Toronto Police Slough Off Gay Pride-Related Criminality

By Tony Gosgnach

  TORONTO, September 11, 2007 ( - In response to media reports of apparently criminal moral and sexual excesses associated with this year’s “gay pride” events in Toronto this past summer – and what seemed to be a police conflict-of-interest with respect to them – the Life Ethics Information Centre wrote seeking clarification to the mayor of Toronto, David Miller, Police Chief William Blair and the chair of the Toronto Police Services Board, Alok Mukherjee.

  In its letter, the LEIC began by referring to a “Pride Week Reception” that the Toronto Police Services Board hosted in the heart of Toronto’s “gay village” to celebrate what was being called an “evolving relationship” with the “lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.” The LEIC pointed out that Toronto police core values commit the service to treating everyone in an impartial manner and that fraternizing with the homosexual lobby creates an impression that there are two sets of enforcement of the law – one for the homosexual community and another for everyone else.

  The LEIC then quoted a Toronto Star report of dozens of people marching naked, in addition to a “bare-chested woman” and another who strode the gay pride parade route topless. The Globe and Mail additionally reported “a lot of bare, sunburned and sweaty flesh” and that children were exposed to these scenes.

  The LEIC pointed out these incidents seemed to meet the criteria for being offences under Sections 173 and 174 of the Criminal Code of Canada, which state: “Everyone who willfully does an indecent act in a public place in the presence of one or more persons, or in any place, with intent thereby to insult or offend any person, is guilty of an offense punishable on summary conviction; Every person who, in any place, for a sexual purpose, exposes his or her genital organs to a person who is under the age of 14 years is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction; Everyone who, without lawful excuse, is nude in a public place, or is nude and exposed to public view while on private property, whether or not the property is his own, is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction.”

  Further, the LEIC cited an account in the Toronto “alternative” magazine Eye, which described the goings-on inside a downtown establishment known as Goodhandy’s. The article reported that on Wednesday nights, there are “live solo (masturbation) videos filmed in a backroom and projected on a huge screen in the centre of the club. There’s live wrestling and a free area for gay men to cruise and have sex and the boys who star in the videos loll about in white towels when they’re done their show.”

  Thursdays at this establishment were reported to feature trans-sexual prostitutes with “couples, straight-living suburban men and random younger T-girl lovers.” A co-owner of the establishment was quoted as saying: “Periodically, we have live porn shoots up in the studio, which is fed out to the big screen and the six new LCD screens we installed all over the club.”

  The LEIC suggested these activities seemed to meet the criteria for classifying Goodhandy’s as a bawdy house – an offence under Section 210 of the Criminal Code. This states that a bawdy house is “a place that is kept or occupied, or resorted to by one or more persons, for the purpose of prostitution or the practice of acts of indecency.”

  As well, “Everyone who is an inmate of a common bawdy-house, is found, without lawful excuse, in a common bawdy-house, or as owner, landlord, lessor, tenant, occupier, agent or otherwise having charge or control of any place, knowingly permits the place or any part thereof to be let or used for the purposes of a common bawdy-house, is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction.”

  Responding in writing on behalf of the Toronto Police Services, Jerome F. Wiley, QC, counsel for the office of Police Chief Blair, claimed the police department’s fraternizing with the homosexual community was simply “an effort to enhance relations with members of our diverse community. Many similar events are held each year with respect to a variety of ethnic, cultural and religious groups.”

  With respect to the allegations of public nudity at the “gay pride” parade, Wiley said police were present and “did not see any activity which met the threshold of reasonable grounds to believe an offence against the Criminal Code had been committed.”

  Finally, regarding Goodhandy’s, Wiley said police “regularly check all licensed premises to ensure that they are complying with the law. In addition, police also investigate complaints about premises believed to be used as bawdy houses and lay charges where there is evidence to do so.”

  Wiley did not explain the apparent discrepancies between what police allegedly saw and what was reported by various news media. He also did not give details on what other groups the Toronto Police Services Board hosts receptions for.

  Sun Media columnist Michael Coren had raised the additional question of whether it is outright abusive to take a small child to a “gay pride” parade, where “a significant minority of people are semi-naked, simulate sexual activity, bump and grind and even whip each other for some bizarre form of titillation … There is ample photographic evidence of the nudity and of officers standing by, grinning and doing nothing … one wonders why the law does not apply to all when it is broken” (Toronto Sun, June 30, 2007).

  As the LEIC added in its letter: “Why, indeed?”

  Reprinted from
  Catholic Insight Magazine
  October 2007 Issue

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