CALGARY – Days after Pride and Trans crosswalks were spray-painted with graffiti on Stephen Ave, another case of vandalism on a rainbow crosswalk has popped up.
Sunday morning, Nolan Hill tweeted a photo that had been circulating on social media of “shoot a f*****” scrawled on the Nolan Hill pride crosswalk in what appears to be permanent marker.
“It’s frustrating to see. Having seen the news stories about previous vandalism was hard, but this was so much more violent and aggressive and it’s really hard to see when it’s something that makes you feel unsafe,” shared Hill.
Doctor Kristopher Wells shared the image.
More vandalism of #yyc Pride crosswalks. This is most certainly a hate crime that should be fully investigated.
It’s also a crime against intelligence when you can’t even spell your hate correctly. pic.twitter.com/AlcdKynY11
— Dr. Kristopher Wells (@KristopherWells) August 18, 2019
“This is particularly alarming due to the violent comment. Hate speech is really what this is,” Wells said. “It’s pretty unambiguous what this person feels.”
Wells is calling on the Calgary Police Service to step in and open an investigation.
“I have not yet seen this kind of blatant message that basically LGBTQ+ people should be killed, should be shot… We have to take all of these threats very seriously,” said the Canada research chair for the public understanding of sexual and gender minority youth at Edmonton’s MacEwan University.
“We’ve seen this elsewhere in Canada where people have been charged for vandalism.”
Last week the hate crimes coordinator was called in following vandalism on the downtown crosswalks.
Wells said this kind of targeted vandalism is very concerning and these kinds of attacks reverberate through an entire community.
“It’s very disconcerting. Hate crimes strike fear and terror into an entire community and hopefully what we’ll see is Calgarians rally against these messages of hate with messages of pride, love, and support.”
He also encourages more downtown businesses to decorate their storefronts with pride messages and rainbows and show “these kinds of values are not the values of Calgarians” and shouldn’t be tolerated.
“It’s sad to see this kind of hate and ignorance in our communities, but we know it’s there. And we can replace these messages of hate with love and acceptance.”
Hill hopes that he hopes Calgary is a place for people to live the lives they want to live.
“People [should be] comfortable to be themselves and live their authentic lives without fear of violence or fear of discrimination. Unfortunately, we do see that not everyone shares those same values.”
Hill calls on LGBTQ+ allies to step up and call out trans- or homophobic rhetoric to create a safer environment for everyone.
As far as the pending cleanup goes, Wells and Hill both applaud the painting company and the city for their quick work in clearing the graffiti whenever situations like this arise.
Pride in Calgary runs from Aug. 23 to Sept. 2.
-with files from Kayla Bruch