Sometimes, you just have to stand up for what you believe in, for what you hope will help the gay and lesbian community see themselves a little differently. I expect someone will write in and rebut what I wrote, which will appear in the next issue, but, for now, it's out there. (And, for the record, another reader wrote in to say virtually the same thing. Thank you, Pam Olund.)
The following appears in the August 15-28, 2013 issue of Xtra! Vancouver's Gay and Lesbian News, #521. It needs no explanation.
Since when did flaunting one's foreskin become a part of Pride? No wonder I haven't had any interest in attending a single Pride event since returning to the Lower Mainland four years ago. I realize a small element of nudity has always been there, but I've never approved of or appreciated it.
And, in answer to editor Robin Perelle's question–"What's next? Will the Dykes on Bikes be told to put their shirts back on?"–in my opinion, yes, they should be.
I'm no prude, believe me, but there's a time and a place for nudity, and it's not at family-friendly Pride events.
People who participate in the parade must remember they represent us as a community; what they do as individuals reflects either positively or negatively on all of us, whether they want to accept that or not. The fact is, I don't want men like Glen Callender [founder of the Canadian Foreskin Awareness Project] representing me or giving everyone the impression that all gay men are like him. They're not. Ninety-nine percent of us are proof of that.
People in places like Russia can't even hold a parade, for fear of being thrown in jail or executed. Let's show some respect for ourselves and each other. Keep your penises in your pants and your breasts covered. Instead, dazzle us with your smile, spirit, and enthusiasm–not your body parts.