Iman Kassam 0

Discrimination at the Air Canada Centre

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Last night my girlfriend and I went to the No Doubt concert at the Air Canada Centre. We were up front on the floor dancing throughout the first two opening acts. When intermission/set change happened, we turned to each other and started chatting. We were standing up sharing a super adorable and special cheesy moment… laughing, talking closely and kissing… when two security guards interrupted us to ask us to stop making a “scene”. They said that this was a family event and that we were offending people. The conversation with security lasted a good 5-10 minutes – them two against us two. We looked around and we were the only ones standing. A lot of eyes were on us while these two security guards humiliated us and told us what offensive lesbians we were being. We were both livid and didn’t know how to deal with this homophobia. My partner sat down and I went running after the security guards to continue the conversation. I gave the two security guards a piece of my mind, but who cares The damage was done. There’s nothing that I could have said to make it better – not for me, and especially not for my girl who was sitting in our seat feeling so terrible about what had just happened. When I got back to my seat people around us were standing and cheering for us, clapping and whistling in a protest of anti-homophobia. Clearly we hadn’t offended anyone… clearly it was a case of power-hungry homophobic security. We were made examples of. An experience for the spectators, a lesson learned, at our expense. We were tokenized and left powerless. I hope that none of you reading this take this lightly. I hope that you all see this as a hate crime, as a human rights violation, as an example of the work we, as a society, still have to do. I have already spoken with Kevin Joseph – 416 815 5723 – in the security office, Bianca in Fan Services and have yet to hear back from Michael Burnes – 416 815 5568 – Director of Security Services (though, I’m sure I’ve filled up his voicemail today). What I have asked from them is this: - A formal apology to Sasha and I - That they speak with the team of security that were working the floor last night - That they now implement a sensitivity training for ALL security employees. What I am asking of you – friends, family, activists, feminists – is to call Michael Burnes (416 815 5568) and leave him a voice mail with some statement. If you don’t know what to say, try this: “Hi, I’m ________ and I heard the news about the homophobic comments made to two lesbians at the ACC last night (June 16). I am calling in support of them, human rights and anti-homophobia. I understand that the women involved are insisting that a sensitivity training program be implemented immediately and I hope (expect!) that you have already taken the appropriate measures to ensure that this never happens again.” "Imagine if all of our stories were told like The Chart on the L Word. One day all the narratives would intertwine and we would discover the power of our collective imaginations and we would see that to be victorious is not to have won simply for your own sake, but for the sake of others." - Jennifer Beals We would like to present this signed petition to the ACC management as well as to management for No Doubt, Paramore and Bedouine Soundclashe. People, let’s have an effectual change!


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