Kamloops man denied a rental suite because he's a drag queen | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Kamloops man denied a rental suite because he's a drag queen

A Kamloops landlord recently denied Darcy Daniel a rental suite because of his involvement in the drag queen community. The 27-year-old says he is discouraged but not surprised.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/ WhitestWash Photography
August 07, 2018 - 6:30 PM

KAMLOOPS - When Darcy Daniel decided to move back to Kamloops to be closer to his family, he was excited to get a different perspective on the town he was raised in.

Growing up in the city, Daniel says he frequently faced homophobia and sometimes even violence for being gay. Now at 27 years old and after living in different cities across the province, Daniel says he was hopeful people have become more accepting and open-minded of events and members associated with the LGBTQ community.

But recent incidents are proving differently.

Last month, the Kamloops man posted video to social media of two separate verbal assaults and threats while walking along Victoria Street West with his boyfriend. Daniel turned to social media to speak out on the homophobia he experienced in the city. The video he posted has been viewed more than 17,000 times. Daniel says he was happy to be the voice for individuals facing homophobia and hopefully move things forward for the acceptance of gay men in the city.

But less than a week after his video went viral, Daniel was denied a rental suite because of his involvement with drag queen performances. The Kamloops man says he was open and honest with Rebbah Rodrigues, the landlord showing him her suite in downtown Kamloops.

"I want to make sure it's a safe environment for myself so I was very up front especially with telling her about the drag performances that I do," he says. "Being a gay male and dressing in a different gender role is a whole other (level) of scary."

It's a precautionary step he takes to make sure no one is uncomfortable and ensure he is moving into a safe community. Daniel says after the interview with Rodrigues, he felt hopeful.

"She didn't seem to have a problem with it, she even messaged me to ask if we could chat some more but then I didn't hear back," he says.

Daniel says when he finally heard back from Rodrigues, it wasn't the message he was expecting.

"I wanted to talk some more but I found someone else. I am sorry, you had excellent references but I think my neighbours and clients might have a bit of trouble with the drag queeen thing. I don't want things to get uncomfortable for anyone," Rodrigues. 

Image Credit: SUBMITTED/ Darcy Daniel

"I'd be lying if I said this was the first time I've gotten this type of response," Daniel wrote to his Facebook page with a screenshot of the message he received. "Many think being gay or into the drag scene means you force your lifestyle onto other people."

Rodrigues, who runs a home-based business, says she regrets the way she worded the message to Daniel but says her decision to not rent out her suite to Daniel had nothing to do with his sexual orientation.

"The drag queen issue for me wasn't an issue, but I could see it being an issue for neighbours," she says. "As far as being gay, we are used to that, but as for the drag queen thing, it's just something that's not really ever brought up."

Now reflecting on her message, Rodrigues says she understands how it may have come across as offensive.

"I just wish he would have talked to me before posting it to Facebook," she says. "I understand why he was upset but I was nothing but nice and polite to him."

Rodrigues says her encounter with Daniel while she showed him the place was pleasant and she was even surprised that he disclosed his sexual orientation during the interview.

"It took me by surprise because I wasn't expecting anything like that and he did say people actually have an issue with it, so I could have said right then and there if I did have a problem with it but that wasn't what I was feeling," she says. 

Rodrigues adds when it came down to making her final decision, it had to do with what worked best for her.

"Ultimately, my decision was based on what is the best for me and my future plans... I wish I had expressed that to Darcy," she says, also adding that she wanted a short-term tenant and Daniel was looking for a place more long-term.

"I should have mentioned that to him as well, I'm not backtracking, the current tenant is aware of this," she says.

Being of a minority race herself, Rodrigues says she has also faced discrimination and is disappointed she caused someone else to feel this way.

"People make mistakes but hopefully we can learn from them and move on," she says. "Anyone that knows me knows that I'm a good person."

David Hutniak, the CEO of Landlords B.C. says these incidents between landlords and tenants are not common, but they do happen.

"What we try to do as an association is to engage all these landlords and to educate them and often times we run into these situations," he says. "Fortunately it's very infrequently, it's not generally (to be) malicious, it's a lack of knowledge or ignorance about legislation and the laws."

Hutniak says it's important for landlords to respect the legal screening process when interviewing potential tenants.

"We have very specific rules and guidelines around privacy and human rights codes," he says. "This sounds discriminatory to me... you don't discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation, race, colour... that's not how things work, it's that simple."

To contact a reporter for this story, email Karen Edwards or call (250) 819-3723 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

We welcome your comments and opinions on our stories but play nice. We won't censor or delete comments unless they contain off-topic statements or links, unnecessary vulgarity, false facts, spam or obviously fake profiles. If you have any concerns about what you see in comments, email the editor in the link above. 

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