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N.S. activists call for action against rise in transphobia, homophobia

Click to play video: 'Safety concerns for Nova Scotia’s LGBTQ+ community amid reports of hateful incidents'
Safety concerns for Nova Scotia’s LGBTQ+ community amid reports of hateful incidents
WATCH: Reports of hateful incidents against the trans and queer community across Nova Scotia are drawing the attention of activists and politicians. As Megan King reports, concern is growing for the safety of those in the LGBTQ+ community. – May 1, 2023

It was on April 5 that Halifax resident Susanne Litke heard a knock at her door and answered to find her Pride flag torn to pieces, laying on her front porch.

“I was shaken, there’s no question. It really hit right to my core,” the Nova Scotia Rainbow Action Project (NS RAP) board member said.

A queer lawyer and activist for decades, Litke said that she has never had her personal space impacted in the way that it was on that day.

“We’ve experienced these sorts of traumas and hatred and misunderstandings as well for many, many, many decades,” said Litke. “But I thought we had made some progress.”

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The act of hate is one of multiple reports of action against the queer community in Nova Scotia as of late.

Last week, the Pride flag at a Tantallon high school was burned.

“If these actions are happening in high schools, on people’s front porches, there is a fair amount of education that is still lacking,” Litke said.

NDP MLA Lisa Lachance hears from people across the province on the daily — worried about an increase in violence and hate towards LGBTQ2 people.

“I am the only, you know, sort of ‘out’ queer MLA at this point,” said Lachance. “I get a lot of people in the community also contacting me. But also parents saying, you know, ‘I don’t feel like my children are safe in school right now. And I want them to be safe, so what can we do.'”

They are now calling for a meeting with the Nova Scotia Minister of Education to discuss next steps for keeping queer youths safe when at school.

“We can’t ignore or forget those who are falling through the cracks and who really need our help,” SHYFT Youth Services Executive Director Adam Dolliver said.

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Operating out of Yarmouth, Dolliver works with homeless youth — many of whom are transgender or non-binary — and says he definitely has seen an increase in violence toward them.

“And it is directly influenced by, I think, what’s happening in the United States right now,” he said.

Lachance thinks Canadians need to recognize that the forces that are spreading hate and intolerance across the United States are also doing that across Canada.

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