A Toronto man is accusing his building’s property management of being discriminatory after receiving a notice to take down his Pride flags.
Alex Nadar has been living at his North York residence for just over a year and his experience has not been as welcoming as he had hoped.
“I am one of the only openly coloured gay individuals in my building,” said Nadar in an interview with CityNews.
In the spirit of Pride month, Nadar decided to express his pride by displaying flags on his balcony, like many residents and store fronts have done across the city.
Within less than 24 hours, Nadar discovered a letter left at his front door.
“We have noticed that you have a flag or flags hanging from your balcony” read the notice, “Although we can appreciate their purpose, it is strictly against the condominium rules, which we have listed below.”
The letter Nadar shared with CityNews he received from property management:
Nadar was left baffled, pointing out that other residents have flags showing support for their teams during the Euro and Latin America soccer championships, as well as planters fixed to balcony railings, something not permitted as per the notice Nadar received.
“You should be penalizing everybody that is not following the guidelines. And not just someone who is publicly supporting Pride. This is Toronto. We know what June is,” said Nadar.
To avoid a potential fine, the Toronto resident decided to remove the flags now instead of at the end of the month.
“Pride is much bigger than me. It’s so upsetting because we have fought for so long to have our voices heard and just to be silenced like that, it’s ridiculous,” Nadar added.
Brilliant Property Management sent a statement saying the allegation other flags were permitted to remain up and that the condominium singled out this individual is “not factual.”
“We understand the impression this would give off if we were indeed singling out individual homeowners, but this is not at all the case,” wrote Eric Plant, property manager of Brilliant Property Management Inc. in an email to CityNews. “We respect the LGBTQ community and are wholly committed to creating an inclusive community. That being said, it is our job to enforce the building rules, regardless of who is in violation of them.”
Plant states that they are not aware of any sports flags that remain up in the building, and had recently sent a notice to another resident to remove a “small Canadian flag.”
“The condominium board and management have always enforced these rules equally among all residents.”
Nadar said he recently contacted other residents that live in other units in the building, and no one has received any notices.
In an email to a friend of Nadar’s who was also inquiring why he was told to take the flag down, Plant wrote that it is a decision that must be made through the board of directors and will be bringing the issue to them in hopes of making a change. “In fact, in another building of ours, flags are allowed for special occasions (national holidays, pride month, etc.) and this is a model that has worked in the past.”
The federal government published data Tuesday in relation to LGBTQ2+ community across the country to mark Pride season that points to concerns in relation to acceptance, mental health and well-being.
Canada is home to approximately one million people who are LGBTQ2+, accounting for 4 per cent of the total population aged 15 and older in 2018.