Heroes drown out homophobic preacher with Lady Gaga songs in Toronto's Village
Pride Month as we all know and love it has finally returned to Toronto after two years of subdued, scaled-back, virtualized or flat out cancelled celebrations, and the city is raring to fête its diverse 2SLGBTQ+ communities in person once again.
Sadly, the same loosening of restrictions that have allowed this annual event to move forward are also drawing some unsavoury characters back into the Church Wellesley Village.
I'm talking about those weird homophobic street preachers who seem content to spew hate from Yonge-Dundas Square most of the year, but flock to The Village every June to... I don't even know what they're trying to do. Reach a highly-targeted audience? Convince tourists who've come for Pride to go home?
All they really manage to do is hurt and enrage people on their own turf, during a month meant to celebrate all of the hard-won progress they've made as a community in terms of human rights, equality and the ability to be themselves.
It's a real d*ck move, objectively speaking, regardless of one's religious beliefs.
Don't take my word for it — you can hear them spewing bullsh*t, through a portable (and rather powerful) speaker system at the corner of Yonge and Wellesley right now about how queer people are promiscuous child molesters (?!?)
Homophobic street preachers have returned to Toronto's Church-Wellesley Village just in time for Pride Month 😬 😬 😬 #PrideTO— blogTO (@blogTO) June 7, 2022
📹: Justin M. pic.twitter.com/bdGzCCe1oP
In years past, preachers like the one seen in the video above (chiefly a man named David Lynn) have incited community members to the point where police had to intervene.
This year, post-pandy and under a sunny, hopeful sky, some locals took a different approach to combatting the hate — creatively, peacefully and hilariously.
Justin M., a 33-year-old financial industry professional who's been living in The Village for about two years, tells blogTO that he and his boyfriend could hear a "homophobic Christian" preaching over a loudspeaker from their living room on Sunday.
Upon hearing that he'd be back at the same spot at 6 p.m. the next day, Justin "decided to get creative" with a response.
"I don't know what group he was associated with but he was definitely trying to provoke," he told blogTO of the preacher, who did not appear to be Lynn.
"Initially, he gay bashed us for holding hands, and I initially reacted by getting in his face, and then I realized they were trying to provoke a response."
"So we went home and got a whistle and speaker to use a non-confrontational method to fight back and it worked great," he said, sharing video footage of 28-year-old fitness coach Sebastien Dufour whistling repeatedly to drown out the preacher.
Meanwhile, Justin says, they played some of Lady Gaga's most-iconic tracks on a speaker, including "Rain on Me" and "Born this Way."
A little creativity goes a long way in the fight against hate :) #PrideTO— blogTO (@blogTO) June 7, 2022
📹: Justin M. pic.twitter.com/EwFa7W2dpF
The preacher, who appeared to be repping for something called "The Ministry of The Word," was clearly a bit thrown by the display.
In one of the videos shared to Instagram by Dufour, the preacher laughs uncomfortably and says something including the words "because they've been hurt" and "maybe they didn't have a dad growing up."
In another video, he says something about something that "leads to homosexual tendencies" and "but the bible says God can heal these people."
Yeah, it's messed up, but these delightful Toronto men proved with ease this week that a little bit of creativity and fun can go a long way when combatting hate.
"I would love if more people participated in a fun non confrontational way so the city can show its support for the community," said Justin to blogTO. Or better still, "I would like to see something done about people being able to set up speakers on corners and preach hateful rhetoric… it was very directly attacking people walking by."
"While we accept that their religious beliefs do not align with our values that doesn't give them the right to attack us," he said of the preachers. "Respect goes both ways and our community will always come together to drown out the hateful voices of the few."
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