Pride Month, as we all know and love it, has finally returned to Toronto after two years of moderated, scaled-down, virtualized, or outright canceled celebrations, and the city is eager to once again celebrate its diverse 2SLGBTQ+ communities in person. .
Unfortunately, the same easing of restrictions that allowed this annual event to go ahead is also attracting some unsavory characters to the village of Church Wellesley.
I’m talking about those weird homophobic street preachers who seem content to spew hate from Yonge-Dundas Square most of the year, but flock to The Village every June to… I don’t even know what they are trying to do. Reach a highly targeted audience? Convince tourists who came for Pride to go home?
All they really manage to do is hurt and enrage people on their own turf, for a month meant to celebrate all the hard-earned progress they have made as a community in terms of human rights. man, equality and the ability to be themselves.
It’s a real blow of con, objectively speaking, whatever his religious beliefs.
Don’t take my word for it – you can hear them spouting bullshit, through a portable (and rather loud) speaker system on the corner of Yonge and Wellesley right now about how gay people are child molesters promiscuous (?!?)
Homophobic street preachers are back at Toronto’s Church-Wellesley Village just in time for Pride Month 😬 😬 😬 #PrideTO
📹: Justin M. pic.twitter.com/bdGzCCe1oP
—blogTO (@blogTO) June 7, 2022
In years past, preachers like the one seen in the video above (primarily a man named David Lynn) have incited community members to the point where the police had to intervene.
This year, after the pandy and under sunny, hopeful skies, some locals took a different approach to fighting hate — in creative, peaceful, and hilarious ways.
Justin M., a 33-year-old financial industry professional who has lived in The Village for about two years, tells blogTO that he and his boyfriend were able to hear a “homophobic Christian” preach on a loudspeaker from their living room on Sunday. .
Upon hearing that he would be back at the same location at 6 p.m. the next day, Justin “decided to get creative” with an answer.
“I don’t know what group he was associated with, but he was definitely trying to provoke,” he told blogTO of the preacher, who didn’t appear to be Lynn.
“At first he blamed us for holding hands, and I reacted first by getting in his face, then I realized they were trying to provoke a response.”
“So we went home and got a whistle and a loudspeaker to use a non-confrontational method of fighting back and it worked really well,” he said, sharing video footage of the fitness trainer 28-year-old Sébastien Dufour whistling repeatedly to drown out the preacher. .
During that time, Justin says, they played some of Lady Gaga’s most iconic tunes on speakerphone, including “Rain on Me” and “Born this Way.”
A little creativity goes a long way in the fight against hate 🙂 #PrideTO
📹: Justin M. pic.twitter.com/EwFa7W2dpF
—blogTO (@blogTO) June 7, 2022
The preacher, who appeared to be representing something called “The Ministry of the Word”, was clearly a little taken aback by the display.
In one of the videos shared on Instagram by Dufour, the preacher laughs uncomfortably and says something including the words “because they were hurt” and “maybe they didn’t have a father growing up.
In another video, he says something about something that “leads to homosexual tendencies” and “but the Bible says God can heal these people.”
Yeah, that’s messed up, but these lovely men from Toronto proved with ease this week that a little creativity and fun can go a long way in combating hate.
“I wish more people would participate in a fun, non-confrontational way so the city can show its support for the community,” Justin told blogTO. Or better yet, “I wish something was done so people could put up speakers in the corners and preach hateful rhetoric…it attacked passers-by very directly.”
“Although we accept that their religious beliefs do not match our values, that does not give them the right to attack us,” he said of the preachers. “Respect is a two-way street and our community will always come together to drown out the hateful voices of the few.”