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.
“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.