“JOOOOOOOZZZ!!!” get another break this week!
On February 5, 1981, over 250 men were arrested in raids on four downtown bathhouses as part of “Operation Soap.” Owners were charged with “keeping a common bawdy house” and patrons as “found ins.” Some of these were marched into the streets while still naked, which is the alleged “reason” 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 “community” who object to this hairy ass-pect of queer “culture” are dissed as “nice gays,” a “pejorative 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.
“In hindsight,” one veteran activist said last week, “I look upon the bathhouse raids as probably one of the best things that ever happened to the LGBT community at that time.”