Supporting 2SLGBTQIA+ Communities

Your freedom to dance how you please, to wear what you like – or even to read what you want – is under attack.

As is typical when the intolerant hope to erode our freedoms, the most vulnerable are being targeted first.

Over the last year in Calgary, religious fundamentalists and conspiracy theorists have increasingly echoed baseless and hateful claims in order to justify targeting books, dance performances, and reading events that feature 2SLGBTQIA+ people.

I am disgusted and outraged by the attempts to disrupt events and intimidate performers and attendees. The 2SLGBTQIA+ community deserves our firm and public support. Every vision I have of Calgary’s future, and every story I know of its past, is one that includes them.

These hateful campaigns targeting Trans people specifically, 2SLGBTQIA+ generally, or people who perform drag are rooted in archaic views twisted to suit the moral panic of the day. These are not isolated incidents. They are a part of an increase in hate globally that has led to immense violence toward vulnerable and marginalized groups, and right now, it is the Trans community that is bearing the brunt of it.

These harassment campaigns claim to be “defending children”. This claim employs some very tired homophobic and transphobic tropes meant to manufacture fear.

If you truly wish to protect children, you can do so by helping to build a supportive, inclusive, and equitable society. Over 160,000 children in Alberta live in poverty. Between 25 and 40 per cent of 2SLGBTQIA+ youth have reported experiencing homelessness or housing instability in their lives, often due to rejection from family members during the coming out process.

I am working with Mayor Gondek, my Council colleagues, and City Administration to determine what we can all do to take action against hate, and to protect each other from the intolerance that continues to impact our communities. I am keenly aware that this must be done with care and consideration for the rights and freedoms we enjoy. Inaction and silence, however, is not an option.

As this work proceeds, I have a request of Calgarians. Please take a moment and put yourselves in the shoes of these courageous performers, librarians, staff, parents, children, and attendees at these events. These are your community members. I encourage you to support them however you can. 

I understand that many will look to elected leaders to end these hateful protests, and we will do what is within our ability. However, it is when we as a community stand together in solidarity and mutual support that we bring to life the inclusive Calgary we desire. 

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