|I also wonder if he's breaking any laws...?|
The photo above is from this year's Madrid Pride, also known as Mado 2012. Not from the actual parade, or from any parade related event. It was just a day in the week leading up to the parade, and this guy was out promoting his club. The posters on the wall next to him were all advertising Pride themed sex parties and gay saunas. A few minutes down the road was another guy with a mike encouraging the boys to "eat each other out". It seemed to me, the uninitiated novice, that Pride was all about men who were into men, and their sexual hedonism. Lesbians, along with many other members of the community, were conspicuously absent. While I was possibly just in the wrong part of Chueca, Madrid's gay district, my first brush with Pride has left me less than impressed.
Then again, maybe I shouldn't have expected anything else. The Madrid Visitors & Conventions Bureau's official webpage clearly states that the purpose of Mado is to have "above all, lots of fun". True to it's words, the webpage details various club nights, concerts and other such "fun" events. They even claim that Mado is for people of all ages and I did, in fact, see families with kids roaming around. But the overall atmosphere in Chueca made me feel that Mado was about the parties, the sex and the "fun". And all of this did contribute to a certain amount of visibility for the community. But freedom, equality, or protest didn't seem to be part of the agenda.
To be fair, LGBTQ people in parts of the world like Europe have reached relatively high levels of freedom and equality. As such, I don't think we can expect Pride events there to have the edge they did years ago. But still, Pride without any political significance is something we should all be wary of, as nowhere in the world have LGBTQ people fully attained their rights. And until we do, we should all attempt to maintain a certain level of political and social activism at Pride events.
The present role of Pride is often debated in media. But questions along the lines of is Pride good or is Pride bad are largely unhelpful. Additionally, they often lead to conflict rather than practical action. I'm a firm believer in pragmatism. The question I believe we should instead be asking, and indeed answering, is what do we need to do to make Pride better for this generation. And there's no one size fits all answer here. LGBTQ equality is at different stages in different parts of the world. I imagine Pride in Spain can mostly carry on with it's fun-sex-party theme. On the other hand, if a Pride event were to ever be hosted in Bangladesh, the situation would be very different. And that's just one of the very obvious distinctions to make. We are all very, very different people who just happen to have minority sexuality and gender identities. It's a given that we're never going to agree across the spectrum on what's "fun" and how much of it should be had at Pride. But I do think we can all agree that certain rights still have to be fought for. And to make Pride work for this generation, we must strike the right balance of fun and activism depending on the context of each Pride event.
So bare-arsed guy doesn't need to do anything to advance equality. But that doesn't mean that others can't, or shouldn't be making political statements at the same Pride event.