Anti-Trans Election Stickers Are Being Spotted In Ottawa & 1 Woman Is Taking Them Down

She says her Twitter post was dogpiled!

Ottawa News Reporter
Street in Byward Market.

Street in Byward Market.

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Anti-trans election stickers are popping up in Ottawa streets and one woman is taking down as many as she can.

A troubling trend struck Charlotte Helen Schrock Robertson during her routine stroll down Sussex Drive into the Byward Market on May 7. Robertson began to notice more and more colourful stickers depicting less sunny messaging.

“I'm guessing it's due to the election," Robertson tells Narcity. "Suddenly there was just more variety because there were ones I'd never seen before.”

Along a wide stretch of metallic windowsills outside of the King Eddy restaurant stickers read, “If you won't respect my sex, don’t expect my x.” The text refers to the "x" marking a person's choice on election ballots.

The purple, white, and green stickers also read “Canada election 2021." But Robertson says she believes they are repurposed since she saw them plastered on top of posters with more recent dates.

The colours of the election anti-trans stickers are the same colours used in the suffragette flag, a symbol for a woman’s right to vote. The colour choice is no coincidence, says Robertson. She says it’s “become essentially the gender-critical flag.”

Last summer the stickers also reportedly sprung up across the Byward Market and Lowertown neighbourhoods in Ottawa.

Robertson told Narcity that now there is “just a heck of a lot more of them”. She’s taken stickers off of poster boards, garbage containers, windows, and street signs.

Another sticker rewords the acronym TERF, which originally stands for trans-exclusionary radical feminist, to “trying to explain reality to f*ckwits”. The pale blue sticker has a QR code linking to an anti-trans website.

When asked about the stickers, the Ottawa Police Service told Narcity that the service was not aware of their presence. The officers urged the public to report any hate-motivated incidents.

On a grassroots level, an open-source map details 55 anti-trans incidents in Ottawa and Gatineau since October 2021.

Christian Wright, the lead coordinator for Rainbow Ottawa Student Experience, says more anti-trans incidents have happened that are not shown on the map.

“The level of harassment and outright violence that individual trans and non-binary people can face while in public makes it hard for us to engage comfortably and safely in daily life,” they said via email.

“It adds additional unnecessary pressure to 'pass' as cisgender and can worsen experiences of dysphoria.”

Twitter post about anti-trans stickers gets "dogpiled"

Robinson took to Twitter, mostly to let her friends know what was going on with the stickers. That’s when she got responses that she had been anticipating because of her advocacy for trans rights.

“(I) went to Twitter, and honestly, it was mostly just so I could inform my friends on Twitter and people I know in the area of what they look like so they could pull them down too,” says Robertson.

“Most of the negative responses have been from people who are intentionally dogpiling me because of the fact that I was taking down the trans stuff,” says Robertson.

City councillor and ward representative for the Byward Market, Mathieu Fleury, responded to Robertson’s tweet. He said, “everyone deserves to walk home without having to see hateful messages like these.”

Robertson says she’s just tired of seeing the messages pop up again and again in the neighbourhood where she lives.

Addressing hate-motivated crimes against trans people, she says it’s important to know what the anti-trans dog whistles are.

“The more people that are aware of what they are and what they're communicating, and how they're communicating that, I would say that that would tamp down the instances of them popping up."

Trans advocates say public education, speaking up, and calling on the government to take action on gender critical messaging may help to curb such incidents.

Police encourage reporting hate-motivated incidents to 613-236-1222 or by filing a report online.

The Trans Lifeline offers emotional and financial support to trans people in crisis across Canada. Those who may need support can call (877) 330-6366.

This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.

This article’s cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.

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