Monday, April 14, 2008

Gay Pride Fort Lauderdale 2008 details

Here are some parting shots before I close the file on this year's Pride celebration.

Can't not include a gratuitous ode to shirtlessness of which there was plenty. (Later that night, at another venue, I got to touch the mohawk of the butch little guy in the center of the pic in the upper right corner.)

There were also plenty of candidates (both gay and/or claiming to be gay-friendly).

It's hard to feel less than festive in a wash of rainbow garb. (Incidentally, I was wearing my "(NSFW)" t shirt, and no less than twenty people asked me what it stood for. Only once did a passing twink point to it and laugh. I'm tellin ya, it's different down here.)

There were several booths offering info about a variety of cosmetic procedures. At this one, you could have your teeth permanently bleached in 15 minutes on the spot for $119. There was a line for this "blue light special".
The Fort Lauderdale Police Department was recruiting and had the good sense to staff their booth with this hot cop. We had a long chat about public sex. He is as smart as he is cute. I didn't ask him is orientation.

Many booths offered free condoms and lube. Bath houses and sex clubs also distribute these. This pervasive and ubiquitous understatement should mean that only an idiot would have unsafe sex, and yet, I still see it all too often.

Panels from the "Quilt" were displayed, and there was this memorial to the recently murdered Michael Brown.

And here is the absolutely delightful Lisa Bowden, Tourism Director for the Town of Provincetown. She's waving to her partner, Regina, whom she sees about as often as I do C, given her work and my winter meanderings.

A very friendly event.


riot said...

I've read your blog for a while. I almost always enjoy what you have to say. Your thoughts on religion are especially interesting to me.

However, every time you talk about people who have unsafe sex, I find myself offended. Part of it is just that I take it too personally, as one of those idiots was me not too long ago, and I'm paying a very high price for it. Part of it is that I believe your tone and your message does exactly the opposite of your presumed intent, i.e., I believe none of the younger men whose infection rates are rising is going to be helped in the slightest by your words.

Calling people stupid does not make them more inclined to listen to you. Pity, contempt, arrogance, condescension...your words drip with all of this and more. None of it is helpful. None of it will prevent a single infection.

When you last posted on the topic you told a story about a bathhouse encounter. If I remember correctly, you decided you might have to give some friendly safe sex advice the next time you encountered unsafe sex in that space. Instead, if you really want to make a difference, I suggest that you speak to those young men far before the bathhouse. Try to understand and help with the mental health issues which might lead to the decision to have unsafe sex. Reinforce the self-worth of a young man long before he is confronted with the choice. Then you might actually make a difference.

Father Tony of the Farmboyz said...

Dear Riot,
First, thanks for your non-anonymous and thoughtful comment. Like so many others, I am at a loss as to how to reach those who are frequently on the verge of making a bad decision that could change the rest of their lives. If you or I had a successful strategy or method for helping them avert disaster we and every health care professional in the world would be using it. Some counsel education, others demand the closing of sex clubs, some work for medical advances and others simply pray. You are right to reference my strongest resolution in the matter: to give friendly advice at the crucial moment. This has not been well received, but I still think it is my own personal best course of action. I disagree with you entirely in one area. I don't think anyone could justifiably accuse me of "contempt, arrogance or condescension", to use your words. Those words might apply to some men who shun the places I frequent and the men with whom I associate. Be assured, there are many who feel contempt and condescension about me, given my sex-positive life style. Do you think Larry Kramer and others who want to shake up and wake up young men before it is too late are contemptuous or condescending toward those they hope to help? Don't you see that when the walls of bath houses are plastered with safe sex messages and when all manner of counseling and screening is available freely and on site that there would be frustration about the rising levels of new infections? Do you really think that I feel contempt and condescension about my friends both living and dead who are positive? Your visceral assignment of these traits to my head is misplaced, but I take it to heart, and will use your feelings on the matter to better craft my comments and actions.

riot said...

Please don't mistake me. My "contempt, arrogance, and condescension" criticism was of your words and I stand by it.

I never presumed to evaluate whether you have these attributes as a person. I don't know you well enough and likely couldn't through your blog alone. If I was to make an evaluation based on limited information, I would say the opposite--that you are a kind, compassionate, insightful, and thoughtful person. These are the reasons I read your blog in the first place.

And, these are the reasons I decided to give what I intended to be constructive criticism. No doubt my feelings allowed some tone of my own to bleed into my post. For that I apologize.

I believe you mean well. I don't know what safe sex message will work, but I think I have a fair idea of what won't work for the recently-more-endangered demographic. Take the advice or leave it, but don't get the idea that I think of you negatively.

I think you're pretty damn cool, otherwise I wouldn't bother.

Father Tony of the Farmboyz said...

Dear Riot,
I'll take "pretty damn cool" and go home with it quickly, before anyone else has a chance to argue otherwise! Thanks. Please speak again sometime.