In The News
December 7, 2012

Burning Issue: Should You Be Able To Be Kinky Wherever And Whenever?

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A co-worker sent this fetish-related item to me. A dude in Canada who is heavy into rubber was stopped by the cops and interrogated because he was strolling around the neighborhood in his gimp suit on Nov 22. Which came complete with gas mask. Steve Stewart is the reigning Mr. Rubber Ottawa (it’s a thing) and he likes to take strolls in his gear. An off-duty cop followed Stewart one day, confronted him about scaring women and children and informed him that “Halloween was over” and called for backup. Stewart reported that there were ultimately 4 cars and 5 officers on the scene. Is there no other crime going on in Canada?

Xtra!:

“I feel like my rights were not looked after,” Stewart says. “There are two sides to every story, and they made a point to get theirs across: that they were looking out for the safety of the people. However, it wasn’t just anyone that called in; it was the off-duty officer that called in and then the four of them were ganging up on me. What about my rights to go out wearing what I want?”
In the future, he says, he will refrain from wearing a full mask in public and will stay close to his home.

“I’m not going to push it. But I don’t want to feel defeated or be finger-wagged, saying I’m some pervert or criminal when they have, in fact, told me I’m not doing anything illegal,” he says. “If I’m told it’s illegal and I’m not allowed to, then I won’t.”

An Ottowa police rep said that Stewart was detained because “unless the person is involved in some type of training exercise, we have to . . . find out why they are wearing a gas mask. They may have a medical condition and there may be something in the air. We have to look at all the information and interview that person.”

What do you think? Shouldn’t people be allowed to wear whatever the hell they want if it’s within the law? Or are cops correct to keep an eye on people whom the general public might find alarming? I’m still pissed over that time I was in my furry squirrel costume and the cops tackled me.

– J. Harvey

p.s. That’s not Steve Stewart, but that dude certainly knows how to wear a gas mask, doesn’t he?

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88 Comments - View all

ℜεx Gαηч♏ε∂ε. (Super Hero.) 7:46pm on December 9, 2012

when mankind collectively matures a little more then we-all can wear whatever in the hell we want as long as it's not directly and unreasonably infringing upon anyone else. right now we're not ready for that. speaking for me, honestly i would be concerned to see a random person casually strutting down the public street on a "non-event day" in what is unquestionably fetish gear; can any of you tell me why i shouldn't be concerned that this individual has a higher chance of doing something weird?

  • MisterFebruary

    They didn’t arrest him. Technically his rights were not infringed. I do think the police rep has a point, that it’s fair to ask him why he’s wearing a gas mask. However, this does not explain why it was necessary to bring in FOUR more cops as backup. That is way over the top just to interview a lone guy who’s not doing anything illegal.

  • MisterFebruary

    They didn’t arrest him. Technically his rights were not infringed. I do think the police rep has a point, that it’s fair to ask him why he’s wearing a gas mask. However, this does not explain why it was necessary to bring in FOUR more cops as backup. That is way over the top just to interview a lone guy who’s not doing anything illegal.

  • WestAtlBear

    Wearing a gas-mask in public is borderline screaming “Fire!” in a crowded theatre when there isn’t a fire to warn people about. I do agree that it didn’t take five cops to resolve this, however.

  • ttuboy313

    I think the internet has made me numb to the cry of “my rights, my rights!” Everyone it seems is getting trampled on all over. Here is my thing: he walked outside in what most people would consider extremely alarming looking gear. Just because that might be a norm of some sort for the gay community (and that is pushing it, most gays I know are not into this), does not mean it is a norm for the community at large. Does he have a “right” to wear whatever he wants? Ok. Fine. Was the first police officer probably a dick? Yeah. But the second one came along and informed him what he was doing was not illegal but probably not a good idea. Seriously? That is a trampling of rights? Police officers are supposed to investigate things that are suspicious and things that are way out of the norm. Displaying your rubber/gas mask fetish is classified as way out of the norm. That was handled as appropriately as it can get.

    Mr. Rubber goes on to say something along the lines of “I don’t want to get anyone in trouble or make a stink, I just don’t want anyone else to have to feel shame.” Hold the phone. So now not only should cops just ignore things way out of the social norm, but the society at large is responsible for what level of shame you feel? He was not threatened with jail or physical harm, but he felt shamed? Jesus f’in Christ. I don’t even know where to being to tear that apart. Just enough already! Quit crying wolf!

  • ttuboy313

    I think the internet has made me numb to the cry of “my rights, my rights!” Everyone it seems is getting trampled on all over. Here is my thing: he walked outside in what most people would consider extremely alarming looking gear. Just because that might be a norm of some sort for the gay community (and that is pushing it, most gays I know are not into this), does not mean it is a norm for the community at large. Does he have a “right” to wear whatever he wants? Ok. Fine. Was the first police officer probably a dick? Yeah. But the second one came along and informed him what he was doing was not illegal but probably not a good idea. Seriously? That is a trampling of rights? Police officers are supposed to investigate things that are suspicious and things that are way out of the norm. Displaying your rubber/gas mask fetish is classified as way out of the norm. That was handled as appropriately as it can get.

    Mr. Rubber goes on to say something along the lines of “I don’t want to get anyone in trouble or make a stink, I just don’t want anyone else to have to feel shame.” Hold the phone. So now not only should cops just ignore things way out of the social norm, but the society at large is responsible for what level of shame you feel? He was not threatened with jail or physical harm, but he felt shamed? Jesus f’in Christ. I don’t even know where to being to tear that apart. Just enough already! Quit crying wolf!

  • datvi

    You make an excellent point, clearly and sensibly. I would only add that, the reason all the cops showed up was cuz they were all looking for some group action in an adandoned warehouse nearby. Lose the mask–this guy’s hot.

  • Pokeylope

    All I have to say is: who the fuck walks around in public with a gas mask on? Who in their right sense of mind?

  • Tim

    I find someone hiding their face in public to be somewhat questionable.

  • 4 cops came??? hmm yea, thats actually pretty normal up here…

  • 4 cops came??? hmm yea, thats actually pretty normal up here…

  • 4 cops came??? hmm yea, thats actually pretty normal up here…

  • Concerned

    These types of questions are frequently in the news in Canada. http://www.ctvnews.ca/montreal-s-hasidic-jewish-community-reaches-out-1.809325

    In that story, a neighbourhood of Hasidic Jews lodged complaints against a YMCA for showing people in little clothing (exercise wear) in the window of the facility. They asked for the windows to be tinted.

    The windows were.

    Minority rights are increasingly being protected, but I doubt this story will get a lot of sympathy because it can be so easily spun to be hazardous.

  • radical53

    This is what happens when you become mainstream. Your lifestyle and way of life is under threat. That is what you all wanted. Being gay and it’s identity is becoming repressed.

  • radical53

    This is what happens when you become mainstream. Your lifestyle and way of life is under threat. That is what you all wanted. Being gay and it’s identity is becoming repressed.

  • when mankind collectively matures a little more then we-all can wear whatever in the hell we want as long as it’s not directly and unreasonably infringing upon anyone else.

    right now we’re not ready for that.

    speaking for me, honestly i would be concerned to see a random person casually strutting down the public street on a “non-event day” in what is unquestionably fetish gear; can any of you tell me why i shouldn’t be concerned that this individual has a higher chance of doing something weird?

  • when mankind collectively matures a little more then we-all can wear whatever in the hell we want as long as it’s not directly and unreasonably infringing upon anyone else.

    right now we’re not ready for that.

    speaking for me, honestly i would be concerned to see a random person casually strutting down the public street on a “non-event day” in what is unquestionably fetish gear; can any of you tell me why i shouldn’t be concerned that this individual has a higher chance of doing something weird?

  • when mankind collectively matures a little more then we-all can wear whatever in the hell we want as long as it’s not directly and unreasonably infringing upon anyone else.

    right now we’re not ready for that.

    speaking for me, honestly i would be concerned to see a random person casually strutting down the public street on a “non-event day” in what is unquestionably fetish gear; can any of you tell me why i shouldn’t be concerned that this individual has a higher chance of doing something weird?