Candidate speaks out against transphobic vandalism on campaign signs

A transgender candidate in southeastern Manitoba is speaking out after some of his elections signs were vandalized with transphobic messaging.

Trevor Kirczenow is the Liberal Party candidate in the riding of Provencher, which includes La Broquerie, Lac du Bonnet, Morris, Niverville, and Steinbach.

Kirczenow said on Thursday, supporters alerted him that several of his election signs in Steinbach and La Broquerie were plastered with a sticker saying transgendered people are broken.

“At first, I was told some of your signs had been defaced, but then finding out they were stickers – like someone had stickers made – that was particularly disconcerting because there’s a certain level of planning and organization that went into that,” Kirczenow told CTV News.

Kirczenow said it’s not the first time his signs have been vandalized throughout this election campaign. He estimates at least 100 signs have been stolen or damaged.

“But this wasn’t just somebody who walked by with a pen or a marker and scrawled something across the sign,” he said. “This is a little different and it certainly felt off.”

In a release, Kirczenow stated it is not only illegal to tamper with a political sign, but the sticker’s message may also be a hate crime.

He posted about the vandalism online, and said he has received an “overwhelming volume of supportive messages from all sorts of people” including supporters of other political parties.

“There’s so many people reaching out and saying that they’re standing with me on this.”

He said the hateful message on the sticker “simply isn’t true.”

“We are not broken,” Kirczenow said of the LGBTQ2S+ community. “We are proud, we are diverse, we are strong and we are resilient.”

Kirczenow also ran as the Liberal Party candidate for Provencher in 2019’s federal election, but said he didn’t experience any discrimination or vandalism throughout that campaign. He said he believes the stickers are a targeted attack, but said it is very likely only a small number of people are involved.

“Let’s keep this in perspective,” he said. “This contrasts the experience I’m having at the doors, which has been very positive. There’s a lot more to my candidacy than my gender identity.”

Kirczenow has called on other candidates in the riding, along with their supporters, to stand with him against hate speech.

RCMP told CTV News they’re investigating the incident, and are asking anyone with information to contact Steinbach RCMP at 204-326-4452 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.