On Thursday morning, Tim Gottschall checked his mailbox at the Ocean Breeze apartment he shares with his partner in northwestern Dartmouth.
It was then that he says he saw homophobic slurs sprayed across the front of his apartment home.
“When you’re in your own home and you think you’re safe and secure… and you think you are surrounded by people that understand and then you find out this can happen,” says Gottschall. “It just turns your world upside down.”
Property managers at the apartment complex were quick to cover the slurs with coats of paint.
Community members did, however, see the hateful slurs and posted pictures of them with comments expressing shock, outrage and support for the residents and members of the LGBTQ2 community.
Gottschall says this isn’t the first time the apartment has been targeted with homophobic graffiti.
He says a similar incident happened four years ago.
“We’ve been going through hell, just hell,” says Gottschall. “You’re on edge all the time.”
Gottschall says he and his partner have also been receiving harassing phone calls from an unknown number.
“The phone rings, you jump… Should I answer it? Shouldn’t I answer it?” says Gottschall.
Acting Halifax Regional Police communications officer Const. Amy Edwards says police are aware of the emotional impact hateful words can have on people and communities.
“Any time something is spray-painted or written or painted on a building or a public place that has a message of hate is definitely disturbing not only to the person it was directed at but to the community in general,” says Edwards. “We do take this seriously and criminal charges could be the result of an investigation.”
The Halifax Regional Police department says it is investigating the incident.
Gottschall says he will speak to management about installing cameras. However, because of the incident, and the harassment he says they’ve faced, Gottschall says he and his partner are also considering moving.
“I never really felt safe here but now it’s just even more traumatic,” says Gottschall. “And the realization that we live in a very different world than what I had in my mind.”