[Outing] Heroes | Harper's Magazine

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From complaints submitted by four San Diego firemen who were ordered to drive a fire truck in a July 21 gay-pride parade.

While I was sitting there waiting for the parade to start, I felt forced against my will to see men in tight shorts dancing provocatively and other men kissing and hugging, wearing T-shirts with sexually suggestive material like girth and mirth or suit up before you dive in.

I was told multiple times to pull out my hose.

A man approached me and stated that I looked hungry, why don’t I have a Twinkie? I was polite and said, “No, thank you,” but I felt like he was insinuating something sexual.

Children were waving at us. Initially, I would return the waves, but on at least three separate occasions, sexual gestures were directed at me in response.

I saw a man gesture to his shirt, which read, have you ever ridden a fat man? I became so distraught that my knees began to shake.

I heard obscenities like, “I’m feeling short of breath. I think I need mouth-to-mouth,” and “Hey, honey.” Not only was I subjected to these comments, but I was told by Christian protesters that homosexuality is a sin, and I’m going to hell, and I will be judged by God. This wasn’t right! I was getting criticized all the way around.