B.C. MLA pushes back against hate after drag queen story time protest

Coquitlam-Maillardville MLA Selina Robinson has been responding to a wave of ugly twitter comments after taking part in a counter-protest outside a Lower Mainland drag queen story time event.

A B.C. lawmaker is on the receiving end of a torrent of ugly online comments for her support of a drag queen story time event in her Coquitlam riding.

But Coquitlam-Maillardville MLA Selina Robinson isn’t sitting idly by — she’s pushing back against protesters, saying she doesn’t want those voices to dominate the conversation — be it online or off.

“I feel sad for those folk who are LGBTQ who had to listen to that vitriol or have to read it, and I want to protect them from that. I want to be at the front to say, there are more people who love you just the way you are,” she told CityNews.


Robinson was among the dozens of people who gathered at the Coquitlam library to rally against a protesters who had shown up to demonstrate the event.

Protesters of the drag event have accused organizers of sexualizing children, despite there not being any sexual content involved. Many of these comments are based on a misconception that drag is a sexual act.

“My experience being at this counter protest was really about making sure that there was space for children and families who go into the library and have an enjoyable time and not be intimidated by those who were yelling and shouting and intimidating these families for attending a drag queen story time. And we were successful, I believe, in drowning out the ugliness that was being hurled,” she explained.

Related articles: 

However, hateful comments followed her well after the event, with many people targeting her online.

She says she’s never experienced this kind of attack before, noting people have called her all sorts of awful things like a “pedophile” and a “groomer.”

“The response on Twitter is pretty ugly. I’ve been called names, I’ve been sworn at, I’ve been told that I’m going to hell,” Robinson recalled.

“It’s just become a free for all where people get to say horrible things and hope to hurt you. That’s not the kind of world I believe in, it’s not the kind of world I want to promote or raise kids in. I want to be part of a community and a society where we support each other, where we care for each other, where we celebrate each other, and we celebrate people’s abilities to be all that they are, and that’s what the drag queen story time is all about.”

While she’s tried to use humour in her response to some comments, Robinson admits it’s been “very disheartening.”

“It’s certainly discouraging. It makes me actually frankly quite sad, only because I think, if you have a child who is LGBTQ in some way, and you’re their parent, how are they going to tell you? How are they going to be loved in your family? And … if this is what you’re hurling at others then what does that mean for your family, the people that you work with, your neighbours, your colleagues, your friends? So it makes me worried for the people in their lives,” she said.

Despite the vitriol online, Robinson says she’s also received a lot of support, even receiving texts and emails from people encouraging her to continue speaking up against hate.


“At some point, it’s just enough. Enough. This isn’t okay and I am telling you that I want to fill this space with love for people,” she added, directing her comments toward protesters and keyboard warriors.

For the B.C. MLA, a lot of this is also personal. Robinson says she was at the event with her son, who is gay. There, she recalls a moment that is bringing her some hope.

She explains her son ran into an old teacher at the counter protest. The teacher shared with Robinson and her son that the school now has a gay-straight alliance, with about 40 students taking part.

“My son was caught off guard and overwhelmed with tears. He just felt tremendous relief that the next generation coming up behind him at his high school will have the supports that he wasn’t fortunate enough to have and that, at the end of the day, it is getting better,” Robinson explained. “We still have to push back at these ugly statements, and I think that is incumbent on all of us, but at the end of the day, it is getting better and that’s what my son was experiencing at the event.”

In addition to responding to many of the tweets directed at her, Robinson says she’s also flagged some concerning posts to Twitter Support.

Meanwhile, though Robinson says she agrees with the notion that it’s best to “not feed the trolls,” she doesn’t want to allow people with hateful beliefs to “fill the space.”

“I think the role for allies is really significant. I want to protect the LGBTQ community from the ugliness that others will hurl at them, because I want them to not be traumatized by it, to not hear those ugly messages. So I want to call on the allies to protect the LGBTQ people in our lives by being the ones who show up to counter protest, so they don’t have to.”

Top Stories

Top Stories

Most Watched Today