Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam raises warning ahead of Christian group’s march through Gay Village

Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam raises warning ahead of Christian group’s march through Gay Village

A downtown Toronto city councillor says she is working with police to prevent any possible homophobic or transphobic confrontation ahead of a planned march next weekend in the Gay Village.

Coun. Kristyn Wong-Tam (Ward 13 Toronto Centre) said in a Facebook statement that she, police, and city and local agencies are “diligently monitoring the situation” and “organizing to protect our community” ahead of the Sept. 28 event.

The group Christian Positive Space plans to march from the Esplanade along Church Street through the Gay Village to Davenport Road to promote Christian values, according to founder David Lynn. They will march along Church Street due to the religious meaning behind the word “church” and it’s significance to the Christian faith, he said.

Lynn said Christian Positive Space is not homophobic and they respect all Canadians. “We love everyone.”

Lynn has attracted controversy in the neighbourhood before. On June 5, Lynn stood in the middle of what police described as a “large hostile crowd” at Church and Wellesley Streets, saying things such as, “I’m coming out as a Christian.” He was removed by police and charged with disturbing the peace. The charges were later dropped, Lynn said.

In an interview, Wong-Tam said the Gay Village has in the past seen demonstrations from “extremely homophobic” and “alt-right” religious members who were “essentially praying for our souls” and telling locals they need to “repent.”

Wong-Tam said the neighbourhood is welcoming to people of the Christian faith and other religions.

The 519, a registered charity representing the LGBTQ2+ community, alongside other interfaith communities, said they will be organizing a counter-event in response to the Sept. 28 rally.

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David Venn

David Venn is a breaking news reporter, working out of the Star’s radio room in Toronto. Follow him on Twitter: @davidvenn_

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