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Local drag king Duke Carson is the second person in recent weeks to be the victim of a spitting incident caught on video and shared widely in Calgary.
Jordan May, whose stage name is Duke Carson, said they were filming a Calgary Pride submission for the upcoming virtual event at the Pride crosswalk on Stephen Avenue when a man spit on them mid-performance and yelled a homophobic comment.
“It was a shock,” they said. “I’ve been called a lot of derogatory things, but I’ve never experienced someone who is that, sort of, disgusted with my existence or presence to spit on me. So, it was really jarring. I was really shaking.”
The incident took place on Saturday, just weeks after a similar incident was caught on camera in Inglewood where a man spit on a Calgary woman and yelled a racial slur . The man in question has since been arrested and charged.
May said they felt grateful two friends were with them and has since received lots of support online since the video was posted to Facebook by videographer Mackenzie Jeffries. It shows the man who spit on May walking down Stephen Avenue with two friends, two of whom had masks below their chins.
Nearby patrons and staff of Stephen Avenue reached out to help after the incident.
“There’s bad seeds all over the place but there is a lot of really good people in Calgary and I do my damnedest to surround myself and reach out to them,” said May.
“Everyone has their trauma and their issues. I can only imagine the person who felt the need to act out towards us and towards me is coming from his own place of pain and trauma, but at the end of the day we need to just keep acting with kindness.”
Jeffries said she hopes the incident highlights how much work still needs to be done in Calgary to make it a welcoming city for all. She said she doesn’t feel safe in the city and has been the subject of anti-LGBTQ+ hate.
“I just want people to be aware that this literally happens every single day, everywhere,” she said.
“We were in the middle of downtown on a Saturday surrounded by a bunch of people and someone just spit on us and walked away. They got to continue on with their day as if nothing happened.”
May said they’re not sure whether to file a complaint saying instead it might serve as a cautionary tale. They are reminding fellow performers to be vigilant.
Insp. Scott McCann said local police were made aware of the incident via social media. The Calgary Police Service Diversity Resource Team have been advised and are reaching out to affected parties.
McCann said, anecdotally, spitting incidents are on the rise in Calgary with people using COVID-19 as a “weapon” of sorts. He said the action is many times followed with threats related to the deadly virus or, most recently, homophobic and racial slurs.
He said police are taking those incidents seriously and perpetrators have been charged with assault.
May and Jeffries said they are getting tested for COVID-19.
Copyright Postmedia Network Inc., 2020