On Monday, a Toronto-based radio show host hit back at a caller over comments about the Canadian government annoucing a $1.5 million emergency fund to help Pride organizations cover security costs.
Reshmi Nair, the host of The Rush on NewsTalk1010, questioned a caller who opposed rainbow flags being everywhere and said safe spaces are "nonsense."
In the segment on security funding for Pride, a caller who identified himself as Richard began by saying what he thought was "the problem."
"Canada’s always been a safe space. We didn't care before when people were gay, we didn't care before if people were trans," Richard claimed. "They did what they did behind closed doors... now it's stuffed down our throats 24/7."
Richard continued to say he doesn't want his tax dollars spent on something he disagrees with, adding he doesn't go around stressing "the fact that I’m a heterosexual."
Nair asked the caller whether he knew a gay person, to which Richard responded saying he knows "several" from school and "saw them get picked on."
But, he continued to say that safe spaces are "nonsense."
"We have to put a flag on the front of our store so that you're welcome to come in? You've always been welcome. The only difference is that you walk around expecting to get a certain treatment — a better treatment."
Nair explained to Richard that "'keeping it to yourself' is not equality," which the caller disagreed with.
"The government should not worry about your personal life," the caller added.
"I celebrate my heterosexual-ness with my wife in my home," he said, to which Nair laughed.
"So why is it that this little group has to constantly tell us that they're victimized?," he added.
Richard then continued to say things have changed since the '70s (when he says he witnessed gay people being picked on) and that doesn't happen anymore.
Richard then also said schools are trying to "get kids to come out for no reason whatsoever."
"You mentioned earlier that you didn't mind that your child uses a pronoun or whatever — that's child abuse," he claimed to the radio host.
"We need to teach our kids you're a boy, you're a girl."
Nair cut Richard off after saying "producers are telling me to move on," and picked up on another caller, who told Nair "that last caller is the problem."
This heated debate came after a phone call with the organizer of Toronto Pride, who advocated for the government funding.
Nair implied if it wasn't for people who are doing the harassing and threatening, there wouldn't be a need to spend tax dollars on this.
"We had people protesting for freedoms in this country — I'm going there," Nair said, referring to the COVID-19 "Freedom Convoy" that saw thousands descend into Ottawa in 2022.
"Shouldn't those people be protesting the same freedoms right now? Shouldn't we all be honking our horns... making sure that people of the 2SLGBTQI+ communities can walk around proudly?
"They're asking for the month of June, but couldn't it be longer?"
Nair said not only are members of the community being targeted, but now, so are allies.
"Who is calling someone they don't know to say hateful things about something they don't know?"
Toronto Pride is one of the biggest pride festivals in the world, Nair said, but the funding isn't intended only for that one.
"It is necessary for the smaller pride events in the smaller communities where people are advertising events... and those people are receiving phone calls of harassment from people who hate," Nair said.
"The financial cost is increasing because of these people... tell them to stop and we won't have to spend $1.5 million extra for security at pride events."