Andy Swift, organiser of this year’s Straight Pride March, explains what it’s all about. “We want to raise the profile of a beleaguered minority: people who feel drawn to express their sexuality in a traditional way. We give heterosexual folk the chance to reclaim the streets, stand shoulder to shoulder and let the world know they exist. ‘Say it out loud... We're straight and we're proud’. We even have a prize for the best outfit, the Breeders’ Cup (‘bring proof of sexual orientation’, the brochure stipulates, without suggesting exactly what that might be). Yes, if there’s another town that celebrates the multi-facetted nature of heterosexuality by dressing up in gaudy costumes, then we’ve never heard of it.
“The march allows people to express their sexuality in a public way. When he loses his virginity, a guy may want to share his good fortune - perhaps by making a triumphant tour of the town in an open-topped bus. Another man may prefer to stand at the end of his street, hands on hips, and announce to the world: ‘I, Stanley Peregrine Gawkroger, have pleasured my woman’. We may decide to demonstrate our solidarity with the cause of gay pride by having casual sex with strangers in public toilets. Or we may wear badges - ‘How dare you assume I’m homosexual’ - in an attempt to challenge over-hasty stereotyping. A couple might give a demonstration of Tantric sex, a technique by which a man can postpone his orgasm for up to an hour. Maybe two hours if the couple take in a meal and a movie too.
“We organised an evening of ‘Pole and Lap Dancing’ - assuming, naturally enough, that the agency would send us a couple of good-looking young women to perform all manner of degrading sexual acts in the guise of harmless entertainment. Maybe a little girl-on-girl action, too, if the atmosphere was right. Great ogling opportunities, we thought, for shy men whose only contact with attractive women might be a bit of harmless frottage on a crowded bus. What we actually ended up with was ‘Pole and Lapp Dancing’, not the same thing at all. One of the women - she looked as though she’d be more at home tossing hot rivets in the shipyards of Gdansk - swayed listlessly to a slow polka. The other lass - pleasant enough, but wrapped from head to foot in animal skins - performed an interminable dance that celebrated the return of the reindeer to the Arctic tundra.
“We tried to withold payment; a breach of promise was mentioned. The women would have none of it. Though she could speak only a few words of English, the Polish lady illustrated, in a most graphic way, that she could crush a man’s head between her thighs until it burst like an over-ripe waterwelon. Then she insisted on cash. We won’t be using that agency again”.