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Homophobic Rally Planned in Toronto — But LGBTQ+ Groups Are Ready


Anti-gay, anti-immigrant groups plan to march through the city's gayborhood.

Toronto is gearing up for a homophobic group's upcoming march through the city's queer enclave.

According to the Toronto Star, a group called "Christian Positive Space" will march along Church Street through the Gay Village to Davenport Road on Sept. 28. One of the event organizers, David Lynn, was previously arrested in the neighborhood after harassing LGBTQ+ people. Christian Positive Space maintains a website with typical anti-gay rhetoric, denigrating the "lifestyle choices of the LGBT community."

Toronto Councilor Kristyn Wong-Tam wrote in a Facebook post that she's working with local police and LGBTQ+ groups to "avert confrontation and violence.

According to Wong-Tam, the homophobic march will be joined by an unnamed anti-Muslim organization. That group is thought to be PEGIDA, an anti-immigrant organization that has previously been involved in violent scuffles in Toronto. Though PEGIDA had previously scheduled a rally for Sept. 28, the group says they cancelled their event due to member interest in the CPS rally.

"The Village is -- as it always has been, and will continue to be -- a safe and inclusive community space for all," Wong-Tam wrote. "Hate is never welcomed in The Village or anywhere else in Toronto."

"We are organizing to protect our community and will stand unified against all forms of bigotry, including homophobia and transphobia," she added.

In response to the rally, the queer support group The 519 is planning a counterprotest at St. James Park, starting at 11:30 a.m. local time on the lawn of the St. James Cathedral. Those organizers are asking for help making banners and posters.

The CPS march is scheduled to start at noon, and The 519 says marchers should be "prepared to wait with us to defend our neighbourhoods and communities."

The group All Out Against Fascism is also planning a counter-rally. Theirs will be at Berczy Park, and organizers expressed their intent to "shut down" the "fascist, anti-queer, anti-immigrant, and anti-Muslim ... attempts to take the streets of Toronto."

According to The 519, this is just the latest example of homophobic rhetoric targeting people and businesses in the Village. The organization cited recent incidents of hateful graffiti and hate mail as examples, as well as the times that CPS organizer Lynn brought a loudspeaker into the neighborhood to harangue passers-by.

In addition, a street preacher named Dorre Love was arrested this year for harassing a trans march during Pride in the Village. Love also interrupted a Drag Queen Story Time event, telling the children present that they were going to hell.

Out emailed The 519 for comment but has not heard back. This piece will be updated if the group responds.

RELATED | Toronto Rainbow Crosswalk Vandalized with Swastika

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Matt Baume