A headline in GayStarNews read: “France: Is this the most homoerotic anti-gay protest ever?” and sure enough, there were the photos of muscular, shirtless dudes in the street protesting France’s same-sex marriage bill. The men of “Les Hommen” scribbled slogans on each others’ bodies, held hands, and exhibited all the fraternité of men in a Pride parade. The article assumed the demonstration to be a parody of the “Femen” women who went topless to protest Russia’s anti-feminist and anti-GLBT policies during Vladimir Putin’s recent visit to Amsterdam. If that’s the model for Les Hommen, someone should tell them that, while baring breasts is an act of defiance for women, it isn’t so for men, for whom going shirtless is not taboo but is conducive to a kind of tribal exhibitionism. Some of the French protesters were arrested for other peccadilloes, but most left in peace, doubtless heading off to give one another warm sponge baths to remove those pesky slogans. Cold comfort, however: within days President Hollande would be signing the law that extends full marriage equality to same-sex couples throughout France.
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