The word “love” flowed through the community of Ocean Breeze Village on Saturday, spelled out with balloons and flanked by hundreds of supporters.
The Stroll Through Oceanbreeze march was organized by Rouge Fatale, a well-known Halifax drag queen and one of the dozens of LGBTQ2 community members and allies taking a stand against hate.
“The thing is it took one person to create that hate and that one person’s hate created hundreds of love,” Fatale said, otherwise known as Jason Spurrell.
On July 25, Tim Gottschall and his partner were the targets of homophobic slurs sprayed across the front of their apartment in the community of Ocean Breeze Village.
Shaken but not backing down, Gottschall vocalized his dismay over the graffiti.
“It just turns your world upside down,” he said after the incident.
WATCH: Homophobic graffiti rocks Halifax community
While the graffiti was quickly painted over by property management, it didn’t take long for the LGBTQ2 community to rally around the couple and each other.
“To see it quickly go from something negative to positive — like, our love is stronger, our words are stronger, our pride is stronger,” Eleanor Michael said.
“We just became stronger and we’re going to continue to be stronger and this was a couple of emails to a couple of friends and it grew.”
With heels clicking through the hot summer streets, drag queens brought their flair to the march and showcased the unity the entire community and their allies stand for.
“We don’t back down. We’re not willing to just keep quiet and I don’t think our allies are willing to keep quiet,” said Stevie Styles, a Halifax-based drag queen.
“I think it shows that we keep pushing, we keep pushing those boundaries, we keep telling people that it’s not okay and we’re not going to sit by and let you do this to our people.”
Despite the graffiti’s hateful message, Michael says the community still has love for whoever is in need, even those who committed the act.
“If people have hate in their heart, we will still love them,” she said. “We will love them enough even if that hate is there. We will still care, we will still extend the hand of friendship out, we will still do all those things that make Pride, Pride.”