A rally was held outside the Legislative Assembly on May 11, the first day of the post-election spring sitting, to protest the vulgar texts from Yukon Party MLAs Stacey Hassard and Wade Istchenko.
The gathering, just shy of 100, was called Yukoners: Raise Your Voice Against Misogyny. The rally was organized for those appalled by the “misogyny, homophobia (and) transphobia” of the messages.
The signs protestors held read “This is Action for Change?” or “Hold them Accountable” and “It’s time for a Cultural Schift”.
Some at the rally played the drums and cars honked their support as they passed by.
Sophie Delaigue said they helped coordinate the rally as a means of campaigning for a more inclusive Yukon.
“I think now, since it’s been about a week or so, it is not personal anymore,” said Delaigue. “We want a Yukon where there is no sexism, homophobia, transphobia. I think that Currie Dixon campaigned ‘Action for Change’ — we need this change. We need to have true leadership that shows the path to a very inclusive and diverse Yukon.”
The punishment Hassard and Istchenko received wasn’t as severe as Delaigue would have thought, but is still hopeful further action will be taken.
“It is 2021, I would have thought that some stronger action would have been taken to show the example,” said Delaigue. “These people were elected, they are public figures, they need to have very high standards.
“Hopefully, the assembly will take action with their conduct. If something like that happens again, we need strong leadership.”
Delaigue said the solution to this issue is to come together.
“We are all part of the solution and all together we will be making the change,” Delaigue said.
Molly Hobbis, a Porter Creek Secondary School student and member of the Gender and Sexuality Alliance (GSA), said the remarks made by the MLAs are not just a Yukon issue.
“I feel like this isn’t just a problem here,” said Hobbis. “This is a problem everywhere and it is such an easy fix. It is just people with just closed minds, we need to open our minds and open our hearts.”
Hobbis would like to see Hassard and Istchenko “suspended or fired” and hopes everyone in the legislature can learn a lesson from this.
“You are elected officials,” said Hobbis. “Even in your off time there will be people watching and you will be judged for your actions. That’s what they should have agreed to when they knew they would be in charge.”
Shaun LaDue said they attended the rally from a place of anger.
“What brought me out is a lot of anger toward these particular MLAs who have no regard for women, trans folks, and queer people,” said LaDue.
“I think these two men should show some backbone and step down from politics and not hurt people anymore.”
Contact John Tonin at firstname.lastname@example.org