Some lesbians and trans folk in Halifax are justifiably outraged over a brief editorial that appeared in this week’s edition of Frank, a local gossip and satire magazine. A column bylined Eddie Cornwallis (Frank frequently has its satire writers use pseudonyms – Edward Cornwallis founded the city of Halifax in 1749) talks about a July 19 Pussy Palace-style event, taking place during Halifax Pride, as a good place for a straight man to have a good time:
It’s Pride Week in Halifax, and is your pal Eddie excited. A little nervous, too. I’ve been hearing good things about the annual bathhouse for lesbians at SeaDog’s Sauna and Spa on Gottingen Street, and I’m not gonna miss it this year. They let transfolk in, so I figure if I just shave real close, and throw on a padded bra I’m good to go. And if I get in, mer-cy!
You can tut-tut all you want, but I’m not gonna feel the slightest bit guilty. Pride Week gets bags of money from the Canadian Department of Heritage, the NS Dept of Communities, Culture and Heritage and HRM, so the way I see it, I’m headed to a government-sponsored lesbian orgy. The very best kind.
Obviously, there’s something disturbing about a grown man writing about getting his rocks off by sneaking into a private women’s space. And the idea that shaving one’s beard (or more) and throwing on a padded bra is enough to make one a transsexual is offensive and asinine. As a caricature of a ridiculous straight male thinking about lesbians and trans folk as sex objects, it would be fairly spot on, but that’s clearly not the writer’s intent, given the ensuing paragraph, which calls the event a “government-sponsored lesbian orgy.”Framing the event as a government-sponsored orgy is just incorrect and a lame attempt to make hay out of a non-story. And with some governments already attacking the idea of funding Pride festivals, we should take seriously any attempt to whip up emotions against our Prides.
Does Halifax Pride get funding from the agencies Cornwallis lists? Yes. Do partner bars and clubs directly receive money from Pride for the events they run? No, of course they don’t. At most, they receive the benefit of the group marketing of the Pride events that the government grants fund. But the vast majority of Pride scheduling is made up of lecture series, art presentations or community events, such as the parade itself.
Incidentally, this isn’t the only controversy “Eddie Cornwallis” has drummed up this summer. Last month, four of Frank’s five staff writers resigned in protest after the writer published a column on sexism.
So far, it seems that Nova Scotia Rainbow Action Project is going to ignore Frank, while the local gay rag, Wayves, has decided to laugh it off on Twitter.
Still, I am curious about the last sentence fragment quote above, which says that government-sponsored lesbian orgies are “the very best kind.” How many kinds of lesbian orgies are there? Are government-sponsored lesbian orgies really the best kind? I trust you’ll let me know in the comments below.