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Local Pride events facing increased security costs


The federal government is offering more money to pay for security costs at Pride events amid rising anti-LGBTQ2S+ hate.

It’s something organizers in Waterloo region have seen first hand.

“Unfortunately there are people who think that us spreading love and building community is problematic,” Grand River Pride co-founder Bryan Causarano said.

“We’ve had some hateful emails. We’ve had signs ripped down.”

Causarano is in the midst of preparing for Grand River Pride’s first-ever street party in downtown Galt on Saturday.

The inaugural celebration in Cambridge has been more than a year in the making and caps off a series of events, including comedy and film nights and drag performances.

“We wanted to make sure future generations of kids can see the happiness, see love, see support wherever they go,” Causarano said.

But the show of love comes at a time when LGBTQ2S+ people are being increasingly targeted by hate.

Grand River Pride is spending $1,500 to have a pair of officers patrol the street party.

Meanwhile Tri-Pride said it’s seen its security costs nearly double to due inflation and additional hires.

"An increase of security is due to a spike in increased incidents of hate directed toward the 2SLGBTQIA+ community. The increase is also to handle the anticipated increase in attendance to the festival," the festival said in an email.


In January, police added patrols outside of Elora Distilling due to threats against a drag show at the venue.

Around a month earlier, Guelph drag queen Crystal Quartz cancelled a show in Burlington due to online threats.

A transgender Pride flag crosswalk in Kitchener was also vandalized in April.


Similar incidents across the country led to a request by the National Association of Canadian Pride Organizations for $1.5 million in emergency security funding in mid-May. On Monday, the government agreed to back that request.

But the timing of the government’s announcement means some events may miss out on paying for improved security.

Causarano said the situation is “a little bit stressful,” but ultimately, organizers are excited.

“I'm excited about all the stuff that's happening,” Causarano said. “I'm more excited just to see how happy people are that this is happening right where they live, right in the communities that they belong to.” Top Stories

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