Ontario NDP urges legal protections for drag performances


TORONTO — Ontario’s NDP is urging the government to create community safety zones that would protect drag performers and LGBTQ communities.

Kristyn Wong-Tam is introducing a private member’s bill today that would allow the attorney general to temporarily designate addresses – such as where a show is taking place – as community safety zones, and anti-LGBTQ harassment, intimidation and hate speech within 100 metres would be subject to a $25,000 fine.

Wong-Tam was joined at a press conference today by drag artists who say that organized protests at their performances are negatively affecting their livelihoods and have them fearing for their safety.

Scarlett Bobo, who has competed on Canada’s Drag Race, says she has been subject to hate crimes and hate speech in recent weeks and just wants to feel safe and valued in her work.

Bobo says drag artists and transgender people “have an inherent right to live freely and authentically,” and recent organized protests and hate speech need to be halted and condemned immediately.

Speaking today in question period at the legislature, Government House Leader Paul Calandra says once Wong-Tam has tabled the bill, the house will give it due consideration.



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