Local social media has been buzzing today with reports that threatening letters have been sent to some local LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) individuals.
The total number of people who have received such letters is not yet known, and police are requesting the public’s assistance in their investigation.
Two of these letters – reported as having been sent to a lesbian couple in Kingston – were posted to a photo hosting website along with a transcription.
The first is a full page letter that opens with:
We are a small but dedicated group of Kingston residents devoted to removing the scourge of homosexuality in our city.
We know you and have been following you for the past several weeks and we wish for you to leave this city, before it is too late, for you. This will be the first of many reminders, each escalating to higher and higher levels of harassment and derailment.
Since we have nothing personal against you, only against your sexuality, we suggest you move to more conductive climes like Vancouver, or preferably San Francisco.
It goes on to claim that their organization is located in the ‘Deep South’ (of the U.S.), and that they have already “relocated a few people like you from the Kingston area, through a set of incentives and effective persuasion”.
The letter also attempts to convince letter recipients against reporting these threats to the police, stating “we will know about this, since we have contacts in Kingston Police.”
Not surprisingly, Kingston City Police released a statement that they are “absolutely and unequivocally” not involved or connected to the individual or group sending these letters.
The full statement released by Kingston Police this afternoon is as follows:
Regarding the hate-based and homophobic letters people are showing concern about online, we are confirming a report has been filed with Kingston Police and detectives from the Major Crime Unit are actively investigating this serious and disturbing incident. We absolutely and unequivocally are not involved or connected to this individual or group as is stated in one of the letters, and do not appreciate the association.
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However, of greater priority is solving this case, caring for the safety and well-being of the complainants, determining who would write such hateful and threatening content, and for what purpose.
Anyone with first-hand information, or if you’ve received the same or similar letters, is asked to contact Detective Chris Gobeil at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 613-549-4660 ext 6186.
The individual who posted the two letters online also added that they are the child of a lesbian mother (or couple) and defended Kingston by saying, in part:
Kingston, Ontario is a very gay-friendly city. Just this year, the city itself sponsored Pride, and raised a rainbow flag at city hall for the month of June (our pride month).
We have many gay-friendly/safe establishments and institutions in Kingston. Just this year, a very openly gay high school teacher was awarded Teacher of the Year.
As stated by police, anyone with information or has received similar correspondence is asked to contact Detective Chris Gobeil at email@example.com or at 613-549-4660 ext 6186.
Read the two example letters posted online (note: includes some profanity), at imgur.com.
Read the Kingston Police statement and comments by the public on their Facebook page.
UPDATE: The letters have been universally condemned by Kingstonians on social media, including Member of Parliament, Ted Hsu, who posted to his Facebook page: “Reports of bigotry in #ygk – light and fresh air are the best disinfectant.”
The Queen’s Journal has reported that the couple who received these posted letters are Queen’s University history professor Karen Dubinsky and her partner Susan Belyea. Read the Journal’s article here.
UPDATE: The couple have written an article discussing the letters on The Huffington Post.