Montreal Pride says increase in hateful online comments a result of far-right discourse
Organization's vice-president says volume of homophobic, transphobic comments unprecedented
Montreal Pride organizers say they've experienced an increase in homophobic and transphobic comments on social media in the past year.
Since May, Montreal Pride has recorded more than 1,000 hateful messages on various online platforms.
The organization's vice-president Jean-Sébastien Boudreault said this volume of insulting comments has never been seen before.
"We've seen a difference since last year," Boudreault said. "We're paying attention. We're in communication with police. We're in communication with many people to try to see if these words will turn into actions."
Neither Montreal police nor the Centre for the Prevention of Radicalization have reported an increase in the number of homophobic incidents. About a dozen cases are reported each year, and the numbers remain stable.
Benjamin Ducol from the Centre for the Prevention of Radicalization said that the number of reports for hateful online comments published on social media or on news articles has indeed increased.
Boudreault said far-right movements in the United States and overseas have influenced people's views in Canada.
"When leaders allow for hate speech in public discourse, people let more and more things slide. Nowadays, these hateful comments can be made from behind a screen," he said.
Ducol said the alt-right goes even further than the far-right in terms of homophobic thought.
The alt-right, he said, promotes the idea that homosexuality is unnatural, but has developed a new discourse arguing that gender identity and sexual orientation is perverting Western identity.
"Alt-right groups are involved in promoting homophobic and transphobic discourses on social networks and other online platforms," Ducol said.
Based on a report by Radio-Canada