QUEEN’S PARK – MPP Terence Kernaghan (London North Centre) released the following statement in support of the 2SLGBTQI+ community, and an NDP bill to protect drag events from homophobic harassment and threats:
“Drag is an incredible, vibrant part of our London community. Events like Drag Queen story time have become increasingly popular with families and children as a place of love and acceptance – but they have faced increasing protests and harassment in recent months as well.
No one should live in fear for living their truth and sharing their art. In surrounding areas like Sarnia, the queer community fought hate with love in an "All You Need is Love" rally, which outnumbered the protesters. But they shouldn’t have to fight back alone.
In Queen’s Park today I continued that fight for love and acceptance with Marit Stiles and the Ontario NDP, as we supported MPP Kristyn Wong-Tam’s (Toronto Centre) private member’s bill to protect drag events from harassment and threats.
The government must support this legislation and put a stop to the alarming rise in hateful action against drag artists and 2SLGBTQI+ community. This bill is especially important for drag performers in smaller communities like London and Sarnia, where artists have fewer places to perform and less protection.
I join my NDP colleagues in calling on Doug Ford to do the right thing and protect drag artists, protect safe spaces for the queer community, and show support for the rights of the 2SLGBTQI+ community."
The Protecting 2SLGBTQI+ Communities Act’s first schedule would allow the Attorney General to designate addresses in Ontario as 2SLGBTQI+ Community Safety Zones for a specified period of time. During the time a safety zone is in effect, anti-2SLGBTQI+ harassment, intimidation, and hate speech within 100 metres of the designated address could receive a provincial fine of up to $25,000.
The bill’s second schedule would strike an advisory committee made up of MPPs and diverse queer and trans community members who will provide recommendations to prevent and combat anti-2SLGBTQI+ hate crimes in Ontario. Wong-Tam’s bill is co-sponsored by the Ontario NDP’s 2SLGBTQI+ caucus: MPPs Jill Andrew (Toronto – St. Paul), Lise Vaugeois (Thunder Bay – Superior North), and Terence Kernaghan (London North Centre).