Anti-gay activist crashes Vancouver’s Pride Parade with fake name, disapproving message
VANCOUVER — Bill Whatcott is tickled pink.
The anti-gay activist dyed his hair pink and hugged his way through the huge crowds at Vancouver’s Pride Parade — all in the name of the fictitious Calgary Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.
Whatcott, identifying himself as “Matthew Davidson” to avoid detection, managed to register as an official parade entrant and marched along with a colourful cast of characters in the hugely popular parade.
“It’s amazing. I can’t believe I pulled it off,” Whatcott told The Province. “I think it was a great name. It worked rather well.”
The 45-year-old from Weyburn, Sask., said his get-up — shock-pink hair and goatee and a T-shirt reading “The Flying Spaghetti Monster is Gay” — had people lining up for hugs and photo ops. His website even includes a keepsake photo with NDP MLA Spencer Chandra Herbert.
But behind the goofy disguise and Spaghetti Monster banner was a sobering message. Whatcott handed out “Gospel condoms” warning of the health risks of unrestrained sexual practices.
“The good news is Jesus Christ can set you free from the bondage of homosexuality or any other sexual addiction,” Whatcott wrote in a message handed out to parade-goers, which he passed off as 2,500 packages of condoms.
“The false pleasure and fun that can be found at a homosexual pride parade is fleeting. The sex is meaningless and risky.
“The drugs and alcohol so freely available at homosexual pride will only provide a temporary medication. The pain and loneliness that comes with living an unnatural lifestyle, contrary to the will of God, will usually leave you feeling even worse when you sober up and have to deal with your reality.”
Whatcott considers his parade appearances — he’s walked in similar events in Regina and Edmonton — to be outreach.
“I kind of made it a habit to invite myself to these pride parades,” said Whatcott.
“The last two parades I went in I was getting bombarded with Slurpees.
“This one they were cheering and hugging.”
While Whatcott believes homosexuality is a sin, he believes forgiveness is at hand.
“I do believe that Christ is for straights and gays,” said Whatcott.
Organizers said the case of mistaken identity was complicated because the real Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster — if you can call a parody religion real — was actually a well-received parade entry before, so organizers were duped by the use of the name.
“It is unfortunate that this organization felt the need to misrepresent themselves,” said Ray Lam of the Vancouver Pride Society. “We’re going to have to look at our protocols.
“We allow participants who are consistent with our core values.”
While the pride parade is considered a celebration of diversity, Whatcott maintains his entry is what made this year’s Vancouver parade diverse.
“The parade is all half-naked men,” said Whatcott. “I was the diversity.”
Lam said the society welcomes diverse opinions — up to a point.
“We do have religious groups in the parade — we value their diverse opinions.
“But we draw the line at hate — the parade is to create where people who deal with hate and homophobia every day can feel safe.”
Herbert said the disguised Whatcott ran up to him asking for a photo.
“He said he loved my outfit,” Herbert said. “He passed himself off as a gay man.
“He said he wanted a photo with a ‘gay icon.’”
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