Taxi is asking Torontonians to take it (almost) all off, as part of a “Pride Strip” campaign aimed at getting people to shed their clothes and give them to homeless LGBTQ youth.
The agency is running “the hottest clothing drive ever” – a strip-tease during this weekend’s Pride Street Fair in Toronto to collect clothing and donations for The 519, Canada’s largest LGBTQ community centre. Participants are being asked to strip or tip to help homeless youth put it on.
“We’re incredibly passionate about getting the word out about this idea,” said Taxi executive creative director Jordan Doucette, noting that The 519 does clothing drives to help homeless youth transition into better situations.
Doucette says the idea came about from the realization “most people go half-naked for the bulk of the Pride weekend. The agency thought ‘Why don’t we do a clothing drive at Pride where people are sort of already in the mindset of taking their clothes off?”
More than 25% of Toronto’s homeless youth identify as LGBTQ, according to The 519.
“It was such a startling statistic that these kids literally are getting kicked out of their homes, evicted from their families because of their sexual orientation,” Doucette said.
Getting that statistic out there “will dramatically change a lot of people’s perception of what makes up the homeless youth population.”
The strip event will take place on a 30-foot stage that comes complete with a stripper pole.
To help inspire potential strippers, dancers from Brass Vixens will be on hand performing professional strip routines, including Pastel Supernova who will perform a dance specially choreographed for “Pride Strip.”
Jonny Cozier, a radio host from 102.1 FM, will MC the event alongside a lineup of DJs.
Outfits will be available for people who don’t want to give the clothes off their back but still want to participate. Feather boas and temporary tattoos will also be available and DJs will play songs on request.
To drive awareness and encourage participation, a Taxi street team will be at Hanlan’s Point – the nude beach on Toronto’s Centre Island – on Friday afternoon, handing out 100 pride-inspired “cocksicles” (penis-shaped popsicles). Campaign-branded briefs, t-shirts and hats are also being sent out to local influencers in the week leading up to the event. Messages for the event include lines like “Need a good reason to take your pants off?” and “Give them the shirt off your back.”
Media agency Media Experts and PR firm Pomp & Circumstance are providing support to the campaign.