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Organizer shares examples of online hate sent to North Bay Pride

'Then, of course, there is all the misinformation about sexualizing children or performing in front of children, or trans folks using the washroom'
Jason Maclennan, North Bay Pride's communications director speaks at the 2023 Pride launch in June.

NORTH BAY — North Bay Pride's Jason Maclennan is known locally for his outspoken views and unwavering support for the 2SLGBTQI+ community — often through his Life Through Queer Eyes column found on BayToday​​​​​​.

In response to the frequent comments Maclennan sees or hears doubting the legitimacy of the need for safe spaces for the 2SLGBTQI+ community, the communications director for North Bay Pride is sharing examples of recent online hate the group has been targeted with.

"We have seen comments online like, 'People like you need to be put in a wood chipper,' and 'You should be chained to the back of motorcycles and dragged through downtown to send a clear message you are not wanted here — to you and everyone else like you.'

"Then, of course, there is all the misinformation about sexualizing children or performing in front of children, or trans folks using the washroom," he adds.

On Monday, North Bay Pride announced due to the "alarming rise in hate both in person and online," it would not hold its traditional pride parade this year. "Instead, the organization will return to the streets with a united march for equity and inclusion, sending a powerful message against the denial of someone's identity and the hate that accompanies it."

See related: 'Alarming rise' in hate prompts Pride parade name change

Following the organization's announcement, Kristyn Wong-Tam, the Ontario NDP's Critic on 2SLGBTQ+ Issues stated they are "discouraged" by North Bay Pride's decision to forego the traditional parade scheduled for the organization's September Pride Week to hold a march instead.

Wong-Tam, the Toronto Centre MPP also publicly called on Premier Doug Ford and Nipissing MPP Vic Fedeli to address Pride safety.

"I am heartbroken to think of the young Queer and Trans Ontarians who will now not get to go to their first full Pride in their home city due to safety threats," said Toronto Centre MPP Wong-Tam. "I am also discouraged to hear about the lack of action and engagement from North Bay’s local MPP on this matter. Intentional or not, this sends a clear message to Ontarians that if you are Two-Spirit, Queer, or Trans, this government will not have your back."

North Bay Pride is grateful for Wong-Tam's support.

"Going back to a protest instead of celebrating who we are, is one of the biggest disappointments in any community," Maclennan says. "When you see a local MPP and Premier of a province remaining silent when they are asked for help, that should be frightening for everyone because you now need to worry about what their real agenda is."

Maclennan says Ford has not shown support for legislation to establish safe zones for the community, which would help prevent violence against marginalized voices. Wong-Tam, a co-sponsor of Bill 94 agrees, saying the Ontario New Democrats have called on Ford's Conservatives for action through this legislation that would "give the provincial government real tools to protect our communities."

According to Mark Pelayo, a spokesperson for Minister of Citizenship and Multiculturalism Michael Ford, “There is no place for hate in Ontario. No one should live in fear for being who they are and loving whoever they choose. Ontario is proud to be home to a vibrant 2SLGBTQQIA+ community. Our government has and will continue to combat hate and discrimination in all its forms to build a stronger and inclusive society for everyone, including 2SLGBTQQIA+ communities. We are investing $25.5 million through the Anti-Hate Security and Prevention Grant to help protect faith, Indigenous and cultural community spaces from hate-motivated incidents, graffiti, vandalism and other damage, and ensure these communities have a safe environment to express their beliefs. Based on discussions with community partners, including 2SLGBTQQIA+ organizations, the grant has been redesigned and expanded to ensure additional organizations can benefit and more safety and security measures are covered.”

See also: North Bay Pride unveils September lineup — says hate unwelcome

North Bay Pride Week runs from September 13 to 17.


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Stu Campaigne

About the Author: Stu Campaigne

Stu Campaigne is a full-time news reporter for, focusing on local politics and sharing our community's compelling human interest stories.
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