Shaidle Unchained

Hypocrisy on Parade

June 28, 2016


I moved out of Boystown over a decade ago, but still trek down there every five weeks to get my hair done. I can”€™t stomach the prospect of explaining to some new, nearby stylist that yes, I do want a perm, and yes, my hair is supposed to look more or less like Barbara Stanwyck’s wig in Double Indemnity, and yes, I do know that that was supposed to be an ugly hairdo. (God, you just don”€™t GET it!) (Mom!!!)

So I”€™m loyal to my hairdresser, who’s even older than I am, knows what the hell I”€™m talking about, and tunes the salon’s radio to one of the few remaining stations playing music from the previous century. Incredibly, he’s also pretty much the only straight in the Village.

Our schedule only gets screwed up in July, during Pride Month. (Oh, please: It hasn”€™t been just “€œDay”€ or “€œWeek”€ for ages, around the same time they dropped the “€œGay”€ part.) The salon is right on the parade route, so they shut down for that whole weekend.

“€œIt’s a pain, but what can you do?”€ said my stylist as I sat in his chair a few weeks back. “€œThe naked guys in the parade are the worst. Besides, it’s illegal. The cops don”€™t do anything, though. I guess they don”€™t want to go after minorities.

“€œNot,”€ he added, “€œthat gays are minorities anymore…”€

“€œWell, actually,”€ I replied”€”God, those two words have gotten me into so much trouble”€””€œgays make up only about two percent of the population.”€

“€œI do know there isn”€™t an annual parade for Emanuel Jaques.”€

Now, my hairbender is, admittedly, soaking in it, but poll after poll shows that plenty of other folks are convinced that gays make up a bigger slice of the population than they do. And why not? That’s the fruit, so to speak, of relentless propaganda that started with one lying pervert’s “€œone-in-ten”€ nonsense. Supertankers”€™ worth of homo blood, sweat, tears, and other bodily fluids have since been expelled over the course of”€”well, “€œgenerations”€ doesn”€™t seem like quite the right word”€”and now gayness is the very grout and mortar of modern life, from your TV to your kids”€™ classrooms. Every month seems like Pride.

That’s probably why this year, Toronto figured it had to add something particularly novel to the festivities, so the cops issued an official apology for the very event that, legend has it, inspired Pride in the first place.

On February 5, 1981, over 250 men were arrested in raids on four downtown bathhouses as part of “€œOperation Soap.”€ Owners were charged with “€œkeeping a common bawdy house”€ and patrons as “€œfound ins.”€ Some of these were marched into the streets while still naked, which is the alleged “€œreason”€ for the notorious nudity during the subsequent annual parade. You see, it’s a homo homage to the travails of their elders, a reenactment of their Trail of Bears! (Those in the “€œcommunity”€ who object to this hairy ass-pect of queer “€œculture”€ are dissed as “€œnice gays,”€ a “€œpejorative term akin to “€˜Uncle Tom.”€™”€)

The day after the raids, thousands of gay men marched on 52 Division and Queen’s Park in protest. Some stayed politicized and got into AIDS advocacy (refusing, of course, to acknowledge the obvious connection between that disease and what went on in those very bathhouses).

Today, Pride Toronto (like AIDS) is big business, the pot of gold at the end of that ubiquitous rainbow.

“€œIn hindsight,”€ one veteran activist said last week, “€œI look upon the bathhouse raids as probably one of the best things that ever happened to the LGBT community at that time.”€

But he didn”€™t turn down that official apology, of course.

Famous-in-Toronto gay pastor Brent Hawkes was pleased with it too, a fact the CBC reported without mentioning that he’s also pleaded not guilty to “€œindecent assault on a male and gross indecency related to allegations of a sexual assault against a minor in 1974 and 1975.”€

Which reminds me…

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