Anti-gay and anti-abortion activist Bill Whatcott put on a skin-tight green bodysuit and assumed the identity of a marijuana-loving gay zombie so he could secretly distribute anti-sodomy tracts at Toronto Pride this year.
Whatcott says he marched to challenge the Supreme Court of Canada’s 2013 decision that found him guilty of hate speech.
“I certainly wanted to get a message out this year at the Toronto Pride parade that you should abstain from sodomy and that Jesus Christ is your lord and saviour,” Whatcott tells Daily Xtra.
On July 3, Whatcott and six of his supporters distributed 3,000 flyers, including to parade goers, that warned of the risks associated with gay sex.
The two-page flyer features graphic photos of anal warts and a dead body described as an “AIDS fatality.” A second page criticizes the “homosexual activism” of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne and former Liberal defence minister Bill Graham.
“I think they were great flyers and unfortunately the parade wasn’t open to me so I had to go in the closet and be a gay zombie,” Whatcott says. He was accompanied by six supporters, all dressed in green skin-tight bodysuits that obscured their faces. “As an out of the closet heterosexual conservative Christian I wasn’t being welcomed, but by being a gay zombie cannabis user I was welcome.”
Whatcott says he registered the group as the Gay Zombies Cannabis Consumer’s Association under the pseudonym Robert Clinton.
“I just thought that the gay Pride committee would be very open to such and indeed they were,” he explains. “It’s a gay Pride parade and it’s all about licentiousness so they were into it.”
Whatcott says he wouldn’t be able to distribute many pamphlets if he appeared in the parade under his true identity.
“I did kick off my campaign as mayor of Edmonton at the Edmonton Pride parade and they were throwing slushies at me and then I led the Regina gay Pride parade in 2002 as Bill Whatcott and they were blasting me with whistles and trying to drag me out of the parade,” he recalls. “I find that if I’m out of the closet I’m not accepted but if I’m in the closet as a gay zombie or with pink hair and short shorts like in Vancouver as a Flying Spaghetti Monster then I find the parades way more welcoming.”
In 2014 Whatcott and a group of supporters snuck into the Vancouver Pride parade under the banner of the fictitious Calgary Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster to distribute anti-gay leaflets disguised as condoms.
“Well, I do enjoying pulling one over on the parade and I do enjoy everyone cheering because they don’t know who I am,” he says. “There’s no question about it; it is a very, very efficient way to get my message out in the parade.”
Whatcott hopes the flyers spark a public conversation about the Gospels as well the state of free speech in Canada.
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He claims that he has been a lot more charitable to the LGBT community and parade attendees than Black Lives Matter Toronto which staged a sit-in and brought the parade to a halt until their demands were met.
The activists requested more diversity in staffing, the return of a South Asian stage, a commitment for more black ASL interpreters, increased funding, support and autonomy for Black Queer Youth, Blockorama and other community spaces and excluding any police floats in future parades.
Whatcott says the parade resumed two hours later after Mathieu Chantelois, Pride Toronto’s executive director, agreed to the demands.
“You guys give them an honoured position in the parade and they pay you back by hijacking the thing and holding it up for two hours and extorting money and affirmative action and banning your police floats and I think it was funny that Chantelois went along with it,” he says. “It’d be fine by me if the police never marched in your parade. I’d be happy with that, but I think Black Lives Matter demanding that was not reasonable especially when police are reaching out to the homosexual community to the point of marching in your parades and giving you donations.”
In 2015, Whatcott left Canada to join his wife in the Philippines, but returned less than a year later.
“I went to the Philippines and then I went bankrupt and then I got sick and Canada’s socialist healthcare wooed me back,” he explains. “I was volunteering teaching poor kids, which I loved. I was teaching them English and teaching them the Bible and giving them a chance at getting out of the slums where they are,” he says. “I loved doing that but you don’t make money doing that and when my money ran out there was no-one to look after me.”
He is currently staying with friends and relatives in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Ontario.
“I bounce around,” he says, noting he hopes to return to work soon. “I don’t mind living poor but I do have a daughter going to university and I have to help her out a little bit too.”
He doesn’t rule out future activism, however.
“I might run in another election, but right now being broke I sort of have to work and keep my mouth shut for a bit,” he concludes. “I’m not promising to keep my mouth shut forever!”