Prince Albert Pride advocating for safe spaces after local cafe’s display of ‘anti-trans’ media

Chelsea Bleau is the chair of Prince Albert Pride. -- Photo by All My Relations Photography

Business owner says she wasn’t aware of Druthers newspaper or its controversial content

Prince Albert Pride is voicing the need for LGBTQ-friendly public establishments following the display of “anti-trans” articles in a local cafe.

According to Chair Chelsea Bleau, a member of the LGBTQ community came across the anti-mainstream media newspaper Druthers at Shananigan’s Bistro Coffee & Dessert Bar on Saturday.

The newspaper’s June edition features two articles about transgenderism, one about the author’s concerns from working in a transgender centre. The other says transgenderism is “co-opted and weaponized,” along with being considered “fashionable,” in today’s society.

The newspaper’s website describes Druthers as publishing “independent, honest, important news and information to Canadians that mainstream media ignores, misrepresents or outright lies about.”

“I can’t even imagine going into a public establishment, like a restaurant, and seeing that and just feeling like I’m not welcome here, like I shouldn’t be here. I feel unsafe,” said Bleau, whose pronouns are they/them.

“It’s really disheartening, but it also lights a fire inside of me, knowing this work that we do with Prince Albert Pride is extremely important.”

Bleau said the person, who wishes to remain unnamed, approached owner Jeannette Kindzerski about distributing the newspaper. Bleau said Kindzerski “reacted very horribly” after they asked for a refund on their food.

Bleau said they posted about the incident on Prince Albert Pride’s social media to warn the LGBTQ community that Shananigan’s isn’t a safe space to be.

“I don’t feel like it’s something that’s going to be resolved right away,” they said.

Shananigan’s owner and caterer Jeannette Kindzerski said the Druthers papers containing media about transgenderism were dropped off. — Herald file photo

Kindzerski said she didn’t willingly display and distribute the articles in Shananigan’s.

“People drop off stuff in here all the time, like magazines, posters. You come to the front entrance of my restaurant and there are people always pinning stuff up,” she said.

“I don’t feel like I should be attacked because somebody dropped off some magazines.”

Kindzerski said she wasn’t aware of the content in Druthers.

“I told my staff, now, like keep an eye out for this because I don’t need to lose business over a magazine that I don’t even know what’s in it,” she said.

She added that members of the LGBTQ community are welcome in Shananigan’s.

“If they want to be gay or trans or whatever, then that is their right,” said Kindzerski. “I’m not into politics, I’m into food.”

On Wednesday morning, the Herald did not come across any Druthers newspapers in the bistro.

‘We’re in this pendulum swing’

As Bleau described, someone who is transgender does not identify with the sex they were given at birth. You do not need to have had transition surgery to be considered transgender, said Bleau, but some do choose “gender-affirming care.” Bleau said this can be as simple as getting a haircut.

Some also consider people who are non-binary, like Bleau, to be transgender.

The front page article in Druthers’ June newspaper is titled ‘I Thought I was Saving Trans Kids – Now I’m Blowing the Whistle.’

The author, Jamie Reed, begins by writing that she’s a queer woman married to a transgender man.

The article centres around “permanently harming” patients at a clinic she worked at in Washington that treated youth with gender dysphoria.

She references a 17-year-old biological female who called the centre in 2020 with heavy bleeding after having sex. Because the patient was on testosterone, which thins vaginal tissues, Reed said the patient’s vaginal canals had torn.

The other article, called ‘From Transgender to Transhuman,’ triggered Bleau the most.

Guy Crittenden said he attended gender and sexuality conferences about 15 years ago when “transgender issues applied to a witheringly small number of people” and wasn’t “fashionable.”

He claims that the public school system is encouraging youth to question their gender, leading to a “confused, angry and depressed” generation that’s often coerced into potentially harmful surgery.

“I feel like we’re in this pendulum swing right now in North America,” said Bleau.

“We were doing really good and were kind of on this track and then all of the sudden this misinformation started coming out online in a lot of different social groups and it’s just spread everywhere,” they said.

“The hate is definitely on the rise.”

Bleau said that’s why Prince Albert Pride is working on compiling a list of businesses that openly consider themselves a “safe space” for LGBTQ people.

They said many big box stores consider themselves pride-friendly. However, they said, that could be a corporate decision and isn’t necessarily a reflection of Prince Albert’s community members.

Prince Albert Pride’s safe spaces campaign focuses on local businesses, like The S2DIO, that have declared themselves as a safe space. The organization also frequently hosts its Queer Coffee events at Dr. Java’s Coffee House and The Rock & Iron Sports Bar.

“It’s definitely about healing harm long-term when we designate safe spaces and we go out of our way to put in the work to create safe spaces,” said Bleau.

“It creates a domino effect, and it will create a domino effect for generations.”