The City of Victoria has a reputation as a progressive, environmentally attuned community, but even it isn't immune from homophobia.
This week, a coffee shop cancelled a family-friendly drag show as part of Pride celebrations after receiving hateful phone calls and threats of violence.
In response, Mayor Lisa Helps issued a fiery statement of support for the small business, Cafe Fantastico. She did this while dressed in drag to show her solidarity.
“These threats of violence have no place in our community," Helps said. "Pride month is about celebrating love and the right we all have in a free country like Canada for everyone to love whom they choose, to express their gender how they choose and to feel safe in all places and spaces to do so.
“Pride month is about celebrating and honouring diversity, celebrating inclusion and making space in our community for love in all its forms," she continued. "That is what makes us strong as a community. In these uncertain times, we need to come together as a community, not tear each other apart."
She also declared "to all 2SLGBTQ+ members of Victoria’s community, and all our allies, know that you are loved, and that love will always prevail over fear, hate and anger. Happy Pride.”
Helps was among those who gathered to raise the Pride flag at Victoria City Hall to mark the start of Pride week in the provincial capital.
"After two years of not being able to gather in person for Pride events and the annual parade, Victorians are keen to come together again to celebrate," Help said.