As a result, the events surrounding Rhode Island’s upcoming June 15 Pride festival — tonight’s tournament, the Buzz & Leather Night, the Pride King and Queen Pageant, the Swim and Underwear Fashion Show — hold special significance, he says.

“It’s not just about this,” he says.

“I can’t even take my pantyhose off that fast,” DiMera yells in the background, as a match ends in less than 30 seconds. “I didn’t have time to play with myself. Or at least try to find it, for God’s sakes.”

Davis continues. Back in New York City, in 1969, when the police were routinely raiding clubs, they entered places not so different from Hush “filled with drag queens and lesbians and gay men whom they thought would never fight back.” But at the Stonewall Inn, he says, the patrons did fight back, triggering what we now call the Gay Liberation Movement.

“Twenty dollars!” DiMera yells, accepting a bid from an audience member to pre-lube one of the wrestlers before a match. (All proceeds from tonight’s event go toward funding Pride events.)

“In some places, a Pride event would just be a picnic, because it’s not safe for them to do anything like this,” Davis says. “Here we have individuals who are able to show their sexuality in a safe environment. And our mission is to create those environments.”

“We have very fun family-focused events,” he adds. But this just isn’t one of them.

A few minutes later, after a raucous three-way finale match, DiMera declares the tournament over. But does anyone from the crowd want to hop in the pool?

Much to the crowd’s delight, two tall, bulky guys with shaved heads — Matt and Jason, a couple — raise their hands. They hop up from their chairs, walk to opposite sides of the pool, and dutifully disrobe. DiMera counts down and then they’re at it, tussling and thudding around the pool as fiercely as any of the other evening’s opponents. Unlike previous matches, though, this one ends with a kiss.

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