against Homophobia, which became the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia.
The annual award is bestowed on “an individual or group who has made exceptional contributions to the advancement of LGBTQ rights.” In presenting Secretary Buttigieg, the citation [translated from French] noted his journey as the first openly gay man to be confirmed by the Senate to serve the office of the President of the United States as a cabinet minister.
Fondation Émergence also said that [Buttigieg] is a real role model for the LGBTQ+ communities. The Laurent McCutcheon Award was presented to Secretary Buttigieg by Chantal Rouleau, Québec’s outgoing* Minister for Transport and Minister Responsible for the Region of Montréal.
“I am truly humbled and honored to accept this award, especially as I have learned more about Laurent McCutcheon’s remarkable life and profound legacy,” Buttigieg said. “Like all of us here I am the beneficiary of a tradition of activism that spans the globe and generations before I was born. And the results of those struggles, in our lifetime, are borderline incredible – including the very fact that I can stand before you today.”
Organizers of the Montréal Pride festival have cancelled Sunday’s parade
Pride events taking place at the Esplanade du Parc olympique including the closing show with Pabllo Vittar, will go on as as planned
MONTREAL – Citing a lack of adequate security personnel the organizers of the Fierte Montreal Pride Parade abruptly cancelled Sunday’s parade. The event organizers told CBC the decision was made in collaboration with Montreal police.
CBC reported that other Pride events taking place at the Esplanade du Parc olympique from 2 p.m., including the closing show with Pabllo Vittar, will go on as as planned. Tens of thousands of people were expected to attend today’s parade.
𝐅𝐢𝐞𝐫𝐭é 𝐌𝐨𝐧𝐭𝐫é𝐚𝐥 𝐏𝐫𝐢𝐝𝐞 𝐏𝐚𝐫𝐚𝐝𝐞 𝐢𝐬 𝐂𝐚𝐧𝐜𝐞𝐥𝐥𝐞𝐝: A lack of sufficient personnel to ensure security along the route has forced the organizers to cancel the event in agreement with the SPVM. Come join us at the Esplanade of the Olympic Park as of 2 p.m.— Fierté MTL Pride (@FierteMTLPride) August 7, 2022
Canadian LGBTQ+ youth center postpones drag show after online abuse
“This is stuff that you see in movies, you know, on the news in other countries. You just don’t feel like you’re going to be a victim of it”
NORTH BAY, Ontario, Canada – The LGBTQ+ youth centre in this quiet city located about three hours North of Toronto has been under siege with death threats and extremist anti-LGBTQ+ bullying for the past two weeks ago after an announcement of its youth drag show was made viral by the far right right-wing anti-LGBTQ+ Libs of Tik-Tok social media account.
In fact the flow of hate washing over this small centre has been virtual tsunami that caused the Board of Directors of OutLoud North Bay LGBTQ+ Centre and its director and founder Seth Compton to postpone that show which was slated to occur today.
CTV Northern Ontario Digital journalist Chelsea Papineau reported that Compton told Anne-Marie Mediwake of CTV Your Morning in an interview; “This is stuff you see in documentaries. This is stuff that you see in movies, you know, on the news in other countries. You just don’t feel like you’re going to be a victim of it.”
“And I think I’m holding myself together pretty good, but now I’ve got kids asking if the windows are bullet-proof. Or I have parents asking me if I have a plan set in place for safety if we have gunmen show up. Like this is just stuff, like even as a parent, it’s not stuff that I think about in a small northern community. So I’m heartbroken,” he added.
Reporting on the story a week ago when the outbreak of rage and hate was first directed at OutLoud North Bay, mostly in the form of online abuse much of which came from the United States, CTV Northern Ontario journalist Eric Taschner told the Blade that the levels of animosity and the hate expressed were unlike any seen prior and noted that there were hate-filled ugly posts from nations way beyond even the United States.
OutLoud North Bay is a members only safe space for LGBTQ+ youth and Compton, a 47-year-old trans man, told CTV Northern Ontario hate being directed toward the group is exactly why the space is needed.
The group is youth-led and the idea for a youth drag show came from one of the teen members, Compton said.
“It’s geared to the kids that pay to be there and we offer programming and we create events for them. We do cosplay events, we’ve had Halloween parties, so we’ve had opportunity for kids to dress up before,” he said.
“Our mandate, as a charity, is to support all youth and their identities. I need to be able to let the kids express themselves and that’s what this space is about.”
The level of abuse and hate also contained death threats triggering the involvement of Canadian law enforcement. North Bay Police Service Inspector Jeff Warner told reporters in a briefing last week that police officials are “aware of the offensive and hateful comments OutLoud has received via social media” and that his department is “deploying resources.”
CTV Northern Ontario’s Papineau noted that the community of North Bay is celebrating Pride week this year Sept. 14 – 18 and preparations are already underway.
“I think it’s important to continue to fight for who we are and it sucks that I can’t walk the streets feeling safe, you know,” Compton told CTV.
“So many trans folks have been murdered just based on their identity and it needs to stop. We need to teach our kids. They’re our future so we need to be able to move forward with love and acceptance.”
Reflecting on the tsunami of hateful abusive comments directed at OutLoud North Bay Compton said: “I think what happened was some of our youth are in charge of creating some media content and we pulled an image from the internet I guess that had some drag history to it in the United States with a youth down there and that created a huge storm of stuff on its own.”
The North Bay sexual violence support centre Amelia Rising posted a statement of support for OutLoud North Bay on Thursday afternoon.
“Recently, OutLoud North Bay was the target of an organized online hate campaign designed to shame and discourage the centre and their work. Amelia Rising believes that hate and threats should not be tolerated in our community,” the statement said.
“We recognize the positive impacts organizations like OutLoud have in supporting the mental health and wellness of the 2SLGBTQ+ youth and stand in support of all programs that celebrate our community’s diversity.”
Canadian LGBTQ+ youth centre attacked by extremist Libs of Tik-Tok
The hateful messaging targeting the LGBTQ+ youth centre includes death threats and other violent comments on social media
NORTH BAY, Ontario, Canada – The LGBTQ+ youth centre in this quiet city located about three hours North of Toronto is currently under siege with death threats and extremist anti-LGBTQ+ bullying. In fact the flow of hate washing over this small centre is a virtual tsunami.
The striking aspect to all of this ugly vitriol is that a massive percentage is coming from online, in text, voice mail messages and comments left on the centre’s social media accounts- outside of Canada.
CTV Northern Ontario journalist Eric Taschner reported Friday that the catalyst was a post two days earlier by the right-wing anti-LGBTQ+ Libs of Tik-Tok social media accounts that contained the announcement by OutLoud North Bay Centre for its scheduled youth drag show, slated for July 15.
What happened next was beyond shocking Taschner told the Blade in a phone call Saturday afternoon. In fact the hateful actions by the outside sources has involved the North Bay Police Service and badly scared the centre’s youth as well as overwhelmed its director Seth Compton.
Speaking to CTV Northern Ontario, Compton said his staff and even youth who attend the space have been targeted.
“I got up at 4 a.m. to thousands of emails, tweets, messages on social media platforms that were so discriminatory and full of hate,” Compton said Friday, fighting back tears. “The average person wouldn’t be able to bear that … Never in my 47 years have I ever experienced this.”
The messages and comments include a range of obscene accusations and comments, he said.
“People are sharing my personal photo saying I’m a pedophile and adults here should be tossed into a wood chipper,” Compton said. “Kids have received messages that they’re groomed and parents have received messages that they’re child abusers.”
Compton briefly texted with the Blade Saturday noting: “I can send you our media release. Now that I’ve had a minute. I don’t know if I can add to what took place yesterday. I’m emotionally broken. I am an advocate but I’m human too and need a minute. I’m afraid to draw any more attention- because ‘Libs of Tik-Tok’ have seemed to move on to something new. The hate and harassment hasn’t stopped but I couldn’t handle a second wave of hate to that extent. My focus moving forward is the kids. We need to keep them safe.”
CTV’s Taschner told the Blade that the levels of animosity and the hate expressed were unlike any seen prior and noted that there were hate-filled ugly posts from nations way beyond even the United States.
Earlier this Spring, The Washington Post’s reporter Taylor Lorenz confirmed that Chaya Raichik is behind formerly anonymous ‘Libs of TikTok.’ The influential anti-LGBTQ account has has been trademarked as a “news reporter service” by a Republican operative, although the Washington Post notes that “Raichik has claimed to run the account alone.”
In a profile written by Slate magazine’s Jeremy Stahl, reported that Raichik, a Brooklyn, New York real estate agent, “has become a powerful voice in the culture wars, pushing discourse designed to demonize supporters of LGBTQ rights as sexually predatory “groomers” of children.”
The account has been promoted by podcast host Joe Rogan, it’s been featured in the New York Post, the Federalist, the Post Millennial and a slew of other right-wing news sites. Meghan McCain has retweeted it. The online influencer Glenn Greenwald has amplified it to his 1.8 million Twitter followers while calling himself the account’s “Godfather.”
Last April, Raichik appeared anonymously on Tucker Carlson’s show to complain about being temporarily suspended for violating Twitter’s community guidelines. Fox News often creates news packages around the content that Libs of TikTok has surfaced.
Slate also noted in its piece that Raichik has also made a name for herself by helping to blow up fights within school systems and among teachers and students, even getting a number of teachers removed from their jobs.
More problematic however is that Raichik is inspiring a virtual army of anti-LGBTQ+ adherents including the White Supremacist group, the Proud Boys, to take direct action against these events. Over the course of this past Pride Month alone, the Proud Boys have disrupted over ten LGBTQ+ events ranging from Drag Queen Story hours to Pride events.
In a column a week ago, Blade columnist James Finn pointed out that the Proud Boys have particularly targeted family Pride events, succeeding in having several postponed or cancelled through acts of disruption designed to sow fear and even terror.
In one highly publicised incident in the Northern California city of Woodland, the Proud Boys attempted to enter a bar & restaurant hosting an all-ages drag show. However, their efforts were stymied by bar patrons who defended the entrance and pepper-sprayed the white supremacists.
“Fuck you, pedophile motherfuckers!” shouted the masked man as patrons of the Mojo Lounge pepper sprayed him to stop him and other members of the Proud Boys from forcing their way inside.
A year ago in February of 2021, Canada’s public safety minister, Bill Blair, announced the addition of the Proud Boys, an organization founded in 2016 by a Canadian living in the U.S and two neo-Nazi networks, Atomwaffen and The Base, to Canada’s terror entity list.
While The Proud Boys has not been identified as a component entity of the attack on the North Bay OutLoud youth centre, a senior FBI source told the Blade Saturday evening that “it was highly likely-in fact probable, that individuals who are either members of the The Proud Boys or affiliated in some way are involved.”
Back in Northern Ontario OutLoud staff and the community continue to scramble to create a buffer and a safety zone for their kids CTV reported.
North Bay Pride CEO Jocelyn Green said the organization is working with OutLoud to support the staff and youth in the city.
“I’m absolutely abhorred and disgusted,” Green said. “I can’t believe this kind of hate still exists. It’s like we’ve gone backwards in time.” Compton is calling on the community for its support during this troubling time.
“We need to come together as a community because this is something that not only happens worldwide,” he said. “It’s happening right here in our community.”
The local police service is actively investigating the tsunami of hate speech and ugly homophobic diatribes CTV’s Taschner told the Blade.
North Bay Police Service Inspector Jeff Warner told reporters in a briefing that police officials are “aware of the offensive and hateful comments OutLoud has received via social media” and that his department is “deploying resources.”
“We are going to watch the comments and if any of them cross the line into criminal activity we will act for sure.”
Warner was asked what that line would be.
“If comments or actions turn into what is chosen a hate crime for a designated group in the community, we take those investigations very seriously. We will investigate those thoroughly,” he said.
The most prominent slurs center on accusations that LGBTQ people and their allies are pedophiles, using the word “grooming,” which the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children defines as when “someone builds a relationship, trust, and emotional connection with a child or young person so they can manipulate, exploit and abuse them.”
The term has been weaponized online, and it now appears almost constantly on many social media platforms. Data from the social media platform Reddit analyzed by Jeremy Blackburn, an assistant professor of computer science at Binghamton University in New York who studies online extremism, found about a 100 percent increase since the beginning of the year in discussion of “grooming” in conjunction with various LGBTQ slurs starting in early March and accelerating in mid-to-late March.
Inspector Warner was also asked by reporters how hard it would be to find the sender of these messages.
“When it is online activity, they are difficult to investigate. They are not impossible – we do have resources and we can liaison with other policing agencies that have the expertise in tracking down where some of these comments originate.”
Warner then voiced his displeasure over the youth centre being a target of hate.
“It is disappointing. OutLoud has been supporting the youth in the community since 2019. It is a safe place for the youth to go. OutLoud is committed to the mental health and well-being of the youth in the community. It is just disappointing to see the hateful, hurtful comments directed towards the youth.”
Watch CTV Northern Ontario’s story here.
Canadian male teen arrested for mass shooting threat against Florida Pride
In regard to the suspect the West Palm Beach Police Deputy Chief noted; “I can say through his statement that there’s no remorse”
TORONTO – A 17-year-old male adolescent was arrested by Canadian law enforcement after he threatened to commit a mass shooting at Pride on the Block 2022 in West Palm Beach, Florida.
A report was received Sunday, June 5, by the City of Miami Police Department that a video was online posted to the video chat platform Omegle where the teenager suspect was seen waving a gun in the video, making anti-LGBTQ+ comments, and he additionally claimed to be living in Palm Beach County, where he said he was going to commit the mass shooting that day.
After a joint investigation by Miami Police Department which had notified the West Palm Beach Department, the assistance of the FBI, New York Police Department, Toronto Police Service and Peel Regional Police was enlisted to locate and arrest the suspect.
A spokesperson for the RCMP acknowledged that the suspect was arrested Monday and that the weapon seen in the video was recovered. He was charged with threatening to commit a mass shooting and charges including written or electronic threats to kill, do bodily injury, or conduct a mass shooting or an act of terrorism. Charges are also pending in Florida.
ABC News affiliate WPBF 25 reported that West Palm Beach Police Department Deputy Chief Rick Morris said during the press conference that the suspect knew the area well and most likely had other areas in mind for other attacks, but was not in West Palm Beach at the time of the arrest.
“People were very scared. The Pulse nightclub shooting is still very much in people’s minds especially in our gay community, which is tragic. We want the LGBTQ community to know we stand behind them,” Morris said.
In regard to the suspect Morris noted; “I can say through his statement that there’s no remorse.”
West Palm Beach police had uniformed and plainclothes officers along with SWAT team members at the Pride on the Block event on Sunday, which was delayed one day due to severe weather WPBF 25 reported.
“We did ramp (our enforcement) up in addition to the operational plan that we already had in place but I can’t go into the details or the specifics,” said Mike Jachles, public information officer for the West Palm Beach Police Department.
He continued, “These were hate-filled threats targeted at a ‘gay event’ in Palm Beach County and the West Palm Beach Police Department is committed to ensuring the safety of our residents, visitors and anyone who comes to our city.”
He is in custody in Canada currently awaiting extradition to Palm Beach County Florida.
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