“. . . middle-aged men, with pot bellies, running down the street buck naked.”

Those are the words of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford’s campaign manager and brother, Doug Ford, expressing one of the reasons why he is uncomfortable with Toronto’s annual Pride Parade, according to a Toronto Star report.

I wonder how the pot bellies play into this. Would it make a difference to Doug if the naked men didn’t have pot bellies, if they were all fit, muscle-rippling hunks?

And what about middle-aged buck-naked women with pot bellies? Are they any more palatable for Doug?

Is it about body image for Doug?

The thing is, a pot belly looks like a pot belly no matter how you present it — clothed or unclothed — whether you’re in a parade or city hall. Fortunately, most people don’t focus on the belly when they talk to you or even watch you walk by. Most people really don’t care if you have a pot belly . . .

Still, I have wondered about some of the displays of nudity and semi-nudity in Pride events. Let’s be honest: some of its seems to be about hedonism. Though, I guess there is a case to be made that hedonism is part of sexual diversity. As is the swinger lifestyle. And why not D/s and BDSM, too — even if some dominas never give their subs any real sex (winks).

Diversity is a key word for LGBT people, though it is mainly applied to sexual orientation (who you love) and gender identity issues. But the  parameters seem to be wider for Pride events. It’s about more than sexual orientation and gender identity. It’s about sexual diversity (how you play) as well, though to a lesser degree. There aren’t really that many naked or nearly-naked people participating, as the Toronto Star points out in aforementioned article. It says:

A very small percentage of parade participants are nude; the event also includes Olympians, soldiers in uniform, bureaucrats, and residents of all stripes. And Pride is a 10-day festival that includes various sedate and fully clothed events, such as gatherings for straight allies of gay people.

Pride parades are family events with a bit of nudity and hedonism and theatrics thrown in to make you giggle — and blush, if you’re the bashful sort. And the “middle-aged men, with pot bellies, running down the street buck naked” may actually be teaching people a lesson about body acceptance, that we are naturally naked, and appear in all shapes and sizes. That we shouldn’t get hung up on body image. And that we should accept people no matter their shapes and sizes . . . indeed, that we should look beneath the surface.

It’s an old lesson, yes?