(Photo stills from Kate Green @ Kate Green Films)
My partner and I have for the last year been the target of harassment and homophobia on our little street in Toronto. It escalated in the last month to hate speech, centered around my being a butch dyke, and then targeting both of us with (amongst other things) threats based on homophobia. While I experience homophobia in my everyday life either around my gender, or obvious queerness and I deal with it directly where I can, it is a completely different thing to see my partner subjected to it. I am impacted differently when I witness the homophobia happening to someone else, especially someone I love. It is impossible for me to stand by and not advocate for her safety with her and (with her terms in mind) for her. Throughout the past month or so I’ve posted about the hate and homophobic harassment on Facebook, alerting my community to what is happening, and I’ve taken a lot of heat for speaking up. But after we were subjected to hours of an onslaught two weeks ago, my friend Dino told me about an action by neighbours on another street in Toronto in response to homophobia, and that set me in motion. With one email, my neighbour Daphne informed our small street what was happening, and invited them to meet up with the two of us last weekend and display the solidarity and pride sign my colleague Annie created, and fly one of the many rainbow flags I picked up (we ran out of both.) Now 20 houses are flying daily reminders that our neighbourhood will not tolerate hatred and homophobia, and that we aim to create a community based on respect, moving beyond acceptance. When I walk on Bright Street, I’m proud on more than one level and the solidarity is helping us deal with the level of ignorance and hate we are subjected to on a daily basis. I’m grateful every day.