I spend a good part of my week defending my hometown of Surrey. Sure the city isn’t perfect, it’s people aren’t either, but I honestly don’t think Pleasantville can be found anywhere in the Metro Vancouver area.
Over the weekend a terrible incident, fueled by intolerance and hate, occurred in the West End.
Early Saturday morning, Jordan Smith was walking along Davie Street, near Hornby Street, holding hands with another man. A group of four young men approached the pair, calling out gay slurs, Smith told CBC News. One of the men then hit him in the face with enough force that he fell back on the sidewalk and was knocked unconscious. [CBC]
The suspect in an attack on a gay man in the city’s West End on the weekend made a brief appearance in Vancouver’s new community court on Monday morning. [CBC]
(You can read more on Raul’s post from yesterday as well.)
What infuriates me this morning is reading a comment from the Executive Director of the West End Business Association:
The head of the West End Business Improvement Association is blaming “Surrey-ites” for causing trouble in her neck of the woods, including gay bashing. In light of the weekend attack on a gay man on Davie Street, West End BIA Executive Director Lynn Hellyar says there are people coming in from Surrey who aren’t what she calls “friendly” to the gay population, “I know there a lot of people coming from the Surrey area to the west end and they’re not particularly friendly towards the gay population but it’s mostly, I would say that they’re ignorant, they don’t understand it.”
Asked how she knows these people are from Surrey?, Well, the police are telling us that’s what’s happening a lot in the evenings.” [CKNW]
This broad, ignorant, and generalized statement doesn’t help anyone’s cause, really. Haters come from everywhere. It’s sad and tragic however, the WEBIA’s lumping of the suspect of this despicable crime into a category with all other “Surrey-ites” makes me feel more shame as a current resident of the West End than being a person from Surrey.
Law breakers and hate mongers also live Downtown and on the North Shore while sociopaths and miscreants aren’t uniquely from south of the Fraser River. I think we could all use a lesson in tolerance and respect, no matter where we’re from or where we are now.