Peterborough is a bluish-collar city an hour north-east of Toronto. Pride flourishes here, but not without controversy. Bob Leahy talks to PARN’s Kim Dolan about the challenges involved when family-friendly values clash with freedom of expression.
Peterborough, Ontario is an attractive city on the banks of the Trent waterway system which snakes through its downtown. Toronto is about an hour's drive away. It’s blue collar territory, by and large, but it’s also home to Trent University, so there is a vibrant queer culture here. This is no more evident than in the ambitious program of Pride week activities held each September. They start with an enthusiastic Pride Parade through downtown Peterborough Saturday September 17, and then just keep going.
PositiveLite has covered big-city Pride celebrations before but wanted to see how smaller cities operate. Can bluish-collar Peterborough (pop 75,000), handle nudity on its Main Street? Or does Pride need to come in a more family friendly version here, recognizing that even though Peterborough can be a pretty queer-friendly city, mainstream community standards are very different here?
These are the kind of questions I wanted to explore with PARN’s* Kim Dolan. How do Pride organizers here handle the almost inevitable controversies? What happens, for instance, when a marcher wears chaps revealing a very bare behind? And what standards apply here – those of the mainstream, who probably disapprove quite strongly, or those of queers who feel freedom of expression, including sexual expression, is too important a value to give up?
Anyway, here’s the interview with Kim who answers these questions graciously and more.
We'll be back in Peterborough later this week. Watch for PositiveLite’s coverage of the Parade itself this coming weekend.
Happy Pride, Peterborough!
*Peterborough AIDS Resouce Network