'A lot of harm': Anti-LGBTQ group flouts province’s requests to stop protesting on North Vancouver overpass
An anti-LGBTQ group is continuing to protest on a highway overpass despite the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure warning it to leave.
On Thursday, the province attached letters to the barriers of the Highway 1 Mountain Highway overpass, stating “anyone participating in these gatherings must immediately cease their occupation and must remove all personal property from the Lands.”
That evening, the group returned, according to an Instagram video from one of the participants.
District of North Vancouver Mayor Mike Little said the gatherings of about 20 people have occurred for the last two months and include signage ranging from decrying the COVID-19 mask mandates, to large banners hanging off the overpass spewing anti-Trans rhetoric.
“I can publicly say that I do not support it. I think it’s ignorant,” Little said. “At worst, what I’d be worried about is that it may cause undue attention for kids who are dealing with gender identity issues. We certainly don’t want to add to their burden of issues they are going through socially.”
Steph W, an anti-hate activist who asked CTV News not to include her last name due to safety reasons, has been monitoring this right-wing movement since 2020. She said despite provincial and federal laws protecting gender identity, it’s disappointing that the group feels safe enough to do this in public without fear of repercussions.
“It’s creating a lot of harm and a lot of fear,” she said. “Leaders at all levels — municipal all the way up to federal — really need to step up and make sure rights are being protected, and that folks are safe because there’s a very organized and well-funded push not just to threaten Trans people, but a movement that seeks to dehumanize them and prevent them from living their lives.”
In a statement to CTV News, the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure said the banners appearing on the overpass are hateful and raise a serious safety issue for people who use the highway. The statement continued, saying the ministry has asked the protestors to remove the banners, but they have not complied, adding that the province will rely on police for enforcement.
The province's response is a move both residents and public officials say can’t come quickly enough.
“This kind of hate goes totally against what our council and what our city believes in,” said City of North Vancouver Coun. Holly Back.