Supporting the 2SLGBTQI+ Community in #ourhomeSTC

Supporting the 2SLGBTQI+ Community in #ourhomeSTC

On Monday night at council, I asked for council’s indulgence – to address the events that took place on Saturday March 9.

This is what I said.

“On Saturday March 9, Pride Niagara and the St. Catharines Public Library kicked off the March Break programming with a Pride Niagara Drag Storytime.

This was not the first and I truly hope it will not be the last Pride Niagara Drag Storytime at the Library.

It was however – the FIRST and ONLY time that drag storytime has been disrupted by a small group of protesters who attempted to stop the event with homophobic and transphobic nonsense.

The event was a ticketed event in the Mills Room – for kids 10 years and younger who were accompanied by their parents and kids 11 and over on their own.  The event included two drag artists reading three books that are currently available in the library – Build a Bridge, What if and Be Who You Are. The books read are about acceptance, caring, kindness and the power of imagination. Lesson we all need to learn and live. Along with the reading – we sang some songs, did a little dancing to the classic Raffi tune – Bananaphone and it ended with a Q &A.

Library staff, parents and children were recorded without consent and some folks are now having their faces plastered across the internet calling them groomers and paedophiles – for simply showing support and doing their job.  This is unacceptable.

I want to say a very very special thank you to the team at the St. Catharines Public Library. The day was difficult and challenging to say the least. It was not easy to remain calm and collected but you all did. Thank you.

While I do not want to give those who protested any more airtime than they already have –  I believe that as a council and a community that we need to acknowledge that this happened.

For me it was the first time being up close and personal with that level of hate but too many in our community – are being targeted with hate, accusations and out and out lies every single day.

The anti-2SLGBTQI+ policies being put forward across our country and the political rhetoric are emboldening these kinds of people and protests.

We as a city need to work closely with our 2SLGBTQI+ committee and the  2SLGBTQI+ community to ensure that everyone feels welcomed and safe in all our city spaces.

If we truly believe and say that we are an inclusive, caring and welcoming community to all – I am asking you to stand with me, with our 2SLGBTQI+ staff and the 2SLGBTQI+ community and condemn these kinds of protests and call out all forms of discrimination.

My hope is that you will wear the pride flag pins – and show the 2SLGBTQI+ community that you support us, that you stand by us and that you show everyone that there is no place for hate in St. Catharines.”