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2SLGBTQ+ advocate says rural communities must take stronger stand against hate 

A local advocate for 2SLGBTQ+ communities is calling on more people in rural areas to take a stand against hate.  

This, following a day when protests over gender ideology and the way sexuality issues are taught in school took place across the country. 

While participants in a 1 Million March 4 Children protest in Bancroft say they were not protesting the 2SLGBTQ+ community itself, groups such as the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario said the protests were spreading hate and were undermining the “rights and dignity” of 2SLGBTQ+ students. 

Hastings Highlands resident Roy Mitchell, an organizer of Pride events in the area, says he’s disappointed municipalities like Bancroft and Hastings Highlands didn’t release statements to denounce the protests.  

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“I think in small communities there’s a fear of rocking the boat,” he says. “You don’t want to rock the boat because the guy who fixed your plumbing might be [anti- 2SLGBTQ+] and you don’t want to lose your plumber and there’s only one [in town].”

“If you go shopping, and the cashier is anti-gay, you still have to be pleasant. You still have to live in this world. In a bigger city, you can say I’ll go shopping where I feel welcome and loved.” 

In an earlier interview, Bancroft Mayor Paul Jenkins said the town denied a permit application for the protest over worries the demonstration would be “divisive.” He stressed Bancroft is “welcoming to everyone.” 

But Mitchell hopes rural leaders will do more to support 2SLGBTQ+ issues. He says watching news of the protests across the country was “gut-wrenching,” adding that such protests are particularly scary for trans youth. 

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