We arrived in Montreal to find that it is Gay Pride weekend here. We didn't realize that when we booked the holiday but were pleased to be here for the action. After going to a movie and having lunch we were going to go for an afternoon beer at one of the bars on St. Catherine street. We were quite lucky to find parking just off the pedestrian mall that had been created for the celebrations.
There were several small booths that had been set up on the mall all staffed by young and enthusiastic volunteers. It appeared that the booths had been grouped into various areas and we entered into the health and well being area (if I'm translating correctly) and there were several booths with AIDS information, one of which had several large plastic penises on display. (I've always thought that the plural of penis should be peni - it feels better in the mouth.)
Anyways, as we were leaving to go to the pub a young fellow approached me (ME!!) and handed me a small packet that included both lube and a condom. (ME!!) I looked at him in surprise bordering on shock (ME!!) and said 'Thankyou' then switched immediately to 'Merci' when I remembered where I was. (ME!!) Then we found a shaded patio and struggled up onto it and ordered a beer.
As we waited for the beer to arrive I reminded Joe about two incidents. The first happened many years ago just after the AIDS crisis had hit. We were in San Francisco for Gay Pride with another couple. They were both beauties. During the march they were both handed hundreds of condoms by various people from various groups. Joe didn't do badly in the condom department either. However, me (ME!!), my fat old self, I wasn't handed one. Not one. We were swarmed by condom hander outers but they didn't waste a condom on big ol' me. A year or so later I was in Vancouver, on my own, giving a series of lectures.
On the weekend I went to the bar for a beer and was there when the bar was swarmed by the AIDS network groups and condoms were handed out. Buckets of them. To everyone but me. Fat ol' me didn't register on their radar. (ME!!) Couldn't be seen. Couldn't need a condom. Excluded from the possibility of sexuality because I'm just not, um, pretty. All that really angered me then. Partly because I was waging a battle to ensure that condom training was done for people with disabilities. I felt a kinship because they too had been exerpted from consideration as sexual beings. That kind of prejudice stems from the idea that people who look in particular ways are not as sexual or as human as others. So it angered me.
But here, on a sunny day I'm sitting on a patio with a drink in front of me and a condom packet in my hand.