Wednesday, August 3, 1977

Ron Porambo

Police no longer hassle gays on strip, homosexual says

"This is the money I made today," the handsome blond-haired man said, taking out a roll of $10 and $20 bills.

"Sure, this is the biggest gay hangout on Yonge Street," his equally handsome dark-haired partner said. "Five years ago the police used to hassle gays on the strip..."

"But not now," the blond added. "I know every gay on the strip and I know what's going on. The police don't hassle anybody here. They haven't bothered anyone here in the 4 1/2 years I've been here."

The blond stud, Mansie looked as tanned and handsome as a professional tennis player and his body was just as lean and muscular. Michael, his partner, had the same build. He wore shorts and a flimsy shirt, exposing his hairy chest. They were both professional homosexuals doing business on Yonge Street, just as they always had, but at a time when homosexuals are not popular after the sex killing of 12-year-old Manuel Jaques a few days before.

"I was at a party the other night," Michael said, sipping a beer, "There was a kid there but he didn't do anything. He was just naked."

That's not a popular thing to say right now he was told.

"We don't know anything about that," Mansie said. "I'm not into 12-year-olds myself."

"All gays aren't like that. See that fella over there? He's a well-known lawyer with a lot of money," Mansie responded.

"Last night I was at another party," Michael said. "It was really something. They had me standing in the middle of a circle and everyone was circling around me with belts..."

"Oh, no, they didn't hit you, did they," Mansie broke in.

"No, no," Michael continued, laughing. "They were just swishing the air with the belts. It was really a lot of fun."

Riding down the strip toward Charlie's Angels body-rub parlor, at 245 Yonge St., where Manuel Jaques' body was found on the roof at 6:30 Monday morning the cab driver said Toronto was fast becoming the biggest hangout for professional homosexuals in North America.

He seemed to have a list of gathering places, each designed to suit a particular need, to support what he said. It may or may not be true but regardless, homosexuals are not popular today in a city that has prided itself on its liberal atmosphere.

At the new Eaton Centre at Yonge and Dundas streets, they have the latest innovations and the newest commercial goods, and across the street at Charlie's Angels, they're peddling warm bodies, the oldest game in history.

The operator of Charlie's Angels, a 23-year-old man who runs five other sex-related businesses on the strip, said it would be business as usual as soon as the police cleared out. That didn't happen yesterday. The glass door the police kicked in looking for the Jaques boy had been replaced, but it was locked. Above the door the same products were being advertised in blue and white plastic‹movies, love aids, magazines, books‹and above these messages was the most ironic caption of all, "Your happiness may depend on it."

Passers-by on the crowded street stopped to gawk and point in the bright sunshine before moving on, and what had happened seemed unreal. It was unplausible that in New York City the Son of Sam, a man who kills young women with a 44-calibre revolver is sharing headlines with the sex killing of a 12-year-old boy in Toronto.

Charlie's Angels sits snugly between a building being razed and a clothing store.

Whoever abducted the Jaques boy took him through the rear entrance of the building and up two flights of dingy stairs opening onto the roof. To the right is the entrance to a filthy room containing about 20 rows of seats and motion picture screen.

Back out on the roof near where the body was found, are piles of garbage including old clothes, including a red sock hanging over the edge of the building.The screen door leading in an apartment was badly torn, and behind the door were piles of garbage and what police described as a "filthy, filthy hole." Sitting in a green, frayed chair was a black and white cat licking its paws.

Another policeman responded to a knock on the door.

Is this where the boy was killed? he was asked.

"I'm not answering any questions," he replied. "Leave here or you'll be arrested."

Back at the gay bar half a mile up the strip, Michael had just returned to his seat, complaining that he thought someone had stolen his bicycle. "You know every Halloween we have a big party here," Mansie said. "The police are always outside making sure no straights are allowed in."

There was one more sign outside on the strip, a large sign urging passers-by to read portions of the Bible that said there was nothing wrong with prostitution. Business for Michael and Mansie was terrific and couldn't have agreed more.

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Created: April 24, 1997
Last modified: April 24, 1997

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