Watch: Toronto Locals Drown Out Anti-Gay Street Preacher

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Thursday June 9, 2022

Watch: Toronto Locals Drown Out Anti-Gay Street Preacher

Now that Pride is back in the streets, so are anti-gay preachers. But denizens of the Toronto gayborhood Church Wellesley Village fought back with love... and Lady Gaga, according to a story from blogTO.

Referring to the street preachers as "unsavory characters," the article noted that they "flock to The Village every June to... I don't even know what they're trying to do. Reach a highly-targeted audience? Convince tourists who've come for Pride to go home?"

The story detailed that street preachers have disturbed the neighborhood's peace for years, and have "incited community members to the point where police had to intervene."

The story added: "Don't take my word for it — you can hear them spewing bullsh*t, through a portable (and rather powerful) speaker system at the corner of Yonge and Wellesley right now about how queer people are promiscuous child molesters (?!?)"

But a resident of the Village, Justin M., 33, and his boyfriend had just about enough when one preacher got in their faces with hateful rhetoric.

"I don't know what group he was associated with but he was definitely trying to provoke," Justin told the outlet. "Initially, he gay bashed us for holding hands, and I initially reacted by getting in his face, and then I realized they were trying to provoke a response."

So the couple got creative, Justin recounted, saying that they "went home and got a whistle and speaker to use a non-confrontational method to fight back and it worked great."

The financial services worker provided "video footage of 28-year-old fitness coach Sebastien Dufour whistling repeatedly to drown out the preacher," the outlet reported, while "they played some of Lady Gaga's most-iconic tracks on a speaker, including 'Rain on Me' and 'Born this Way.'"

The video shows Dufour whistling while behind him a street preacher attempts to make his way through familiar talking points used by adherents of so-called "conversion therapy," a sham practice that claims to "cure" non-heterosexuality, supposedly by addressing deep-seated psychological wounds.

"I would love if more people participated in a fun non confrontational way so the city can show its support for the community," Justin told the publication. "I would like to see something done about people being able to set up speakers on corners and preach hateful rhetoric... it was very directly attacking people walking by."

The Village resident added: "While we accept that their religious beliefs do not align with our values that doesn't give them the right to attack us."

Watch the clip below.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.