“The more visible (gays) are, the more the anti-gay types come out of the woodwork,” Gai Écoute’s president Laurent McCutcheon told the Montreal Gazette.
In what may be a world-first, Gai Écoute’s anonymous and confidential Registre des actes homophobes will document complaints ranging from name-calling in schools to psychological harassment at work and physical assaults against gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender people.
The registry will not however, be used as a tool for a new homophobia police, McCutcheon said.
“We will refer people (who fill out the registry’s forms) to existing resources, like youth protection officials, the human rights commission and the police,” he said. “We do not plan to intervene directly.” In two years, the group will analyse the registry data and make recommendations to the police force to help stem homophobic acts.
McCutcheon told the Gazette that he expects there might be hundreds of complaint-worthy cases for the registry. “We notice it especially in calls from outside of Montreal, in smaller communities. Sometimes it’s a student who got mocked at school or a teenager with parents threatening to throw the young person out.”
The registry is being funded with $60,000 from the Quebec Justice Department, which has set aside $7.1 million to battle homophobia over five years.