A Dartmouth couple is overwhelmed by the support they're receiving after homophobic graffiti was sprayed outside their apartment.

They say it's not the first time they've been the targets of harassment, but this time, an act of hatred has also brought the community together.

There are still a few remnants of the red spray paint that marked the walls of apartment on Kilkee Gate in Dartmouth. It contained homophobic messages aimed at Tim Gottschall and Devin Moore.

The graffiti had already been painted over by the time officers arrived, but police say they have seen photos of the profanity-laced slurs, which had been spray-painted on the white wall in bright red paint.

Gottschall went out to check the mail yesterday morning, and saw the messages.

He called the police, and says he's happy they are taking this seriously.

"Years ago, it would have been under the rug," said Gottschall."They would have said 'oh well, we investigated, and that's it we're closing it.' Today we have our community gathering to support us and say 'look, this is not right.'"

Halifax Regional Police say they are investigating and looking for anyone who might have information.

Police also say if anyone is the victim of hateful graffiti, they should record it and report it.

The incident comes at a time when Halifax is celebrating its annual Pride Festival, and members of the LGBTQ community are speaking out about the homophobic graffiti.

"It disgusted me," said Jason Spurrell."Plain and simple."

Spurrell says he's been the victim of hate speech himself, as recently as this week, as he participated in an event for Pride.
"I had people come up and hug me, I had people come up and tell me I was beautiful, and then I had people behind my back call me the words," Spurrell said.

Spurrell -- also known as Rouge Fatale – says he plans to dress in “fabulous drag” and take a “peaceful and loving protest and stroll” through the neighbourhood to show support for the residents of the unit.

“I need the rest of the community to know that one person's actions will not quiet us during Pride,” said Spurrell in a Facebook post. “We are showing we are not afraid. Not to spread the fear!”

The event is planned for 2:30 p.m. at Ocean Breeze Estates in Dartmouth.

He posted the event on Facebook, and hundreds of people have signed up, including Chris Cochrane, known as Elle Noir.

"It's not just that we're showing love to somebody, but we're showing you we see you, we're respecting you, and we're hoping that your space is now safe for you," Cochrane said.

It's that surge of community that has helped Gottschall turn from fear to hope.

"Let's fix this," Gottschall said. "We have a long ways to go yet and we can do this. We will prevail."

With files from Emily Baron Cadloff.