Victoria’s mayor has condemned the threats of violence that caused the cancellation of a family-friendly drag show that was scheduled for this weekend, and she did it while sporting a fake beard and a bow tie.
Lisa Helps donned drag during the annual raising of the Pride flag at City Hall on Friday in solidarity with the performers in the now-cancelled Sashay Cafe drag show at Caffe Fantastico.
“These threats of violence have no place in our community,” Helps said in a statement.
“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.”
The mayor was joined for the flag-raising by city councillors Sarah Potts, Charlayne Thornton-Joe and Stephen Andrew.
In announcing the cancellation on Thursday, Caffe Fantastico owner Ryan Taylor said his staff had been receiving harassing phone calls from people “ignorant to what a drag show is” for the last week.
“Unfortunately, on June 15, one caller escalated, actually threatening that someone should shoot up the place and everyone in it,” said Taylor.
Cafe staff informed police of the threat, and Taylor says an investigation is underway.
In her statement Friday, Helps described the cafe as “a local coffee shop with deep roots in the community.”
“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,” the mayor said.