Toronto
2 min

The search for safety

Damage is inflicted by water balloons & the click of the camera

IT IS. Carole Pope just does art. Credit: Xtra files

Pride is trying to ban water balloons because children may be “damaged.”



“I’ve heard from two or three individuals who would like to bring their children to the parade and march with their children in the parade, but will not because of fear that they will be physically damaged from balloons,” says parade co-chair Joel Rotstein.



And that’s just one of the ways that Pride volunteers are trying to control watchers and participants. Dyke March organizers are concerned about the violence inflicted by the camera.



“People like to throw water balloons from third, fourth and tenth floors of buildings,” says Rotstein. “Something that big and heavy gains a lot of momentum on the way down, so someone could get hit on the head and break their neck.”



Rotstein says that last year, the amps of two floats were short-circuited.



“We always tell everyone to expect a wet parade even if it’s not raining, so protect your equipment. We always tell people to be safe and wrap their equipment in lots of plastic.”



Anita Parker-Laite, the other parade co-chair, says she got complaints from a fairy jumped from behind last year.



“A really big muscle guy told me that he was hit in the back with three balloons at once and it really stunned him!



“Some people have slipped on their floats and if someone fell right off one of the flatbeds that would be a bad situation. And some people were actually bruised by the balloons. A couple of drivers of vehicles said that they had to slow down their vehicles because they couldn’t see because they kept being hit by balloons.”



Over at the Dyke March, the lens is the enemy.



Topless dykes are horrified to discover that attending a public event makes them a public spectacle.



“A reporter provided the link to a site which was called Topless In Toronto and I went there and recognized some of my friends in the pictures and was surprised that someone would go to all the trouble to take all these pictures and make a website,” says Margaret Robinson, the Dyke March co-chair.



“We had asked our marshals to ask people not to take pictures, or to try and put their bodies between cameras and people who are topless or something like that.



“But when we got there we realized we were really facing hundreds and hundreds of cameras, not the dozen or so like we had in previous years. So it really wasn’t safe to ask our marshals to do that.”



“Wear lots of sunscreen and don’t do anything in public you don’t want your grandmother to see.”