Thursday, July 10, 2014

WORLD PRIDE 2014

Please enjoy Paladin Bamm Bamm's recounting of his experiences with the Toronto Sisters during World Pride 2014:

First of all, I didn’t even know that Toronto’s Pride parade would be the last Sunday in June, when I booked my flight back in March. My purpose for travelling to the first capital of Upper Canada, founded by the legendary John Graves Simcoe, was to hang with my homie, Mitch.

“Hey! The pride parade is that weekend!” he said. “Curses,” I thought silently to myself, “there goes a side-trip to Montreal!” I was soon made to realize that this was not just any pride parade; but that Toronto would be hosting North America’s first WORLD PRIDE extravaganza! Moreover, there would be a contingent of Sisters in the parade representing the city’s Abbey of the Divine Wood.

My hosts live just a block away from Church and Wellesley, the epicentre of the gay village. When I arrived late Friday night, Church St. was already closed for several blocks, to accommodate vendors and dance parties shoe-horned into parking lots and city parks. For the next couple of days, I jostled with literally hundreds of thousands of queer and straight Torontonians and visitors, as we celebrated. And what were we celebrating? The fact that we could. The fact that in Canada, we can be sexual minorities and be assured of the full protection of law. Blessed be to those who fought to make that possible, and to those who continue to make it possible – for we can take nothing for granted, ever.

Sunday dawned, as it did throughout my short visit, hot and humid. I trundled down to the offices of Xtra!, located down the street from Maple Leaf Gardens at Carlton and Yonge. There I was greeted by Sister Petunia’s counterpart, Sr. Mary Gold Beaujolais, Mistress of Novices, who ushered me into the washroom (oh my!)...so I could manifest. There I learned that the Vancouver Abbey would be further represented by Sr. Ethica Slüt!

This was the first time I had manifested in a year and a half, after taking a break to deal with some personal and professional issues. Needless to say, I owe the Toronto Abbey a package of baby wipes. But eventually I applied something to my face which would not totally disgrace the Order.

I met the Mother Superior Abbey, Sr. Twisted Fist, Sr. Eva Extreema, and a bevy of enthusiastic allies and supporters who decided to take the day to come out and march with us. One of them, a burly, butch blond boy in leather, named Johnny, helpfully applied sunscreen to my back. Imagine my shock when I discovered later that he was straight! That creamy application had felt mighty sweet!

We were called to assemble at 1:45; and although we were about ten minutes late, we spent another two hours waiting to march. The scene was controlled chaos, with dozens of contingents in various states of dress (and undress) awaiting the call. There, I was reunited with Sr. Ethica, who had been accompanied from Hamilton with another McMaster medical student. As we prayed for a thunderstorm to relieve the oppressive heat, Johnny came running up to announce that Justin Trudeau was just down the street.

The Sisters know a photo op when we scent it, and the girls gathered up their skirts, and sprinted in their heels down Jarvis St., where we saw a lovely vision in a pink shirt shaking hands. Mr. Trudeau could not have been more friendly and gracious, as we clustered around him for a photograph. As I shook his hand, I looked into his big, moist, blue eyes – and yes, I confess, my heart melted just a smidgeon.
Eventually, we got the call to group up. We were fortuitously positioned as the meat between the “Polyamory Pride” and “Foreskin Pride” sandwich. The leader of the Foreskin Pride group, an attractive bearded gentlemen, was filled with zeal for the cause. Pantless, and sporting a fine specimen of the body part whose involuntary excision he was opposing, he stopped every ten metres or so on the route, pumped his fist in the air, thrust his hips forward, and cried out “Foreskin pride! YEAH!!!” to the woops and cheers of the parade-watchers.

The parade was immense in terms of participants and observers. As we headed down Yonge St., the crowd was five or six deep in places. We found out later that the parade itself was five hours long, had 12,000 participants, and had tens of thousands of spectators along the route. The Sisters were, as always, received enthusiastically. The nuns schmoozed with the onlookers, and Johnny sent a thrill up many a spine with his occasional flogging demonstrations.


As the parade wound down, awash in perspiration, smiles, and a giddy sense of joy, we headed back to the office. The Sisters had again manifested joy in Hogtown, and the ministry was received in kind.

written by Paladin Bamm Bamm
photo credit: unknown

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