November / December 2016
BRAD GORESKI BRAD TO THE BONE 1
䐀䤀匀䌀伀嘀䔀刀 吀刀唀䔀 䰀伀嘀䔀
NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2016
䔀堀䔀䌀唀吀䤀嘀䔀 䜀䄀夀 䴀䄀吀䌀䠀䴀䄀䬀䤀一䜀 䘀䤀刀䴀
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PUBLISHER Patricia Salib Guest EDITOR Christopher Turner Art director Prairie Koo FASHION director Danyl Geneciran SENIOR WRITER Paul Gallant CONTRIBUTORs Steven Bereznai, Nelson Branco, Karen Burgher, Kalvin Coria, Adriana Ermter, Jennifer Gemakas, Ruth Hanley, Karen Kwan, Max MacDonald, Michael Pihach, Al Ramsay, Maria Natalia Rodriguez, Salvatore Sacco, Adam Segal, Yasmin Seneviratne, Abi Slone, Riley Stewart, Doug Wallace, Casey Williams, Ryan Wohlgemut, Michael Kai Young Director of marketing Woodrow Monteiro DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS Reggie Lanuza COMMUNICATIONS INTERN Andreas Patsiaouros
NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2016
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73 issue 73
November / December 2016
06 | HOW DO WE MOVE FORWARD AFTER THE ORLANDO SHOOTING AT PULSE NIGHTCLUB? Creating something positive—and life-changing—out of the anger and dismay at this terrible event 08 | LOOKING GOOD Target your facial conundrums and the season’s indoor/outdoor temperatures head-on by adding a mask to your weekly routine 10 | MONEY$TYLE Meet the stars of TD’s most recent ad campaign, which aims to support small business customers 12 | HEALTH & WELLNESS Simple tips to help you out of the pressure cooker 13 | RELATIONSHIPS Let’s just admit that it’s not always sunshine and roses
14 | COMMUNITY Northbound Leather: XXX and unapologetically bent
28 | THE BEAUTY OF MOONLIGHT A young, gay black man’s coming-of-age story is receiving rave reviews
15 | WHEELS A few of our favourites from the models being rolled out for 2017
42 | TRAVEL: WHAT FLOATS YOUR BOAT A gay cruise may not be on your bucket list, but it should be
16 | REMEMBERING A CANADIAN DRAG LEGEND RIP Chris Edwards: December 24, 1961–September 6, 2016 19 | ON THE TOWN Scenes from the party circuit
FEATURES 20 | THE GOSSIP WHISPERER Psst…. Perez Hilton has a secret: he’s a changed man 22 | LADIES FIRST Women in the community who made 2016 their bitch 24 | BRAD TO THE BONE Superstar stylist and Fashion Police’s Brad Goreski learned self-destruction is never in fashion
46 | INSIGHT: LGBT M&M’s If we expect more of our allies, we should also be delivering more to those whose life experiences are different from our own 50 | FLASHBACK Harvey Milk is elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors
FASHION 32 | MUST-HAVE TECH A selection of the hottest tech gear you can buy today 33 | GOLDEN GLOW As fall disappears, keep the season’s hottest trend going and incorporate those rich, orangey-brown shades into your winter wardrobe 5
How Do We Move Forward After the Orlando SHOOTING AT PULSe NIGHTCLUB? Creating something positive—and life-changing—out of the anger and dismay at this terrible event By Christopher Turner
It’s been months since the LGBT community and the world woke to reports that a lone gunman had killed 49 people and injured another 53 during a horrific shooting at Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, Florida. But, still…everything about the morning of Sunday, June 12, remains painful. It’s a moment in time that is violently carved into the hearts of the LGBT community around the world.
NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2016
In the days that passed after the attack, we learned more about what happened in those early hours. The shooting occurred just before 2 a.m., towards the end of one of the club’s popular Latin nights, with bachata, merengue and salsa music pumping from the speakers. The shooter, 29-year-old Omar S. Mateen, was born in Queens, New York, and lived in Fort Pierce, about a two-hour drive from the site of the massacre. Several regulars said Mateen frequented Pulse, and others claimed he had profiles on various gay dating apps. Headlines detailed his unfettered access to assault weapons, and we learned that he fired more than 200 bullets that night. His wife, Noor Zahi Salman, revealed that they exchanged text messages during the rampage, before he was killed in a shootout with SWAT officers three hours after he entered the club. The haunting details are endless, but what we will always remember is that this was the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history. Was Mateen gay? The gunman’s ex-wife, Sitora Yusufiy, has said she was not sure about his sexuality, but it doesn’t matter. What was his motive? National security officials south of the border have said they haven’t determined whether Mateen was inspired by foreign terrorist organizations. Nor have they learned how other motivations, such as homophobia or Mateen’s own possible struggles with his own sexuality, might have factored into the attack. The motive remains unknown. Again, none of this matters. What matters now is trying to move forward as a community with the knowledge that nowhere is really safe, especially for the most marginalized members of the LGBT community. I say nowhere is safe because this focused attack didn’t erupt in a busy mall food court or a public school, as have some of the most notorious mass shootings in the US in recent decades. It happened in a gay nightclub, and gay bars and nightclubs have traditionally served as safe spaces for members of our community. For decades, gay bars have functioned not merely as watering holes
but as gathering places and de facto community centres for those seeking acceptance. The Orlando Nightclub shooting didn’t just tragically end the lives of 49 LGBT brothers, sisters and allies; it destroyed the perception that gay bars are our ultimate safe space. As President Obama noted in his solemn remarks following the Orlando massacre: “The shooter targeted a nightclub where people came together to be with friends, to dance and to sing and to live.” It “is more than a nightclub. It is a place of solidarity and empowerment.” Yes, Pulse was that and so much more. Pulse was a safe space for the LGBT community in Orlando; it was a space designed to welcome those still trying to come to terms with their sexuality and find like-minded individuals, and a space that welcomed friends for a night of fun. It was one of Orlando’s five gay bars, a hub for Latin music, drag performances and dancing. Barbara Poma, the co-owner of Pulse, opened the nightclub in 2004 with business partner Ron Legler to honour her brother, who had died of AIDS; to support the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community; and to create a special place safe from violence. For the LGBT community, the fear of violence is strong and palpable in our day-to-day lives and has long been part of our consciousness. Our history is plagued with violent reminders of unacceptance and hate like Pulse. Today, fear is not simply limited to those who lived through the Stonewall riots in New York in 1969, or the assassination of gay civil rights leader Harvey Milk in San Francisco in 1978, or Toronto’s bathhouse raids in 1981. For many members of the LGBT community, the fear of violence remains today. Gay bars like Pulse have been subject to occasional acts of violence. In 2013, someone poured gasoline in a stairway during a New Year’s Eve celebration at a decades-old gay nightclub in Seattle and set it on fire. There were about 750 people in the nightclub at the time, but the fire was extinguished with no injuries. In 2000, a man opened fire in a gay bar in Roanoke, Virginia, killing one and injuring six others; three years earlier, a nail-laden explosive device wounded five people at the Otherside Lounge, a nightclub in Atlanta. In 1973, New Orleans’ second-storey gay bar UpStairs Lounge was burned down, killing 32 people.
o r l and o m a s s a c r e In the months since the massacre, Pulse nightclub has turned into a makeshift monument for people paying their respects to the 49 LGBT brothers, sisters and allies who lost their lives during the tragic events of the early hours of June 12, 2016
It’s true that the number of spaces in which gay people can feel safe has expanded through the years, but despite progress, many people remain too unaccepting of LGBT people. Today many of our brothers and sisters—especially the most marginalized communities, including black, trans and Indigenous people— continue to experience random acts of violence and microaggressions on the street or in school hallways or in their workplace, which is why gay nightclubs and centres have continued to play such an important role in the evolution of gay culture. These dark, booming safe spaces have also played another important role. They are where so many young members of the community have learned how to love ourselves and one another. Dancing under the strobe lights to our favourite songs helped unlock our fears and teach us to let go of our lingering self-loathing. Even as we travel the globe, our connection to gay bars remains. When travelling to a new city, gay travellers typically seek out local gay bars to help them feel welcomed. But now the idea of the gay bar as a safe space has been shattered. The gay bar has gone from the safest of environments to a place
where gay people may feel vulnerable. The Orlando massacre underscores the hatred still directed at gays, lesbians and transgender people. During a recent visit to Orlando, I couldn’t help but notice the mood of the community and note the struggle, grief, love and pain that seemed to permeate throughout the city. ‘Orlando Strong’ signs were everywhere, showing support for the LGBT and Latino communities. Orlando may never be the same, but the massacre has pulled together a community across the Florida city and across the globe. But as brothers and sisters link arms in solidarity across the globe to show resilience, we must ask ourselves: What exactly is our agenda? Yes, we are showing support for the 49 LGBT brothers, sisters and allies who lost their lives, but we need to collectively recognize the need to reclaim our safe spaces. We need to aggressively campaign and create more spaces for all members of our community and bring back that feeling of safety for those who are afraid. Because, after all, don’t we all deserve to live freely and love freely and not be afraid?
CHRISTOPHER TURNER acted as guest editor for this issue of IN Magazine. He is a Toronto-based writer, editor and lifelong fashionisto with a passion for pop culture and sneakers. Follow him on social media at @Turnstylin.
Masked Behaviour Target your facial conundrums and the season’s indoor/outdoor temperatures head-on by adding a mask to your weekly routine By Adriana Ermter
What we do behind closed doors typically stays, well, behind closed doors. But when it comes to your skin and how to take care of it, especially during this time of year, we need to be more upfront. Yes, it’s time to talk about masks.
NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2016
Facial masks are skin’s deep-conditioning answer to dehydration, sensitivities and more, and can provide you with a multitude of benefits from anti-aging and rejuvenation to acne busting and firming. Much like a thick moisturizer, masks are smoothed over your entire face and then left to sit there so your dermis can absorb their ingredients. And with a dipping thermostat and an elevated indoor thermometer, trust us when we say: your skin is craving this attention. “While most skincare products form part of a daily routine, masks are used less regularly—yet they are essential for giving your skin a bit of TLC,” affirms Zoe Roebuck, the co-founder of Dr. Roebuck’s skincare brand. Here’s what you need to know. Why mask? Masks have a higher concentration of ingredients than face creams and offer superb instant gratification. Among their benefits: erasing fine lines; creating a clearer complexion; adding moisture, softness and radiance; and offering an overall plump and youthful afterglow in 30 minutes or less. When to apply “It’s important to keep your skin clean and fresh, as it is your body’s largest organ,” explains Roebuck. “It’s crucial to give your skin the opportunity to naturally regenerate.” So consider using a facial mask as part of your weekly skincare regimen. Don’t overuse, however, by using a mask on a daily basis. This can dehydrate or aggravate the skin, as can applying a product that is ill suited to your skin type and your skin’s needs. “The key is finding a product that gives your skin the deep clean it needs but also keeps your skin hydrated and optimal to your dermis’s specific condition,” says Roebuck. 8
How to do it All you need to do is pick the day and time; then, once a week, include the mask application in your grooming routine. Make sure to start by cleansing your face of the day’s impurities: there’s no point in slathering on a product if you still have a layer of dirt and grime stopping the formulation from absorbing into your skin. Next, on your newly clean skin, rub a thick layer of the product all over your face. Turn on CNN and watch Trump verbally shoot himself in the foot yet one more time, and then (30 minutes or less later), head back into the bathroom to remove the product. Peel or wash the mask off your face, apply your favourite serum and facial cream, and enjoy the feeling of satisfaction that comes with taking care of your skin. After all, says Roebuck, “Who doesn’t love the pampering feeling of a face mask?” The different types Know what type of mask to apply, and when to apply it. While most masks offer hydration, there are a multitude of options to choose from, from deep hydration, anti-aging and exfoliating to purification, rejuvenation and anti-acne. “Different skincare concerns have different remedies,” says Roebuck. “The quality of what goes into your skin care is reflected in the quality of the results.” Reading the label for specific ingredients will help you make the right choice. Perennial ingredients such as glycerin; vitamin E; and peppermint, grapefruit and macadamia oils provide properties such as hydration, anti-aging tissue repair and radiance, not to mention antibacterial and firming benefits. Other ingredients such as kaolin clay, white tea tree extract, jojoba and lavender draw out impurities, exfoliate and calm the dermis. “Different skincare concerns have different remedies, but the most important thing to look for in a mask is ingredients,” says Roebuck. And know that, “regardless of your skin type, steer clear of any product with a long list of ingredients you can’t pronounce.”
l o o k ing g o o d
For intense hydration, look for products that contain natural emulsifiers to hydrate, soothe and protect your skin, such as the clary sage, beeswax, honey and rose in Burt’s Bees treatment mask with Clary ($30, available at Shoppers Drug Mart) or Farmacy Honey Potion Renewing Antioxidant Hydration Mask and Fresh Rose Face Mask ($75 each, available at Sephora). To give your pores a deep clean to eliminate acne, try products containing kaolin, bentonite and French clays, mineralizing thermal water, Syn-ake, sulphur and volcanic ash. These work to deep-clean and purify your skin without stripping it of moisture, and can be found in Vichy Pore Purifying Clay Mask ($34, available at Shoppers Drug Mart), Rodial Glamoxy Snake Mask ($105, available at Hudson’s Bay) and Dermalogica Charcoal Rescue Masque ($60, available online at www.dermalogica.ca). To wipe away fine lines, boost radiance and plump up your skin, try anti-aging, hydrating and skin-tightening ingredients like salicylic and hyaluronic acids, dragon’s blood, shea butter and cocoa extract found in Nip + Fab Dragon’s Blood Fix Plumping Mask ($15, available at Shoppers Drug Mart), Fresh Vitamin Nectar Vibrancy Boosting Face Mask ($80, available at Sephora) and The Therapy Anti-Aging mask ($38, available at The Face Shop). To eliminate dead skin cells and provide you with a non-abrasive exfoliation that will revitalize your dermis, opt for peel-off, facial sheets and scrub-like masks containing vitamin C, bilberry extract, seaweed, coconut, echinacea green envy, jojoba beads and grapefruit oil, like Bliss Mask a-‘Peel’ ($38, available at Hudson’s Bay), Farmacy New Dawn Mask Medley ($32, available at Sephora) and Dr. Roebuck’s Polish ($40, available at Murale).
ADRIANA ERMTER is a Toronto-based, lifestyle-magazine pro who has travelled the globe, writing about must-spritz fragrances, child poverty, beauty and grooming.
MO N E Y $ T Y LE
Small Businesses with Big Dreams Meet the stars of TD’s most recent ad campaign, which aims to support small business customers By Al Ramsay
It’s no secret that small and medium businesses are an important backbone to most economies—and Canada is no different. In 2014, they accounted for 99.7 per cent of all Canadian businesses, which represents 30 per cent of the overall economy. That’s why it’s important for governments and financial institutions to do their part when it comes to helping entrepreneurs to start up, thrive and achieve their full potential. October was National Small Business Month in Canada and it helped shine a spotlight on countless entrepreneurs while celebrating their success. At TD, small businesses are an integral part of our customer base, so to celebrate we will be hosting approximately 7,000 small business owners at events across Canada through October and November. TD’s “Official Partner of Big Dreams” campaign helps to support and promote our small business customers by sharing our advertising space with them, helping to amplify their brand to a much broader market, and helping them grow. One company we are highlighting is “2 Guys With Knives,” founded by Sergio Pereira and Patrick Carr, a young gay couple in Vancouver. They have a unique business that’s gaining momentum in Vancouver and they’re looking to expand across the country. I had the chance to sit down with Patrick recently. Here’s what he had to say about his starring role in TD’s most recent ad campaign.
NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2016
Tell us about yourself and your business. Sergio came to Canada 10 years ago after graduating from the Culinary Institute of Brazil, and I’m a Canadian art and fitness guru. Competitive athletics took me on adventures across the world, eventually landing me in Vancouver. I met Sergio there and together we brought 2 Guys With Knives to life. Each Monday we unveil a brand selection of five gluten-free entrees, breakfasts and healthy vegan desserts. Each of our menu items balances lean protein, low-glycemic carbohydrates and tasty veggie combinations designed around fitness nutrition guidelines. Clients can order from the menu or adapt it to their specific nutritional needs. What sparked the idea? Both of our backgrounds show our passion for wellness and education, which formed the foundation for 2 Guys With Knives. As a trainer, meal planning is an integral component to the success of my clients. We went from cooking for friends as a fun little side venture to producing over 2,000 meals per week in the span of three years. What were the challenges in starting your business? Every step was a learning curve for both of us, but having attentive mentors at TD for finance management, along with other business owners who we could bounce ideas off of, was integral to us staying on course. 10
What role did your bank play in starting your business? Our bank is the reason we are able to celebrate our continued growth and success. The guidance and support we have received from the staff at TD is unparalleled. Every question we’ve had along the way has been welcomed with genuine interest and answered with attentive solutions. What would you say is the secret to your success? Our food is fantastic, but our service is outstanding. We have both experienced health issues in the past and know first-hand how much it means when someone—out of genuine care—shoulders your dietary concerns with you. What advice would you give to someone who would like to start their own business? Enjoy and respect the process, but also learn from it. Utilize the knowledge of your mentors and always remain open and adaptable. Trust that your journey will be supported, and throw your heart all the way in. If you could have done anything differently up to this point, what would it be and why? I think we both agree that we could have let go of being in the kitchen on a Friday night peeling the skin off almonds to make fresh almond milk. But we’ve gained such valuable knowledge from both our successes and our mistakes. Where do you see yourself in five years? We are excited to expand our platform to incorporate more online interactive video content, while also moving into other major Canadian cities. 2 Guys With Knives is an integral part of TD’s “Official Partner of Big Dreams” campaign. What are your thoughts on the campaign? TD’s Big Dreams Campaign is such a fantastic opportunity for any small business. We were put forward for the campaign by Grant Minish, the regional manager for LGBTA business development at TD Bank in Vancouver, and were ecstatic when we learned we had been selected to move forward. The whole team has been so terrific working with us, and it’s been unbelievable to connect with new people and grow from their knowledge.
You can learn how TD can help your small business grow by visiting http://www.tdcanadatrust.com/products-services/ small-business/smallbusiness-index.jsp
AL RAMSAY is TD Bank Group’s regional manager, LGBTA Business Development, and leads a team of expert advisors
IN MAGAZINEdedicated to serving the LGBTA community. For more information or to book a meeting, he can be reached at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter at @AlRamsay_TD.
Proud to share our ad space with businesses like:
TD Small Business Banking. The Official Partner of Big Dreams. We’re committed to helping small business grow. That’s why in addition to sharing our ad space we offer advice, support, and complete small business solutions. With our help more and more small businesses are realizing their dreams. You can too.
Help your small business grow at td.com/smallbusiness The Toronto-Dominion Bank and its affiliates are not liable or responsible for the products, goods or services offered by 2 Guys with Knives. All trade-marks are the property of their respective owners. 11 11 ® The TD logo and other trademarks are the property of The Toronto-Dominion Bank.
health & wellness
5 Ways To Feel Less Stressed Simple tips to help you out of the pressure cooker By Karen Kwan
NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2016
Your neck and shoulders are tighter than Joe Manganiello’s abs. Maybe you’re hoovering down sugary foods or ones loaded with fat, or sleeping so poorly you’re seeing the sunrise every morning—and not in a romantic or the-early-bird-gets-the-worm way, but rather because you’ve tossed and turned all night and haven’t slept a wink. We all experience stress in our own personal ways. Going through ups and downs when it comes to your stress levels is common, and is sometimes even good for you—a study has shown that it can possibly help give your brain a boost when it comes to learning. But being stressed out over a long term can affect your immune system, for one, and also increase your risk of cardiovascular disease. So keep it in check by adding these stress-busting strategies to your routine. Float your stress away Bobbing in a dark tank filled with high-salt water might sound scary to some of us, but it’s a proven stress buster. Using a sensory deprivation or float tank has been found to improve sleep and boost mood, while also cutting down on feelings of depression and anxiety. It seems that the weightless feeling helps to induce the body’s healing process. Sweat it off That runner’s high or, more specifically, the release of endorphins that comes from physical activity, helps to lower stress (if running isn’t your thing, not to worry—any type of workout can help trigger those feel-good hormones). Exercise also works to relieve stress because it distracts you from the issues that are bothering you; rather than fixating on the delays in your home renovation, for 12
example, you’re focused on getting that ball across the court in a game of tennis. And yet only 40 per cent of Canadians use fitness as a coping mechanism, according to a McMaster University study published in the Journal of Physical Activity and Health in 2014. Eat anxiety-reducing foods When you’ve got a deadline and it’s crunch time, chances are you’re craving some junk food—but a poor diet will feed your stress rather than help alleviate it. Rather than those comfort foods, load up on wholesome foods that will help you keep calm and carry on: think foods with folic acid (low levels of this vitamin have been linked to depression) such as asparagus and lentils, and vitamin C-rich foods such as oranges (C has been found to lower blood pressure and levels of cortisol, aka the stress hormone). Do something repetitive Knit and purl your way to being stress free, hit the squash court, or colour. Hobbies and activities that have a repetitive motion have a calming effect by taking your mind off your stressors, and can result in lowering your heart rate, blood pressure and muscle tension. Simply repeating a word or phrase can have the same effect. Laugh it off You’ve got a great reason to bugger off and catch the latest Will Ferrell movie when feeling stressed: a good giggle helps to trigger your body to relax and mellow out. A good bout of laughter can also help strengthen your immune system and lower levels of stress hormones. So take that half-hour to watch an episode of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.
KAREN KWAN is a freelance health, travel and lifestyle writer based in Toronto. Follow her on Twitter at @healthswellness and on Instagram at @healthandswellness.
Let’s just admit that it’s not always sunshine and roses By Adam Segal
Basically, dating sucks and leaves me miserable. I walk into a bar and can tell that no one is paying attention to me and that I don’t belong. I feel rejected online too—guys chat with me but they disappear and then I just feel crap. I want to believe that a relationship is possible, but just can’t imagine anyone wanting to be with me, or that there are guys who aren’t phony and superficial and would actually want something real. I’m left feeling like I did in high school: on the outside looking in. I’m tempted to throw in the towel and just have a monk-like existence, but that also makes me so sad. Is there hope? —Sebastian Dear Sebastian: Something ironic (and not in a funny way) is that many of us queer folk grew up without a place of belonging and felt unworthy, only to defiantly come out and feel similarly within the queer community. Feeling different from others through childhood, whether it was in gym class or within our own families, invites a sort of hyper-vigilance—a perpetual monitoring of how others might perceive us, and a bracing against possible rejection. We create an invisible shield that helps us feel in control in a situation that is much bigger than us. Skipping ahead, you are now an out gay man who has to venture into a bar (or a virtual one on your smartphone) and revisit that sense of apprehension and self-consciousness. The experience of ‘otherness’ persists. It’s so easy to imagine that all other gay men are experiencing some sort of sacred brotherhood—a big gay Friends episode that you’ve been barred from accessing. This is where you will need to cultivate a mistrust of any inner voices that are perpetuating such a mythical lavender universe, and be willing to resist the narrative of yourself as ‘not good enough.’ By constantly imagining you are being rejected and by judging others for their phoniness, a sort of cycle emerges where you retreat from other gay men; this simply keeps the stories alive that either you are a failure or everyone else is. That shield you created long ago to help you feel safe might have served you well then, but it is now shutting the world out and leaving you all alone.
ADAM SEGAL, writer and therapist, works in private practice in downtown 13 Toronto. Ask him your relationship or mental-health questions @firstname.lastname@example.org.
REL A T I O N SH I P S
C o m m u nity
Northbound Leather: XXX and Unapologetically Bent Toronto’s infamous Northbound Leather celebrates 30 years in business By Max MacDonald
Tucked away on St. Nicolas Street is Toronto’s Northbound Leather. This obscurely located yet well-known shop has occupied the same locale for over 30 years. “We had a storefront but reverted back to our laneway entrance,” says owner George Giaouris. “Our customers still like the backdoor feeling.” Giaouris is a grey-bearded man, with bearish attributes, who embodies the fetish mystique: bold, innovative and gutsy. His customers and fans are what made his shop, in his words, “bent.” Since Northbound Leather’s inception, it has left a mark throughout Toronto and around the world. “We got our name from North (where we are), Bound (what you do with it) and Leather (what it’s made of),” says Giaouris. What keeps this retailer current is catering to customer wants: they aren’t slaves to trends. “We do everything from exquisite bespoke to high-fashion looks,” Giaouris says, “right down to what you need if you are into leather.” Drawing from its roots in Toronto’s gay, lesbian and bisexual community, it has provided a unique hybrid between fashion and fetish. “The store is a reflection of me and who I am. I’m a straight boy who grew up in the Village,” says Giaouris. You see their fashion pedigree in almost everything that Giaouris’ team, headed by designer Marty Rotman, creates. Whether it’s a shoulder-to-ankle coat or an intricately stitched corset, every garment carries the Northbound Leather trademark: impeccable quality. A trip to their second-floor workroom reaffirms this. Emulating traditional couture workrooms, his craftspeople sit at rows of sewing machines working on their designated pieces. This almost old-world workmanship has remained a staple for 30 years and caught the eye of countless celebrities.
this. I loved the shock factor, so I said, let’s try it. It sort of signifies that our lips are sealed about what you do with us.” XXX brings together Rotman’s garments, a performance by rope-artist Midori (who wears vintage Northbound Leather during her act), and long-time customers, friends and fans. As always, this event takes inspiration from what hasn’t been done with a kiss of the avant-garde. However, Giaouris remembers a time when he was first starting out and wasn’t as open-minded. “A customer asked for a pair of mink-lined rubber underwear. I said no and blamed the fact that we didn’t have a fur machine. I’ve learned over the years not to project my squeamishness into other people’s sexuality. The only question I now ask, ‘Is it legal?’” Northbound Leather’s success is attributed to Giaouris’ ability to stay humble yet keep his ear to the ground of what’s cutting edge, to word-of-mouth praise, and to his being slightly bent in thinking. When asked what’s next for his bespoke shop, he says he leaves it up to his most important asset: his customers. “Honestly, it doesn’t matter what I see—the vision isn’t really mine. We don’t dictate what you should be wearing. As bespoke tailors, we are used to the customer telling us what they want to wear. As tastes change, so do we. That’s how we’ve survived. We are for the rebels who follow the beat of their own drum.”
NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2016
Very few Toronto-based retailers can boast celebrity fans like Laverne Cox (who wore Northbound Leather in the Fox remake of The Rocky Horror Picture Show), Madonna, Lady Gaga—and that’s the short list! What keeps the stars returning is Northbound’s ability to intertwine fashion and fetish. “We started in fashion and veered towards fetish. I like that because I’m a pervert,” he says, laughing, “and I took us in that direction.” Turning 30 is a huge milestone for any Toronto-based retailer, especially at a time when so many Canadian and international retailers are struggling and disappearing. On the day of my visit to Northbound Leather, sewers and staff were preparing one-of-a-kind pieces to appear in XXX, their tongue-in-cheek take on their 30th anniversary, being held at The Phoenix. This annual show (now in its 20th year) is part leather/ fetish event and part runway presentation. The promotional materials pop with a pair of cross-stitched female lips, signifying the XXX theme. Giaouris explains the logo simply: “The young lady who is my webmaster found a makeup artist who proposed 14
MAX MACDONALD is a media, PR, menswear and creative influencer who brings cool ideas to life. You can follow him on Instagram at @andthentheresmax and Tumblr at andthentheresmax.tumbr.com.
Hot Rides For 2017 A few of our favourites from the models being rolled out for 2017 By Casey Williams
There are plenty of new or significantly refreshed cars and trucks coming in the 2017 model year. From affordable and practical to expensive and luxurious, one of these new models will surely entice your inner driver.
Mercedes-Benz E-Class The world’s most advanced sedan boasts dramatic curves, broad shoulders and “stardust effect” LED tail lights. Interiors harbour twin screens for instruments and infotainment. Natural-grain ash wood, contrasting leather, heated armrests and 64-hue ambient lighting add serious panache. A 241-horsepower 2.0-litre turbo-four delivers pace; a dynamic air suspension system adds grace. The Drive Pilot system can automatically follow traffic up to 209 km/h, assist in steering around corners, and change lanes automatically. Base price: $61,200
Honda Ridgeline Honda’s crossover-based pickup goes from homely to handsome as designers rebuff origami styling for streamlined normalcy. The bed has its own audio system, power outlet, under-floor trunk with drain for iced beverages, and a tailgate that swings and folds. The flip-up rear seat allows cross-loading cargo. A standard 280-horsepower V6 engine easily tows a couple of jet skis. Safety is enhanced by available Collision Mitigation Braking, Lean Keep Assist, Adaptive Cruise Control and LaneWatch camera. Base price: $36,590
Chevy Cruze Hatch Affordability takes a stylish turn with the Cruze Hatch. The extra port allows crossover-like flexibility inside. Cruze Hatch is available with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot, heated steering wheel, heated front/rear seats, and leather surfaces. Projector-beam headlights with LEDs accent the exterior. The 1.4-litre turbocharged engine with Stop/Start delivers 6.2-L/100 km highway. Lane Keep Assist, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Side Blind Zone Alert and Rear Park Assist enhance safety. Base price: est. $20,000
Mazda MX-5 RF I adore the MX-5’s elegant manual cloth top, but the new RF has a hard top for touring that, with the flip of a switch at speeds up to 10 km/h, converts into an open-roof targa. Fastback styling gets pulses quickening, as does a choice of SKYACTIV 1.5- or 2.0litre gasoline engines (the latter delivers 155 horsepower). Interiors can be upholstered in nappa leather, but are models of simplicity. The RF should please MX-5 enthusiasts while enticing new fans. Base price: $38,800
CASEY WILLIAMS is a contributing writer for Gaywheels.com. He contributes to the New York-based LGBT magazine Metrosource and the Chicago Tribune. He and his husband live in Indianapolis, where Williams contributes videos and reviews to wfyi.org, the area’s PBS/NPR station.
I n M e m o r ia m
Remembering A Canadian Drag Legend RIP Chris Edwards: December 24, 1961–September 6, 2016
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Interviews by Steven Bereznai
The world lost a queen of queens in September, when drag royalty “Being [Chris’s drag] daughter, I have lots of memories. My favourite Chris Edwards passed away in hospital. The 54-year-old collapsed would have to be when she first put me in drag. This is around 1989. in his dressing room at Toronto’s Buddies in Bad Times Theatre, I had just finished choreographing ‘Rhythm Nation’ for another queen, following a performance as Tina Turner. He died in hospital 11 and Chris got it in her head that I’d be so pretty in drag.… ‘Let me days later. Chris was a trailblazer, founding the Miss Gay Toronto do you in drag one time,’ she said. I looked decent, and the next thing and Miss Gay Universe pageants, upending pronouns (friends say I know she’s having her first Miss Gay Toronto Pageant.… [Chris] he lived as a boy, but many—especially fellow queens—still refer coaxed me into the pageant. I had no evening gown, no swimsuit.… to him as she), and all the while helping many people change their She said: ‘I have everything.…’ It’s also how I discovered I was lives along the way. IN Magazine spoke with some of the people trans. I owe her my life. If Chris had not put me in drag 30 years closest with Chris, including friends, co-workers and admirers. They ago, the Jeanette Dupree you see now would not exist. When I call shared their favourite memories of this Princess Diana of drag queens. her momma, it’s not fluff. She was my parent. Our community is suffering a really great loss.” “I have known Chris for over 25 years, and consider him my friend. –Jeannette Dupree, drag daughter He was one of the most beautiful entertainers, a major talent and an important mentor and friend to many. He had countless titles, “Working at Woody’s for three years in the early 2000s, I saw a lot accomplishments and show-stopping performances, but in the drag of drag shows. A lot.… The one who most consistently dazzled the world of bitchy queens and RuPaul nastiness, Chris Edwards was patrons and inspired other queens was Chris Edwards. She loved kind. That is my favourite memory of him.” holding court in that place, but never did so in some high-hat way. –Dean Odorico, manager, Woody’s/Sailors Meanwhile, I’d be working the door with her man John, who was the very definition of ‘gruff but lovable,’ and it was always clear how “We went on a trip to Bermuda to do a show, and then there’s all our they adored one another. She never seemed, at least to me, to glow trips to the Continental [Pageant] in Chicago. But, really, one of as brightly as she did before his death, but I was happy to help her the best things was sitting around watching videos with a potluck out one last time at Glad Day Bookshop. She’d lost her old copy of supper with a group of queens.” What would you watch? “Anything the astrology romance guide Gay Love Signs and came in a couple of years ago looking for a new one. ‘I swear, it is SO TRUE,’ she Continental.” insisted, and was sad when I told her that this 1990 book was out of –Amanda Roberts, drag sensation
Photo: Remembering Chris Edwards/Facebook
print. She had an epic pout. [When] someone donated a worn copy of the book, I quickly rang her up. Even in her baseball cap and jeans, she always looked glamorous, and when I handed her the book (‘For FREE?’ she yelled), I saw a bit of that glow come my way.” –Scott Dagostino, Glad Day Bookstore
an egg in mid-air and chased after them in full drag, and yelled ‘How dare you!’ and smashed the egg on their windshield. They drove off terrified. To me that was Chris. He might be wearing a dress and a wig, but he was a mother with a cub and you were not going to attack his family or his village.” –Walt Chaisson, close friend
“I really got to know Chris during our tours as part of Lads ’N Lashes with Robin Loren. During those long car trips, I received “After Pride one year, Chris said, ‘I don’t want to see another gay a great education from her. She taught me about the legends in the person for at least a month’ and [someone] replied, ‘Better not look community: the queens before who paved the way, allowing the new in the mirror.’ And every time he received his paycheque he would generation the freedoms it has today. I think that is something most say, ‘and the best black award goes to…’ opens envelope, ‘…Chris people will remember about Chris. She was an educator and helped Edwards.’ Then he would let out a huge laugh.” to introduce so many of today’s performers to the stage through –Chris’s co-workers at the Yonge and College Winners her shows and Miss Gay Toronto and Miss Gay Universe pageants. She always encouraged, and never discouraged. I remember one “Chris said that when he went out he felt most people wanted to time hearing about her showing up to Crews with a garbage bag of see him in drag, but with us when he came over he just came over costumes she had cleared out of her closet and just saying to some as himself. In drag he could say or do anything. He had that acid of the new girls, ‘Have at it!’ She always wanted to ensure people tongue that was entertaining and could put people in their place. Out were enjoying themselves, whether they were in the audience or of drag, he was more soft-spoken, but still fun. He embodied the working on the stage.” belief that you take care of everyone, which not everyone would –Heroine Marks (a.k.a. Matteo Cassano), entertainment manager, see as he dry-humped a stud on stage. And he loved the Mandarin, so that’s where we’re going today, to celebrate Chris.” Crews & Tangos –Jack Zulauf, close friend “About 10 years ago, during Pride Week, I was sitting across from Timothy’s on Church Street talking with Chris, and a van passed by. The guys inside were yelling ‘fag’ and throwing eggs. Chris caught
STEVEN BEREZNAI is a Toronto author and journalist. His newest novel is I Want Superpowers. He can be reached online at stevenbereznai.com.
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ON the town
Scenes From The Party Circuit By Michael Pihach
Buddies In Bad Times season launch 1: Johnnie Walker, Adam Bourret, 2: Fay Slift, 3: John CJ Murphy. JHR’s Night for Rights at Arcadian Court - Photos by Salvatore Sacco, Canadian Press 4: Theresa Ebden, Norma Penner, Scott Weisbrod, 5: Pam Chookomoolin, Brandon MacLeod, 6: Delaney Windego, 7: Danny Glenwright, Andrea Houston. STIFF VII – Stiffer Things at Handlebar 8: Matt Jacobs, Esther Zuckerman, Sam Lansky, 9: Anthony Oliveira, Benjamin Lee, Kyle Buchanan, 10: Mark Pariselli, Alexis Mavrogiannis, 11: Margot Keithn, 12: Luca Maria Piccolo, Alex Sagalchik, Patrick Orr.
F e at u r e
The Gossip Whisperer Psst.... Perez Hilton has a secret: he’s a changed man By Nelson Branco
Whether you like him or not, you can’t deny that Mario Lavandeira Jr., a.k.a. Perez Hilton, has impacted and influenced not only the blogosphere zeitgeist, but also gay culture. Once the most hated and feared man in Hollywood (remember those penis-drawn shapes on celebrity faces he’d post on PerezHilton. com?), Hilton has pulled a Madonna and reinvented himself into a kinder, gentler version of himself. He even has two kids to punctuate his evolution from bad boy to responsible blogger and celebrity pundit. Hilton’s fun, yet abrasive—but, more importantly, unique—way of detailing the daily events of Hollywood quickly drew a loyal (and sometimes horrified) audience. After PerezHilton.com blew up, Hilton ironically became a celebrity himself. He also became pals with the stars he used to look up to as he was growing up, which prompted some to accuse the Miami native of a “reporting bias.” Criticisms aside, no one can accuse Hilton of ever denying his sexuality or not defending the gay community. I’ve known him since 2004, so thought it would be fun to catch up with the new-and-improved blogger, who’s now a single dad—and a soap star! Well, sort of. Hilton was cast in a recurring role on daytime’s The Bold and the Beautiful last month as a minister named Murphy. Yes, you read that correctly. Here’s our conversation:
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What did you think when B&B cast you as a minister? I laughed. But it’s not the first time I’ve played a minister. I played one in Another Gay Movie. My only [caveat] was I ideally wanted to play a character and not Perez Hilton. But, let’s face it, I would have played anyone they wanted me to. B&B has a transgender character, Maya, played by female Karla Mosley. What do you think of the assertion by some that only trans actors should play trans roles? I don’t think it has to be a mandate. As a gay man, it’s similarly disappointing to see heterosexual actors playing gay roles—and being awarded for that. There are a ton of gay actors who would love to play gay roles. It all comes down to fear. There’s fear of casting openly gay and trans actors in Hollywood. But I’m not going to boycott a movie because they didn’t cast a gay or trans actor. Listen, give a brother and a sister more work. I don’t see any issue with Karla playing Maya, because they didn’t know the character was going to be trans when they created her. 20
Is acting a bigger priority for you now? You started out as an actor... I want to continue to work. The world has changed so much since I began 12 years ago as a blogger. I’m doing it all. I’m acting, I have a podcast. I’m incredibly hands-on with the website, which is the mother ship. As the years have gone on, I haven’t gotten lazier: I’m doing more, not less. I would love to have a really long career and longevity—much like Joan Rivers had. I’ve learned to say yes more often to jobs. I used to turn down a lot of work. I used to think: ‘Well, that’s not cool or good for my brand so I’m not going to do it.’ Now, I don’t care—if someone wants to hire me, I’m down! I have two kids to feed! My new mantra is, make more, spend less. You are basically credited with being the original mainstream blogger. Technology has changed the game so much. What would you tell yourself 12 years ago if you could? I would tell myself: ‘You’re going to be successful no matter what you do, so when you know what you’re doing is wrong, don’t do it!’ In the past, I would do something wrong just to get a rise out of people. I would think: I don’t care what people think of me because I’m playing a character. I really believe now that I’m a talented person. I believe now that I could have achieved success without having to do what I’ve done in the past. So, basically, do the right thing when it’s the right thing. How do you think celebrity has evolved over the years? Who the celebs are has evolved. When I started blogging it was the Brad Pitts, Angelina Jolies and Jennifer Anistons. Then it became Lindsay Lohan, Britney Spears and Paris Hilton. Then it evolved to reality TV stars from Jersey Shore and The Hills. Now the ‘celebs’ today are the social media stars. Even though the mainstream media doesn’t mention them much—and neither do I, to be honest— they have eight million followers on Instagram and six million subscribers on YouTube. It’s crazy! But that will change too. Who the social stars are today won’t be the stars of tomorrow. Celebrity is constantly evolving and changing. That’s why I’m grateful I’m here 12 years later still covering all this. I am a dinosaur of the Internet. I’m happily soldiering on. Social media: good or bad? I think it’s bad. Personally, I’m glued to my phone constantly and I hate it. I tell myself I have to be because it’s my job, but I’m fine-tuning it slowly. I unfollowed Kim Kardashian on Instagram along with a lot of other people, so I spend less time on social media.
What do you want your legacy to be? To be the best dad—not a great dad, but the best. I’ll be like Giuliana Rancic at the Emmys: how do you juggle it all as a single parent?! [Laughs] I know! Why don’t celeb dads get asked that? I’m really lucky that I’m my own boss and I can work from home. My mom lives with us, so that helps. I also have nannies, I’m not ashamed to say that. You need help. But I put in the hours with my family—that’s the key. Personally, I love my kids and love spending time with them. I go on vacation with my kids. And I have zero guilt. Would you be happy if they went into show business? I have no inclination of what my kids want to do yet, but the only thing I will demand and expect and encourage of them is: whatever they decide to do, they have to work harder than anyone else. That’s what I’ve learned from my career. You have to truly work harder than anyone else to be successful. If they can do that, they can do whatever they want. I think it’s important for everyone to have a need to work for a living. If not, it’s a soul-crushing thing that could lead to depression and an unhappy life. Are you dating? How does Perez Hilton date? I would make the time to date but it’s just the matter of finding somebody to date. I don’t have the desire to online date because it’s a time-suck; it’s a full-time job itself. I’m leaving it up to the universe and I’m hoping it happens the old-fashioned way. Like stalking someone on Facebook!
Anything on your bucket list? To meet Angelina Jolie! I’ve met pretty much everyone from Madonna to Oprah Winfrey. Oh, and I’d like to meet Hillary Clinton too. Is your feud with Lady Gaga over? All I will say is, I wish her well. Gays have made so much progress down south, but the US election might threaten all that. Are you hopeful things will keep progressing for the community? Yes. I’d rather choose hope than fear. It is so different being gay today [as opposed to when I came out in 1990s New York]. While we’ve made many advances for gay people, being black in America is still ‘criminal.’ We take a lot of steps forward, we take a lot of steps backward. Most of the deplorables—which I think is a great word, by the way—are older and eventually they’re going to die! [Laughs] I’m instilling hope and acceptance into my children. Should we reinvent Pride? Has it become too commercial? Has it lost its gravitas? [Sighs] I’ve never been a big fan of parades. I hate parades—even the one at Gay Pride. Unless I’m at Disneyland and they’re really well organized and shorter, parades are boring. To change Pride and what that looks like is really expensive. It’s not going to happen. It’d be cool to have a one-day Coachella-like festival with amazing performances and inspiring speeches. To do that in every city is really expensive. It’s a lot cheaper to put on a parade. I do think educating younger gays about our history is important. There’s a lot who don’t know as much as those who have lived it.
NELSON BRANCO is the editor of 24 Hours Toronto newspaper. As a contributing editor, he’s penned pieces for magazines like Hello Canada, People, TV 21 Guide and online sites like Huffington Post. He’s also worked as a TV producer for Breakfast TV, The Marilyn Denis Show, CTV News and Sun News Network. You can follow him at @nelliebranco.
WOME N I N T HE COMMU N I T Y
Ladies First Women in the community who made 2016 their bitch By Abi Slone
This past year, a number of feats of note were performed by cis- and transwomen, non-binary female identified folks, lezzies, dykes and queers, butches, femmes, and those who would rather not label themselves. They parented, published, and embraced politics in their every waking moment. They made space and took space for those in the community who stood beside them, went before them, and were coming up behind them. They made beautiful things, and they encouraged other people to make beautiful things. In the last issue of In Magazine we profiled Jill Andrews, a beloved member of our community who excels in her badassery. Here is a small, small sampling of a few other women in the community who made a mark on 2016. Watch out 2017—we’re coming!
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Carolyn Taylor Comedienne, writer, and gal about Toronto, Taylor sharpened her wit ad-libbing at Second City and writing for This Hour Has 22 Minutes. She’s been nominated for a Gemini, a Canadian Comedy Award and a Canadian Screenwriting Award, and is currently the showrunner and one of the stars in the Baroness Von Sketch Show, which launched in 2016 and was renewed for a second season. With a core cast of four exceptional women, the CBC show is smart, satirical and funny as fuck.
Zoe Whittall Toronto-based, Quebec-born writer Zoe Whittall has been doing all the right things. Over the past 15-plus years, she’s been honing her craft and bringing to life four novels and three books of poetry, including the 2016 Giller-shortlisted The Best Kind of People. If that weren’t enough, Whittall is also a writer for the second season of the Baroness Von Sketch Show, and has written for Degrassi: Next Generation. And if you’re lucky, you may even see Whittall doing a little standup on a Dawn Whittwell bill.
Dayna McLeod One thing this Montreal-based intermedia artist never is, is dull. Always genius, in September of 2016, McLeod followed up her one-year durational cougar-inspired piece, entitled Cougarlicious, by inviting people to a concert in her uterus. Uterine Concert Hall employed the use of DJs and a small speaker designed to play music for babies through the vaginal wall. The speaker also came equipped with an earphone so the concertgoer could hear the music before it “made it to the speaker.” For a truer uterine experience, concertgoers could listen to music literally being played in her uterus, through a stethoscope.
Janaya Khan 2016 was a busy year for Khan, a co-founder of Black Lives Matter Toronto. With a mandate at BLM that states “To forge critical connections and to work in solidarity with black communities, black-centric networks, solidarity movements, and allies in order to dismantle all forms of state-sanctioned oppression, violence, and brutality committed against African, Caribbean, and Black cis, queer, trans, and disabled populations in Toronto,” it would be impossible for anyone to take the events of the past year lightly. Khan certainly didn’t let 2016 pass by without a fight, being instrumental in the Pride wakeup call and the action at Toronto Police headquarters downtown.
Evalyn Parry Having rounded out her first full season at the helm of Buddies in Bad Times as artistic director, this creative powerhouse is keeping it together and feeling like family. At her roots, Perry is a “queer, feminist theatre-maker.” In the spring of 2016, in addition to leading the charge at the oldest running (or thereabouts) queer theatre ever, Perry and regular collaborator Anna Chatterton did a two week-run of Gertrude and Alice, which won well-deserved critical praise and the nomination for Outstanding New Play at the Dora Awards.
Leslie Chudnovsky In 2016, Chudnovsky was awarded the Jane Jacobs Award, which “celebrates individuals who contribute to the fabric of Toronto life in unique ways that exemplify the ideas of urban visionary and activist Jane Jacobs.” It couldn’t have gone to a more deserving person. The head of Supporting Our Youth since 2000 (she stepped down this year), Chudnovsky’s contributions to the community throughout the years have been immeasurable. The number of lives she’s enhanced, as well as the guidance she’s provided, culminated in her acceptance of the award in 2016.
ABI SLONE is a writer, editor and traveller. She is not a natural redhead.
Brad To The Bone Superstar stylist and Fashion Police’s Brad Goreski learned self-destruction is never in fashion By Nelson Branco
You apparently can go home again. Recently, superstylist to the stars and TV personality Brad Goreski was a headline speaker during a mentor session at his alma mater, Toronto’s George Brown College, where he studied musical theatre. “It’s always nice to be recognized by your school,” Goreksi told IN Magazine exclusively during a recent jaunt back home. “The theatre program was very rigorous. To get to come back and be able to share my experience—from being on TV, styling, designing, to working in America—well, it’s great to give back to the college I attended.” Now 39, Goreski was also honoured to present at the 2016 Canada Walk of Fame ceremonies (which airs Dec. 18 on Global TV)—and pay tribute to a boldface name he long admired. “Jeanne Beker was one of my idols growing up,” he shared. “So it was cool to be there. I was a big viewer of Fashion Television. It’s one of the shows that gave me a desire to be in fashion. It’s one of those things that happens to me today that makes me go: ‘Omigod, it’s such an honour to be a part of this.’” He’s come a long way from the 19-year-old wannabe actor to one of the fashion world’s most dependable and talented style and design mavericks.
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Ironically, as Goreski was studying some of the most beloved stage productions of our time, he found himself battling his own plot twist: addiction. In his 2012 memoir, Born To Be Brad, Goreski recounted his early, dark days when he struggled with cocaine for years, along with alcohol, ecstasy and pot.
Well, if you don’t count his local mini-celebrity status on Citytv’s Electric Circus as a Toronto club kid. (“My dad would make fun of the show, calling it ‘Electric Titties,’ because there were always close-up shots of women’s breasts bouncing on camera. But we loved it,” he penned in his autobiography.) Today, Goreski is still clean, healthy, and kicking red carpet butt with aplomb and wit. But how did the former wild child who dreamt of becoming an actor evolve into a bespectacled, bow-tied fashionisto who dresses the likes of Jessica Alba and Demi Moore? Goreski rewound the tape for us, saying, “I auditioned a lot in Toronto, but I didn’t like it or the unpredictability of acting.” So he took a chance and moved to New York City, where he became the oldest summer intern at Vogue at 21. It was a full-circle moment: the future stylist’s fate had been sealed when he picked up his first issue of the fashion bible at 12. There, Goreski wanted to be a fashion journalist. But thanks to advice from a smart boyfriend, Goreski decided to shoot for the stars. “My boyfriend said to me: ‘Why aren’t you actually working with clothes and not just writing about it? You should be doing it.’ Then, I got my internship at Vogue and really set my sights on being around clothes,” he told us. His unconventional road to the bright lights of Hollywood and the edgy streets of New York City was actually easier to navigate than one would think. That’s because Goreski was never too concerned with fame. In our obsessive ‘iCulture,’ Goreski was defiantly focused on the work—and the quality of his skills—instead of wasting time salivating over the latest Hollywood party invites.
“I needed to get help. I was in our bathroom, staring in the mirror, and I didn’t recognize myself. Finally, I felt the weight of the “I want to be really good at my job,” he told IN. “The quest for fame situation,” Goreski wrote. “I told myself, ‘You can carry on like was really never there for me. I’ve always been more concerned this, and the drugs will be your life.’ I wasn’t doing anything with about keeping working. When I think of everything I’ve done, it my life except wasting it.” seems like it all went by fast; but at the same time, there seems like there is so much further to go.” Sick and tired of being sick and tired, and against the advice of his former boyfriend, Goreski opted for unconditional sober living. After New York, Goreski earned his 15 minutes of fame thanks to He threw himself into AA meetings and wrote himself his own his scene-stealing turn on reality TV series The Rachel Zoe Project and later with his own vehicle, It’s a Brad, Brad World. happy ending. Goreski was living Hollywood life in reverse: overcoming his demons before fame.
He recalled, “Oddly, all my worlds collided with me being on reality TV. Everything came full circle. All my training—from
Photos by Yu Tsai
Above: Goreski serving up style on the 2016 Oscar red carpet
theatre to fashion—all paid off. Not that there is a level of performance in reality TV; but more because I was comfortable in front of the camera.”
course. And [new addition] NeNe Leakes has just turned my world upside down. I can’t say enough about her and how wonderful she is and how much fun we have on the set.”
Goreski’s instafame could have easily been over before the next Kardashian scandal. But he’s now traversed from stylist to designer, and is focused on building a business and brand. He’s the creative director of his own collection, C Wonder, which has been featured on QVC.
But Goreski is no shrinking violet on the show. He’s quickly become a fan favourite and critical darling because, while funny, he takes the fashion element seriously.
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“In terms of brand building, I’ve tried not to push,” he said. “I’ve always tried to do things that felt organic and I felt passionate about. There’s a lot of hard, hard work behind the scenes. There are a lot of projects, pitching—and you always have to think of the next idea. It never really ends, but I love what I do. I like the fact that my work has a positive impact on people, and they are responding and continue to respond.”
“I don’t have writers or prepare jokes in advance,” he explained of his on-screen prep. “I like it to be organic. The best moments—and you learn this on reality TV—always come out of nowhere. So I try not to be too prepared. What I do is when it’s a big award show, I’ll do outreach with designers and stylists for insider information about the gowns. For me, I really like to know the backstory, and so does the viewer. And it’s easy for me to get the story behind Sarah Paulson’s green Prada dress at the Emmy Awards, for example. It’s stuff I’m generally interested in.”
Since 2015, Goreski has become more of a mainstream name Luckily, he hasn’t pissed off past, present or future celebrity clientele. thanks to his co-host gig on E!’s widely popular but behind-the- And you can thank his smart strategy. scenes-challenged Fashion Police, which was once helmed by the “I don’t want to jinx myself, but I know what it’s like to be on the late, great Joan Rivers. other side as a stylist,” he related. “I know it doesn’t feel great “I love it,” he gushed. “[Co-host] Margaret Cho has become a when critics slam your fashion. On Fashion Police, I always try really good friend. She’s an incredible part of the show. We all love to come from an angle of, how do we fix this look? But there talking about fashion and getting into it. I absolutely adore [host] also have to be moments of fun. You have to remember we’re Melissa Rivers. We’ve become very close throughout everything not breaking down the US presidential election: it’s a cocktail that has happened on the show. [Co-host] Giuliana Rancic and I hour of friends praising or dissing fashion. For me, the reaction work together a lot on the red carpets, so we’re very close too, of has been positive.”
Above: Goreski speaking at a recent mentor session at Toronto’s George Brown College
With nearly two decades observing the fashion world, what are his thoughts on the current state of the industry creatively? Goreski is impressed. “The Paris shows just wrapped and they were amazing. I can’t imagine what a nightmare I’d be to my parents if I was growing up in Port Perry with the access that people have now. It would be ‘Bankrupt City’ in our household! Listen, back then we had to drive to the Pickering Mall to get designer fashion. Talk about going the extra mile. So access is a big positive. Men dress so much better now. I think the men in Toronto are super stylish. I’ve seen so many cool outfits. Fashion is in a good place. Designers are actually designing clothes people can actually wear. Also, we still have the fashion that is aspirational.” Fave trends? “Metallic,” he listed, “because I like sparkle and I love shimmer. I love taking that fantasy from the red carpet and incorporating it into your everyday life.” Worst trends? He sighed. “One of the things that I’m not so happy about is wedge sneakers. They’re not cute at all.” One trend that Goreski will never give up is love and marriage. He’s been with his hubby, veteran TV writer and producer Gary Janetti (Will & Grace, Family Guy), for over 15 years (they met when Goreski was 23). So what’s the secret to a long-lasting gay relationship in Hollyweird? Goreski answered: “He’s just great. He was already established in his career but he really wanted me to create my own life outside
of his. I’ve done that—and he’s super proud of me. He’s the first person I go to for advice. We’re continuing to build a life together and we encourage each other. Time away from each other is also just as good as some time apart, but we definitely take the time to be together. We visit our families together. He’s super chill. I can’t imagine life without him.” Coming out was a generally positive experience for Goreski, albeit with the usual challenges. He replied, “I was a theatre queen living in a hockey town, so Port Perry wasn’t the easiest place for me to grow up in and go to school. But it was also a place that embraced the theatre community. That’s where I got my bug for acting. My family’s been very supportive. I don’t think there was a question that I was gay! My whole family supports me and loves Gary. I was lucky.” So what’s left on his bucket list to accomplish? He was matter-offact: “I’d love to work with Adele.” But his true love will always be the beautiful, buxom goddess in the white dress. “Always Marilyn Monroe,” he enthused. “I was obsessed with her as a kid. My bedroom was covered with Marilyn Monroe posters. I actually had the chance in New York to visit a woman who had the original ‘Happy Birthday, Mr. President’ dress in a lit glass case with all the jewels. I had a full meltdown in front of it seeing it in person. She was everything.” Something tells us that one day one of Goreski’s designs will also have a young gay salivating and dreaming of possibilities.
NELSON BRANCO is the editor of 24 Hours Toronto newspaper. As a contributing editor, he’s penned pieces for magazines like Hello Canada, People, TV Guide and online sites like Huffington Post. He’s also worked as a TV producer for Breakfast TV, The Marilyn Denis Show, CTV News and Sun News Network. You can follow him at @nelliebranco.
F I LM
The Beauty Of Moonlight A young, gay, black man’s coming-of-age story is receiving rave reviews By Yasmin Seneviratne
I’m not a movie critic—I wish I had the depth of knowledge to review Moonlight in the context of what’s come before it, or even in relation to writer and director Barry Jenkins’ first feature film (2008’s Medicine for Melancholy), which I have not seen. Instead, anything I offer is going to read like a straight-up love letter from someone who was rendered emotionally vulnerable after watching a screening of Moonlight, and as someone who has been unable to resist reading and thinking about the film in the time since. I’m qualified only to point out some of the film’s magic. Jenkins’ Moonlight, loosely adapted from Tarell McCraney’s play In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue, is an exquisite coming-of-age drama that chronicles one man’s journey to become his true self. As the film unfolds in three acts, we watch a lonely young black man grow up before our eyes.
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In the first segment of the film, we meet a boy named Little (Alex Hibbert) who lives in a poor part of Miami, is harassed at school and is alienated from his mother, Paula (Naomie Harris). The second segment of the film shows our protagonist, now an alienated teenager going by his given name, Chiron (Ashton Sanders), grappling with his budding identity. The third segment of the film picks up some 10 years later when Chiron, now called Black (Trevante Rhodes) has become a mid-level drug dealer in Atlanta. Jenkins and his extraordinary cast gift us with an all-too-rare picture of African-American characters in complex, deeply intimate relationships ranging from pubescent males exploring homosexual attraction to a drug-addicted mother. We’re spared the clichés; morally conflicted characters embrace sexual ambiguity with ease, victims find their own redemption—and I was left thinking about how that redemption looked rather more like acceptance than apology. It may sound generous to declare every single performance a knockout, but it’s true. The three actors who portray Chiron all deliver powerful performances, but Mahershala Ali (who plays Juan, a Miami drug kingpin), Naomie Harris, André Holland (Chiron’s
friend Kevin) and R&B singer Janelle Monáe (Juan’s girlfriend, Teresa) in particular deliver mesmerizing performances. And it’s not just the performances: every scene is gorgeous too. When Jenkins was asked why he had worked with a white man (James Laxton) as cinematographer when all of the actors are black, Jenkins replied, “he [Laxton] gets it.” The two made deliberate choices to create a realistic look: not using powder and allowing the characters to sweat, as one would in Miami; shooting in the areas of Miami where Jenkins grew up and was familiar with the light. The end result is raw, yet anything but gritty. The movie’s score is worth calling out specifically. In the Q&A that followed a TIFF screening in September, iconic director Jonathan Demme raised his hand from the audience to praise the film (!) and to ask about the sound design. Jenkins explained with excitement that he worked closely with composer Nick Britell, who employed the Southern hip-hop ‘chop and screw’ technique for the instrumental sounds. The technique is basically about slowing down and distorting music, and aside from making the already moving pieces positively breathtaking, it’s a nod to the roots of this tale. Sound aside, allowance is made for incredible amounts of silence— and it’s in these silent moments that the viewers make their most intimate connection to the characters they are watching. Many of the film’s most powerful moments happen as the camera sits with the characters in silence and the audience is left to watch their thoughts pass across their faces. In the same Q&A, when asked how Jenkins so successfully cast three separate Chirons, he said that, aside from casting actors who felt the same when he looked in their eyes, he knew these three could be comfortable playing silence. Silence, sounds, stunning visuals and breakout performances in an anything-but-typical film…only the rewards outweigh the reasons to see Moonlight. Jenkins’ Moonlight is playing in select theatres across the country now.
YASMIN SENEVIRATNE is a Producer in Toronto and the Publisher of Le Sauce Magazine. Follow her on Twitter at @yasminATlesauce and Instagram at @yasminseneviratne.
Above (top to bottom): Alex R. Hibbert, Ashton Sanders and Trevante Rhodes play the three Chirons of Barry Jenkinsâ€™ haunting Moonlight (Photos: A24)
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GETTING TOGETHER JUST GOT EASIER Making plans to get together with new and old friends has never been easier, thanks to wearable tech. The stylish Guess Connect Smartwatch, powered by Martian, helps you stay connected and answer those “wanna hang out” calls so you can make plans with the gang while you’re on the go. You can even ask Siri for directions to the closest sushi restaurant by simply talking into your watch. It’s that simple.
Left to right: Jesse Weafer, Nicolas Apostolou, Erick Paige, Ben Fraser, Andrew Kurnew, Jeremy Mizo Photographer: Riley Stewart Stylist: Karen Burgher Wardrobe: Guess? Grooming: Jennifer Gemakas
Guess Connect Smart Watch $349 Styles featured above: C0001G1, C0001G2, C0002M3 31
SHO P P I N G
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Quill & Tine: Erickson Touchscreen Glove $150 These touchscreen-enabled gloves from Toronto-born brand Quill & Tine are crafted with fine Italian lamb leather and cashmere. They’re the perfect accessory for the smartphonatic in your life. Guess Connect Smartwatch $349 Wearables are huge right now and this stylish Guess Connect smartwatch (coming in new styles this season) is a perfect option for the special someone on your list who wants to stay on trend and stay connected. Olloclip 4-in-1 Lens $120 Looking to up your smartphone photography game? This impressive 4-in-1 Lens is compatible with the iPhone 6 and 6s and features fish-eye, wide-angle, 10x and 15x macro options. Nixon: The Blaster $150 This shock- and water-resistant wireless speaker was designed with portability and adaptability in mind. Meaning? Music lovers can bring the slick-silicon encased Bluetooth speaker with them absolutely anywhere. Polaroid Snap Instant $160 Who doesn’t love a little bit of retro every once in awhile? This 10-megapixel digital camera prints out your photos like a classic Polaroid but doesn’t require any ink.
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Fitbit Flex 2 $130 Fitbit’s first fully waterproof fitness tracker is also its slimmest. The comfy design automatically tracks swimming, along with other activities like biking, running and walking. SmallWorks BrickCase for iPad Mini $20 Looking for a geeked out accessory that’s affordable? This iPad mini snap-on hard case is compatible with LEGO, Kre-O, and MegaBloks bricks and elements. Beats Solo 3 Wireless $330 The Solo3 let you listen to music without any wires. These sexy headphones feature on-ear, cushioned ear cups and deliver up to 40 hours of battery life. 32
golden glow As fall disappears, keep the seasonâ€™s hottest trend going and incorporate those rich, orangey-brown shades into your winter wardrobe Photographer: Michael Kai Young Fashion Director: Danyl Geneciran Stylists: Kalvin Coria & Ryan Wohlgemut Grooming: Maria Natalia Rodriguez Models: Cameron Geddes @ Velocci and Maximus Kim @ Lang
Coat: CANDACE DANIELA Turtleneck: TOPMAN Pants: CORNELIANI Full look: Joao Paulo Guedes 33
NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2016 Fashion
Robe: DRIES VAN NOTEN Pants: INKOTEX 35
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Coat: CANDACE DANIELA Shirt: OFFICIEN Générale Pants: BENTLEY CHRISTOPHER TURNER acted as guest editor for this issue of IN Magazine. He is a Toronto-based writer, editor
36and IN MAGAZINE lifelong fashionisto with a passion for pop culture and sneakers. Follow him on social media at @Turnstylin.
Fashion On Cohen (inside): Coat: L’Momo Sweater: WOOYOUNGMI On Stefano (outside): Shirt: SAINT LAURENT Coat: L’Momo Pants: TOP MAN Pants: Valentino Photos by NEONelements
Fashion NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2016
On Stefano (left): Coat: Joao Paulo Guedes Pants: Valentino On Cohen (right): Shirt: SMITH Coat:PAUL Berluti Scarf: OWN Pants:STYLISTâ€™S Neil Barrett 38
Fashion Coat: CANDACE DANIELA Shirt: PAUL SMITH Pants: CORNELIANI Belt: BUFFALO 39
Fashion NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2016
On Stefano (left): Scarf: Barena Blazer: Brunello Cucinelli Pants: Valentino On Cohen (right): Sweater:Neil LOEWE Blazer: Barrett Turtleneck: TOPMAN Coat: Dalla Pants: Neil POLOBarrett RALPH LAUREN Pants: 40
Shirt: SAINT LAURENT Pants: POLO RALPH LAUREN 41
What Floats Your Boat A gay cruise may not be on your bucket list, but it should be. You’ll find an unstuffy, non-judgy, too-fun week of island invasion, smart cocktails and cool camaraderie By Doug Wallace
The slightest whiff of even a mention of a gay cruise vacation can cause many people to turn tail and run far, far away. I confess to originally harbouring the same eye-rolling tendencies—but after a week of zaniness with Atlantis Events in the Eastern Caribbean with 2,000 gay men and 27 lesbians, I realized I couldn’t have been more wrong. Let’s start by separating the fact from the fiction. Nothing but a 24-hour disco for hopped-up brats? No. Big barge full of posing Muscle Marys in their thongs? Not really. Floating cesspool of naughty behaviour? There is opportunity, certainly.
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The truth of the matter is that we found a full range of ages and interests, subcultures and body types, along with maybe a dozen gal pals and one very brave straight couple (and was the husband ever popular!). Everyone found something to tickle their own sense of fun, everyone was extremely polite (especially the Canadians), everyone had tiny trunks on the whole time regardless of their shape, and complete camaraderie ruled. Whaddya know: we really are family after all. One Atlantis team member hugged every single passenger upon embarkation, in a sign of the week to come. People-watching extravaganza For those who like to people-watch, this is the total ticket. You could spend all day gawking from behind your mirrored wraparounds, counting the costume changes or snapping pics of getups that must have required an extra suitcase or three. The wigs! The wings! The shoes! The battery-operated jock straps! I’m sure we brought books
whose spines were never cracked. Who had the attention span to read? We were too busy making new friends. The Celebrity boat staff was also fun to watch—some sported a perma-grin the entire week, others a bemused WTF face, especially during afternoons of giddy dress-up and bumless underwear. The security staff was especially salivated over, mostly due to the uniforms. The head of security actually became a regular topic of gossip: “I saw him this morning on the top deck…” “I heard he spent time in the Israeli army…” “Look at those shoulders…” Some gay staff members dragged it up. I didn’t recognize my regular bartender one evening when he showed up for his shift in full hair and makeup, tight skirt and heels. The accompanying Atlantis staff was also accommodating, fun and friendly. These people clearly enjoy their jobs, and it shows. Cruise ships cater to the widest possible range of interests as a matter of course, and this one was no exception. It tried to find something for everyone: art auctions and wine tastings, special events for single passengers and casual get-togethers for special interest groups (my favourite was Guns and Hoses, for cops and firefighters). Did anybody ever go to the casino? No clue. The entertainment roster was awash in Broadway stars, crooners and comedians, and a sexy husband-and-husband aerialist team had us all fantasizing. Out on the town But it was the ports of call that provided the real fun. When hundreds
Photos by Doug Wallace
travel NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2016
of homosexuals invaded the streets and beaches of Barbados, St. Lucia, Martinique and St. Barths, most islanders reached right out with a welcome that belies some of their governments’ outdated human rights laws. We ditched the ready-made excursions at each port, stirring up our own fun with the help of Cruisecritic.com, which is super good for making a list of things to do in ports of call around the world. Barbados is rife with beaches on the west side, including Brighton Beach, Brandons Beach, Brownes Beach and Pebbles Beach, all within a short cab ride from the cruise terminal. Day passes at places like the Hilton Barbados can set you up with a drink in your hand for an afternoon of lounging poolside or on the beach. St. Lucia’s capital of Castries has La Toc Beach quite near the ship
terminal, but your best bet is to hire a car for the day and drive an hour south to the old capital city of Soufrière, where most of the more unique sites are situated, including the drive-in volcano Sulphur Springs, Toraille Waterfall and Diamond Botanical Gardens. Anse Chastanet Beach sports a great place for lunch and a notable marine park for some really dramatic diving. We nicknamed Martinique “the island that France forgot.” St. Barthélemy is a real trip if you haven’t experienced this quirky island’s posh demeanour, full-on French vibe…and sticker-shock costs. We gave the Eden Rock and Nikki Beach a miss, and just wandered over to Gustavia’s Shell Beach, turning it completely gay for a day and languishing through a four-hour lunch. It was nice to see the influence of the Pink Dollar at work.
Meanwhile, back on board, the larger decks seemed to be in a perpetual state of scene changing, as staff prepped for one party after another: from the casual glitterati of the tea dances to the costume drama of the evening events. Even the biggest party poopers stepped outside their gay comfort zones and threw on bootie shorts with a spritz of body paint. Not naming any names. And the sexcapades? They’re there if you’re looking, but nothing is shoved down your throat. There were certain friendships you could see developing as the week progressed, let’s say. Our naughty Cleveland neighbours were full-on handsie. (So much winking! Like, is there something in your eye?) A sign on a cabin door farther down the hall advertised “dirty cop looking for hole,” but I never saw anybody go in or out. I felt so bad for the maid. The cruise director came on the intercom mid-morning one day to enquire about a certain passenger: “If you have seen or are still sleeping
beside someone named so-and-so, could you please have him call guest services as soon as possible.” Bet he got an earful. Yes, I kissed the 85-year-old full on the old-school lips but, to be fair, he took me by surprise. Yes, I’m still dreaming about that nice young man from Washington, but we’re friends on Facebook now, so who knows? No, we didn’t learn about the dick deck until we returned home, but that was likely a good thing. Were it not for the fact that we were celebrating a friend’s birthday, we might never have booked this crazy experience, particularly with the exchange rate what it is. And like Provincetown, a gay cruise is not something I need to do every year—but I’ll be signing up again. It’s the feeling of being a majority for once, rather than a minority, that plays the heartstrings. When everyone is your pal, you’re left with one big, week-long high five. Eye-roll all you like.
DOUG WALLACE is the editor and publisher of the new travel resource, www.TravelRight.Today.
LGBT M&M’s If we expect more of our allies, we should also be delivering more to those whose life experiences differ than our own By Paul Gallant
NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2016
Rock ’n’ roll legend has it that Van Halen’s 1980s touring contract required that M&Ms, among other munchies, be provided in the band’s dressing room. “WARNING: ABSOLUTELY NO BROWN ONES,” read the rider, followed by the threat of forfeiting the show. The rider was originally gossiped about as an example of superstar indulgence—did they want their grapes peeled too?—but frontman David Lee Roth later revealed that the no-brown-M&Ms caveat had a much more serious purpose. It was a quick and easy test. Van Halen’s complicated tour contract included wonky details about electrical capacity and the weight-bearing capacity of the stage that, if unheeded, could result in disaster. If Roth arrived at a gig and noticed an M&M glitch, he instantly knew a technical problem would likely follow. The M&Ms weren’t important as a food item; they were important as a symbol of something much bigger and only tangentially connected. Van Halen’s clever strategy is one way to make sense of a Mainstream Research poll conducted earlier this year that asked Canadians whether prospective immigrants should be screened for ‘Canadian values.’ Its weirdest finding was that 43 per cent of people who personally disagree with same-sex marriage said immigrants should be banned from coming to Canada if they don’t support same-sex marriage. It’s unlikely these homophobic holdouts are begging to be outnumbered. Whether with diabolical moxy or subconscious strategy, these folks seem to want to wield LGBT human-rights achievements as a coded filter, perhaps against immigrants from non-Western, poorer or Muslim countries. North of the 49th parallel, acceptance of LGBT people has come so far, so fast, that we have become Canada’s ‘brown M&Ms.’ Whether you seriously like the taste of us or not, we’ve become so stripped of controversy that we can be used as an indicator of broader identities, attitudes and
politics. Despite our affinity for rainbows, we are most definitely not, in Donald Trump Jr.’s warped scheme of things, a bowl of poisoned Skittles. “The LGBT issue is now an issue standing for something more,” says David Rayside, director emeritus of sexual diversity studies at the University of Toronto. “Some of that can be good in terms of challenging gender norms and norms about family structures, but the risk is that it can turn into a way of punishing people who don’t look as if they fit.” Evolutionary biologists, for the last couple of decades, have wrestled with the ‘purpose’ of homosexuality—what do gay and lesbian people contribute to humanity’s survival, if not the propagation of the species? (Considering modern reproductive technology and policies, make that “the easy and accidental propagation of the species.”) The ‘gay uncle’ theory, for example, suggests that childless people can increase the prevalence of their family’s genes by providing additional resources and care; natural selection works even better if a childless relative knows his or her way around a kitchen. But we may be even more useful than that. Eric M. Russell, a psychology graduate student at the University of Texas at Arlington, has done several years of research into gay-straight friendships (http://gaystraight.com).Russell theorizes that gay male friends can be a vital part of straight women’s mating strategies. Neither a potential sexual predator nor a competitor for straight male partners, the gay best friend can provide honest insight into the male psyche, resulting in a boost to a woman’s reproductive fitness. “They put a lot of trust in gay men because they see them as an unbiased source of mating-related information that they can’t trust coming
Above: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau became the first sitting prime minister to march in Toronto’s annual Pride parade on July 3, 2016 Photo by Shawn Goldberg
from straight men or straight women,” says Russell. “They see gay men as natural allies.”
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I’d go further than Russell to argue that modern straight women also use gay friendliness as a brown M&Ms test for finding a mate who’s not boorish, sexist, or unwilling to spend Saturday afternoons shopping for home décor items. It’s hard for a straight man to mask toxic masculinity at a Pride beer garden or during a marathon session of RuPaul’s Drag Race. But, unfortunately, it’s not impossible. One of the reasons the country was so in thrall to the Jian Ghomeshi sexual assault case was the mystery of how someone who was so gay friendly in public—as a radio host, Ghomeshi didn’t seem to mind if listeners believed he was gay—could turn out to be such a creep in private.
or she isn’t fit for office. See: Ontario Conservative Leader Patrick Brown’s talking out of both sides of his mouth about same-sex marriage, abortion rights and Ontario’s gay-friendly sex education curriculum. These days, we can’t just check the candy bowl and know we’re in good hands. All the inclusion and diversity talk in the world means nothing if our allies aren’t putting their money where their mouths are and taking political risks on our behalf. LGBT people were so oppressed for so long that any political gesture was to be celebrated. Now gestures without action should be considered insults—attempts at branding and dog whistling that provide no real benefit.
On the other side of the equation, one has to wonder if “gay friendly” remains legitimate shorthand for other forms of social tolerance and progress, if it also means feminist, trans friendly, anti-racist And that’s the problem with the M&M test. Symbols, once identified and aligned with broader freedoms and human rights. Should Black as such by cynics and Machiavellians, can be exploited. Politicians Lives Matter, for example, expect that police officers recruited who marched in Pride parades were once taking a tremendous polit- at Pride will be less trigger-happy towards black men? Or have ical risk. Now, as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and other leaders LGBT communities also learned the trick of saying the right things, have discovered, it’s easy political currency that doesn’t require while failing to have done the hard work of going through what’s whipped votes in Parliament or substantial government spending. really being asked? I remember when the late Jack Layton, as a city councillor before he became the NDP’s national leader, would show up at LGBT Although there’s been little research in Canada, Rayside says US charity events, getting bidding started and trading barbs with the studies suggest that LGBT people are somewhat less prejudiced colourful gender-bending characters in attendance. There were than their straight counterparts. “One can never assume that one times he was probably the only straight man in the room, and in minority is going to be accepting of another minority group, but the unlikely event it got him any mainstream media attention, it LGBT people are generally more progressive on a variety of certainly wasn’t positive attention. Layton was someone who read indicators,” he says. the whole ‘contract,’ who saw the LGBT community at its best But if we should be expecting more of our allies, we should also be and worst, and remained an ally. delivering more to those whose life experiences differ from ours. These days, any Canadian politician who looks uncomfortable That requires serious conversations, not the pre-fab indignation—or, standing next to a drag queen would be sending the message that he for that matter, shallow compliments—that have become so common.
PAUL GALLANT is a Toronto-based writer and editor who writes about travel, innovation, city building, social issues (particularly LGBT issues) and business for a variety of national and international publications. He’s done time as lead editor at the loop magazine in Vancouver as well as Xtra and fab in Toronto, and is currently development editor at Yongestreetmedia.ca.
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FLASHBACK NOVEMBER 1977 IN LGBT HISTORY Harvey Milk is elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors
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Having unsuccessfully run for public office three times, Harvey Milk became the first openly gay person to be elected to a significant public office when he was elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors on November 8, 1977. He insisted on being sworn in on the steps of City Hall surrounded by his supporters after marching from the Castro for the event. Shortly before Election Day, Milk was quoted as saying, “I think of the 14-year-old boy or girl in Des Moines who realizes his or her own homosexuality. The parents throw them around. Schoolmates taunt them. The state calls them criminals. They may end up being alcoholic closet cases—but one day, they’re going to open up a paper and see that an openly gay person was elected to the San Francisco Board. That’s going to give them hope.” Hope became the main theme of his brief time in office. Milk was shot to death in his City Hall office on November 27, 1978, by Dan White, a conservative anti-gay former supervisor who also murdered Mayor George Moscone.
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