Nova Scotia

'Disgusting' posters ripped down ahead of Pride celebration

A woman on her way to the Halifax Pride Parade was shocked and dismayed to discover homophobic and transphobic posters in a busy downtown area.

Posters contained slur, inflammatory statements

The homophobic and transphobic posters were put up on a parking sign at Dalhousie's Sexton Campus. (Anjuli Patil/CBC)

Jennifer Pierce was on her way to the annual Halifax Pride Parade Saturday afternoon when she saw something that made her stomach turn.

Posted on the parking signs at Dalhousie's Sexton Campus were two makeshift posters displaying hateful homophobic and transphobic messages.

"They were offensive and disgusting and wrong," said Pierce, who was with her six-year-old son at the time.

"Especially on a day like today where we're celebrating pride and diversity and equality and acceptance."

One poster displayed a homophobic slur along with an inflammatory statement.

The other listed a number of "facts" — some of which were dubious — and painted transgender people in a negative light. It also had a rainbow-coloured biohazard symbol.

The signs looked new and were undamaged by the elements, and Pierce suspects they were posted to coincide with Pride celebrations.

"It really disappoints me to see something like that in my city," she said in a phone interview as she waited for the parade to start. "It really, really does."

Pierce said she ripped the posters down as soon as she saw them. (Anjuli Patil/CBC)

Pierce said she ripped the posters down as soon as she saw them.

She posted about the incident on Twitter, and Dalhousie University's security team quickly responded to thank her for taking the posters down and drawing their attention to them.

Brian Leadbetter, spokesperson for Dalhousie University, said members of the security team confirmed the posters had been taken down and reported the incident to Halifax Regional Police.

"This really is a day meant to be for celebration, respect and inclusion as the city celebrates the Pride Parade," he said.

"We're incredibly saddened by this, and this simply should not have happened."

Leadbetter said the university has dealt with hateful graffiti on campus in the past, and said this kind of behaviour is not tolerated at Dalhousie.

'Focus on the positive'

Pierce said she was pleased with campus security's fast response to the incident.

She said she had witnessed transphobia in Halifax before, but never so blatantly.

"I have someone really close to me who's transgender in the city, and they're having trouble finding employment and they get discriminated against," she said.

"So I know that the feeling is in the city, but to see it written down right in your face like that is kind of shocking."

Despite the poor start to the celebration, Pierce said she cheered up after seeing all the love and support radiating from those attending the parade.

"Given the crowd that's gathering for the parade, I think there's a lot more people who are accepting and celebrating than there are that feel like that," she said. 

"So I'm going to focus on the positive and enjoy the parade."