Something very bizarre and troubling is going on in Kingston, Ontario: at least one lesbian couple has received homophobic threatening letters.
According to the Huffington Post, Kim Renders of Queens University first posted a copy of the letter to Facebook earlier today and it’s been shared far and wide, which is how I first saw it. If you haven’t seen it, here’s a picture and the full text is posted at the end of this article for anyone using reading software:
A picture of the second letter was shared soon after:
This is highly messed-up and, frankly, scary. At this point we don’t know very much, but the online outrage and disbelief I’ve seen in response has been encouraging, as well as comments from Kingston residents to local media. It’s clear many have a strong understanding that the hate experienced by the lesbian couple in Kingston should have no place in Canada.
Global News interviewed Deb Kinder, the women’s community development coordinator at the HIV/AIDS Regional Services (HARS), an LGBTQ outreach organization in Kingston.
“This is a huge anomaly [for Kingston]. I have a lot of faith that these letters would be abhorrent to the vast amount of Canadians,” she said.
However, the Kingston Whig-Standard reports that there have been other incidents of homophobic hate directed at the local LGBTQ community:
On May 31, anti-gay posters were plastered around Confederation Basin downtown prior to the city’s flag raising ceremony, which marked the beginning of Pride Month in the city. She said city workers removed them before commencing the ceremony, and Kingston Police officers were present for security purposes.
Kinder also said another same-sex couple in Kingston reached out to her and told her they had also received similar letters a few years ago, but couldn’t confirm if it was by the same group.
“Other people’s license plates have been removed and dented and tossed aside,” she added. “This year during Pride Parade there was also a woman who basically parked too prevent the parade from moving any further, and when the police asked her to move she refused.”
Anyone in Kingston who has received similar letters or has any tips on who might be sending the letters is advised to contact Det. Gobeil at firstname.lastname@example.org (613)549-4660, ext. 6190.
When looking at tweets about this story, I came across another incident of homophobic hate mail being sent. Further south in the Village of Port Stanley, Ontario, a restaurant owner received an anonymous letter after she placed an ad in the local Pridefest program.
Suzanne Van Bommel, who owns Me and Suzie’s Restaurant, received a letter this morning stating:
“It was Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve. To support gay prides is disgusting and may negatively impact your business.”
Van Bommel’s response was that she supports Pride and if the letter-writer is a patron of hers, she doesn’t want their business.
Despite the quick responses in both situations condemning the hate mail, these incidents are a sobering reminder that we still have far to go in Canada before an LGBT person can feel they can come out and live openly as who they are without fear of violence or intimidation.
We are a small but dedicated group of Kingston residents devoted to removing the scourge of homosexuality in our city. We know you and have been following you for the past several weeks and we wish for you to leave this city, before it is too late, for you. This will be the first of many reminders, each escalating to higher and higher levels of harassment and derailment. Since we have nothing personal against you, only against your sexuality, we suggest you move to more conductive climes like Vancouver, or preferably San Francisco.
Our base, head office in Deep South, has been energized by the recent US Supreme Court decisions legalizing same sex marriage. We feel that unless homosexuals reconvert to heterosexuality that life under this planet, under the umbrella of our Lord Jesus Christ, will become unbearable. Having observed you, we feel that you are committed lesbians unlikely to convert, hence this (first and only) gentle attempt to make you move.
If you do not, and take this letter to police, as we expect, we will know about this, since we have contacts in Kingston Police. Our efforts to relocate you will escalate. We wish to avoid this scenario. We are primarily non-violent, but use violence surgically to persuade people. We hope you understand without us painting to lurid a picture.
In the last several years we have relocated a few people like you from the Kingston area, through a set of incentives and effective persuasion. Please join their ranks ASAP. We will watch and wait, and then strike, at home and office, as need arises. These are not empty threats. MOVE, or else!
Thank you for your attention. We await effective action on your part, ASAP> You are not going to be safe at home, office or anywhere else if you ignore this message! However if you take this seriously, and make attempts to move, someone from our organization will contact you to make your relocation easier financially. If, additionally, you persuade another couple like yourselves to move, we will provide them financial assistance and yourselves a bonus for your help. We are a committed bunch and come hell of high water, we will move you out. Best under congenial circumstances, don’t you think? In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, our saviour.”
As a followup, we had a group meeting yesterday on how best to deal with you. Some of our younger members want to have some fun cahsing “lesbos”. We have brought them BB guns and today they are doing target practice, so that they can hunt you down. It is regrettable that in Canada, real guns are hard to find, so BB it shall be. I can assure you BB pellets hurt!!
This is thrilling for the youngsters not so much to older members who would much rather see serious action rather than playing with BB guns. However youngsters also want to have their fun, and what better targets than you?
Take our previous letter seriously or fun and games will turn into deadly serious action.
(photo CC-licensed via Wikimedia Commons, by EverXAfter).