Proposed Bill Would Criminalize ‘Offensive Remarks’ Within 100 Meters Of Drag Performances

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A Canadian politician proposed legislation Tuesday that would criminalize “offensive remarks” within 100 meters of drag performances, according to video of a press conference.

Member of Provincial Parliament (MPP) Kristyn Wong-Tam is seeking to “create … community safety zones” that would prohibit “any homophobic/transphobic act of intimidation, threat, offensive threats, offensive remarks, protests, disturbance and distribution of hate propaganda” within 100 meters of drag show venues, the politician said.

Wong-Tam, who uses “they/them” pronouns and is a member of Ontario’s New Democratic Party (NDP), pointed to recent backlash against drag performances in the United States as a reason driving the legislation, adding that organized protests have also occurred in Canada, according to CBC News.

“The topic that brings us here is deadly serious,” Wong-Tam said, according to the outlet. “The rise of hate and violence facing the 2SLGBTQI-plus communities, including the drag artists, happening across Ontario and right (across) the nation has been alarming. (RELATED: ‘I Would Not Support Blackface Performances’: University President Vows To Shut Down ‘Extreme’ Campus Drag Show)

“Drag artists, their audiences, the businesses and the facilities that host those drag performances have been put at risk,” Wong-Tam continued, CBC reported. “Unless we put forward a strategy to protect them, Ontario’s social, economic and cultural richness is under attack. We have to protect that.”

Government House Leader Paul Calandra told CBC that the house will put the bill up for consideration once it is submitted by Wong-Tam.

“I think members on all sides of the house understand how important it is that everybody feel safe in the province of Ontario and that we honor everybody’s rights to live and prosper in Ontario, regardless of who you are, who you love and what god you worship,” Calandra said.

Wong-Tam said the proposed penalty for violating the statutes put forth in the safety zone bill is upwards of $25,000 “if prosecuted successfully,” according to a clip of the press conference.