Justin Trudeau sent a heartfelt Valentine’s Card to a Canadian man who had suffered homophobic abuse at his job.
Degas Sikorski was targeted in February, at Party City supply store in North Edmonton, where he has been working for three years to put himself through college. A co-worker anonymously delivered him a card which read, “Faggot. You are not getting shifts for a reason.” He has now left his employment there.
His mother then posted an image of the insulting Valentine on her Facebook where it was shared thousands of times, and caught the attention of gay MP Randy Boissonnault.
On Saturday (March 12), Boissonnault presented Sikorski with a new Valentine’s card in which he had included messages from various MPs giving him their support. Among them was the Prime Minister himself, Justin Trudeau. The card also included photographs of Trudeau signing the card with Boissonnault.
On the card, Trudeau wrote, “Dear Degas, know that your friends outnumber the haters by the millions and I’m one of those friends.”
Speaking to CBC News in Canada, Sikorski said, “It was hard not to cry at the moment when I saw that somebody who I see as above me and almost godly in my eyes, as you’re taught in high school, is giving me a personal message. It just took all the words out of my mouth.”
He added, “I knew equality and LGBTQ issues were a thing for Justin Trudeau, I just didn’t think that an issue that I experienced myself would be so close to home for him.”
Boissonnault also spoke to the news outlet about getting involved with the story, saying that he himself had been the subject of homophobic abuse growing up in Alberta in the 1990s.
“I explained what was going on to the prime minister and he said, ‘well, that doesn’t sound very nice, let’s write this young man a message.’ So we went into his office and he signed a beautiful message to Degas,” he said.
“It’s important for people in positions of authority to stick up and remind people what is right,” he added. “Here (we are) reaching out to say that we have his back. And bullying like that, and anti-LGBTQ sentiments, are just not tolerated.”