Scott Jones was stabbed in downtown New Glasgow. An arrest has been made.
The LGBT community both locally and across the province is rallying in support of Scott Jones, the 27-year-old man who was stabbed in New Glasgow over the weekend.
While police have given no indication that it was a hate crime, friends and family have said they believe that Jones was singled out in the attack because he is gay.
Jones was stabbed multiple times and has been left paralyzed as a result. He is recovering in a Halifax hospital now.
“It was just horrendous (what happened),” said Gerard Veldhoven, a local gay rights activist in Pictou County.
He said attacks like this do make the LGBT community a bit worried about possible attacks. He said his family has often expressed concern for his safety because he’s so vocal, but thankfully he’s never experienced any violence.
He believes the attack is an indication that more needs to be done to educate people on the sexual orientation and to promote further tolerance.
Veldhoven believes that the best way to address the problem of intolerance is through education. He said he plans to write the minister of education an open letter demanding that something be done to include sexual orientation in curriculum for younger grades. He believes that as young as Grade 4 students can start to learn that families can have different make ups including two dads or two moms without getting into great details.
“These things are not changing fast enough in my mind,” he said.
Veldhoven works with Gay-Straight Alliances at Northumberland Regional High School and North Nova Education Centre. Even in those groups he said there are people who are afraid to show up because of the stigma they might receive.
“Discrimination is still quite high in the school systems,” he said. “All these things have to be addressed.”
The Nova Scotia Rainbow Action Project (NSRAP) is also extending support to Jones, his family and friends and the New Glasgow LGBT community following the stabbing.
“We are mindful that there have been allegations of homophobia attached to this crime and will be paying close attention to the outcome of the police investigation, as will our whole community,” NSRAP Chair Lisa Buchanan said. “We want to be sure that police and prosecutors are looking at the possibility that it is a hate crime.”
Statistics Canada has reported hate crimes targeting people for their sexual orientation are on the rise across the country and that they tend to be more violent than other hate crimes.
“Our community takes incidents like this as a serious reminder that homophobic and transphobic hate is still out there,” said NSRAP spokesperson Kevin Kindred. “We know that these attacks send ripples through the entire lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer community.
“We want members of our community in New Glasgow and across the province to know that attacks on our people only strengthen our resolve to build a stronger LGBTQ community, educate the public, and end homophobic and transphobic hate and violence.”