We are calling on the City of Calgary to drop the charges against the teenagers protesting against transphobia and homophobia.
UPDATE: The petition worked!
Last week, the City of Calgary community standards division told Global News in an interview that they were only temporarily holding off on ticketing the two teenagers, investigating, and making a decision.
A few days ago they called Lou (the mother) and told her that the charges were still on the table.
Yesterday, the City of Calgary replied to our petition on Twitter:
“We respect Charter rights to peacefully protest as long as laws and bylaws are upheld. With respect to the Sunday Feb 19 protest, we are not proceeding with tickets to the 2 individuals that we later identified as being minors.
As is standard practice, we will use this as an opportunity to educate young people on Bylaw requirements instead. 2/2.”
This is a win for Lou and her kids. The city has made a public commitment not to ticket them. That’s significant, and we’re celebrating.
We also want to acknowledge that the city’s response is far from perfect. It doesn’t address why the charges were unjust in the first place or apologize to the family. And why would it take two weeks to decide that they’d follow what is apparently a standard practice in not ticketing minors?
I think our pressure worked, and that everyone who signed the petition should feel especially good about themselves today.
When council was debating this bylaw last year, some community members were warning that cops and bylaw officers would use it in EXACTLY this fashion – to target communities being bullied rather than protect them.
That’s why we also hope that this sends a strong message to cops and bylaw enforcement that the community won’t tolerate them using what is supposed to be an anti-harassment bylaw against people who are protesting against hate.
Ultimately, it’s not bylaws or cops that keep communities safe from hate – it’s all of you.
Here are three more things you can do right now to build a hedge of protection around our 2SLGBTQ+ neighbours.
Thank you everyone from the bottom of our hearts.
Evan & CAHN
On February 12, anti-2SLGBTQ+ activists held a protest outside Canyon Meadows Aquatic and Fitness Centre in Calgary. The group is opposed to trans people using washrooms and change rooms that match their gender identity. They also reportedly shouted homophobic slurs.
Allies and members of the 2SLGBTQ+ community showed up to counter-demonstrate. Two teenagers, who were accompanied by their mother, were charged under excessive noise bylaws, and one was charged under the new anti-harassment bylaw.
We have watched protests across Canada for years and we know that officers have discretion whether to lay a charge or not. This was a decision, and it’s a bad one.
The harassment bylaw was meant to protect victims. It shouldn’t protect harassers.
According to Global News:
“The main pastor called my children, devil ‘f’ slurs to their faces, my teenaged children.”
She said she was told she was pulled over for a burned-out tail light but the bylaw officer started writing up two tickets. One for excessive noise because of an amplification device used and another was under the street harassment bylaw.
After a lengthy discussion with police and bylaw, law enforcement officials decided to temporarily hold off on the fines for both James and Joseph until further investigation.”
The city is currently reviewing the situation to determine if the two teenagers will be fined. Help us send a message to the City of Calgary to drop the charges!
This family of upstanders should be celebrated, not punished. If we can’t get the city to drop these charges, the Canadian Anti-Hate Network will run a fundraiser for them. Send us an email at [email protected] if you’ll help pay their tickets, if it comes to that.
Thank you for your love and support!
P.S. According to the mother, the City of Calgary is considering laying charges against the hate preachers, and is looking for witness statements. This - right here - is a proper use of the bylaw. If you were there and witnessed harassment or felt harassed yourself, send us an email at [email protected].