Feeling the love, not the hate: Cartoonist returns to Halifax after death threats
Last May, online attacks directed at Sophie Labelle forced organizers to cancel her book launch. Now, she's making Halifax her last stop before embarking on a 12-country European tour.
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After death threats and hate-filled messages forced her to cancel a Halifax book launch last year, Sophie Labelle is coming back.
“A lot of people are happy that last May’s events didn’t taint my relation with Halifax. Not at all,” the trans cartoonist said.
“The way that it was handled back then and the support that community in Halifax showed me? Of course I would come back.”
Labelle is launching two new books, and she made Halifax her last stop before embarking on a 12-country European tour.
Last May, the Montreal-based cartoonist said neo-Nazi threats forced her to cancel her comic book launch at Halifax’s Venus Envy. The outspoken activist said an orchestrated online attack included perpetrators posting her home address on several online forums.
“They have a very clear eugenics agenda where they use Nazi imagery to promote their transphobic, homophobic and racist views,” Labelle told Metro last year.
This second trip, she said, is looking much different. On Thursday, she’ll be launching ‘Ciel,’ the first volume of a French novel series based on her comics.
She’ll also launch a new comic book, Serious Trans Vibes. That has been published in both English and French.
“It is a very different context than last year that I’m coming to Halifax, and a very different atmosphere...I’m really looking forward to launching it in Halifax,” she said.
“There were a lot of people that were disappointed since last year when I couldn’t do the event because of everything that happened. I had promised myself that next time I had an opportunity to do so, I would do something in Halifax.”
While she’s still regularly harassed online, Labelle said it’s nowhere close to the level of hatred she experienced last year, which included multiple death threats.
“I really landed on my feet after these events and I feel like I came back stronger than before after these attacks. With the support from my audience and the general public I also found a lot of new supporters,” she said.
“Sadly I think those people who attacked me simply went on to attack people they felt were less visible, different targets, when they saw that I had the support of the public in general.”
Labelle will appear at Cape and Cowl in Lower Sackville on Thursday from 4 to 6 p.m.
That’ll be followed by a short reading and a question/answer session at Venus Envy in Halifax from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m.
“People that know my characters and my comics can expect lots of very insightful dialogue and sarcasm from my characters, lots of talks about gender in a way that is meant to be creative and playful,” she said.
“I’m grateful to Halifax and looking forward to coming back.”