A transgender Langley teen was alarmed to find anti-trans stickers posted in his neighbourhood this May.
Josiah, who has asked that his full name not be published, said he was walking with a friend earlier this spring when he first spotted the stickers.
Some of the stickers had messages he identified quickly as being anti-trans, such as #sexnotgender, but others were strange and ambiguous, such as “Everything is transphobic.”
Googling the slogans on the stickers led to a Facebook page that mocked trans people.
Some were more blatant, including “Trans women are men,” which is a reversal of a common statement of support for trans people, usually phrased as “trans women are women” and “trans men are men.”
The stickers seemed to disappear for a while, then turned up again later in May, Josiah said.
“It’s scary that someone could hate me and not even know me,” Josiah said.
It was hard seeing the stickers in a neighbourhood where he grew up and has lived for his whole life, Josiah said.
He wonders about the person who put up the stickers.
“I’ve probably walked past this person,” he said.
The stickers are not confined to Langley – googling the phrases on them showed they have turned up as far away as London and New York, Josiah said.
“It’s hard to know what can be done,” he said.
Josiah and his friends have been doing what they can – removing the transphobic stickers when they find them, and replacing them with ones that simply say “Trans rights are human rights.”
Langley RCMP confirmed that they have not had reports about the stickers.
Local activist Brad Dirks, who had also not heard of the stickers until contacted by the Langley Advance Times, noted that there is a very high bar to clear before hate crime charges can be laid in Canada.
Authorities have become involved in anti-trans messages that attacked specific people, such as in a 2019 Human Rights Tribunal ruling against a man who used pamphlets to attack Morgane Oger, an NDP candidate and trans woman.
Josiah noted he was not sure what police could do about the issue, and added finding the stickers leaves him feeling helpless.
“Ultimately, transphobic people want to take away my voice,” he said.
Putting up the positive stickers is a way to push back, and Josiah said he hopes other people will support that.
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