A lesbian business owner says she is concerned for her safety after a man allegedly targeted her with homophobic slurs and threatened to kill her.
Tracy Myerson, who owns jett grrl bike studio at 247 Union St, says that a man came to her store on Feb 12 and allegedly screamed, “You fucking slut, you fucking whore” before calling her a “fucking lesbian” and threatening to kill her.
“I don’t even know half of what he was saying,” she says. “He was so angry and so filled with hatred. It was mostly about the world is going to shit because of people like me.”
Myerson says the man is Caucasian, in his 50s, with grey-tinged red hair, 5’6″ tall and weighs about 115 lbs. “He’s not a street guy,” she says. “He has a different jacket on every day.”
She says the man first came into the store as a customer about a year and a half ago and would start “ranting about some political stuff,” which she tried to ignore. “He gets up to go, and as he is at the door he says, ‘I bet you have a girlfriend at home,'” Myerson alleges. “I say, ‘Actually, I do.’ He then says the world is going to hell because of people like me,” she further alleges.
After that Myerson says the man returned every four months, then every two months and recently began showing up three times in a week. Myerson reported the man to the police. She says they are going to charge him with criminal harassment when they find him.
“I’ve never called the cops until last weekend, when he threatened to kill me,” she says, adding the police are “doing the best they can, but the 911 response has been really slow.”
In the meantime, until the man is caught, Myerson is seeking help from passing cyclists and others who are in her area at around 7pm when she locks up. “I just need someone to hang out with me while I lock up,” she says. “When I do the alarm and put my bike out, my back is to the street.
“I’m totally preoccupied when I do this, and I don’t want to take any chances,” she adds.
Myerson says if the man doesn’t go away she won’t be able to stay at the location she’s been in for nearly four years. “I don’t want to be another statistic; I don’t want to be another queer killed in Canada,” she says.
Const Wes Fung of the Vancouver Police Department, who patrols the area, says the man may have some mental health issues. “We need to ensure that Tracy feels safe and that this guy gets the help he needs,” he says.
When asked if the case is being investigated for hate motivation, Fung says it’s something police would “look into” due to the nature of the threats.