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Live and Silent Auction Gala March 30, 2017 The Bram & Bluma Appel Salon at the Toronto Reference Library 789 Yonge Street

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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, Colin Druhan, Adriana Ermter, Santiago Ferrari, Ruth Hanley, Courtney Hardwick, Karen Kwan, Orlando Lopez, Michael Pihach, Al Ramsay, Jumol Royes, Victor Santiago, Adam Segal, Abi Slone, Renée Sylvestre-Williams, CaseyWilliams DIRECTOR OF MARKETING Woodrow Monteiro DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS Reggie Lanuza COMMUNICATIONS INTERN Andreas Patsiaouros



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74 issue 74



06 | CANADA’S NEW LGBTQ2 SPECIAL ADVISOR IS ON THE MOVE Edmonton Centre MP Randy Boissonnault has a plan—and, like the country, it’s broad, far-reaching and ambitious

08 | LOOKING GOOD Without masculine and feminine labels directing each spritz, gender-free fragrances are empowering you to follow your nose

10 | PRIDE AT WORK Whether you are a member of the community or not, you too can be an LGBT ally 11 | MONEY$TYLE Money confidence starts with money conversations 12 | WHEELS Sport-utility vehicles and crossovers have never been more popular 13 | RELATIONSHIPS There’s no doubt that long-distance relationships pose some unique challenges

14 | HEALTH & WELLNESS You can take action to change your mood for the better 15 | ON THE TOWN Scenes from the party circuit

FEATURES 16 | YES, MONEY TALKS…IN A GOOD WAY At a time when everything (including resistance) seems futile, how do you keep going? 18 | TEESE ARTIST Burlesque queen Dita Von Teese has a sixth sensuality 22 | WOULD YOU SAY IT TO YOUR BFF? Embrace self-compassion by learning to treat yourself as you would treat your best friend 23| THE REINVENTION OF TOM FORD The designer-turned-director is setting trends and breaking boundaries every chance he gets 28 | FIRST-EVER NATIVE SON AWARDS CELEBRATE GAY BLACK MEN Activist DeRay Mckesson, journalist Don

Lemon and playwright George C. Wolfe were honoured at inaugural awards 30 | THERE HAVE NEVER BEEN MORE LGBTQ CHARACTERS ON TV That’s the good news...but there is some bad news 42 | TRAVEL: EAT, LOVE, PRAY A single man’s journey in French Polynesia 46 | INSIGHT: ENDING LGBT2QS HOMELESSNESS Alex Abramovich has been tirelessly working for the past 10 years—both as a researcher and as a passionate advocate—to end homelessness among LGBTQ2S youth 50 | FLASHBACK The arrests that galvanized Toronto’s gay community

FASHION 32 | SHOPPING It’s 2017! Nothing helps you keep those New Year’s resolutions like some shiny new stuff 34 | FASHION Start off on the right foot with selections from a few of our favourite pieces from the Fall/Winter 2016-2017 collections 5


CANADA’S NEW LGBTQ2 SPECIAL ADVISOR IS ON THE MOVE Edmonton Centre MP Randy Boissonnault has a plan—and, like the country, it’s broad, far-reaching and ambitious By Renée Sylvestre-Williams


Above: Edmonton Centre MP Randy Boissonnault with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

When you speak with Randy Boissonnault, Canada’s new LGBTQ2 to the LGBTQ2 community. Boissonnault is also looking at a Special Advisor to the federal Liberal government, the first thing formal apology to the 9,000 people whose lives and careers were you notice is that he’s very enthusiastic. He speaks quickly, as if he’s destroyed as a result of government witch hunts. afraid he’ll run out of time to tell you about his plans. That’s good, because he has a lot he wants to accomplish in the next three years. “We’re going to talk about and acknowledge the wrongs and the discrimination of the past, and we’re going to apologize for it, and we’re Boissonnault represents Edmonton Centre as a Liberal member going to work together to see how we can move forward,” he says. of the House of Commons. He is one of six openly gay MPs who serve in the current Parliament, and has been in the Special Advisor That’s a pretty full plate, but there’s more. When assigned this role since November 2016. piece, I reached out to friends who might be affected by the government’s decisions, and asked them what they wanted me to “I continue to be honoured and humbled by the appointment,” he ask Boissonnault. It’s a long list. says when asked how he felt when named to the post by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. He says the appointment was a surprise Transgender rights and he was “speechless on the phone with the Prime Minister,” While Canada is moving in the right direction with trans but he’s been busy since then reaching out to organizations and rights, transgender people still have problems when it comes to identification when travelling. Bill C-16, which would amend the communities across the country to hear their concerns. Canadian Human Rights Act to add gender identity and gender Speaking of concerns, there are many. The Liberal government has expression to the list of prohibited grounds of discrimination, is now already committed to repealing the Criminal Code provision that with the Senate. “We’re waiting to see how and when the Senate criminalizes anal intercourse cases and is considered discriminatory is going to be able to come to a vote on that,” Boissonnault says. 6


Above: MP Boissonnault giving Pride socks to the PM

Increase in homo- and transphobia Boissonnault says part of his new role is to learn from other countries with good LGBTQ2 records. “[Canada is] sharing human rights around the world but we’re not leaders in this space.” He says Germany, Austria and Australia are doing good work, and we should listen to them. Countries with poor LGBTQ2 records Boissonnault says the Liberal government stands up for human rights and the Canadian values of pluralism. “That’s why we’re re-engaging with the world, so we can champion those values. Trade is one of the best ways to open a dialogue and share those values. It does change hearts and minds over time.” He hopes to use Canada’s soft power (everyone loves us!) to influence trading partners and change minds. This includes working closely with the Minister of Immigration, Citizenship and Refugees as well as the Global Affairs team. Gender-neutral identification It was announced in July 2015 that the federal government was exploring the use of gender-neutral identification. Boissonnault says

the file is open and ongoing, but adds that while the government may want to move ahead, it needs the relevant statistics from the provinces. “Alberta has made some great headway in this,” he says. Blood donation Boissonnault is oblique on the whole topic of the current blood donation deferral period (one year for gay men who are abstinent, reduced from five years). “We ran on five to zero, we’re at one, we’re not done, I’m not happy,” he says. But “some things in government are third-party,” he adds. “You can’t send out edicts, so we’re working with our colleagues in the Canadian Blood Services and Héma-Québec. We’re going to keep pushing and follow the science.” In 2017, Boissonnault will be sharing his road map with communities, individuals and organizations. He also plans to reach out to Canadians—those in the LGBTQ2 community and allies—who are already asking how they can help. He plans on using technology and engagement approaches to help people understand the issues in a way that’s going to stick with people and help them see why LGBTQ2 concerns matter. “I came into politics to help. I’m not going to have a basket of announcements to make. When we deliver on something, we announce it.”

RENÉE SYLVESTRE-WILLIAMS is a Toronto-based journalist. She has been published in Forbes, Canadian Living and The Globe and Mail.


WHICH WAY DO YOU SPRAY? Without masculine and feminine labels directing each spritz, gender-free fragrances are empowering you to follow your nose By Adriana Ermter

Recently, the fragrance gender lines have been blurred, with both sexes following their nose as opposed to adhering to what’s written on the bottle. And more often than not, it’s leading them towards unisex perfume. Men are now flirting with floral eaus, while women are stepping out in leather-based scents—and none of it is due to a labelling mishap.


“People, especially millennials, aren’t overly concerned with male and female gender constructs,” says Paula Pulvino, founder of Villa of the Mysteries Perfume in Brooklyn, New York. “So they have no qualms about wearing whatever smells good to them, despite the label.” The label’s domino effect While masculine and feminine labels still exist—on the runways and on the pages of magazines, hanging from clothing racks and sitting atop department store counters—this growing and third “label” is holding court alongside them. And the impact is widespread. Couture houses including Valentino, Salvatore Ferragamo and Gucci, renowned for their distinctly separate men’s and women’s wear, showcased ambiguous style on the Spring 2017 runways. Cosmetics bigwig CoverGirl recently appointed its first male beauty ambassador, Instagram star James Charles. And K-beauty 8


sales are popping in South Korea, courtesy of men’s desire to have the same flawless complexions as their female counterparts. According to the International Flavors and Fragrances organization, North America’s unisex fragrance market has also increased by 24 per cent in the last year. “This trend has been a long time coming,” affirms Pulvino. More than two centuries, to be exact. A fragrant past When colognes were first introduced in the 17th and 18th centuries, both men and women liberally splashed their label-free incarnations in an attempt to disguise the well-known fact that bathing was a rarity. “Because scents were created specifically to mask other smells, less thought was given to which sex might be wearing the product,” says Pulvino. In the 19th century, with the influence of better hygiene, money and gender rules, along with the trend to enhance handkerchiefs and handbags with perfume, men’s and women’s fragrance categories evolved, creating an identity shift that lasted for a century. Then, in 1994, at the height of the grunge era, fashion designer Calvin Klein launched a simple-looking bottle filled with a citrus-smelling eau called CK One. Advertised as a fragrance for both men and


women, the zesty, cool and clean scent was groundbreaking—an anomaly in its multi-functionality, especially after the sea of heady feminine florals and intense masculine woody perfumes that dominated the ’80s. CK One was different. It’s scent refreshing, neither masculine nor feminine. And its provocative and progressive advertising campaign pushed the boundaries, forcing the oh-so gender-oriented fashion and beauty industry to embrace diversity, personal choice and individuality. The new wave of unisex scents CK One’s impact, however, was singular. While other brands tried to emulate its unisex popularity, their fragrances never quite caught on. The Gap’s Grass and Heaven, and The Body Shop’s Oceanus, were intended for neutral wear but developed a female cult following; others, like Comme de Garçons, remained predominantly gender split. Now, with European perfumers like Serge Lutens, Maison Margiela Replica and Frederic Malle flooding the North American market with their sophisticated brands, unisex is experiencing a re-emergence that is here to stay.

No longer dependent on simply smelling clean to be considered unisex, this new wave of gender-free fragrances can fall into a multitude of categories ranging from floral and citrus to woody and aromatic. Each one is mix-mastered to appeal to both feminine and masculine senses simultaneously without leaning more heavily towards one gender-based direction or the other. “I don’t believe in labels for people,” says Stegemann, “so it’s refreshing to see that other fragrance brands are getting away from labelling things male or female, too.” Unisex scents now run the gamut. Bottega Veneta’s Parco Palladiano I ($330 for 100 mL, exclusively at Holt Renfrew) is loaded with aquatic, ozonic and floral notes. Another favourite is an earthy, aromatic and herbal blend, as found in Nest’s Verde ($78 for 50 mL and $160 for 100 mL, available at Sephora). Spicy, woody, citrus elixirs also prevail, spritzed from bottles like The 7 Virtues’ Patchouli of Rwanda ($70 for 50 mL, available at Hudson’s Bay). With seemingly unlimited spritzing choice literally at our fingertips, all that’s left to do is to choose one and spray it on.

“We are getting back to no barriers or restrictions,” explains Barb “These are notes that both men and women can connect with,” Stegemann, CEO and founder of The 7 Virtues perfumery in Halifax. affirms Stegemann. “It’s liberating! It’s nice to see we are getting “Back to what we love; what appeals to us.” away from the old way of thinking.”

ADRIANA ERMTER is a Toronto-based, lifestyle-magazine pro who has travelled the globe, writing about must-spritz fragrances, child poverty, beauty and grooming.



WE CAN ALL BE ALLIES Whether you are a member of the community or not, you too can be an LGBT ally By Colin Druhan


People who identify as members of Canada’s LGBT community are vastly outnumbered by people who don’t. For this reason, there is often a focus on how cis straight people can be allies to those who identify as bi, gay, trans or otherwise gender-diverse. However, considering the breadth of identities and experiences in our community, it’s important for all of us to learn to be allies to one another. Remember that whether you are a member of the community or not, you too can be an LGBT ally. Just remember a few key points: Your experience is not universal Every LGBT person experiences biphobia, homophobia or transphobia, along with other forms of discrimination, differently. Don’t pretend you can put yourself in someone’s shoes, because you can’t. You can, however, learn from others’ experiences by listening to their stories and allowing that to help shape how you endeavour to treat others with respect. When people talk about the unique challenges they face, good allies listen with an open mind. Learning is about listening more and talking less Making assumptions about what people need in order to feel supported is counterproductive. It’s much more helpful to ask people what they need from you, and to listen intently when people speak up. When someone communicates the language they use to describe their gender identity, sexual orientation or other details such as chosen name or pronouns, it’s important to mirror that language back to them so they know you listened and that you respect them. 10

Being an ally is not a spectator sport What makes someone a true ally is taking continuous action to combat biphobia, homophobia and transphobia in all of their forms. If you hear someone use inappropriate language or express ill-will towards members of the community, take a minute to confront them on this (so long as it is safe for you to do so). Also know when to stand back and keep quiet to help amplify someone else’s voice when they need to speak from their own experience. Being a member of the community is not a licence to discriminate Having experienced biphobia, homophobia or transphobia in some form should give you an idea of how tough discrimination can be to deal with. Think about that before you allow your identity to justify putting someone else down because of who they are. Are you going to allow your challenges to embitter you against your community, or are you going take a stand for others who need your help? Similarly, just because you’ve never experienced biphobia, homophobia or transphobia doesn’t mean others haven’t. Everyone makes mistakes Oscar Wilde said that “experience is simply the name we give our mistakes.” If someone expresses how something you said or did made them feel, it’s best to listen and focus on what you can do differently moving forward to help them feel supported. You may not have meant to make someone feel bad, but good allies take responsibility for their actions and take steps to recover from their mistakes. Sometimes the hardest words to say are “I’m sorry”—that’s what makes it meaningful when you actually say them (and mean it).

COLIN DRUHAN is the executive director of Pride at Work Canada, a not-for-profit organization that empowers -employees to foster workplace cultures that recognize LGBT employees. For more information, visit


Money confidence starts with money conversations By Al Ramsay and Orlando Lopez

We are now looking down the barrel of 2017, and wondering what it has in store for us. If 2016 taught us anything, it’s that the unthinkable can happen (remember Brexit and the US elections) and that we can’t take things for granted or become complacent because the wheels of progress can go in reverse. As part of preparing for 2017 and being financially fit, I challenge you to have a conversation about the trends and norms in your personal life—things that you may be taking for granted—and consider what could happen if some of those were to change. What if your income suddenly dropped or there was a change in the interest rate on your debts? These types of conversations align with TD’s new Financially Fit website, which reminds us that money confidence starts with money conversations. Have a talk…with yourself The first step is to be brutally honest with yourself. Start by differentiating between what you earn and what you actually get paid. For example, your job contract may say you earn $100,000, but after federal and provincial (Ontario) taxes, the number is probably closer to $75,000—and that’s before deductions for Canada Pension Plan (CPP), employment insurance (EI), and employer deductions such as pension, dental, medical and life insurance are taken off. Let’s assume these other deductions total $7,000, leaving you with $68,000 in net income. The lesson? You may want to stop spending as if you are making a six-figure income. It’s better to underestimate your income and overestimate what you spend. Read more about this topic at If you have a partner Your next step? Take the time to speak with your partner about finances. Make it a New Year’s tradition with your partner to plan how you are going to spend your money over the next 12 months. Once you have your final pay stubs for the year, you can see what your net income was and begin planning out the next year, assuming you will be working with the same amount.

Of course, this is a simplified example: the point is to provide a practical and easy way to budget without going granular into itemizing coffee and small items. All your coffee and other guilty pleasures fall into that $1,000 per month discretionary bucket. Easy-to-use tools to help you with this conversation can be found at If you have a child/children Conversations with children can head in many different directions, depending on their age. But the ultimate goal is to help them become comfortable with money and be financially literate so that when they become adults, they will have the tools they need to make their own decisions. A guide to fun games and tools for children of different ages can be found at Confirmation You will hopefully be feeling a little more empowered and prepared to take on 2017 after completing the exercises above. I always recommend discussing your plans with a certified financial planner, who can help you confirm that you are on the right track. They can also bring other considerations to your attention that you may not have thought about. A financial plan created with a neutral and objective third party helps create accountability, especially when you take the time to follow up with them and your progress on a yearly basis. Revisit It is a good idea for you to revisit your plans at various intervals throughout the year, to determine whether you are on track or need to make adjustments. And remember: sometimes life happens…and sometimes the unthinkable happens. Even the best-laid plan can go off the rails when life throws you a curveball, so be prepared to cushion those blows by having access to quick cash in a savings account or line of credit.

Let’s use the above $68,000 as an example. From that net income, you would then subtract all of the non-negotiables—such as mortgage, property tax, hydro, water (let’s say $30,000) plus car insurance, car payments and repairs ($14,000). You then include $5,000 for big-ticket items such as travel. Once savings for retirement ($4,000) and education funds if you have children ($3,000) are subtracted, the remaining amount of $12,000 is for discretionary spending ($68,000 - $30,000 - $14,000 - $5,000 - $4,000 - $3,000 = $12,000). You then break down that discretionary amount by month. This means if the discretionary is $12,000 for the year (or $1,000 per month), you will use your credit card for all discretionary costs (as discussed in previous articles, make your credit card work twice as hard to earn points or cash, i.e. TD Aeroplan credit card), and aim to keep all monthly credit card bills at or below $1,000.

AL RAMSAY is TD Bank Group’s regional manager, LGBTA Business Development, and leads a team of expert advisors dedicated to serving the LGBTA community. For more information or to book a meeting, he can be reached at or follow him on Twitter at @AlRamsay_TD. 11 ORLANDO LOPEZ, TD Wealth Financial Planner, is a member of Al’s team of expert advisors supporting the LGBT community.




LA AUTO SHOW EMBRACES FASHION-FORWARD CROSSOVERS Sport-utility vehicles and crossovers have never been more popular By Casey Williams

Electric cars took a back seat at the recent Los Angeles Auto Show (except for a stunning new offering from Jaguar). That allowed diverse new crossovers to shine, from LGBT-friendly Subaru’s new three-row crossover to an overhauled Jeep Compass, and dramatic Toyota:

2018 Jeep Compass Already hot, Jeep is about to spread flames. As evidence: the Fiat-based Compass with its muscular fenders, upturned rear window line, dual-pane sunroof, and LED tail lights that leave their signature. An off-road tuned Trailhawk edition is fortified with skid plates, red tow hooks, and a 4x4 system that shifts up to 100 per cent of torque to any one wheel. A 2.4-litre 180 horsepower four-cylinder engine, connected to a nine-speed automatic or six-speed manual transmission, gets it done. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto take tunes roadward.

2018 Toyota C-HR This fashion-forward compact crossover aims at the Nissan Juke like a polished urban-dwelling diamond. Bulging bodywork complements an interior dressed with a dash top audio display, satin-plated shift knob, heated front seats and futuristic curves. Tested on Germany’s famed Nürburgring, the C-HR conjures spirits from the 144-horsepower 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine and athletic suspension. Safety is enhanced by pedestrian detection, automatic braking and radar cruise control systems.


Jaguar I-PACE Concept Jaguar confirms its first electric car, due in 2018. The mission was to combine emissions-free driving with a crossover interior and sports car styling. Engineers installed a 90 kWh lithium-ion battery pack, driving both ends, to deliver 0-100 km/h in four seconds and a 354-kilometre driving range. Cab-forward styling with Jaguar haunches hosts a panoramic glass roof, buttery leather befitting British luxury, real timber to enhance cabin ambience, and twin touchscreens to control an array of infotainment options.

Subaru VIZIV-7 Crossover Concept Check the thinly disguised concept version of the three-row crossover that Subaru will introduce next year. Styling cues borrow from the Outback and Forester with a bold grille, C-shaped running lamps, bulging fenders and wrapped-in tail lights. It’s big, but refined and upscale. This becomes the alternative SUV for alternative owners who want a family-sized car from a company that cares about them. Powertrain choices and pricing will come closer to launch.


CASEY WILLIAMS is a contributing writer for He contributes to the New York-based LGBT magazine

IN MAGAZINE Metrosource and the Chicago Tribune. He and his husband live in Indianapolis, where Williams contributes videos and reviews to, the area’s PBS/NPR station.

There’s no doubt that it poses some unique challenges By Adam Segal

About two years ago I met a man while I was on a business trip in Mexico, and there was an immediate spark. I felt as excited about him as I did about the first guy I had ever fell in love with, and we’ve been in a long-distance relationship ever since. We make an effort to see each other about six times a year, but the rest of our relationship is through phone calls, texting and Skype. So much of our relationship feels right, and we both talk about wanting to ultimately live together so long as we can sort out the immigration process— which would be quite the undertaking. My biggest fear is that we will go through that whole process and be together, but then I will discover that our relationship only works with distance. Our times together are so brief and exciting because of the long stretches of time where we don’t get to see each other. I have no idea what it would be like to wake up with him every day to grocery shop, do laundry and all that boring stuff. I love him and get excited at the thought of him being here, but wonder if I’m living in a fantasy. How can I know for sure that this will work? —Paul Dear Paul: First, congrats on not only enduring but also enjoying a long-distance relationship for two years! There’s no doubt that LDRs pose some especially unique challenges: clumsy phone sex attempts, sad airport goodbyes, finding things to talk about over Skype when

you’d rather sit together and zone out to Netflix, etc. On top of that, it’s definitely scary to take an LDR and convert it into a live-in situation (never mind a stressful immigration process!). Sure, it would be great if you could find a way to spend a protracted amount of time together so you can see how it feels after the reunion thrill has simmered down—but it would still be hard to fully replicate what living together full-time feels like. Despite all the geographical challenges you’re facing as a couple, it might help to think of your relationship as similar to any other. Even if you were dating someone close by, there would still be a moment where you would go from dating to taking that leap of faith towards something more committed. There’s always an element of unpredictability with relationships, and no amount of thinking can circumvent that. A decision like this shouldn’t be made through endless obsessing or pie charts that weigh the pros and cons, but from a quieter place inside you—the same place that decides whether to accept a job offer or even which holiday to plan. There’s nothing I could say that would be better than your gut instinct—and beyond that instinct, you don’t have much control over how things unfold.  Even though you haven’t lived together and haven’t racked up much day-to-day domestic time, the fact that two years later you still love each other’s company says a lot about your connection. You might be feeling a little fear, but I wouldn’t assume that indicates true danger—fear and excitement can be remarkably similar.

ADAM SEGAL, writer and therapist, works in private practice in downtown Toronto. Ask him your relationship or mental-health questions





HOW TO BE HAPPY You can take action to change your mood for the better By Karen Kwan


It’s okay to not be okay, but sometimes we could all use a little refresher on how to be happier with our lives. And here’s the good news: you don’t have to win the lottery (in fact, research has shown that money doesn’t necessarily lead to contentment). Much of what we can all do to be happier can be done quite simply. Grow old Yes, it really is (in part) that simple. Even though many of us fret about aging, recent research has found that as we age, we become happier with each decade. This contradicts what we commonly believe: that with our bodies declining both mentally and physically, we surely feel sadness about losing our youth. But the study, published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, found that people feel better about themselves as time goes on. Rather than feeling gleeful in their youth, 20- and 30-somethings are more likely to feel anxiety, stress and depression, whereas older adults have better mental health and are better able to manage stressful life changes. Have sex once a week You might think that having sex more often is the secret to happiness, but for busy people, just the notion and pressure of trying to have sex as often as possible could actually lead one to become stressed about not getting enough. One study, which was published in Social Psychological and Personality Science, found that happiness does increase with more frequent sex, but only up to once a week. More often than that doesn’t lead to an increased factor of happiness. 14


Hang around happy people Happiness is actually contagious. Researchers have found that when we are happy, we excrete an odour in our sweat, and these chemical compounds are detectable by others. The findings, published in Psychological Science, show that with these chemical cues, happy people can trigger a boost in mood for those around them. Follow happy people on social media Although social media is often blamed for creating much FOMO and discontent with life, one study has found that good vibrations can be viral when it comes to happy status updates. Conducted by researchers at UC San Diego, the study shows that we don’t only choose to be friends with people like ourselves, but that the company we choose to keep can cause our emotions to change. So the friend who posts cheerful news about the world and their life is, without you realizing it, encouraging you to see and post about the good things in your own life. Get your greens (and your fruit while you’re at it) How much? According to Canada’s Food Guide, adults need anywhere from seven to 10 servings of fruits and vegetables every day. And a study published this year in the American Journal of Public Health found that people become more satisfied with their lives when they get eight servings daily. The researchers found it boosts our happiness levels much more quickly (within two years) than it impacts our physical health. That’s a compelling argument for finding some room in your budget—and your shopping cart—for the good kind of munchies.

KAREN KWAN is a freelance health, travel and lifestyle writer based in Toronto. Follow her on Twitter at @healthswellness and on Instagram at @healthandswellness.




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CLGA Flashback Electric Circus Gala at The Bram & Bluma Appel Salon 1: Tyrel Mckenzie, Jerome Pitters, 2: Markus, bonbon, Anthony Hill, 3: Geoffrey Chown, Dennis Findlay. Community One Presents An Evening at Integral 4: Simone Denny, Antoine Elhashem, Carla Collins, 5: Sofonda Cox, 6: Bryce James, 7: Ryan Lester, Greg Dixon. 8: Michael Wente, Doug Kerr. Gentlemen’s Night at The Carlu 9: Andrew Fraser Stewart, Kieran Burger-Dunning, Adam Burger-Dunning, Lee Helm, Biagio Galle, 10: Alex Wichmann, Dario Kosarac, 11: Steven Bereznai, Dallas Pomeranz, 12: Craig Dominic, LaLi Mohamed.



YES, MONEY TALKS…IN A GOOD WAY At a time when everything (including resistance) seems futile, how do you keep going? Sometimes throwing money at a problem helps By Abi Slone


I am a credit card activist. I wasn’t always, but I am today. When I was in university and living in Montreal, I was an actual activist. Not with a capital A, but I earned a badge or two protesting things like the arrival of heinous “family values” groups from the United States, wearing my Judaism like a badge (but in a good way) and discovering that fat can be fabulous. When I left the city of protests and public outcry, I fell in with a solid gang in my new city and began doing work that felt like it mattered. Work that helped make a difference in the community. Work that affected change, however small. Fast-forward almost 20 years and the only actions I seem to have time for with any regularity involve the movement of fingertips on my keyboard, and my credit card being taken out of, and put back into, my wallet. I am one of those, a credit card activist. And I am not alone. But like many others, I often wonder: is it enough? Yes. Pulling out your wallet to help is enough, especially when



it feels like that’s all we can do. Despite our society’s rapid slide into a modern-day McCarthyism renaissance, there are ways that we can continue to give whatever passion (and cash) we do have, to things that matter. Like, really matter. Like not the Kardashians. Or the Wests. Or the Kardashian-Wests. Arts & culture Pussy Riot. Guerrilla Girls. Madonna’s Woman of the Year acceptance speech at the Billboard Women in Music event in 2016. M.I.A. every time she opens her mouth. Protest work is best when things are at the tipping point—dangerous for the stability of our collective future, but thought-provoking enough that we’re often moved to action. Better than continuing to support the aforementioned women, who already have a “following,” is to support those artists who are putting in the time and effort to think on the times and reflect back our reality. In Toronto, Sketch [] works at providing a space for homeless and street-involved youth to not only help them build leadership and economic self-sufficiency skills, but also to create and make art and “cultivate social and environmental change.”

Religion Organized religion is definitely not my go-to when it comes to donations, but since 2013—before Aleppo was on everyone’s lips—the United Church of Canada [] has been working to bring refugee families to this country in a way that ensures they have the support they need to prosper in their new communities. The United Church is also the lover of the gays, so that helps. Restitution At a public salon that was hosted by Toronto City Councillor Kristyn-Wong Tam on the topic of “Truth and Reconciliation in the Urban Context,” someone on the panel said there is very little space for reconciliation with Canada’s Indigenous people’s if we don’t first take the step before it: restitution. In a broader context, that responsibility lies with government, but on a smaller scale, more personal participation can be facilitated by pulling out that trusty credit card. The Native Women’s Association of Canada [nwac. ca] promotes and fosters the social, cultural and economic health

of First Nations and Métis women within First Nation, Métis and Canadian societies. Made up of several women’s organizations across the country, it has been in operation since 1974, supporting Native women. Escape Escape. Literally. And it’s possible that Canada’s Rainbow Railroad [] could soon be helping some of our neighbours to the south who may find themselves even more of a target at some point in the not-too-distant future. Just as the name suggests (it borrows from the Underground Railroad), the organization has been helping out queers in serious need from around the world since 2006. Designed to “rescue” queers from their current circumstances and facilitate a move to a safer environment, the Railroad is literally a lifesaver. In 2013, the Railroad hired an executive director, started issuing tax receipts, and has made it even closer to their fundraising goals. Giving. Keep doing it. It makes everyone feel good.

ABI SLONE is a writer, editor and traveller. She is not a natural redhead.



TEESE ARTIST Burlesque queen Dita Von Teese has a sixth sensuality By Nelson Branco

Nothing is taboo anymore—except sensuality and subtext. Which is why burlesque queen Dita Von Teese is still set on seducing the masses with her captivatingly sultry yet soulful burlesque show. On February 20 at Toronto’s Phoenix Concert Theatre, Canadians will get a front row seat to the fashion and fetish star’s spellbinding talents. Born as a blond Heather Renée Sweet in Rochester, Michigan, the 44-year-old raven-haired bombshell’s imagination was first captured by the classic films of the ’40s, her father’s Playboy magazines, lingerie, and all things vintage. After moving to Orange County, California, at age 12 with her parents, Teese honed her skilful movement thanks to ballet class. At age 19, she found her niche working at a local strip club. Soon after, she caught the attention of Playboy in 2002 where she posed au naturel and was given the name Dita after German actress Dita Parlo. Her last name? That came from researching a phone book. Teese finalized her transformation after being introduced to the work of iconic Bettie Page, who inspired her to dye her hair black and cut her bangs. And voila—Dita Von Teese was born.


IN Magazine spoke with the politically and socially outspoken star, who was once married to Marilyn Manson, to chat about the art form of burlesque, president-elect Donald Trump, and whether millennials will save the world or destroy it. Are you still reeling from the shock election of Donald Trump as US president? [At the time,] my friends—who are from all over the world—were like, ‘It’s not possible this could go down the way it did.’ It was interesting. It’s on everyone’s mind internationally. It’s all everyone can talk about.



Are you worried the new administration might hurt the art community? Have you even thought that far ahead? I feel like it’s going to be a long time before we see the art world impacted or for it to shift with [this administration]. I’m hoping in four years we’ll have another chance to change things. I don’t know.… I find it interesting because burlesque was alive and well in the 1930s and 1940s, so it’s hard for me to see the industry impacted in 2017. We never know, of course, but I haven’t thought about it much because I know the resilient history of burlesque. Why do you think burlesque is still relevant and resonating with audiences after all these years? I was thinking to myself the other day: it’s very interesting that there is a huge resurgence of burlesque today. So many people are empowered after seeing a burlesque show. Most of the audience at a burlesque show consists of the LGBTQ community and women. So it’s a very different audience today compared to its so-called heyday—I think we’re living in the golden age of burlesque now. Today, there is a decidedly different message behind burlesque, especially international burlesque. If someone has never been to a show of mine, they might not understand what they’re getting into. But as soon as they walk in and see that it’s about 80 per cent women who are embracing glamour and they’re all different ethnicities, sizes and ages, and owning their glam and confidence with fun and sensuality, it’s more of an inspiration. A flight attendant came over to me when I was flying recently and she said: ‘I love my body because of what you do.’ I’m not trying to say burlesque is for everyone, but it’s a feminist movement because it’s different for everyone—and that’s what is wonderful. There are many complex and evolving flawed versions of feminism but, at the end of the day, we have to support each other’s right to decide what makes us empowered and where our individual boundaries are. I think it’s extremely relevant right now.

Photo: 19Ali Mahdavi


Photos: Kaylin Idora

Do you think the ubiquitous porn culture and/or sex apps have You’re 44 and seemingly aging in reverse! What elixir are you on—and how can we get some?! numbed the masses to sensuality, subtext, seduction, etc.? Acceptable hard-core porn—which is very different from the old days [Laughs] I don’t smoke. I don’t get sun. I wash my face every night. of VHS porn or sneaking a peek at our father’s Hustler we found I work out. I try to eat healthy. I maintain a constant discipline in my underneath his bed—impacts the imagination of sex, which we life. I’ve also come to realize—watching my mother age and how were lucky to play with in our generation as opposed to what the stunned I am at my grandmother, who looks amazing at 90—my millennials are used to now. I have fears of how people are learning family genes are clearly a benefit. But keeping active, taking care about sex today. But what is great is that there are other choices. People and using common sense are key. are using their imagination, they want to embrace their sexuality—and burlesque is a great option, especially for couples who want more of a As a vet, are you seeing more ageism in the business? You’ve bond. I don’t have any argument with hard-core porn. I just think there spoken out about age shaming a lot. is a place for all of it and I love that we get to choose what turns us on. Yeah. It’s interesting because, of course, ageism is always there and it’s been prevalent in the United States for the last Have you figured out yet why you have such a loyal, rabid gay 15 years. Journalists always ask me: ‘What are you going to do when you’re not beautiful anymore and you get old?’ I’m like, following? Obviously the aesthetics. I definitely have always had a close-knit ‘Oh God! You wouldn’t be asking me this if I were a man.’ But diverse group of friends. I’ve always appreciated art and beauty, even when I was younger, when I started burlesque at 19 in the and I love hanging out with people who feel the same. Especially early ’90s, I thought I was the best and most beautiful I ever in my show, I have a very diverse cast that celebrates gender was. I was so stupid and wrong. The real problem with ageism is fluidity, different body shapes, etc. I have just as many boys in my that the younger generation thinks they are at their best in their shows as I do girls. My shows are really a place of acceptance. I earlier years. They don’t realize that there is so much more to mean, it’s a rockin’ show! People really feel free. Whenever my cultivate as you evolve other than your beauty. It’s really more business team sees my show, they’ll say, ‘Wow, I just saw someone about being fun and sexy than about age. When I cast a new wearing a pony outfit!’ I say, ‘That’s right! We do what we want show, I ask: ‘Show me all the new people out there.’ But when here and it’s a place of acceptance. Let your freak flag fly!’ There’s I look at the finished cast list, I realize everyone is usually over something for everyone. 30 because they have meaning behind what they’re doing and



they’re just generally better on stage. Some people don’t agree with my approach, but I know they’re just not where I am yet or understand it. My cast isn’t about showcasing pretty little pin-up girls—it’s about who brings the house down every single time and who is inspiring people. Vice president-elect Mike Pence saw Hamilton on Broadway and the cast controversially took the opportunity to speak to him in the audience after the show. What would you do if Trump or Pence came to see your show? I doubt they’ll come see my show! [Laughs] But that’s cool. I met Donald Trump once. He wanted me to come onto Celebrity Apprentice but I decided it wasn’t for me. I don’t know. I felt two ways about it. People really want to express themselves right now—and get their message across to people in power: ‘Don’t forget about us and don’t hurt us.’ So I saw what they were doing, but I also saw how uncomfortable that could have been for Pence. But then again, he put himself in that position. Listen, when I put on a show, I open myself to criticism too. It was an interesting conversation but I also felt it was a distraction from the real issues. Social media: good or bad? It has really helped me. When I first started to use Twitter, it gave me a voice and let people discover my personality and allowed people to see what kind of person I was beyond the photos and

my show. People saw that I was also smart and funny. I used to have a real veil of mystery before. What I love about social media is that it’s given the power back to the performer. I can sell out my shows without taking out an ad in the newspaper. It’s really powerful to tell my fans where exactly I am going to be. And to be able to ask them, ‘What do you want me to do?’ I listen to my fans, so I’m a big fan of social media. Of course I learned early on and quickly—especially when I was married to Marilyn—that you don’t read the criticism…unless it’s someone you admire. Share a little bit and ignore the negativity. What can we expect from your show, The Art of the Teese? It’s the first time I’ve brought my whole show to Canada, so I’m excited for you guys to see the entire revue. I really hope one day I can do a Canada tour. I’ve done small solo performances in Canada, but this is going to be more of what I do across the world. How intimidating are you to date? I have a hard time when I’m single because I’m old-fashioned. When men meet me, they think I’ll make the first move, but I don’t. I usually have to be set up on blind dates. Men don’t realize that I’m really just a blond girl from Michigan with a veneer of a femme fatale. veneer of a femme fatale.

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. 21 You can follow him at @nelliebranco.


WOULD YOU SAY IT TO YOUR BFF? Embrace self-compassion by learning to treat yourself as you would treat your best friend by Jumol Royes

Your buddy is blaming himself for a bad breakup and is feeling depressed and rejected. Or maybe he’s struggling in his new job and is worried about making a good impression on the boss. Do you respond with criticism and judgment by telling him he’s not good enough and that he needs to be perfect at all costs? Of course not. What he needs most is compassion, and that is what you offer. So why is it so difficult to extend that same compassion to ourselves?


As a gay man of colour, I know many of us in the LGBT community struggle with feelings of unworthiness. While we can be quick to offer support and build up others, we can then turn around and be just as quick to beat ourselves up and tear ourselves down. We tend to get so focused on our faults, failings and shortcomings that we forget to show ourselves some much-needed TLC. In a society where everyone is vying to be above average and aiming to always be on point, it’s inevitable that from time to time, we’re going to miss the mark. We’re human, after all. It’s how we treat ourselves in these difficult moments that makes all the difference. This is where self-compassion comes in. It frees us from the need to be perfect or to fit some unattainable ideal (we can’t all be Nick Jonas), and allows us to accept—and perhaps even celebrate—our imperfections. Dr. Kristin Neff, a pioneer in the field and an associate professor in human development at the University of Texas at Austin, has researched and identified the three core components of selfcompassion. When faced with stressful situations, these strategies help remind us to treat ourselves as we would a good friend.



Be mindful Neff defines mindfulness as taking a balanced approach to negative emotions so that feelings are neither suppressed nor exaggerated. You acknowledge the fact that you’re going through a tough time without getting overly attached to the uncomfortable feelings that arise. You’re hurting. You feel stressed out. You just want to curl up under the covers and binge-watch The Real Housewives … and that’s ok. You’re not alone As the line in the poem by John Donne goes, “No man is an island.” According to Neff, common humanity means recognizing that suffering and personal inadequacy is part of the shared human experience. You’re not the only one in pain, though it may feel like that in the moment. Everyone faces challenges and adversity in life—no one is immune. It’s not just you. We’re all on this journey together. Being imperfect is what makes us human. Show yourself some kindness Self-kindness asks that we be warm and understanding towards ourselves when we suffer, fail or feel inadequate, rather than ignoring our pain or flagellating ourselves with self-criticism, explains Neff. Be gentle and kind with yourself, and silence the negative self-talk. You’re good enough just the way you are. Sure, you’re not perfect. Nobody is. But you are deeply and completely loved. Don’t be so hard on yourself. The key to practising self-compassion is simple: if you wouldn’t say it to your BFF, why on earth would you say it to yourself?

JUMOL ROYES is a Toronto-based PR and communications strategist with a keen interest in personal development and transformation. Follow him on Twitter at @Jumol.


THE REINVENTION OF TOM FORD The designer-turned-director is setting trends and breaking boundaries every chance he gets By Christopher Turner

Few designers in the world are more renowned than Tom Ford. For more than 30 years, he has had an unwavering ability to stay in the spotlight. From his high-profile gigs at Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent through to his eponymous label and over to Hollywood, he’s been tantalizing—and shocking—fans for decades. But, as Ford heads into both a new year and an awards season (his latest directorial effort, Nocturnal Animals, came out in November), he’s showing no signs of slowing down. Thomas Carlyle Ford’s inability to circumvent his drive and determination can be tracked back to his Presbyterian upbringing in Texas, where he took an early interest in fashion, beauty and design. “I was always very visual, always interested in design,” he recalls. “I don’t mean that I sat around at age five sketching clothes, but if my parents went out to dinner and left me alone, I would rearrange all the living room furniture before they came back.” Ford

says his parents encouraged him to do anything and everything creative: “If I wanted art lessons, they found paint and a teacher.” While studying architecture at the Paris campus of the Parsons School of Design, Ford decided to switch to fashion. That decision ultimately changed fashion history and put Ford on a somewhat unplanned journey to fashion stardom. Of course, it wasn’t instant notoriety. Vogue’s Sarah Mower remembers that Gucci’s publicist had to beg fashion editors to attend Ford’s debut show when he assumed the role of womenswear designer in 1990. He ascended quickly through Gucci’s ranks, rising to design director in just two years and to creative director in 1994 when the brand was near bankruptcy—previous chief designer Dawn Mello had walked out and rejoined Bergdorf Goodman as Gucci’s sales plummeted. Known for leather goods


COVER and logo scarves, the Italian fashion house (founded by Guccio Gucci in Florence in 1921) desperately needed a new image if it was going to survive, so Ford—then just 32 years old—was given total carte blanche, which was unheard of at the time. The move was controversial, as members of the Italian fashion press screamed that it was sacrilegious for an unknown American designer to take the reins at a heritage Italian brand. But the appointment ultimately saved Gucci and, after Ford’s triumphant Fall/Winter 1995 collection was sent down the runway, his inexperience was forgotten. That ’70s-tinged collection, now synonymous with Ford’s time with Gucci, featured jewel-tone barely-buttoned satin shirts that signalled a chic new direction for the brand. The fashion press loved the updated retro looks that replaced the minimalism of the early 1990s, but it wasn’t until the brand earned an endorsement from Madonna (who wore the collection’s key look to the 1995 MTV Video Music Awards) that Gucci cemented the message that it was back…and all about glamour and sex. This super-slick new direction dominated headlines as the brand rolled out scandalous ad campaigns, which were often shot by the iconic fashion photographer Mario Testino and styled by Carine Roitfeld, the former editor-in-chief of Vogue Paris. Ford was behind it all, and rapidly becoming fashion’s greatest provocateur. “I am a perfectionist,” Ford said in 1996. “This job is a total ego thing in a way. To be a designer and say, ‘This is the way they should dress; this is the way their homes should look; this is the way the world should be.’ But then, that’s the goal: world domination through style.”


While Ford was still designing for Gucci, the brand began to work towards acquiring the venerable Saint Laurent fashion house. Ford himself had looked to Yves Saint Laurent’s work—especially from the 1970s—as inspiration for the sexy tuxedo looks and bohemian details that dominated his Gucci runway shows. When Gucci (then owned by Pinault Printemps Redoute) finally took over the YSL brand in 1999, they fired the brand’s charismatic creative director, Alber Elbaz, and promptly named Ford the creative director for the French fashion house. The goal was to follow the Gucci formula and reinvent the brand, much to the displeasure of its founder. “The poor man does what he can,” commented Yves Saint Laurent on Ford’s overtly sexy designs. Ford didn’t get along with Saint Laurent or Saint Laurent’s former life partner/long-time business partner, Pierre Bergé. The press and the customers, on the other hand, loved Ford’s sensual updates to key YSL classics, including the iconic Le Smoking. And Ford is credited, more so than Elbaz, with rejuvenating the French brand with his signature sex appeal and innovative marketing skill during his eight seasons there.



But the partnership was not to last. Ford walked away from Gucci and YSL in 2004 after François Pinault of PPR (now Kering) took total control. It was an acrimonious and very public parting of the ways between the two. At the time, Ford told the press that he had no interest in returning to fashion and that he might turn his creativity to other activities. Later, in an interview with Women’s Wear Daily, Ford confirmed: “Money had absolutely nothing to do with it at all. It really was a question of control.” Ford, of course, would return to the fashion world. A year after his tumultuous battle with Pinault, he began his self-branded fashion empire, which initially offered menswear, eyewear and fragrances. It was to be expected: after all, the man is his own brand ambassador, muse and model. When he is not naked—his preferred state at home—he is “Tom Ford,” wearing that signature slim-fit dark suit that is tailored to perfection with an elegantly unbuttoned crisp white shirt. Not since Coco Chanel has a fashion designer so singularly embodied the spirit of a luxury lifestyle. Moving onto the big screen In 2009, Ford made a foray into Hollywood with his debut film A Single Man, which he co-wrote, produced and directed. Although the idea for the story came from Christopher Isherwood’s 1964 novel of the same name, Ford heavily tweaked the characters in the film, making them nearly autobiographical. The suicide that George (Colin Firth’s character) constructs in the film is a replica of a suicide in Ford’s family, and his stylish grandmother served as the inspiration for Charley, played by Julianne Moore. More importantly, like George, Ford admittedly went through his own share of difficult times, years before the film was made. “There is much of me in my version of George,” he says. “A kind of spiritual crisis at mid-life comes to many people. I achieved much in the material world at a very early age: financial security, fame, professional success, more material possessions than I knew what to do with. I had a full personal life, a wonderful life partner of 23 years, two great dogs and lots of friends—but somehow I lost my way a bit. As a fashion designer, one spends one’s life living in the future designing collections several years ahead of when they will actually be in stores. Our culture encourages a belief that all of our problems can be solved with material things. I had completely neglected the spiritual side of my life.” A Single Man not only landed Ford on Hollywood’s radar as an exciting voice in contemporary cinema, but it won wide critical acclaim, garnering Firth an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor and Ford an Independent Spirit Award nomination for Best First Screenplay in 2010. Ford has taken his time putting together his follow-up feature, but he hasn’t exactly been idle. Since A Single Man, he has opened 100

Photo: Andrea Raffin



Above: Jake Gyllenhaal, Amy Adams and Tom Ford at the premiere of Nocturnal Animals at the 2016 Venice Film Festival on September 2, 2016


new stores worldwide, and married his long-time love, journalist Richard Buckley, with whom he welcomed a son, Alexander, in 2012. Still, film fans rejoiced when Ford’s long-awaited second feature film, Nocturnal Animals, was released in December. It’s a clever, beautifully shot psychological thriller that ingeniously tells three stories at once. It became one of the most anticipated releases of 2016 after being a hot item at Cannes two years ago, with Focus Features eventually winning the bidding war to the tune of $20 million, one of the biggest movie deals in recent history. In adapting Austin Wright’s 1993 novel Tony and Susan, Ford has done a superb job. Nocturnal Animals stars Amy Adams as Susan, a deeply unhappy artist who receives a novel manuscript, likewise titled “Nocturnal Animals,” written by her ex-husband Tony, played


by Jake Gyllenhaal. While Oscar nominations won’t be announced until January 24, 2017, critics almost unanimously agree that the film’s stylish aesthetic and raw performances—which received standing ovations at the Venice Film Festival and the Toronto International Film Festival—will put the film in the Oscar race. [Editor’s note: At press time, Nocturnal Animals had been nominated for three Golden Globe Awards. Ford is nominated for Best Director and Best Screenplay, while Aaron Taylor-Johnson was nominated for Best Supporting Actor.] What’s next for Ford? Well, he’s already back designing future men’s, women’s and accessories collections for his namesake brand and, hopefully, he’s dreaming of his next cinematic endeavour. During the press junkets for Nocturnal Animals, Ford repeatedly mentioned that he already has two scripts he has written, but he isn’t sure if either will become a reality.



YOU MUST REMEMBER THIS 6 key moments from Tom Ford’s glittering career

1995: Revitalizes Gucci “Someone asked Madonna on camera what she was wearing [at the MTV Video Music Awards in 1995] and she said, ‘Gucci, Gucci, Gucci.’ That was really the beginning,” Tom Ford explained in his coffee table book published in 2008.

2000: YSL ad controversy Ford was praised for updating key YSL classics when he was named creative director, but he stirred controversy with his Opium fragrance ad, which featured Sophie Dahl in nothing but white paint, jewellery and heels.

2006: Launches his eponymous label Ford parted ways with the Gucci Group in April 2004; it played out like a nasty divorce. Ford got his revenge when he launched a wildly successful line of menswear, beauty, eyewear and accessories in 2006, simply named “Tom Ford.”

2009: A Single Man When Ford decided to try his hand at directing, the results were stunning. A Single Man starred Colin Firth and Julianne Moore, and was adapted from Christopher Isherwood’s novel about a gay man’s grief after his partner is killed in a car accident.

2013: “Tom Ford” raps on “I don’t pop molly/I rock Tom Ford,” raps Jay Z on the Magna Carta Holy Grail song that bears his name. “Tom Ford” served as the second single from the rapper’s 12th studio album.

2015: Shaking up the fashion world…again Ford said goodbye to the runway and presented his Spring 2016 collection on the small screen with a fashion film shot by Nick Knight. The soundtrack featured Nile Rodgers’ ’70s hit for Chic “I Want Your Love,” rerecorded by Lady Gaga.

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.


FIRST-EVER NATIVE SON AWARDS CELEBRATE GAY BLACK MEN Activist DeRay Mckesson, journalist Don Lemon and playwright George C. Wolfe were honoured at inaugural awards


Above: Native Son creator Emil Wilbekin

Above: Honoree, Black Lives Matter activist DeRay Mckesson

who need to be recognized and celebrated,” Wilbekin explained. The Native Son Awards, held in November in New York, honoured the contributions and achievements of black gay men including CNN “It’s more important to make sure that black men, no matter what anchor Don Lemon, Black Lives Matter activist DeRay Mckesson, their sexual identity, are seen and heard.” and Tony award-winning director and playwright George C. Wolfe. He noted the successes of the film Moonlight, the television show Named after James Baldwin’s seminal book Notes of a Native Son, this year’s awards were presented to just a few individuals, Empire, the Black Lives Matter movement, and Don Lemon’s but the initiative was also created to honour and recognize the reporting on police brutality. community as a whole. “Oftentimes in the LGBT community, African-Americans are Journalist and LGBTQ activist Emil Wilbekin told Essence magazine marginalized and overlooked—very similar to mainstream society,” that he created the event specifically to honour the achievements Wilbekin said. “I wanted to create a safe place where we can come of black gay men in media, entertainment and social activism, together and have fellowship, mentorship and discussions that are specific to us and our community.” while encouraging the increased visibility and impact of black gay men in society. Lemon, who came out publicly in 2011, encouraged fellow black gay men to be out and proud, telling the crowd, “To be a black gay man “This year was the perfect year to launch the Native Son Awards in 2016 and beyond, you should be out and not have to think about because there are more black gay men who are visible in the world 28



Above: Honoree, journalist Don Lemon

being out. No duality. We should all be out. We should all be proud.”

Above: Honoree, playwright George C. Wolfe

work that it would take to bring in the world that we know that we need and deserve.”An award and movement like Native Son is vital to put things in perspective. In 2016, black men have had to face continued challenges, but have still continued to thrive in art, media and activism, refusing to be ignored or reduced to stereotypes, while creating varied and diverse representations of black life.

Wolfe, who won a Tony in 1993 for directing the original Broadway production of Angels in America and the same award in 1996 for Bring in ’da Noise/Bring in ’da Funk, said black gay men need to persevere in the face of whatever is to come. “We’re entering an incredibly brutal period of history but we’re black and we’re gay. We’ve faced severe rejection from people who we love, from our “In my mind, Native Son has the ability to shift the cultural conversation families, so we’ve gone through some very hard stuff,” he told in the black community about black gay men,” Wilbekin said. “The the crowd. “Whatever you do, do it with force and a conviction National Urban League Conference [an American nonpartisan that exists inside of you because you are a black gay man and you cival rights organization that advocates against racial discrimination] have endured.” hosted a Native Son panel this summer, and it was the first time there had been an LGBT conversation at this historic civil rights Mckesson, a prominent leader within the Black Lives Matter convening. The more visibility we have, the more dialogue we can movement, said he’s hopeful about what the community can have. I hope that Native Son will be able to bring more of these accomplish. “Many of you tell our truth every day by just existing. conversations to life in the new year. This is just the beginning.” I’m hopeful by the people here tonight, being ready to do the 29


THERE HAVE NEVER BEEN MORE LGBTQ CHARACTERS ON TV That’s the good news…but there is some bad news By Courtney Hardwick

Television is changing. Thanks to networks like HBO, AMC, Showtime and more, the writing and production values on TV shows have started attracting huge Hollywood talent and critical acclaim. Shows like Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead have paved the way for a new Golden Age of Television—where a good TV series is just as buzz-worthy as a feature film.


Of course, it’s only natural that television would evolve with the rest of the world, constantly growing in maturity so that audiences can better relate to its stories. GLAAD’s annual Where We Are On TV report found that in the 2016-17 television season, there are more characters identifying as LGBTQ than ever before. And they’re not just your typical “token gay character,” like Ross’s lesbian ex-wife Carol in Friends, or supporting character Rickie on My So-Called Life. GLAAD reports that of the 895 series regular characters in scripted, primetime shows this season, 43 (or 4.8 per cent) of them were identified as gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender or queer. That may not sound like much, but at the very least, it’s an improvement. Add another 142 regular and recurring characters on cable network shows, and it’s becoming clear that the representation of LGBTQ experiences is entering the mainstream, where it belongs.

over it. It wasn’t until 2000 that the first passionate kiss between two gay male characters was shown on-screen, in the third-season finale of Dawson’s Creek. The 2000s brought us Will and Grace, Queer as Folk and The L Word, shows that focused almost exclusively on the experiences of LGBTQ characters. Established shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer and All My Children portrayed existing characters who started to question their sexuality and experiment with same-sex relationships—something many viewers can relate to. Today, LGBTQ characters are no longer “token” or “secondary.” They are fully developed characters who navigate love, relationships and life in general just like every straight character does. Shows like Modern Family, Orange is the New Black and House of Cards all portray different stages, lifestyles and perspectives from the LGBTQ community, making sure their characters are well-rounded with storylines all their own.

In addition, this past season saw more than double the number of transgender characters in primetime and cable shows, including Jeffrey Tambor’s character Maura Pfefferman on Amazon Studios’ Transparent and Laverne Cox’s Sophia Burset on Netflix’s Orange is the New Black. Cox also became the first-ever openly transgender person to be nominated for an Emmy.

Despite the progress, there’s still a long way to go. GLAAD’s report also notes that the “bury your gays” trope is still alive and well, especially for lesbian and female bisexual characters. A total of 25 characters were killed off during the 2016-2017 season, contributing to a pattern in which gay or transgender characters are killed just to further a straight character’s storyline. According to GLAAD, this pattern sends a dangerous message that LGBTQ characters are disposable. Not to mention, 70 per cent of the LGBTQ characters are white, so there’s still lots of room to grow in terms of representation for people of colour.

For a little history, one of the first TV shows to feature a gay couple was the short-lived Hot l Baltimore in 1975. A 1991 episode of L.A. Law aired the first-ever TV kiss between two women, but not without advertisers threatening to pull their ads

But progress is progress, and we can only hope LGBTQ characters will continue to be written and portrayed authentically, bringing more and more awareness and compassion to the struggles their real-life counterparts continue to face on a daily basis.

COURTNEY HARDWICK is a Toronto-based freelance writer. Her work has appeared online at AmongMen, Complex Canada, Elle Canada and TheBolde.



Above: Jeffrey Tambor (Maura Pfefferman) in Transparent

Above: Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Eric Stonestreet (Mitchell and Cameron) in Modern Family

Above: Laverne Cox (Sophia) in Orange is the New Black


NEW YEAR, NEW YOU It’s 2017! Nothing helps you keep those New Year’s resolutions like shiny new stuff

YOU WANT TO START RUNNING: Apple Watch Nike+ $489–$529 The much-hyped Nike-branded Apple watch features different watch faces and a lightweight, breathable watchband. Runners will love the brighter display and built-in GPS, which lets you track your pace, distance and route, even if you don’t actually have your iPhone with you. YOU WANT TO JUMP-START YOUR WORKOUTS: Tangram Factory Smart Jump Rope $80 Forget your boring elementary school jump rope: this super-smart LED-embedded jump rope has the ability to count and display your jumps. Talk about taking a simple workout to the next level! YOU WANT TO EAT HEALTHIER: Oster My Blend Personal Blender $40 Those big plans to eat healthier this year can quickly be forgotten as the pace of life picks up. Stay on track: This nifty gadget can blend a healthy shake or smoothie in a BPA-free sports bottle that doubles as an on-the-go cup. YOU WANT TO BE LESS STRESSED: Saje Pocket Pharmacy $60 Saje’s ‘Stress Release’ roll-on oil is made from a blend of plant-derived essential oils and pure ingredients that promise to help reduce anxiety and relieve tension. Pick up the stress-busting blend along with Peppermint Halo, Immune, Eater’s Digest and Pain Release in Saje’s Natural Wellness Pocket Pharmacy. YOU WANT TO TRAVEL: Rimowa Electronic Tag $1,190 A fabulous must-have for the avid traveller. Rimowa’s latest innovation replaces conventional paper tags with a digital data module that is integrated into the suitcase. This means that (with select airlines) owners can use their smartphones to check in their bags from the comfort of their home. (Model featured: 68 x 45 x 28.5 cm)


YOU WANT TO BE YOUR BEST SELF: Tools Of Titans by Tim Ferriss $40 A compilation of hundreds of interviews with world-class performers, celebrities, athletes, biochemists, commanders and more, featuring daily tools and tactics they use in their lives. As Ferriss writes, “It’s changed my life, and I hope the same for you.” YOU WANT TO BE MORE RELAXED: Bed Of Nails Acupressure Mat $90 Born out of the ancient yogic healing tradition, this acupressure mat is designed for modern-day use. Almost 9,000 non-toxic plastic spikes gently relieve tension from the body and may help induce deep relaxation, relieve pain, promote sleep, and improve overall energy and happiness. (Pillow also available; $50) YOU WANT TO TREAT YOURSELF: Traditional Hammam and Gommage Treatment $135 Those looking for an indulgent escape may want to look to the Miraj Hammam Spa inside Toronto’s Shangri-La Hotel. Their signature Hammam and Gommage is a steam and body exfoliation experience that combines authentic traditions of the Middle East with luxurious products from French skincare brand Caudalie.







Kicking the New Year off in style with selections from a few of our favourite pieces from the Fall/Winter 2016-2017 collections


Photographer: Victor Santiago Fashion Director: Danyl Geneciran Model: Santiago Ferrari @2morrow





Full look: GIVENCHY 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): Turtleneck: CANALI Coat: L’MOMO Pants: KENZO On Stefano (outside): Coat: L’MOMO Pants: VALENTINO

Photos by NEONelements



On Stefano (left): Coat: JOAO PAULO GUEDES Pants: VALENTINO On Cohen (right): Full look: Kenzo Coat: BERLUTI Full Look: GUCCI Pants: NEIL BARRETT 38




On Stefano (left): Scarf: BARENA Blazer: BRUNELLO CUCINELLI Pants: VALENTINO On Cohen (right): Blazer: NEIL BARRETT Coat: DALLA Full Look: GUCCI Pants: NEIL BARRETT 40


Full look: MARNI 41


EAT, LOVE, PRAY A single man’s journey in French Polynesia

By Steven Bereznai

I know of a roadside restaurant. It’s affordable. The food is good. But the place is simple. The floor is sand. I read the instant message on my phone, sent through a popular gay dating app, as I lounge on the back deck of my bungalow. I’m staying at the InterContinental Resort on the French Polynesian island of Moorea, just a short ferry ride away from the island of Tahiti. Crystal blue waters lap against the shores, and a pair of resort neighbours drift by on paddleboards, pointing out colourful fish to each other. I gaze at the guy’s profile, making good use of the hotel’s complimentary WiFi. He’s cute, about a mile away, and it would be nice to meet a local who knows the local hot spots. Last night I enjoyed the resort’s Polynesian buffet, with its take on the Tahitian specialty “poisson cru” (raw tuna marinated in lime juice, mixed with diced veggies and coconut milk), Polynesian pork, sliced banana in coconut milk, and seafoodstuffed pineapple. It was delicious, and accompanied by a very authentic local dance troupe that included a fire show by athletic men and women in scanty costumes of bright green foliage. JANUARY / FEBRUARY 2017

Tonight I’m up for something more rustic. I type back, I’m in. Our plan is set. But dinner is still hours away, leaving me plenty of time to enjoy the resort’s amenities. On-site is the Helen Spa, where I’m pampered with a soothing Polynesian massage of long



flowing movements that mimic the undulations of the ocean, and I soak in the cooling waters of a traditional river bath. Refreshed and lightly scented with aromatic oils, I change into a T-shirt and casual shorts to wait (a little nervously) in the open-air front lobby for my dinner date to arrive. His name is Pascal. He pulls up in his SUV, and is thankfully as cute as his pictures. He whisks me off into the night, and about five minutes later he parks on the side of the road, at the Coco D’isle restaurant, part of a cluster of roadside eateries—a cheaper alternative than dining at the hotel. (For those who don’t have access to a vehicle, it’s about a half-hour walk from the resort, and the concierge is more than happy to provide directions.) As promised, the floor is sand and the chairs are plastic. It’s utterly charming in its simplicity and lack of pretension. We order raw fish, and Pascal gives me the lay of the French Polynesian land, clearing up some of my geopolitical ignorance. I’d always thought of Tahiti as being its own country, but in fact it’s the largest of 118 islands in what’s known as French Polynesia, located eight hours by plane from LA (and about halfway to Australia). French Polynesia is a French Overseas Country, which means that although it has its own currency and government, French Polynesians carry French passports, can work in France without restriction (and vice versa), are protected by the French military, and receive assistance for infrastructure and social programs. “It’s a good deal for us,” Pascal says. “They give us money.”



As in France, gay marriage is legal here, and it’s a popular destination for gay honeymooners—but with a total population of less than 300,000, there’s not much of a gay scene. What there is can be found in Tahiti’s capital of Papetee, which Pascal calls home. Like myself, he’s on vacation in Moorea. “A lot of the bars have closed,” he says. “We rely on Grindr.” Amidst the socio-geographical lesson, I work in some flirtation. Between his English and my French, I tell him about my adventure the previous day, booting around an extinct volcano with ATV Moorea Tours. I felt very butch driving my own vehicle, and it was an exhilarating way of climbing narrow paths to spectacular ocean views (guided hikes are also popular). After dinner, I kiss him in the front of his car like we’re a pair of teenagers, and I’m reminded of how nice it is to have a gently romantic gay connect, especially in a tropical paradise.



Finding peace in Bora Bora In fact, I think about Pascal as I take flight the next day for neighbouring Bora Bora, and suddenly start worrying about spending the next five days alone. Given the small population— most of it in Tahiti and the rest spread out over an area the size of Europe (most of it water)—meeting Pascal was a fluke. Will I get lonely? Depressed? Get down on myself for not having a boyfriend to take part in this with me? Thankfully, like author Elizabeth Gilbert in Eat, Pray, Love, I find my inner peace as my journey unfolds. I want to squeal as I walk into my over-the-water bungalow at the Four Seasons Bora Bora. The living room, walk-through bathroom and bedroom all have sliding doors that open out onto the ocean. I will spend each night here soaking in the massive tub, my skin absorbing essential oils (provided) as I stare out to sea and enjoy the Pacific breeze.

There’s plenty more to do at the resort, limited only by your energy levels and sense of adventure: paddleboarding (or paddleboard yoga), snorkelling right off of my bungalow (equipment provided) and spa treatments (I opt for a massage with coconut oil and 24-karat gold). And the Four Seasons Bora Bora wins for best breakfast buffet: you can squeeze your own vegetable or fruit juice, they serve fresh local fruit compote, and they’ve gone one better than smoked salmon, adding smoked swordfish to the menu. Enjoy all that as you sit mesmerized by the inspiring view of Mount Otemanu. Staring at nature becomes the underlying theme of my Bora Bora experience, whether it’s hours spent gazing out at the lagoon while soaking in one of two hot tubs at the spa (open to all guests), sipping banana juice at the bar as the sun sets over the resort’s

tiny islet (with its one coconut tree), or enjoying the cool air and stillness of the meditation room. My fear of solitude evaporates to the point where I’m glad I’m here alone … otherwise I’d have to make conversation. With vistas like this, silence is my friend. That said, when I return to the island of Tahiti before my flight home, my heart does beat a little faster when Pascal joins me for my last dinner in French Polynesia. We end up at the InterContinental in Papetee, and both enjoy the buffet there. Though neither the food nor the ambience can compare to its sister in Moorea, I still leave with a belly full of poe (Tahitian fruit pudding). Pascal drives me to the airport, and before I head for security, he slips a string of shells around my neck. The real parting gift is, of course, a final kiss on the lips.

Steven Bereznai is the author of Gay and Single…Forever? and the YA dystopian novel I Want Superpowers. He can be found online at



ENDING LGBTQ2S HOMELESSNESS Alex Abramovich has been tirelessly working for the past 10 years— both as a researcher and as a passionate advocate—to end homelessness among LGBTQ2S youth By Paul Gallant

It’s all in a day’s work for Abramovich, an independent research scientist at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health. His personal interest in youth homelessness was triggered by events from his own past when he came out as trans. Now married and parent of a six-month-old baby, he’s become that rare adult who listens to young people and cares about what they want and need.

What’s been most surprising to Abramovich is how much convincing it took to get City Hall and other players to accept that special efforts must be made to keep LGBTQ2S youth safe on the streets and in the homeless shelter system. Data—like the statistic that an estimated one in five homeless youth are queer or trans—had been mostly ineffective. Then, a couple of years ago, City staff in charge of shelter operations agreed to watch a six-minute video Abramovich had co-produced with a street-involved young person, a project that made its point with the help of images and personal narrative. “I had never received a response like that before. They actually wanted to talk about fixing the problem. I thought, ‘Why didn’t I do this years ago?’” laughs the man who last month won the City of Toronto Access, Equity and Human Rights 2016 Pride Award and, last spring, the Inspire LGBTQ Person of the Year Award.

Family conflict is the leading cause of youth homelessness, and so it’s no surprise that coming out as (or being labelled) queer or trans still holds powder-keg potential in too many Canadian households. It was more than 20 years ago that Toronto’s first report into lesbian, gay and bisexual youth homelessness told us it was a problem (so long ago that trans youth weren’t even included in the study), but it’s only been in the last few years that Canadian decision makers have started to take the issue seriously.

Since that screening, the City of Toronto has rewritten its standards for city-funded homeless shelters—many of them run by not-for-profit organizations, some of them religious-based—to recognize the special needs of LGBTQ2S young people. For example, “shelter providers will ask all clients about their gender identity rather than assume,” says Abramovich. While staff training on the standards will take some time to produce measurable results, it’s possible that the standards could also provide a basis for shelters


Ten years into his research into lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer and two-spirited homelessness, Alex Abramovich still gets messages from frightened young people looking for help. They’re usually from small towns or rural areas, and perhaps have spent all their money to stay at a cheap motel in Toronto. Abramovich is easy to find online and, though he keeps professional boundaries, he’s often able to suggest some ways forward.





countrywide. “Part of the work has been to shift the culture of the shelter program,” says Abramovich. Infrastructure also matters, so it was a big deal when the YMCA Sprott House relaunched one year ago as a 25-bed transitional housing for homeless LGBTQ2S youth. Though the program’s first year in operation is still being evaluated, the fact that Sprott House has been at capacity since its opening demonstrates the need for this type of housing. In addition to providing a refuge, Sprott House also seems suited to giving young people a safe place to explore their identities and provide each other with peer support. Nationwide strategies needed Canada is still without dedicated emergency shelter beds for LGBTQ2S youth, and Sprott House’s independence-oriented program, which provides accommodation for up to one year, may not be right for those with more intensive needs. Égale Centre, expected to launch in the next few months after a $10-million fundraising campaign, will provide five dedicated emergency shelter beds, as well as 25 transitional beds in downtown Toronto. Do the math. The number of dedicated LGBTQ2S beds in Toronto went from zero to 25 in the past year, and will more than double this year. That’s astonishing to me, even though Abramovich worries about a lack of high-level provincial and national strategies. When I push him, he concedes that, even there, some headway is being made. He’s worked with the Government of Alberta on its 10-year Youth Plan to “prevent and reduce youth homelessness,” which, from the get-go, has been clear it will provide targeted responses for specific groups, including those with mental health/addiction problems, Aboriginal youth and LGBTQ youth. What took the City of Toronto decades to accept is acknowledged up front in the new Alberta: “These subpopulations are disproportionately represented among homeless and street-involved youth,” says Abramovich. Of course, any strategy that focuses solely on emergency and transitional beds is missing the other half of the equation: is there


a way to prevent LGBTQ2S youth from becoming homeless in the first place? Certainly, evolving social attitudes make a big difference; the more open families are to having a queer or trans person in their midst, the less likely it is that a young person will run away or be thrown out. Adults have many roles to play in solving the problem. “For many years, the way in which I was able to relate to the young people with whom I work was really based on my queer and trans identity and my own coming out experience,” Abramovich tells me. “But now, as a parent, I feel that I have an even greater capacity to relate and to investigate strategies that can support parents and families accepting their LGBTQ2S children.” For example, the Toronto not-for-profit Eva’s Initiatives has an innovative Family Connect program that provides family and individual counselling to at-risk and homeless youth and their families, though such an approach may not be so effective when retrograde attitudes are deeply entrenched. Similarly, PFLAG’s excellent programs require at least a little bit of willingness on the parents’ part. There might be opportunities to use the school system to address family conflict. Another approach would be to define family support more broadly—grandparents, aunts, cousins—to allow young people to remain with kin even if they are genuinely afraid of their parents. Calgary has adopted a host-home program that aims not necessarily at building an alternative family, but creating a safe space that’s community-oriented rather than institution-based; friendly rather than social-worky. Getting civic leaders to take the issue of homelessness among LGBTQ2S youth seriously is one thing; paying for all this work is another. Community support will be required to make life better for LGBTQ2S young people: support even from those who aren’t on the front lines, even from those who have never found themselves on the margins.

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






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FLASHBACK FEBRUARY 1981 IN LGBT HISTORY The arrests that galvanized Toronto’s gay community

February 5, 2017, marks the 36th anniversary of Toronto’s infamous Bathhouse Raids.


At 11:00 pm on February 5, 1981, 150 plain-clothed and uniformed Metro Toronto police officers staged raids on four bathhouses throughout the city, arresting 289 innocent men. The raids on The Club Baths, The Romans II Health and Recreation Spa, The Barracks and The Richmond Street Emporium were a violent culmination of a six-month undercover operation by police known as “Operation Soap,” an organized campaign to push gay bathhouses and bars out of business. The violent raids prompted a riot the following night in Toronto and mark the beginning of the liberation movement in Canada. On June 22, 2016, in an attempt to make amends for the Bathhouse Raids, Toronto police Chief Mark Saunders apologized for the past actions of the force.



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Distinct triple-lamp headlights available. Striking body angles. A commanding 235hp twin scroll turbo. The 2017 Lexus NX Turbo is the compact luxury SUV designed to introduce you even before you introduce yourself.





Profile for IN Magazine

IN Magazine: January/February 2017  

IN Magazine: January/February 2017 ISSUE: 74 IN Magazine's January/February 2017 issue, featuring a cover story on designer Tom Ford.

IN Magazine: January/February 2017  

IN Magazine: January/February 2017 ISSUE: 74 IN Magazine's January/February 2017 issue, featuring a cover story on designer Tom Ford.