When Saint John, N.B. mayor Don Darling received hateful comments on his Facebook page regarding the city's Pride parade, he did something unexpected for a politician — he came right back at them.
Darling, who has been mayor of the East Coast city since May 2016, had posted a simple message: "Looking forward to tomorrow's Pride Parade. Not going to let intolerance get me down."
Pride Parade in Saint John this afternoon. But first, Mayor Don Darling responded to some comments on his Facebook page pic.twitter.com/hxtqebsBvU— Nick Moore (@NickMooreCTV) August 12, 2017
In prior social media postings, he'd asked if anyone knew where he could get a shirt for the city's Pride Parade, planned for Aug. 12, and was met with bigoted responses (now deleted).
This time, he wasn't about to let the trolls put anyone down, and he didn't care what kind of votes it cost him.
But even that wasn't enough for the mayor, who last year served as the grand marshal of the Pride parade. Later that day, he took to Facebook again to re-emphasize his support for the LGBTQ community, speaking as a man of faith and, as he puts it, "a human being."
"I want a world where people feel zero apprehension, to be their beautiful, vulnerable and authentic selves. Can you imagine how much happier the world would be?" he wrote.
The parade itself saw a sole protestor, a red truck towing an anti-Pride message that, as the CBC reports, has come to the parade for at least three years. But residents of the city reportedly yelled at the truck driver to leave, telling him "his views were not welcome here," Pride president Michael Cummings told the network.
In a speech following the Pride parade, Darling reiterated his message, and talked about his personal connection to the LGBTQ community thanks to his daughter and her girlfriend. Though the whole thing is worth watching (here), the gist was this:
"[The people on my Facebook] told me how ashamed I should be for being in the pride parade today and that they would never vote for me again. ... And I asked them to make sure that they and their friends never voted for me ever again, because I don't want people who are ignorant and intolerant and who spread hatred to support me in any way, because it's the absolute opposite of what I stand for.
"I am not going to tolerate it as a citizen of this city, that in 2017 that people are going to spread hatred and that kind of behaviour in our city."
Now that's what an ally looks like.
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