Anonymous submission to MTL Counter-info
On the 2nd of April (this Sunday) a far-right group with close ties to evangelical and conspiracy movements has called for a protest of a drag queen story hour hosted by Barbada, at the Ville Sainte-Catherine municipal library. This group is openly transphobic and homophobic and has explicitly indicated that this new effort targeted at child-friendly drag performances is the beginning of a campaign against our community.
Faced with this reality, a network of trans individuals, groups and allies has elected to launch a call to counter-protest this far-right presence and protect the event and the families attending the story hour. Other individuals/groups have also made calls supporting a similar reaction.
In the last few days, Barbada has opposed these tactics and prefers a non-confrontational strategy: to ignore the far-right presence in the hopes that by ignoring them we may limit their visibility and potential growth. Some initiatives have been cancelled to respect Barbada’s will.
We have elected to maintain our call to action and maintain our presence on the ground. While we respect the other groups’ strategic and political choices, we consider our strategy to be preferable, here’s why:
First, we must understand that this campaign is just emerging here in Québec and also reflects the importation of a movement with a strong presence in North America. This movement is organized against child friendly Drag shows, specifically story hours, with the goal of creating a predation narrative (grooming panic) around « transgenderism ». This effort has already led to the adoption of anti-drag/anti-trans laws in the United States (https://ici.radio-canada.ca/nouvelle/1966780/interdiction-spectacle-drag-show-etats-unis-enfants). These recent developments are what follows in a larger movement which favors the oppression – and eventual eradication – of trans people. With this in mind, we cannot tolerate the appearance of this movement on the territory on which we live our lives.
Ultimately, this is about our security and our survival. (These movements come too often with waves of murders targeting trans people, especially trans women.)
It also seems to us be a poor analysis to believe that this situation only concerns Barbada as an individual. While her performance is indeed being targeted, with the possibility that this situation can have repercussions on her career, this far-right group and its protest are not just about Barbada. We are all affected by their actions and their discourse. To do nothing might be the best course of action for Barbada’s activities, but that would be sending the message that we let these groups operate unopposed. It is unfortunate that Barbada finds herself in the middle of all of this, and we sympathize with the situation. However, we consider it necessary to oppose this proto-fascist group and any others who might want to erase our existence whenever and wherever they might show their ugly faces. We have neither hopes nor expectations for police and politicians to protect us.
We express all this in a spirit of honesty and dialogue. We invite all drag/trans defenders to listen to their conscience when choosing how they want to act in response to this situation. We are not looking to denounce anyone for their choice of strategies or actions, and hope to receive the same treatment from our community.
With love and solidarity.