I have noticed something alarming among some of my acquaintances and people I respect who I have always considered being staunch allies of the 2SLGBTQ+ community. In this letter, I am speaking directly to you.
You have marched with us and stood up for us against discrimination, hate, and violence. You have added your voices to ours in advocating for equality and equity. You have helped us achieve marriage equality, enshrine protections for us in the criminal code, and painted your social media profiles in rainbows during Pride month. You have championed changes in the workplace to make it safe for us to bring our whole selves to work.
But wait. You’re now standing up to cheer on the so-called freedom movement against vaccines and health mandates. Your right to do that is respected however do you know what else you are supporting when you do this? Many of us have watched in horror as extremist groups have hijacked the freedom rallies and their influencers spew hatred toward minorities and marginalized groups. Tanya Gaw, one of the founders of Action4Canada and associated with the anti-2SLGBTQ+ hate group Culture Guard frequently promotes ideas specifically to undermine the 2SLGBTQ+ community including conspiracy theories about rainbow crosswalks and her view that our “agenda” is pro-Islam and anti-Christian. Her recent speeches at Kelowna rallies carry this message of hate.
The rise of violence and discriminatory laws against our community are on the rise and it is no coincidence that the noise from these groups is also increasing. I asked one of my acquaintances who publicly supports Action4Canada how they can support them when they actively promote hatred to our community. Their response was “I believe in truth, freedom, unity, peace, and love. To keep my sanity I focus only on these things.” They denied that there is discrimination in these groups and suggested I check my sources. You can check the websites of these groups for yourself. You don’t have to take my word for it. Action4Canada’s website states their disapproval of social media sites that remove content or block people for hate speech (which they refer to as opinions) against our community.
I’m trying to understand how you can overlook the disturbing parts of a movement/ideology that bring harm to specific groups. I’m lost at how to reconcile this in maintaining my own relationships with people. Many of us have years of experience dealing with this type of discrimination from family members who support political parties that are anti-2SLGBTQ+. It is alarming to see this happening among people we consider as friends. Groups like Action4Canada and Culture Guard only want the freedom to hate without consequence. When you stand with them this is what you are promoting. It is frightening and sad. It is far from being about truth, freedom, unity, peace, and love.
If your cry for so-called freedom comes at the expense of our freedom how can I consider you to be an ally or friend? Please consider that you are undermining the very things you have helped us fight for. It is heartbreaking.