[ June 30, 2023, WATERLOO]
On June 30, 2023, at 2:00PM EST, The Enchanté Network, Canada’s largest network of 2SLGBQTI+ organizations, will join its member Spectrum Waterloo, along with queer and trans student activists from the University of Waterloo, for a virtual press conference addressing the recent hate-motivated stabbing at a Gender Studies class on campus.
On June 28th, 2023, the 54th anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising, a Gender Studies class at the University of Waterloo became the target of a violent hate motivated stabbing perpetrated by a former student, resulting in serious injuries to the professor and two students.
The Waterloo Regional Police Service has deemed this incident a “hate-motivated incident related to gender expression and gender identity,” representing a clear and extremist attack on 2SLGBTQI+ communities.
Today, the more than 200 2SLGBTQI+ organizations that make up the Enchanté Network, are uniting to acknowledge the profound impact of this attack and forge a path forward for communities nationwide.
Amidst escalating hate targeting 2SLGBTQI+ communities over the past year, Statistics Canada reports a staggering 64% increase in police-reported hate crimes based on sexual orientation from 2019 to 2021. Protests against drag events have become alarmingly frequent, spreading across nearly every province and territory. Moreover, Canadian 2SLGBTQI+ community organizations have endured death threats and harassment for their unwavering support of 2SLGBTQI+ youth.
In response to this alarming trend, the Enchanté Network has made a resolute commitment to center this year’s National 2SLGBTQI+ Conference on Combatting 2SLGBQTI+ Hate. Gathering influential 2SLGBQTI+ leaders from coast to coast to coast, this conference aims to empower queer and trans communities and their allies to take proactive measures against these heinous acts.
“We stand with Waterloo. Our communities are strong, resilient, and integral to the vibrant fabric of Canadian society,” affirms Tyler Boyce (he/him), Executive Director of the Enchanté Network. “It is imperative that we come together to build and support communities that affirm 2SLGBTQI+ individuals, defending our freedom of expression and association. Our upcoming Combatting 2SLGBTQI+ Hate Conference this fall will be a crucial step in this collective journey.”
Local 2SLGBTQI+ organization Spectrum Waterloo will host the virtual press conference, which will address the immediate impact of the attack and unveil strategic actions to combat the rising tide of 2SLGBTQI+ hate.
Media representatives, Enchanté Network members, partners and allies are invited to attend this virtual press conference to shed light on the urgency of the situation and amplify the pivotal and collective role of the Enchanté Network and its members in driving this national conversation. Together, we can create a safer and more inclusive Canada for all.
Quotes from the Waterloo’s 2SLGBTQI+ Community:
“ I think the impact for me will be one of defiance. I will be more visibly queer, more in your face, more myself, and flatly dare them to stop me. I’m not letting some terrorist shove me back into the closet – I’d die before I’d detransition.”
– Cait Glasson (she/her), noted trans activist and Spectrum Waterloo Staff Member
“ ‘I don’t feel safe on campus.’ I’ve heard this phrase repeated over and over since the violent attack on Wednesday. I am terrified for my friends and family and angry at the university for their inaction.”
- Kelsey Zhao (any pronouns), Former Coordinator of GLOW Centre and student at University of Waterloo
“It started with my friends getting slurs yelled at them outside the club and now someone who took classes with us attacked 3 people. It feels like this keeps getting closer and no one is doing anything. That makes me scared.”
- Elena (She/they), Student Researcher at University of Waterloo and GLOW Centre Community Member
For media inquiries, interviews, or further information, please contact:
Jyssika Russell, Manager of Public Affairs and Communications, The Enchanté Network
About the Enchanté Network:
The Enchanté Network is Canada’s largest network of 2SLGBQTI+ organizations, dedicated to advancing the rights and well-being of the 2SLGBTQI+ community. With a focus on education, advocacy, and community-building, the Enchanté Network serves as a catalyst for positive change and equality across the country.
About Spectrum Waterloo:
Spectrum Waterloo is a local 2SLGBTQI+ organization committed to providing support, resources, and a safe space for individuals in the Waterloo region. Their initiatives promote inclusivity, education, and social activism to foster a vibrant and empowered LGBTQI+ community.