TORONTO – Members of Toronto’s LGBTQ community are raising concerns over a star-studded concert billed as “part vigil, part celebration” in the wake of the arrest of alleged serial killer Bruce McArthur.
#LoveWins is planned for March 29 at Nathan Phillips Square.
The lineup features performances by Carole Pope and members of the Barenaked Ladies, the Forte Toronto Gay Men’s Chorus and winners from CTV’s “The Launch” music competition series, among others.
But some say the event is tone deaf with what’s actually happening in Toronto’s LGBTQ community, as police continue to seek answers about a serial killer who was targeting gay men in the community for years.
McArthur, a 66-year-old self-employed landscaper, has been charged with six counts for first-degree murder. All of the alleged victims had ties to the city’s gay village.
The poster for the event doesn’t mention McArthur by name but references “the series of killings that have rocked Toronto’s LGBTQ community.”
In a number of posts that have since all been deleted from the event’s page, Facebook users questioned several aspects of the #LoveWins concert, including why it appears few members of the local community were consulted or asked for perform.
They also suggested organizer’s description of the event, which proclaims the concert as when “the work of healing now begins,” ignores that many questions about the murders remain unanswered.
Salah Bachir, co-organizer of #LoveWins, said “a lot of people in the community” were looking for something to raise their spirits.
“There was so much that was going on, people were in shock and grieving, and we needed something that was uplifting as a community kind of thing, in light of all the murders,” he said in a phone interview.
“There have been a couple different vigils and people have left them more depressed than ever.”
Others scheduled to perform include American R&B singer Thelma Houston, former Nylons singer Billy Newton Davis and former “Canadian Idol” winner Theo Tams.
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