No Hate In The Hammer Statement on anti-2SLGBTQ+ action at TerryBerry Library

The No Hate in the Hammer Coalition is asking all Hamilton citizens to denounce the organized hate and discrimination group that gathered at Terryberry Library on November 24th.

Yesterday at Terryberry Library an organized hate group, whose actions are part of a larger movement of organized hate groups across North America spreading hate, fear, violence, lies and discriminatory views against 2SLGBTQ communities and children, used a Drag Storytime event as an excuse to spread hate.  

We must all come to understand that hate speech is an abuse of freedom of expression. Thorbjørn Jagland, Secretary General of the Council of Europe, said, “The moment people start publicly inciting  violence, hostility or discrimination against a group of persons, then this is hate speech not free speech.”

Let it be clear, organized hate groups are not free to express hate and ignore Article 2 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, or the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and provincial and territorial human rights legislation, which provide legislative protection against discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression. We must not ignore this action as a one off, but rather recognize this as part of an organized hate movement, with many other groups spreading hatred and fear at 2SLGBTQ events across North America.

According to the Canadian Bar Association, “All children and youth have the right to be free from discrimination because of sex, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression.”

“The rights of children and youth with respect to sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression (SOGIE) apply to Canadian children and youth in a wide range of areas including (but not limited to) privacy, health care, sexual health education, identification documents, use of facilities, access to services, education (including gay-straight alliances, choice of companions at school events, and SOGIE inclusive curricula), employment, child protection, age of consent laws, youth justice and detention, and parental recognition.”

The 2SLGBTQ community is understandably feeling many emotions as they witness acts of hate repeatedly occur across Ontario and Canada. Undoubtedly, this includes feelings of anxiety, fear, sadness, anger, and many others. They deserve to have those feelings affirmed by public institutions like governments and police, but also by the Hamilton community as a whole. Currently, there are bomb threats against schools with gender diverse teachers in Ontario, Pride events are being threatened and protested across the country, political candidates for positions like school trustees are running on platforms seeking to explicitly harm and exclude 2SLGBTQ community members, the same “grooming” argument is being used against Trans people generally over gender-affirming medical care for children, a night club in Colorado Springs was just the site of a mass shooting, and hate crimes against 2SLGBTQ and other vulnerable communities are on the rise in Canada and elsewhere. It cannot rest solely on the 2SLGBTQ community to bear witness, defend against, and call out this pattern of hate and violence; we all have a role. Hamilton cannot be a home to hate.

Hamilton’s Community Response to Hate

Hamilton’s Community Response to Hate includes critical frameworks and practices that are necessary for addressing all levels of hate, racism, and discrimination including: decolonization; Anti-Racism and Anti-Oppression; calling in versus calling out; bridge building; and, steps for moving from allyship to meaningful solidarities as “co-conspirators.”

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