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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, January 7, 2011 - Volume 39 Issue 01
Gay newspaper boxes vandalized in Vancouver, B.C.
Section One
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Gay newspaper boxes vandalized in Vancouver, B.C.

by Shaun Knittel - SGN Associate Editor

Police in Vancouver, B.C., are investigating the possibility of hate-motivated vandalism following damage to distribution boxes for the Canadian Gay newspaper Xtra!

A senior manager for the newspaper said the vandalism would cost the free publication about $3,000. Xtra! boxes were targeted in Ottawa in 2006 at a cost of more than $10,000.

When Gareth Kirkby, senior manager for the Gay and Lesbian publication, first noticed an Xtra! newspaper box had been vandalized, he chalked it up to nothing more than an isolated incident. But when Kirkby learned several more of the paper's boxes had been smashed, he realized it was a pattern.

In all, 14 of Xtra!'s newspaper boxes were damaged. According to police, none of the street stands for other publications were vandalized - leading authorities to believe the crime was fuelled by hate.

'To me, it's very clear it's aimed at the Gay community,' said Kirkby. 'If there was a Gay person in front of the culprit, we fear what would happen to that Gay person.'

Gay bashings in Vancouver made headlines several times last year. In fact, Canadian officials released a report in June 2010 naming Vancouver one of the country's hate-crime capitols. Statistic Canada said police investigated 34 crimes based on a victim's sexual orientation in 2008.

Kirkby says Vancouver has made tremendous progress over the past 20 years when it comes to respecting the Gay community, but it 'still has a little distance to go.'

'It's frustrating and it's disappointing,' said Ken Coolen, president of the Vancouver Pride Society. Coolen called the actions 'cowardly.'

Police say they are hoping surveillance video will provide some clues. The newspaper boxes were primarily damaged in the city's downtown core between December 25 and 29, 2010. In most of the cases, the glass door was smashed.

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