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Winnipeg Pride participants ignore parade warning

Drag queens say they won't cover up for June event

BUSINESS AS USUAL. Bob Burgess, also known as Gloria Booth, isn't planning to change what he wears to the parade, despite Winnipeg Pride's warning to keep it "family friendly." Credit: photo courtesy of Bob Burgess and Brent Young

Winnipeg Pride’s most photographed drag queens won’t let the parade’s new “family friendly” warning stop them from letting their pride hang out.

Gloria Booth and Pictoria Secrete, self-proclaimed “media whores” of Winnipeg, have been featured in newspapers and magazines around the world, as well as the Musee de l’Elysee in Switzerland.

“We go out there to put a smile on people’s faces,” says Bob Burgess, also known as Gloria Booth, and it’ll be business as usual for the outrageous duo on June 14. This, despite the Winnipeg Pride committee’s recent warning to keep things “family friendly.” The committee voted to add these words — “We would like to remind all entrants that Winnipeg Pride is a family friendly event” — to its float registration form, after city police reported an anonymous complaint following last year’s parade.

“It’s not like Winnipeg had a bunch of nudity,” said Burgess, although he admits his own costume came close. He and partner Brent Young, also known as Pictoria Secrete, looked like a cross between Marie Antoinette and Madonna, with giant hoop skirts and white nylons that showed off more than they bargained for (especially when they got wet).

One parade participant called Burgess and Young’s look “disgusting,” but the two didn’t get any flack from Pride organizers and they’re not planning to cover up as a result of this year’s warning — especially because the Pride committee never explained what they meant by “family friendly”.

Allen Morrison isn’t planning any changes to his float, either. The owner of Club 200, one of Winnipeg’s two remaining gay bars, said his flat-bed truck will look the same as always. In other words, “some young guys dancing, older guys riding and drag queens performing,” he said.

Morrison considers Winnipeg’s Pride parade — with about 3,000 participants per year — to be a “pretty tame” event. As a result, he feels that the committee’s warning is “much ado about nothing.”

Angela Fidler-Kliewer agrees. “It’s pretty vague,” she said. “I haven’t seen anything in the past that’s disturbing to me. I don’t even know if it’s necessary.”

Last year, Fidler-Kliewer gave birth to a baby boy named Joshua, and she plans to take him to this year’s Pride. “I’m not concerned about covering his eyes or censoring anything he can or can’t see in the parade,” said Fidler-Kliewer.

“The only thing I would be concerned about is nudity,” she said. “It’s against the law, anyway. If everything is covered up, then go for it.”

But is public nudity really illegal? Many people seem to think so. Stay tuned to Xtra.ca for a bare-bones reality check about baring all at Pride!