Homophobic notes found posted in downtown Edmonton
Published Wednesday, July 12, 2017 7:44PM MDT
Messages targeting homosexuality are being placed around Edmonton, showing up on bus shelters and poster boards, and they’re raising concerns for at least one person who found some of them.
Janis Irwin found a number of the posters along 118 Avenue Tuesday – the notes say “Canada will be punished for the sin of homosexuality”.
“I think it’s important that we recognize it’s a damaging message and potentially really harmful one,” Irwin said.
She said this isn’t the first time she’s seen such messages, back in May in the same area, she saw a number of similar notes – Irwin said she’s disappointed to see them crop up again.
“People always ask why we need Pride, when we have all these rights available now,” Irwin said. “This is just an example that highlights that.”
Kristopher Wells, a local LGBTQ advocate and a professor in sexual minority studies at the University of Alberta, said the notes are part of a dangerous trend, he likened them to “attacks” on the LGBTQ community – like Pride flags being cut down and destroyed, incidents that recently took place in Alberta.
“I get concerned when I see them, because these are hate incidents, and that could escalate into something much more large and dangerous,” Wells said.
“It ends up damaging those people who are gay and Christian, and feeling forced to make a choice as if it’s one or the other,” Rev. Mark Chiang said.
Reverend Chiang said he wants Edmontonians to know that those in the LGBTQ community are welcome in his church, as the struggle is something he’s familiar with, as a gay youth who is also Christian.
“What I’m trying to do for our community now, we’ve set up a haven and queer worshiping spaces, just to have that experience of being welcomed as they are,” Chiang said.
CTV News reached out to the churches mentioned in the notes, one of them responded – and said in a statement that they are “not connected to the spreading of these flyers and also do not support the message on them”.
Police advised anyone who finds such notes to report them to police – no formal complaints were made recently, but they were reported back in May. Those were deemed to be a hate incident, not a hate crime.
With files from Taylor Oseen