In the leadup to this weekend’s Dallas Pride parade, organizers are reminding participants that the event needs to be family-friendly and that they should avoid nudity and lewd behaviour, drawing sharp criticism from some in the queer community, The Dallas Voice reports.
Activist Daniel Cates alleges that the rules are a bid to “accommodate comfort for the increasing number of attending heterosexuals and corporate sponsorship . . . no bare asses, no breasts (even with pasties), no tight underwear on dancers, nothing too political at all.”
“The ‘queer’ is effectively being erased from our Pride celebration in favor of the most polished, heteronormative representation of our community as possible,” he says.
Cates refers to the Stonewall Inn rioters and their fight to “break out of the damn closet," noting that “our movement was built of sex positivity and our desire to BE WHO WE ARE!”
He urges participants to “defy the Tavern Guild” that puts on the parade.
But the Guild’s executive director, Michael Doughman, says outcry over the rules is “much ado about nothing,” the Voice reports.
He says the police, not his organization, issued the dress code reminder.
Doughman says the rules are nothing new, noting longstanding state laws and city ordinances governing nudity and lewd behaviour. He recalls a parade float dancer, who had an erection and was wearing wet underwear, as an example of behaviour that went too far.
He says dancers on floats have been asked to wear swimsuits instead of underwear.
One post in response to Cates’s comments states that the issue centres on “two different interpretations of what gay liberation is about.
“You have those [who] have more traditional attitudes and who believe in the assimilating of marginalized communities into the whole. Then you have others, like myself, [who] see queer pride as always having been rooted in the movement for sexual liberation.”
Detective Sergeant Jeremy Liebbe, of Dallas Independent School District, is co-commander of security for the parade and festival.
Liebbe, who is gay, says floats that violate decency standards will be warned prior to the parade, the Voice says.
“If they fail to comply before reaching the parade route, they will be removed from the parade and individuals may be charged with class-B misdemeanor indecent exposure,” Liebbe says.
“If there’s an erection and a child is present that could see it, it is a felony, and we don’t want to see that happen.”
He says that over the years, some people have tried to “push the line” but adds that officers won’t be “assigned to look for indecency violations in the crowd.”
The parade is set for Sept 15.