LGBTQ group denounces hate graffiti on Riverview rainbow crosswalk
'More education isn't going to end transphobia,' advocate says
A Moncton pride and LGBTQ advocacy group is denouncing the vandals who scrawled anti-LGBTQ slurs on a rainbow crosswalk at Riverview High School.
"It was definitely not great news for myself and for members of our community," said Charles MacDougall, project co-ordinator for River of Pride. "We are angry."
MacDougall said he's heard of vandalism on other rainbow crosswalks in the province, but this case is more serious because of the crosswalk's location in front of the school and the time the vandals apparently spent defacing it with skid marks and spray paint.
"Queer youth and trans youth are the most vulnerable to mental health troubles or to not receiving support from family members and from friends. So our priority is to make sure that youth feel safe, especially youth that are in Riverview High School."
Photos of the vandalism were shared widely on social media with many residents sharing their shock.
Meghan Cross, communications co-ordinator for the Town of Riverview, said that after the graffiti was reported on Saturday, a crew was sent to try to power wash the slurs away, with some success.
"The outcry and disappointment from the community at large upon seeing those photos demonstrates how strongly the community feels for its support of the LGBTQ community here in Riverview," Cross said.
The town has two other rainbow crosswalks. The crosswalk at the school was painted last week.
MacDougall said the support from the community is great, but it is important to strongly denounce these kinds of acts.
"If they're not denounced then the people who did this … the perpetrators could think that they'd be allowed to go to the next step and to harass people or to commit hate crimes," he said.
Education and awareness are often said to be the way to fight homophobia, but MacDougall said this won't solve the problem.
"More education isn't going to end transphobia. It's not going to end homophobia. We need to make bigotry inconvenient."
Codiac RCMP said the investigation into the vandalism is continuing and ask anyone with information to call the detachment or CrimeStoppers.
Cross said the walkway will be repainted as soon as possible, hopefully by the end of the week.
With files from Information Morning Moncton