Canadian MP Wong-Tam has introduced legislation that criminalizes “offensive remarks” within 100 meters of Drag Queen Story Hours in Ontario.
Canada May Soon Criminalize Drag Story Hour Critics
Member of Provincial Parliament (MPP) Kristyn Wong-Tam is seeking to “create … community safety zones” that would prohibit “any homophobic/transphobic act of intimidation, threat, offensive threats, offensive remarks, protests, disturbance and distribution of hate propaganda” within 100 meters of drag show venues, the politician said.
The bill establishes “2SLGBTQI+ Community Safety Zones” for the events, where it would be illegal to make statements against them.
Wong-Tam, a member of Ontario’s New Democratic Party (NDP) who prefers to use “they/them” pronouns, cited the recent backlash against drag performances in the US as a reason for the legislation, stating that organized protests against Drag Queen Story Hours have also taken place in Canada.
Violations of the safety zones could result in a penalty of up to $25,000.
Wong-Tam said that protests, disturbance, and distribution of hateful propaganda would violate the criminal code.
Wong-Tam And Her Strategy
“The topic that brings us here is deadly serious,” Wong-Tam said, according to CBC. “The rise of hate and violence facing the 2SLGBTQI-plus communities, including the drag artists, happening across Ontario and right (across) the nation has been alarming. Drag artists, their audiences, the businesses and the facilities that host those drag performances have been put at risk.”
Wong-Tam continued, “Unless we put forward a strategy to protect them, Ontario’s social, economic and cultural richness is under attack. We have to protect that.”
The Bill Receives Pushback
The bill has received criticism from some, who compare it to blasphemy laws and argue that it restricts free speech.
Wong-Tam has also introduced a bill to create a provincial “gender-affirming healthcare” advisory committee.
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