TORONTO – Kingston Police have launched a criminal investigation after a gay couple allegedly received two homophobic letters threatening violence unless the couple leaves town.
After opening with a derogatory remark, the letter continues:
“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.”
The hateful missive makes a point to say that their attacks are not personal, but are only directed towards the couple because of their sexuality.
They go on to threaten an escalating level of harassment should the couple not comply.
The group claims in the letter to have sources within the Kingston Police department, and claims it has been successful in forcing gay couples to leave Kingston, “through a set of incentives and effective persuasion.”
Donna Harrington of the Kingston Police Department confirmed that a Major Crimes detective are investigating the case.
When asked whether there was any credence to the letter’s claims of having forced others to leave Kingston before, she said, “I rather doubt that. Not that I’m aware of.”
A second letter, purportedly written by the same group, threatened to shoot the couple with BB guns, indicating that their younger members could use them for target practice.
Ellen Foster is one of several Kingston residents who have taken to social media to protest the letters.
Foster has said that she has been in touch with the couple, but they do not wish to involve the media at this time.
The letters have also come to the attention of Deb Kinder, the women’s community development coordinator at the HIV/AIDS Regional Services (HARS), an LGBTQ outreach organization in Kingston.
Kinder says that level of bigotry towards the gay community is out of character for Kingston.
“This is a huge anomaly. I have a lot of faith that these letters would be abhorrent to the vast amount of Canadians,” she said.
However, it isn’t without precedence. After initially learning of the letters, Kinder asked around to see whether anyone else had received letters.
She found that another couple had apparently received similar letters a few years ago, but having not seen the letters, she could not confirm their content.
Kinder did recall one other notable instance of recent homophobia – at this year’s Pride parade in Kingston.
Just after people started marching, a green van stopped in the middle of the parade route.
Though she eventually complied, Kinder said she parked the van across from the parade route, with religious stickers pointing towards the crowd, and her face in the other direction.
Anyone with information about the letters, or has received similar letters is being asked to contact Det. Gobeil at firstname.lastname@example.org (613)549-4660 x6190.