The winds of change are stirring in one of Toronto’s oldest industries.
The licensing and standards committee assessed possible changes to the adult entertainment business on Oct. 19. These potential changes specifically affect the no-touch rules in place at local adult entertainment parlours or strip clubs.
There is currently a strict no-touch bylaw in place in Toronto strip clubs and city council has been asked to loosen these regulations. Club owners believe that sexual contact should indeed be prohibited, but much harmless contact, like handshakes between dancer and patron should be allowed. In the face of this request, The Sex Trade and Adult Entertainment Advocacy Group (STAR) has asked that the laws remain the same, discouraging any contact whatsoever.
One such club that will be affected by the potential changes is Caddy’s Adult Entertainment on Eglinton Road in Scarborough. Tasha, a former dancer and current bartender at Caddy’s, believes that there should be no contact but that even if the laws are changed, much will remain as it currently is.
“Personally I think the laws should be tighter,” said Tasha. “ I’ve seen a lot of guys come in here and go back with girls for dances. Even though the girls tell them directly that they can’t touch, they still do. It happens all the time. There was a guy in here an hour ago who was trying to touch the girl on stage.”
Although Tasha believes there should be strict laws in place, in reality she doesn’t think they do much to deter unwanted touching.
Chris, a regular customer at Caddy’s also thinks the laws that are currently in place aren’t very effective and any alterations to them would prove futile.
“Unless you have security standing over the customers the entire time, touching is going to happen,” he said. “And who wants security standing there the whole time?”
Whenever there are drunk guys and naked women, men aren’t going to keep their hands to themselves.
In the recommendations made to the city, strip clubs are suggesting that it be specified exactly what areas of a dancer’s body a customer is or isn’t allowed to touch.
Elizabeth, a dancer at Caddy’s, also believes that whether the laws are changed or not, unwanted touching will continue in strip clubs.
“Guys are going to touch. It comes with the territory. We know what we’re getting into when we take these jobs,” Elizabeth said. “Whenever there are drunk guys and naked women, men aren’t going to keep their hands to themselves.”
No decisions have yet been made about the regulations. The consensus of those in attendance at Caddy’s is that regardless of the decision much will remain the same.