If you feel like you’ve suddenly been seeing gay men or ’70s pornstars everywhere it’s not just you. After all it is “Movember.” If the name alone isn’t gay enough, the fundraising initiative of the Prostate Cancer Research Foundation of Canada (PCRFC) is asking men — of all sexual orientations, it should be pointed out — to grow moustaches for the month of November. The men then get people to sponsor them as one would for a charity race.
Sharon Bala, the PCRFC’s manager of marketing and communications, says she wasn’t initially aware of the gay connotations of the name.
“I hadn’t heard that until I talked to one of our spokespersons who said that when he was young ”mo’ was a term for homosexuals,” she says. “He wasn’t sure how much the campaign would take off.”
But Bala says she noticed that moustaches have largely become the preserve of queer men.
“All the men I knew who had mos before November were gay men,” she says.
The event began in 1999 in Australia where “mo” is slang for moustache. It’s become a major annual event. Bala says that as of Nov 13 the Aussies have raised $3 million. This year Canada has joined New Zealand, the US, Spain and Britain in putting on a Movember event.
Bala says that as of Nov 13 2,000 Canadian men have raised more than $150,000. The PCRFC is hoping to raise $250,000 for prostate cancer awareness and research and to encourage men to get regular prostate examinations.
For an event that professes not to care about sexual orientation Movember certainly seems to be going out of its way to make things as gay as possible. Bala says that the US has created “mo ambassadors,” whom she describes as “guys with iconic mos.”
One of these “mo ambassadors” is Randy Jones, the cowboy from The Village People. Another is pro wrestler Hulk Hogan.
But Bala says that even men who can’t hope to match Jones’s luxurious growth shouldn’t be intimidated. She says parties being held in Toronto, Vancouver and Edmonton at the end of the month will have rewards for even the straggliest.
“Even if you can’t grow a real bushy one, you can still enter,” she says. “There will be awards for Lamest Mos.”