Queer bashing is on the rise in Toronto. Unfortunately, I've seen the evidence first hand.
This fall, the rainbow flags my partner and I display on our home and car were systematically torn down, ripped up or stolen. Initially, I felt irritated and annoyed, brushing off the incident as the likely handiwork of some queerphobic kids. After the second incident I began to feel watched and targeted. The message of queerphobia and hate was loud and clear.
After the third incident -- I'm angry.
People of colour have been missing from the conversation about attacks on the LGBTQ community. A conversation on CBC's The National was a case in point. It promoted the view that to be LGBTQ meant to be white.
Canadian news media have provided heart-wrenching accounts of the string of suicides and homophobia-fuelled violence that has occurred recently in the United States. The coverage has made clear the deep-seated hatred and violence that lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer people (LGBTQ) are subjected to on a daily basis, just for being who they are.
In the wake of the recent wave of queer teen suicides due to homophobic bullying, it would be a mistake for Ontario voters to trivialize the Oct. 25 province-wide municipal election of our school trustees. School trustees are also elected in four other provinces across Canada over the next few weeks. If education is a great equalizer in our society, many schools are still not doing enough to provide equal access of education for our LGBTQ students.
Too often, we tend to merely pay attention to LGBTQ students when one of them commits suicide. Last month, we witnessed a string of queer-related teen suicides across the U.S., with one of the victims being an eighth-grader who killed himself in Texas because he was "bullied to death" for being gay, according to his family.
Please join us for a very special evening with two incredible and inspiring contributors to Letters Lived: Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha and Rozena Maart!
Leah and Rozena will be reading from their contributions to Letters Lived and sharing conversation with Editor Sheila Sampath.