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DAN LEVY IS MORE THAN AN ACCIDENTAL GAY SEX SYMBOL TORONTO PRIDE’S “UNCOMFORTABLE” REVOLUTION CATCHING UP WITH BRIAN JUSTIN CRUM 1
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INMAGAZINE.CA PUBLISHER Patricia Salib GUEST EDITOR Christopher Turner ART DIRECTOR Prairie Koo FASHION DIRECTOR Danyl Geneciran SENIOR WRITER Paul Gallant CONTRIBUTORS Steven Bereznai, Nelson Branco, Adam Bronkhorst, Brent Chua, Colin Druhan, Adriana Ermter, Shawn Goldberg, Ruth Hanley, Courtney Hardwick, Karen Kwan, Jessica Laforet, Orlando Lopez, Doug O’Neill, Natalie Onuška, Michael Pihach, George Pimentel, Al Ramsay, Jumol Royes, Adam Segal, Abi Slone, Doug Wallace, Casey Williams DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS Reggie Lanuza DIRECTOR OF MARKETING Woodrow Monteiro MARKETING AND PROMOTIONS MANAGER Bradley Blaylock COMMUNICATIONS INTERN Andreas Patsiaouros CONTROLLER Agnes Mao
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ON THE COVER Canadian actor, writer, producer Dan Levy Photo: Vanessa Heins 4
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Above: Thousands of people gathered at Queen’s Park in Toronto on Saturday January 21, 2017, to march in solidarity with the Women’s March on Washington — one day after president-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration (Photo: Natalie Onuška)
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06 | SHOWING LOVE IN catches up with openly gay singer Brian Justin Crum as he goes from standing ovations on America’s Got Talent to rising on the Billboard chart 08 | THERAPY NOW Therapeutic bath and body products help keep your aches, pains, stress and colds at bay
10 | BUILDING AN EFFECTIVE LGBT EMPLOYEE RESOURCE GROUP Proven best practices to ensure inclusion in the workplace 11 | TAX PLANNING CONSIDERATIONS FOR YOU AND YOUR PARTNER It’s that time of year again!
15 | SEARCHING FOR LOVE, FINDING REJECTION Lost and feeling a little inadequate in a sea of Masc 4 Masc 16 | PAYING TRIBUTE TO THOSE LOST TO AIDS A heartbreaking Instagram account reminds us that they were loved and are not forgotten 17 | ON THE TOWN Scenes from the party circuit
FEATURES 18 | 5 TRANSGENDER GAME-CHANGERS YOU SHOULD KNOW…BESIDES CAITLYN JENNER Making a difference is about more than being famous 20 | EYES WIDE OPEN Photographer and amplifier Samra Habib shines the light on queer Muslims around the world
12 |TEACHING KIDS HOW BEAUTIFULLY DIVERSE THE WORLD IS LGBT-themed children’s book shows the importance of diversity with its messages of love
22 | MADONNA TO WRITE AND DIRECT A GAY-THEMED FILM The Queen of Pop will adapt and direct a new film based on a novel that explores themes of gender and sexual identity
13 | HEALTHY TEETH, HEALTHY LIFE Did you know that how you care for your teeth can affect your general health?
23 | I SEE YOU. I HEAR YOU. I FEEL YOU. Why empathy is the key to bridging the gap between the labels that divide us
14 | 2017 DETROIT AUTO SHOW WRAP-UP Crossovers, sedans and “autonomous” driving rule the 2017 show
24 | HOT SCHITT Dan Levy is more than just an accidental gay sex symbol
40 | TORONTO PRIDE’S “UNCOMFORTABLE” REVOLUTION Amidst the outrage, the founders of Black Lives Matter–TO keep their eye on the prize: a more inclusive Pride 42 | ANGUILLA THRILL On this Eastern Caribbean delight, you’ll find blissful bays, white sand, cool rhythms and warm welcomes. Just head to St. Martin and turn left 46 | BRIGHTON ROCKS Forget jolly olde London; Brighton is the new gay capital of Britain 50 | FLASHBACK Ellen DeGeneres comes out as a lesbian on the cover of Time magazine, stating, “Yep, I’m Gay.”
FASHION 28 | SOCKS FOR A CAUSE Bustle Clothing’s limited-edition Safe Sox are helping raise funds for CANFAR 29 | MUST-HAVE ACCESSORIES Here are a few of our favourites right now 30 | SPRING FASHIONISTO Step into spring wearing one of these slick ensembles from the Spring/Summer 2017 collections
SHOWING LOVE IN catches up with openly gay singer Brian Justin Crum as he goes from standing ovations on America’s Got Talent to rising on the Billboard chart By Steven Bereznai
Singer Brian Justin Crum wowed the judges (and the world) on the latest season of America’s Got Talent—and anyone who’s seen his show-stopping renditions of Queen’s “Somebody to Love” and Radiohead’s “Creep” will know why the 28-year-old San Diego native has been described as a vocal powerhouse. Even hardto-please judge Simon Cowell, known for his acidic tongue, was blown away by Crum’s voice and stage presence.
IN recently caught up with Crum by phone in his home of LA. The rising star had just finished a fitness class, what he jokingly called “Pop Star Boot Camp.” Once he had caught his breath, we talked reality TV, overeating, and showing love.
On the show, you also discussed being overweight as a kid, which I can definitely relate to. So what was your relationship with food like back then? I was bullied so badly, and I was always very tender and sensitive. I was an easy target, being overweight and soft-hearted, so my mom and I agreed I should move to Oregon to live with my aunt and uncle. I had always had such a great experience there when I visited them every summer. I was in a youth ministry, it was a very Christian household, it provided me with structure in my life.… I begged my mom to let me go. And that’s when I started gaining weight. I was at a new school, I didn’t have any friends, I was eating 210 Hot Pockets and listening to Mariah Carey on repeat.… I was probably 12 at the time, I gained a lot of weight. I got to just over 200 lb. For a 12-year-old, that’s a lot of weight to carry around.
You’ve talked a bit about your childhood on America’s Got Talent. Tell us about your coming-out story. I came out at 14. I was a big fan of a Christian rock group, and I’d
So what prompted you to lose the weight? I was 17, and I found out that the Jewish Community Center, back in San Diego, was doing Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor
The openly gay singer ultimately placed fourth on the show, but has since debuted on the Billboard charts with his remix of Robyn’s “Show Me Love,” featuring Toy Armada and DJ Grind. The accompanying video, featuring submissions from real people and how they “show love,” was released in March. The beats are fierce, and the home videos are adorable. He is currently working on an album of his own original work. MARCH / APRIL 2017
won a picture of the lead singer. I was so in love with him; I hid the picture in my closet because I didn’t want my mom to see it. She found it and asked if I wanted to talk about it. She was very loving. There wasn’t any drama. I’m lucky to have a mom, and family, who were so accepting.
Photos: Luber Roklin Entertainment
Dreamcoat. I had to be Joseph, and I could not be fat and be Joseph. After the show, I played it for a DJ. He wanted to send it to a friend I spent six months working out. to remix it. That’s where it all started, and it fits with my message of showing love. With what we’re going through [politically], this Since then, you’ve gone on to perform on Broadway, and you’ve is the perfect song at the perfect time. We shot the video and asked toured all over. But being on America’s Got Talent is a big jump people from all over the world to show us how they show love, with from that, and finishing fourth is a huge accomplishment. Still, a friend or a pet or in a gay relationship or a straight relationship or I’m sure that’s not the outcome you were ultimately hoping for. with a mother or father. Tell us how that felt. It was definitely a surprise, because I had so much support and love. I Now, going with a dance, high-energy remix, that’s a big realized in that moment, there has never been a [openly] gay man or departure from some of your most memorable performances woman or LGBTQ member who has won one of these competitions. on America’s Got Talent. Why did you go the dance route rather Adam Lambert came in second; Billie Gilman [The Voice] came in than a ballad? second. There was a big push behind me, so there was a collective gasp It became predictable that that’s what I would be doing, and it was of surprise. But I think our country, and a lot of the world, is a little important to me to show a different side of myself. I wanted to surprise behind on LGBTQ issues, and it’s hard for a lot of middle America people, shock them. I wanted to to rally behind.… But when the show went the way it went, it fired reach a different audience, and me up to push extra hard to make this dream come true. show a different side of me.… There have been some people Fast-forwarding a few months.… You’ve released your debut who have said, ‘I just want to hear dance single, ‘Show Me Love,’ a remix of the classic Robyn your voice. I don’t want to hear anthem. Why that song? that noise.’ It’s not for everybody, When I moved to LA, I started a YouTube channel, singing covers of but there’s a lot of people who songs and doing videos of them. ‘Show Me Love’ was the first vocal want to be happy and to celebrate. I recorded. It was always so special to me, [but] I didn’t release it. I wanted to give them that. STEVEN BEREZNAI is a Toronto journalist, and the author of the new dystopian novel I Want Superpowers.
THERAPY NOW Therapeutic bath and body products help keep your aches, pains, stress and colds at bay By Adriana Ermter
We’re Canadians, we wait for it: springtime, the beginning of new life, with flowers and leaves budding on the trees. It’s the first sign that winter’s frosty weather is finally dissipating, leaving fresh air, warm breezes and sunshine in its wake. Our vitamin D levels start to rejuvenate; we’re spending more time outside in the sun; we’ve ditched the heavy layers of outerwear and replaced them with lighter jackets…and we no longer feel like hibernating bears, sleeping our way to better days. So why do we feel so crappy, with a body that aches, and joints that feel painful during spin class, and sneezing and stress that seems to have sadly become a part of our daily routine? Take heart: it doesn’t have to be like this. Not when you use bath and body products with therapeutic scents to stay active and healthy.
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“Essential-oil-based products proactively support your immune system,” affirms Jean-Pierre LeBlanc, co-founder of Saje Natural Wellness in Vancouver. “The more you use in a day, the more effective you are at fighting viruses and harmful bacteria.” Consider them your feel-good, alternative health options. Essential oils can have a positive effect mentally, physically and emotionally. While technically they aren’t oils (since they don’t contain fatty acids), essential oils are touted as a natural healing agent thanks to their highly concentrated plant components. Their scents go beyond smelling pretty or soothing or just plain nice; proponents argue that they actually help you relax, stabilize your 8
mood and sleep, release toxins and pain, and improve your overall well-being. “Many essential oils are adaptogenic, meaning they can adapt to manage the body’s hormonal response to stress,” explains LeBlanc. “For example, lavender will calm you if you’re stressed, but pick you up if you’re feeling low. They deliver a broad range of benefits depending on what you need.” An important element of this aromatherapy is its synergy, so it’s important to know which combination of oils to use to create a powerful effect on your body and mind. The second part of the equation is knowing which type of bath or body product containing the oils will assist in combatting the unwanted aches, pains and blah moments, and why. Bath and body products (such as bath salts, body balms, diffuser oil blends and body oils) are therapeutic because they are based on 100 per cent natural essential oils such as herbs, grasses, barks, flowers and roots that have been distilled to be highly concentrated. “We consider essential oils to be nature’s life force; they capture the powerful healing qualities of the plants from which they are derived,” says LeBlanc. “When applying or breathing in essential oils, the oils trigger the limbic system [the part of the brain that’s concerned with emotion and motivation] and shift hormonal balances and moods to deliver therapeutic benefits.”
To kick-start your immune system and boost your mental, physical and emotional state, breathing in detoxifying, invigorating, energy-boosting scents like eucalyptus, peppermint, clary sage and lavender will do the trick. “They help our immune system to be strong and to deal with the myriad chemicals that we encounter in our everyday lives,” explains LeBlanc. “Specific blends can address specific conditions so that you can feel more relaxed and get a better sleep, or strengthen your immune system so you have better resistance to colds or have more energy, or feel more calm when dealing with stressful times at home or at work.”
plant, frankincense and arnica, found in Soap Walla’s The Balm ($64, available at soapwallakitchen.com). If you need to relieve pain and muscle cramps, boost your energy levels or ease inflammation, try soaking in a hot bath replete with bath salts or breathing in a diffusing mist of essential oil: either is beneficial in treating sore joints and muscles, bronchial asthma, respiratory issues and low energy. The ideal ingredients include ginger, lavender & honey, found in Calgon’s Hawaiian Ginger and Lavender & Honey Therapy Soak Epsom Salts ($9 each, available at Shoppers Drug Mart); and peppermint, rosemary, lemon, eucalyptus and tea tree, found in Saje’s After the Rain, Energy Boost and Immune diffuser oils (from $15 each, available at Saje stores across Canada).
Applied directly to the skin, these products can ease tense muscles, soothe your mind and even heal minor injuries. That’s all courtesy of ingredients like lavender and clary sage, found in Aveda’s Stress-Fix Composition Oil or Concentrate Oil ($30 and $24 re- “Natural remedies help support wellness by activating the parts of the spectively, available at Aveda stores across Canada); and moringa body that can deliver natural healing and wellness,” says LeBlanc. ADRIANA ERMTER is a Toronto-based, lifestyle-magazine pro who has travelled the globe, writing about must-spritz fragrances, child poverty, beauty and grooming.
PRIDE AT WORK
BUILDING AN EFFECTIVE LGBT EMPLOYEE RESOURCE GROUP Proven best practices to ensure inclusion in the workplace By Colin Druhan
When some people hear that their employer supports an Employee Resource Group (ERG) for LGBT workers, they immediately think of a social committee that plans the annual Pride-season barbecue. While providing inclusive social spaces for LGBT employees and allies to connect can be some of the important work done by these groups, they also have the power to transform workplace culture and build better environments for people of all gender expressions, gender identities and sexual orientations. Pride at Work Canada works with more than 80 employers, most of which support LGBT ERGs. Over the years we’ve picked up the following best practices:
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Having a plan helps The most successful ERGs have a guiding document, such as terms of reference, which clearly defines the purpose of the group, its leadership structure and how its success is measured. This helps its members stay on track and helps all employees understand what the ERG does in case they want to get involved. Nobody should be confused about why your ERG exists or what its goals are. Employers need to be invested For any ERG to succeed, it needs an employer that will support it both financially and in principle. Having access to a budget as well as someone from the organization’s senior leadership is crucial. Money can help get projects off the ground, and clear guidance from the top keeps the ERG’s work in line with the company’s broader corporate values. Inclusion matters Our community is broadly diverse. That’s why it’s important to have voices from a variety of people at the planning table. When people bring various lived experiences based on their unique gender expression, gender identity, sexual orientation or any other part of their identity, it helps the ERG to address as many different 10
needs as possible. It also helps to work with as many other ERGs and outside community groups as possible, to make sure that any barriers keeping some employees from getting involved are addressed quickly. Change to suit your audience ERGs need to consistently take feedback from employees, and may need to change to meet the needs of all employees. If some of an ERG’s membership need to leave right after work because of family obligations, it’s a good idea to find meeting times that suit everyone’s schedule so as many voices can be heard as possible. People who work off-site or from home should be able to connect remotely by phone or through online meeting solutions. Face real problems, not assumed ones LGBT people can be found in every industry and business area. Having a cross-section of departmental representation can help ERGs focus their goals based on real challenges being faced every day by employees. When creating a plan for an event, activity or program, start with a goal that faces a real challenge. “Have an event” is not a particularly helpful goal. However, “encourage dialogue to reduce the use of biphobic, homophobic and transphobic language in the workplace” is a great one. An event may be one tactic used in the strategy to achieve that goal. Not everyone is going to join, and that’s okay Joining a workplace group might not be appealing to everyone, and not everyone has the time to get involved. Just because someone doesn’t want to be a member of an LGBT ERG doesn’t mean they don’t support LGBT inclusion. It’s important to make sure everyone in the workplace knows that the ERG is welcoming of all employees, but don’t hold it against people if they decide to sit out meetings or events.
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 prideatwork.ca.
It’s that time of year again! By Al Ramsay and Orlando Lopez
Several sources suggest Canadians are contributing less to their RRSPs than they used to contribute in the past, and that’s concerning because defined benefit pension plans are fewer, interest rates are at a historic low, and life expectancy is increasing. There are various reasons contributing to this trend: one may be a misunderstanding of how to use RRSPs as a tax planning tool in addition to being a nest egg for retirement. Below, we’ll explain our tax system to help you determine when to contribute, who should contribute, and where to find money for the contribution.
Contribution source The examples above help make it clear that RRSPs are not optimal for everyone all the time. If your analysis results in a decision to make a contribution, you can contribute from your current savings in a TFSA (tax-free savings account) or Non Registered (in kind contribution allows this without liquidating). If you have no savings, then a last resort could be an RRSP loan if the rate is reasonable and if you can envision paying it off within the year. In life we either save up or pay down for things, and it’s better to save towards our goals.
Household tax scenario A tool can be used efficiently for certain jobs and specific scenarios only (for example, a screwdriver is not effective on a nail). When it comes to RRSPs, the tax benefit is dependent on one’s marginal tax rate, but what does that actually mean? Our example involves a couple named Ellen and Kim, both in their mid-30s. Ellen earned $100,000 in 2016 and is a member of her company’s defined benefit pension, while Kim earned $50,000 and has no pension. Ellen has to pay $25,203 in taxes and Kim has to pay $8,405, which equates to a total household tax of $33,608. In order to reduce their current tax bill, if Ellen makes an RRSP contribution of $25,000, her tax bill becomes $15,852—a decrease of $9,351.
TFSA vs RRSP If you are saving up for your RRSP contribution, it’s not a bad idea to use a TFSA account to park this money until you decide the exact amount you want to contribute. One reason is because a TFSA is flexible and allows you to take the money out if needed without any tax issues.
An RRSP contribution saves them money now, but also in the long run. Thanks to her pension, Ellen is on track for a larger retirement income than Kim, but they can achieve a more balanced retirement income for the household if Ellen makes spousal RRSP contributions, allowing her to get a tax deduction now while she is still working. The money withdrawn in retirement from the spousal RRSP will be taxed in Kim’s name at a lower tax rate. The bottom line is this: from a tax planning perspective, you can use RRSPs to level out your taxable income through time, and level the taxable income between couples in retirement.
Financial conversations The above example is a very brief and simple example; you should consult an accountant and financial planner to review your situation to determine the optimal conditions for contribution to your RRSP. The norm is to do it in years of high income, and by the partner with the higher income. Finally, it’s imperative to have these conversations first with yourself and your partner to determine how you desire to live in retirement. For more advice on retirement planning, visit www.tdcanadatrust.com/products-services/investing/goals_index.jsp. Note: The Canada Revenue Agency treats married and common-law couples (including same-sex couples) the same in regards to spousal RRSPS; however, family law does not apply the same rules for division of assets of married couples and common-law partners, so consult your lawyer to have a better understanding.
Use this site as a guide to analyze your income tax: http://www.ey.com/ca/en/service/tax/tax-calculators-2016-personal-tax
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter at @AlRamsay_TD. ORLANDO LOPEZ, TD Wealth Financial Planner, is a member of Al’s team of expert advisors supporting the LGBT community. 11
TAX PLANNING CONSIDERATIONS FOR YOU AND YOUR PARTNER
TEACHING KIDS HOW BEAUTIFULLY DIVERSE THE WORLD IS LGBT-themed children’s book shows the importance of diversity with messages of love
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When Leslea Newman published her children’s book Heather Has Two Mommies in 1989, it was met with shock and outrage. It was the first children’s book to depict lesbian parenthood and, along with Michael Willhoite’s Daddy’s Roommate (which was released the following year), it laid some important groundwork for the thousands of LGBTQQIP2SAA children’s books that would be published as years went by. Michael Pallotta, a gay dad and granddad from Pickering, Ontario, is hoping to follow in Newman and Willhoite’s influential footsteps with the release of his children’s book Celebrating Families, the first in an upcoming series of picture books. As a parent and a member of Canada’s LGBT community, Pallotta says he understands the challenges of parenting in today’s environment, and hopes his books will help families and educators share messages of love, kindness and acceptance. “In 2015, the Ontario Government updated the sex-ed curriculum for young students provincially, and that really triggered things for me,” Pallotta told IN. “I decided to create this children’s book as my contribution towards the LGBT acceptance movement, and because everyone should be able to see their own family setup reflected in the books they read.” 12
Featuring images by UK-based artist Lewis James, Celebrating Families shares its simple message of acceptance as a transgender character joins a gay couple, a lesbian couple and a heterosexual couple to celebrate a big day. The characters come in different shapes and sizes and from different backgrounds, and encourage readers not only to be kind to one another, but to always be proud of who they are. “There are no children in this book, only pets with their parents,” says Pallotta. “That way children can relate in any way they choose and can identify as they wish.” And, after the story is done, the book doubles as a colouring book, so children can channel their inner artist and interact with the characters and ask questions while learning what different kinds of families look like. Michael Pallotta’s Celebrating Families is available online at amazon.ca. You can learn more at www.celebratingfamilies.ca.
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HEALTH & WELLNESS
HEALTHY TEETH, HEALTHY LIFE Did you know that how you care for your teeth can affect your general health? By Karen Kwan
A bright winning smile is always desirable, but there’s more to think about than just appearance when it comes to our pearly whites. How well you take care of your oral health can impact your overall health. And here’s the thing: we are all susceptible to less-than-healthy gums every day. “For the most part, every human being has some level of gingivitis, whether it’s slight to moderate up to severe, because we all have bacteria in our mouth, and the food we eat mixes with the saliva in our mouth [which can lead to plaque],” says Clayton De Corte, a registered dental hygienist based in Toronto. So the next time you feel too tired to brush and floss before bed, or are tempted to skip your dentist appointment? Read on to learn about the health concerns that can result from poor oral health: it might just give you the motivation you need to make your teeth a priority. Increased cardiovascular risk Gingivitis, or inflamed gums, has been linked to a higher risk of heart disease and stroke. That increased risk is believed to be tied to the inflammation in the rest of the body caused by gum disease. A study published in the British Dental Journal in 2011 found that inflamed gums not only worsen heart disease, but also make diabetes symptoms more severe and increase deaths from oral cancer. Lung infections The higher bacterial load you have in your mouth when you have severe gum disease is tied to a greater chance that you’ll inhale germs that will give you pneumonia. And if you already suffer from a lung condition such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder, your symptoms will worsen if you don’t tend to your teeth well and develop gum disease as a result.
Increased diabetes risk People with diabetes run a greater risk of tooth decay and periodontal disease because there is a higher level of bacteria in their saliva when the diabetes is not under control. But some research also shows that severe gum disease can actually contribute to diabetes complications because it can increase blood sugar. Headaches and earaches Grinding your teeth (something many of us are prone to do when stressed) can not only wear down your teeth and lead to tooth sensitivity, but it can lead to tightness in your jaw joint, and also headaches and earaches. Pregnancy health concerns Gum disease has been shown to be related to developing gestational diabetes, delivering pre-term and having a low-birthweight baby. The latter two can lead to complications for the baby, including developmental issues and behavioural problems. This makes it critical to be diligent about your oral health and dentist visits while pregnant. Ultimately, taking good care of your teeth means going back to the basics, says De Corte. Brush and floss your teeth twice a day, in the morning and before bedtime. If you like, mouth rinses can be used for social engagements, but he’s not a fan of them for regular use. “A rinse does no better than a toothbrush and floss, which can get to spots below the gum line,” he says. De Corte, who has close to 20 years of experience in dental care and owns the clinic NOWsmile in Toronto, is a fan of electric toothbrushes. “We are a lazy and rushed society,” he says, “and an electric toothbrush can do some of the work for us.”
KAREN KWAN is a freelance health, travel and lifestyle writer based in Toronto. Follow her on Twitter at @healthswellness and on Instagram at @healthandswellness.
2017 DETROIT AUTO SHOW WRAP-UP Crossovers, sedans and “autonomous” driving rule the 2017 show By Casey Williams
Is it cold? Yes! Are cars on the mind? Absolutely—and that means it’s time for the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. Here are some of the most significant debuts that we saw during the 29th annual exhibition. VW I.D. Buzz Concept An autonomous Microbus with a 435-kilometre electric driving range, it can be charged to 80 per cent in 30 minutes. When automated, the driver’s seat turns 180 degrees to face the rear cabin, and this ride comes loaded with a tablet display, Beats audio and Bluetooth loudspeakers that can be used outside. An augmented reality head-up displays driver information. 2018 Kia Stinger This slick rear-drive sedan will join Kia’s lineup later this year. Muscular styling harbours either a turbo four-cylinder engine or a 3.3-litre twin-turbo V6—both with eight-speed automatic transmission. Kia targets a top speed of 269 km/h. Nappa leather, 720-watt Harman/Kardon audio, colour head-up display and adjustable suspension impress. 2018 Toyota Camry America’s best-selling car adopts aggressive styling and driver-focused interior with head-up display. Three powertrains include a 2.5-litre four-cylinder engine, 3.5-litre V6, and hybrid that promises “Prius-like” driving efficiency. Pedestrian detection, radar cruise control, lane keep assist, backup camera and blind spot monitor systems enhance safety.
Nissan V-Motion 2.0 Concept Wide centre-opening doors welcome passengers to a cabin styled with zebra wood and quilted leather, while techies will like the wide dash screen, console touchpad, and screens for rear passengers. Bose UltraNearfield Speakers enhance the driver’s situational awareness. Nissan imagines its advanced ProPILOT system guiding the car on highways, in urban traffic and through intersections. 2018 GMC Terrain Sleek and efficient, the Terrain flaunts fluid forms, sculpted grille and floating D-pillar. Denali editions add LED headlights and 19-inch wheels. Aluminum trim, heated steering wheels, Bose audio, and WiFi grace the interior. A three-engine option includes 1.5-litre and 2.0-litre turbocharged gas engines, plus an all-new 1.6-litre turbo-diesel.
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Audi Q8 Concept A large crossover with only four seats, the Q8 foretells a production model in 2018. Ludicrous luxury is highlighted by leather-upholstered everything and climate controls in the armrests. Behind the bold grille is a 3.0-litre turbo-V6, hybrid system and eight-speed transmission. Audi claims 600 miles (about 965 kilometres) of total driving range.
What is head-up display (HUD)? With head-up display, the instrument readings are typically projected onto the vehicle’s visor or windshield so you can see them at a glance without lowering your eyes—and without taking your eyes off the road.
CASEY WILLIAMS is a contributing writer for Gaywheels.com. 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 wfyi.org, the area’s PBS/NPR station.
MOUSEWORKS.MEDIA PHOTOGRAPHY & GRAPHIC DESIGN
Lost and feeling a little inadequate in a sea of Masc 4 Masc By Adam Segal
Edwin, House of Dumont Hair Studio Carlton Street, Downtown Toronto www.houseofdumont.com
I’m 25 years old and don’t have much relationship experience at all. I’ve had some casual sex and false-start relationships but nothing has really panned out. I know that a lot of people my age haven’t found a serious relationship yet, but I’m especially concerned because I don’t feel like I fit the gay ideal. To put it bluntly, I am a super queeny femme person.… I’m the opposite of whatever “straight acting” is, and it seems like I’m lost in a sea of lumbersexuals with beards who only want to pair up with someone like them. I got teased a lot in school for my look and the way I talk, and now I feel rejected as an adult by other gay men who only want some kind of macho guy. What gives? —Benjamin Dear Benjamin: A quick look at any of the dating sites and apps will confirm what you’ve outlined in your question: an endless sea of profiles where guys express their preference for masculine guys or, more aggressively, provide a laundry list of characteristics that they disapprove of, or express their need for a “real man.” It can be downright harrowing and offensive—and very discouraging to anyone who, God forbid, displays any traditionally feminine characteristics.
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There are a few points to keep in mind that will hopefully conquer your woes and keep you afloat as you keep searching for a love connection. Firstly, there is a lot of posturing on display online—guys who feel like they need to emulate some kind of über-dude gay persona precisely because they are afraid of the same rejection that you are. Think about it: the Internet is like taking all the insecure closet queers from high school and putting them in a room together where they can infinitely seek out validation and avoid re-injury of their adolescent selves. Also, who people say they are online, and even what they say they are searching for, is partly a fabrication meant to seem palatable to other femme-fearing homos. In reality, there are all kinds of guys in all kinds of relationships, and you have to turn off your laptop and step out into the world to see that with your own eyes. You are one of the especially brave ones because you haven’t felt a need to mask your true femme self to appease the masses or live up to a homophobic standard that demands you compensate for your queerness by being as manly as possible. Wear that bravery proudly and you’ll attract someone who likes strength—whatever package that comes in.
ADAM SEGAL, writer and therapist, works in private practice in downtown Toronto. Ask him your relationship or mental-health questions @email@example.com.
SEARCHING FOR LOVE, FINDING REJECTION
THE AIDS MEMORIAL
PAYING TRIBUTE TO THOSE LOST TO AIDS A heartbreaking Instagram account reminds us that they were loved and are not forgotten
Instagram: the “it” place for sharing shirtless selfies, OOTD snaps, food pics and those killer vacation sunsets. While most people use it for fun, there are plenty of accounts floating around out there that use the photo-sharing platform for good. One of those accounts is The AIDS Memorial (@the_aids_memorial).
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The poignant Instagram feed has been gaining some serious traction over the last few months by posting images and heartbreaking eulogies to commemorate the actors, artists, celebrities and everyday men and women whose lives were lost during the AIDS crisis in the late 1980s and ’90s. The feed was launched last March by a 42-year-old Scottish man named Stuart. He doesn’t want to reveal his full name, saying, “I’d rather just stay anonymous, to be honest, because I would like to keep the focus on the aim of the Instagram page and the people it features.” From old childhood photographs to party pics of men and women out partying during happier times, each post on The AIDS Memorial account features an image of a person lost, along with a little bit about their life. “The history of the AIDS epidemic is so interesting to me,” Stuart
explains. “History fascinates me: gay history and the emergence of AIDS in the 1980S and those who died and seemed in my opinion to have been forgotten. No one seemed in my opinion to speak about all those who had passed. Older people didn’t want to be reminded as it was enough to live through it, and the younger generation didn’t want to know about it. Period! Or so I thought. The Instagram page has proved me wrong, which is marvellous. I thought Instagram was a perfect way to document the lives of those who had died. I just want more people to hear the stories and remember.” Stuart started posting the stories and pictures of famous faces last spring when he started The AIDS Memorial. The posts gained traction and soon everyone—lovers, friends, relatives—started approaching Stuart with stories of their loved ones. The feed now includes pictures and stories of the young and old, the famous and non-famous. Some are noted for being caring family members, while others are remembered for their activism during a time when the illness was stigmatized and ignored by politicians. “The positive feedback that I receive almost every day is so touching, uplifting and gratifying,” Stuart says. You can follow on Instagram at @the_aids_memorial.
ON THE TOWN
SCENES FROM THE PARTY CIRCUIT By Michael Pihach
College Night at Crews and Tangos 1: Jr Caballero, Leo Prado, 2: Kemar Sandy, Andre Brown, Jeard Strachan, 3: Katrina Potkins. IDS17 opening reception at Metro Toronto Convention Centre - Photos George Pimentel 4: Justin Ryan, Colin McAllister, 5: Jake Gold, 6: Paul Mason, 7: Nolan Bryan, 8: Nika Zupanc, Nicky Haslam. San Junipero Queer Dance Party at The Gladstone Hotel 9: Faye Tality, Dave Acacia, 10: Johnny Fajardo, James Fajardo, 11: Justine Thompson-Fisher, Jess Beaulieu, 12: Brett Ashley.
TRANSGENDER DAY OF VISIBILITY
5 TRANSGENDER GAME-CHANGERS YOU SHOULD KNOW…BESIDES CAITLYN JENNER Making a difference is about more than being famous By Courtney Hardwick
The concept of coming out as transgender isn’t new. There have been people who for years have felt that they were assigned the wrong gender at birth, but lacked the language to be able to describe it—and the freedom to be able to embrace it. Although there’s still a long way to go, a lot has changed in the last decade for transgender visibility, rights and representation thanks to trailblazers like Chaz Bono, Laverne Cox and, of course, Caitlyn Jenner. Now there are different challenges, including the ongoing debate about which washroom a transgender person should be able to use, getting Hollywood to stop using cis actors for trans roles, the dangers of gender reassignment surgery, and even the questions surrounding how to date as a transgender person. March 31 is Transgender Day of Visibility, an annual event that aims to bring attention to the accomplishments of trans people around the globe. In celebration of TDOV, here are five transgender game-changers who aren’t shying away from those challenges. They’re meeting them head-on, and showing the rest of the world how to live your truth and fight for the rights you deserve. Aydian Dowling Aydian Dowling hit the spotlight in 2015 when he entered Men’s Health’s annual Ultimate Guy competition. Although he didn’t win, he did make it to the top five, as well as completely destroy the competition in the public’s vote portion of the competition. He made it to the cover of a special edition and was also featured inside the magazine. Soon afterwards, he covered Gay Times and IN magazines as both publications’ first-ever trans man cover star. Since he came out as transgender in 2009, Dowling has been documenting his transition from female to male on his YouTube channel, A Lion’s Fears. His goal was to build a community to help other people struggling with their identity and to share his own thoughts and feelings on the process. He also has a clothing line called Point 5cc, which includes a chest binder donation program and a transgender surgery fund. Aydian’s 44,000 YouTube channel subscribers and 130,000 Instagram followers prove he is the kind of activist and leader the FTM transgender community was looking for, and he continues to rise to that challenge every day. Isis King Isis King, a contestant on the 11th cycle of America’s Next Top Model, was the first-ever transgender female to appear on the show. She came in 10th, but returned for the All-Star season where she lasted through the first three weeks. In between her two stints on the show, King underwent gender reassignment surgery, appearing on The Tyra Banks Show at the end of her transition. Thanks to her TV appearances, she later started modelling for American Apparel, becoming their first-ever transgender model. She’s also been a guest star on multiple episodes of The Bold and the Beautiful.
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According to ANTM executive producer Ken Mok, King was chosen to support one of the show’s main missions: redefining beauty. The reactions of the other contestants to living and competing against a transgender model ranged from accepting to intolerant, with some referring to King as “he/she” or a “drag queen.” But those reactions were reflective of what a transgender person might experience in his or her own community after coming out and going through a transition. Most recently, King appeared on the GLAAD Media Awards-nominated show Strut, which follows the professional lives of a group of transgender models, and she continues to work in the modelling industry, inspiring transgender young people to follow their dreams.
Jazz Jennings Only 16 years old, Jazz Jennings is already one of the best-known names in the transgender world. In 2004, at only four years old, she was diagnosed with gender identity disorder, making her one of the youngest publicly documented people to ever be identified as transgender. According to her family, she made it clear that she considered herself female as soon as she was able to speak. When Jennings was seven, she and her parents founded TransKids Purple Rainbow Foundation to help transgender youth. Since then, Jennings has been interviewed by Barbara Walters as well as Rosie O’Donnell, and had a documentary about her life and family made by the Oprah Winfrey Network. She has also written a children’s book, been named one of Time Magazine’s “Most Influential Teens,” and been the youngest person ever featured on Out’s “Out 100” list, among many other honours. Her YouTube channel, I Am Jazz, has more than 300,000 subscribers, and her TLC show of the same name follows her struggles living as a transgender teenager. Janet Mock Janet Mock had been working as an editor for People Magazine for five years when she publicly came out as transgender in a 2011 Marie Claire article. She wasn’t happy with the title of the article, “I Was Born a Boy,” because it didn’t represented her true experience. Mock said, “I was born in what doctors proclaim is a boy’s body. I had no choice in the assignment of my sex at birth.... My genital reconstructive surgery did not make me a girl. I was always a girl.” That sentiment resonated with other trans women and solidified Mock as a strong voice for the transgender community. She went on to become a contributing editor for Marie Claire, where she has written about racial representations in the media and trans women’s place in the global beauty industry. In 2014, Mock published her first book, Redefining Realness, a memoir of her teenage years and the first book ever written by a trans person who transitioned young; it became a New York Times bestseller. She has hosted her own culture show called So POPular! on MSNBC, and is a special correspondent for Entertainment Tonight. In 2014, The Advocate included her on its 50 Most Influential LGBT People in Media list. She’s currently working on her second memoir, which will pick up where her first book left off. As an activist, Mock has done everything: speeches honouring transgender students, starting the Twitter hashtag #GirlsLikeUs to empower transgender women, serving as a co-chair at the GLAAD Media Awards, and campaigning against laws that target transgender women of colour. Kye Allums When Kye Allums came out as a transgender man in 2010, he was playing for the women’s basketball team at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. That made him the first-ever openly transgender NCAA I college athlete. In 2014, Allums revealed that he attempted suicide after ESPN released a profile on him that didn’t portray him correctly. He told HuffPost Live, “Forty-one per cent of people in the trans community have attempted suicide—I was one of them. That was all because of someone who didn’t take the time to listen to what I said—who didn’t care, who didn’t value me as a person and who just saw me as, ‘Oh, you’re just this story.’” Allums starred in Laverne Cox’s documentary, The T Word, which follows a group of young transgender people, explaining what it’s like to be young and transgender. He also worked on a project called “I Am Enough,” which gives LGBTQ people the opportunity to talk about their own experiences and connect with each other so they know they aren’t alone. In 2015, Allums was inducted into the National Gay and Lesbian Sports Hall of Fame. Now, he travels the country talking to high school and college students about the transgender community, his experience with being a transgender athlete and how to confront bullies as a transgender person.
COURTNEY HARDWICK is a Toronto-based freelance writer. Her work has appeared online at AmongMen, Complex Canada, Elle Canada and TheBolde.
EYES WIDE OPEN Photographer and amplifier Samra Habib shines the light on queer Muslims around the world By Abi Slone
Samra Habib, the powerhouse storyteller responsible for the groundbreaking “Just Me and Allah: A Queer Muslim Photo Project” (http://queermuslimproject.tumblr.com) has never been one to shy away from exploration. Habib has been travelling the globe, literally, connecting with queer Muslims and documenting their stories.
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IN had a chance recently to sit down with Habib and get her story. When you started the project, there was a lack of queer Muslim representation in pretty much any media. What were you looking to capture? I think what living a queer life looks like for many queer Muslims is often different from what it might look like for other people who don’t have that as part of their identity. My life, before I became so public as a queer person, was very typical of a queer Muslim. It’s difficult for many of us to find community; a lot of queer spaces are dominated by white folks and don’t feel very inclusive. Being a queer Muslim often carries with it a lot of trauma—we’re not accepted by our families and religious institutions, and oftentimes we find ourselves in queer spaces that are mostly white, where people don’t have the tools to understand and respect how being Muslim can shape someone’s queer identity. And that just because you’re a queer Muslim woman, it doesn’t mean that you’re oppressed and need to be rescued. You might not feel safe being queer in a super-visible way because of all the baggage you carry. To be honest, I was searching for different kinds of narratives that resembled my own that I wasn’t seeing in queer culture in Toronto. I felt like an outsider and I had a gut feeling that I wasn’t the only one who was having that painful experience of feeling isolated, so I went on a mission 20
to find those people, to bring their stories to the forefront and to make people understand that their voices were also crucial, and that to fight for queer rights meant including those voices. It also means talking about racism and Islamophobia within the queer community. Oftentimes, it’s difficult for people with privilege to have perspective if they’re not exposed to stories and experiences that are not similar to theirs. And that includes people in the queer community. Were you ever concerned that shining the light on queer Muslims in a public way would bring you the ire of both the Muslim community and Islamophobes (who don’t need anything specific to feel inspired)? I come from ancestors who were rejected by mainstream Islam and were always fighting against different political powers to be accepted as Muslim minorities within Islam. We’re from a small Muslim sect that is not accepted by religious extremists in Pakistan, which led to us having to leave as refugees because our lives were threatened daily. So I’m used to not being accepted by mainstream Islam because that’s all I’ve ever known. My desire to fight for people who might not have a voice comes from my grandfather and uncles doing the same in Pakistan in the ’70s. Does the awesomeness of the folks you feature impact how you feel? Do you walk taller after you leave them? Is it amazing to have spent time with them? Of course! For a long time, I was struggling to find a community to call my own but after working on the project, I know that my community is not limited to geography. Through the project, I and other queer Muslims are finding family all over the world. I love it when someone I photographed in Brooklyn becomes friends with someone I’ve photographed in Paris or Berlin.
Photo: Jessica Laforet
How do you find your subjects, and end up in the places you end up? I’m close friends with some of the key figures who have been doing activism around queer Muslim rights for decades. Sometimes they put me in touch with people if I’m travelling to different countries. A lot of the times, queer Muslims reach out to me because they want me to tell their story and want to be part of the conversation that’s happening around queer Muslim representation. It’s nice to feel trusted because as Muslims, we’re used to being exploited in many ways. I think one of the major reasons for that is that our stories were being told by people who were not Muslim. It’s helpful when you’re representing someone if you’re also a part of their community. That insight definitely helps. That lived experience shapes the kind of nuanced details you can get out of your subjects and are able to capture. Who has been your most inspiring interview and why? El-Farouk Khaki, the founder of Unity mosque here in Canada, a queer elder and one of the founders of Salaam Canada. Without him, many of us queer Muslims wouldn’t have been able to find community here in Toronto. It was after going to Unity mosque for the first time that my faith in Islam was restored, and I wanted to capture the spirit of the mosque, where a trans woman led the prayer and where we were all embraced exactly as we are, through the project. How do you think your experience as a writer impacted how you shoot people? Do you think the introspection or attention to details appears in your work? Do you ever consider photography an extension of writing? Absolutely! All of that! You nailed it! For me, photography is just a form of storytelling. I think the reason my project has struck a
chord with people to this extent is because I’m asking the subjects I’ve photographed the kinds of questions I feel are important to ask, and that other people haven’t asked. I’m interested in bringing out my subjects’ uniqueness through conversations. And working as a journalist for a decade definitely trained me to do that. Why did you decide to photograph your subjects rather than write about them? Because I think everyone has an emotional reaction to photography. A lot has been written about queer Muslims in academia, but unfortunately it’s only accessible to people who live and breathe academia. I understand the power of an image because I grew up on a diet of fashion photography and worked in fashion journalism. I like that people are drawn in because of imagery but then go down a rabbit hole of exploration. I do that, too, when I’m intrigued by an image. I want to know the story behind the subject, who photographed it, the location, everything. Can you believe what’s happening in the world? I can. And I do believe that racism and the kind of Islamophobia we’re seeing right now is nothing new. I’m just glad that there are more and more people who are in the places of power with a lot of privilege who are fighting the good fight for, and with, people who are in danger the most. It can’t just be folks of colour, Muslims, LGBTQI folks fighting. I see it in my conversations with people, I see it in how people are demanding justice and actually seeing things change. I think this is such an interesting time to live in, especially for my generation, who might have been politically passive growing up because we saw how corrupt governments and power structures were. It’s so empowering to know that now you can actually change things by speaking up, showing up and deciding who you give your money to.
ABI SLONE is a writer, editor and traveller. She is not a natural redhead.
MADONNA TO WRITE AND DIRECT A GAY-THEMED FILM The Queen of Pop will adapt and direct a new film based on a novel that explores themes of gender and sexual identity
Above: Madonna on the set of the film W.E. in 2011 (Photo: The Weinstein Company)
She may just have adopted four-year-old twin girls from an orphanage in Malawi after hearing of their plight through her charity work (for those counting, she now has six children), but it looks like Madonna is still getting back in the director’s chair. The Queen of Pop, who previously directed the 2008 comedy Filth and Wisdom and 2011’s stylish period romance W.E., is planning on directing a film in 2017 that she hopes will speak to audiences about sexuality and women’s rights.
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In a recent interview with Harper’s Bazaar, Madonna revealed that she is working on a film called Loved, based on Andrew Sean Greer’s novel The Impossible Lives of Greta Wells.
“I’ve always felt oppressed,” she said. “I know a lot of people would go, ‘Oh, that’s ridiculous for you to say that. You’re a successful white, wealthy pop star,’ but I’ve had the shit kicked out of me for my entire career, and a large part of that is because I’m female and also because I refuse to live a conventional life. I’ve created a very unconventional family. I have lovers who are three decades younger than me. This makes people very uncomfortable. I feel like everything I do makes people feel really uncomfortable.” The Impossible Lives of Greta Wells follows a depressed woman who, after being prescribed electrotherapy by her doctor, begins to experience travelling through time. Along the way, the novel further explores her relationship with gay brother Felix.
From Harper’s: “On her coffee table, there were binders filled with research for the project—potential settings, costumes, and so on. Madonna is thorough. In fact, she co-wrote the screenplay and will “Why does this book appeal to be directing the film. The novel follows the title character as she me? Why did I want to adapt it moves through time and negotiates three different lives she could into a screenplay? Because it have lived. The story also focuses on Greta’s relationship with her touches me on so many levels gay twin brother, Felix, in those different lives.” and it deals with so many important topics. Right now, more than Of course, many of the themes and subjects of Loved are those ever, it’s an extremely timely Madonna has touched upon in envelope-pushing ways throughout story to tell,” Madonna said. her career.
I SEE YOU. I HEAR YOU. I FEEL YOU. Why empathy is the key to bridging the gap between the labels that divide us By Jumol Royes
You’re either male or female. Black or white. Christian or Muslim. Gay or straight. Liberal or conservative. There’s a steady drumbeat to put on a label, even when those labels only serve to separate us from each other. We’re constantly being told that our only choice is either/or, leaving precious little room for a second option: and. A simple and often-overlooked conjunction, and is where we find connection, common ground and, ultimately, empathy. Oxford Dictionaries defines empathy as the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. In today’s world, it’s easy to see the damage caused by lack of empathy and the rush to label—a fractious political climate, an uptick in hate crimes, the prevalence of online bullying. These are all issues that could be resolved if we took the time to truly understand another person’s point of view and see things from a different perspective, rather than putting people in a box, labelling them and then retreating to our respective corners. There are some great examples all around us of how to lose the labels and embrace empathy. In his powerful video titled I Am NOT Black, You Are NOT White, spoken word artist Prince Ea challenges us to ask ourselves the question, “Who would you be if the world never gave you a label?” Watch the video here: https://princeea.com/2016/07/07/i-am-notblack-you-are-not-white/. Actor Nico Tortorella, star of the TV show Younger and a selfproclaimed lover of love who has been very open about his own sexual fluidity, invites us to see beyond the labels and to have real conversations about love, relationships and self-love in his podcast, The Love Bomb. Listen to it here: bit.ly/niconiconico. I’ve recently come to understand that I’m an empath, which basically means that I have the ability to feel other people’s emotions. While we don’t all start out on equal footing when it comes to our capacity for empathy, research has shown that it’s a habit we can develop. According to Roman Krznaric, a social philosopher, author, empathy advisor and founding faculty member of The School of Life in London, England, there are six habits of highly empathic people (HEPs) that we can all incorporate into our everyday lives.
1. Cultivate curiosity about strangers They say curiosity killed the cat, but it’s through curiosity that we encounter people whose lives and realities are different from our own. Try sparking a conversation with someone outside your usual social circle, and see what happens. 2. Challenge prejudices and discover commonalities Each of us has preconceived notions about other people that prevent us from seeing them for who they really are. If we’re willing to look past the stereotypes and the labels, we’ll discover that we all have much more in common than we realize. 3. Try another person’s life Sure, it’s easy to play it safe and stay in our own little bubble. Yet there’s so much to gain from walking a mile in someone else’s shoes. To fully appreciate another person’s experience, it helps to understand where they’ve been. 4. Listen hard—and open up Listening and sharing are the two pillars of any good conversation. Listening requires paying attention not only to what is being said, but also to what the other person is feeling. Sharing is about opening up and being vulnerable. 5. Inspire mass action and social change Change shouldn’t just stop with us. We need to come together in order to effect positive change in the world we live in. Instead of using social media to gripe and vent, try using it to join forces with people working for good in your community. 6. Develop an ambitious imagination It’s vital that we connect with people who are suffering and in need. However, it’s just as important to try and find common ground with people we disagree with. Creating bonds of understanding with our opponents breeds tolerance, and that’s something the world could use a lot more of. I see you. I hear you. I feel you. That’s empathy. Former US President Barack Obama said it best in his farewell address: “If you’re tired of arguing with strangers on the Internet, try talking with one of them in real life.”
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.
HOT SCHITT Dan Levy is more than just an accidental gay sex symbol By Nelson Branco
A lot has changed in the world since MTV personality Dan Levy became a breakout name during his popular stint as The Hills After Show co-host with Jessi Cruickshank in the 2000s. You’d have to have been languishing in a coma for the past few years not to realize we’re living in uncertain, game-changing times. But for the Toronto-born son of Eugene Levy and Deborah Devine, the world’s topsy-turvy social, tech-dependent and political narrative inspired him to punch up his passion/dream project and bring the zeitgeisty yet funny and relatable CBC flagship sitcom Schitt’s Creek to the international masses. His pansexual trust-fund character, David Rose, is stuck spending a seeming eternity in his designer duds in a washed-up small town his family happens to own because his now broke parents— business tycoon (played by dad Eugene) and former soap star/ socialite (portrayed by Catherine O’Hara)—have lost everything and now have to start from scratch. Having earned two Canadian Screen Awards (for Best Comedy and Writing) last year, the 33-year-old is once again nominated in all major categories, including competing with his father as Lead Actor. But don’t expect a Daddy Dearest story thread in real life.
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Levy, who used to write a column for Flare, tells IN, “Winning a Best Actor award would be cool but unless something crazy happens, I don’t have many expectations that I’d beat my dad! Just to be nominated in the acting category was a big thing for me because I started out wanting to act. I put my acting aspirations on hold so I could focus [on the behind-the-scenes aspects of my career], so my audition skills are rusty.” He adds, laughing, “Luckily, I got to cast myself in this!” IN spoke to the ambitious and thoughtful—not to mention handsome—actor, writer and producer about why he didn’t see a need for a formal coming out, how he navigates social-media discourse, why he made his character pansexual, and whether he’d ever return to the reality-TV genre. Making David pansexual was a bold decision. You were ahead of the headlines on that one. When I was sussing out characters, it just felt like a good fit for him. We didn’t want to make a big deal about it in the show. Just the depiction of his sexuality has been a really great thing for me 24
to tell a story of a town with a cast of characters who don’t judge. To be able to tell that story, you’re hopefully leading by example. It’s been amazing to hear feedback from the audience. The idea of sexuality, in my life, is not a big deal. But it is a big deal for some, where your series airs on America’s Pop network. Fans have come up to say: ‘My brother’s gay and my parents are having a real hard time with it, but to see how [David’s parents] Johnny and Moira have accepted their son so wholly and without question has informed them.’ You realize, in those moments, the power of TV, because we’re just telling stories in a room but you sometimes forget how widespread those stories are and how affecting they are to some. David came out on the show by way of a wine analogy: ‘I have sampled red and white wines…and occasionally rosés [laughs]! I got a lovely email from a young guy who used our wine analogy to connect with his parents. It’s incredible to hear those kinds of stories. What’s happening in today’s discourse? From gender to sexual fluidity to the trans movement—a new conversation is taking place. I don’t really know. Or rather, I don’t know enough to say concretely. It does feel like there is a younger generation that is much more open and more educated on gender fluidity and the complexity of sexuality. This new generation realizes how multi-faceted human beings truly are. I think that a lot of the [older] generations see sexuality in black and white. I do feel like this younger generation is seeing it in colour. And I don’t mean to completely generalize, but I’m just talking from what I’m seeing and reading out there. I think the Internet has helped a lot in terms of opening dialogue and conversation about sexuality. There are also a lot of people writing some great thought pieces now that challenge the norms. An article focused on the ‘Bro Sex phenomenon’ (straight men having sex with other straight-identifying men) went viral a while back. It appears that not only is the millennial culture questioning sex and gender preconceptions but they’ve kind of rejected everything—even the most archetypal of labels. Exactly. There’s a whole generation that has been raised to feel like, ‘If I don’t feel a certain way, I don’t have to feel it; if I don’t want to do something, I don’t have to do it.’ What came of that is a complete rejection of labels. There is a hypersensitivity to this subject too. It’s hard to talk about. You look at Lena Dunham, who has gotten into trouble having this conversation. It’s as simple
Above: Dan Levy in New York City in March 2016
as miscommunicating an idea and then you’re attacked. We’re in an age where opinion means everything. People are ripping apart everything that is opinion-based—both good and bad. It’s a hot political time, which I think is a great thing. I’m learning as much as I can but, at the end of the day, when it comes to sexuality, it’s about having conversations and realizing you can’t know everything. All you can try to do is educate yourself as best as you can to be as open and sensitive as possible.
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In Flare, you said you were a member of the queer community, but you haven’t really talked much about being gay. I’ve been gay all my life! I never really kept it a secret. Blame it on my self-worth issues but I didn’t genuinely think that I needed to [come out officially]. I’m sure there are other people who would argue otherwise. Straight people are assumed to be straight until proven otherwise, so it does put pressure on us to state our truth. When people say, ‘I don’t want to talk about my personal life,’ I get that. To me, that means your favoured sexual position or who you are dating, the state of your relationship or medical history. To me, saying you’re gay is just admitting what gender you are. It’s just a fact. There’s a difference between actively hiding your sexuality and not. For me, I don’t necessarily want to hear about someone’s personal life on a talk show. Someone’s baby story isn’t the most interesting subject matter to me when I’m watching The Tonight Show so, as a person, I assume no one cares who I am dating—or, more importantly, even if I am dating someone. I do understand— when you reach a certain level of visibility—there’s, in a way, a responsibility to say you’re gay. I mean, I was in Out [magazine] two years ago. I sort of figured since I was in the Out 100, there wasn’t a question of my sexuality [laughs]! It’s such a hot topic in terms of obligation and responsibility. All you can do is try your best. I’ve always been vocal about my support of the community. I use 26
social media as best I can by sharing articles that offer supportive viewpoints and information. What was it like coming out to your parents? I’m assuming—and I know that’s a stereotype—it was easy-ish given your father is an actor and comedian. My family, fortunately, was completely open and accepting. It was a very easy thing. I think with anyone, there are fears attached to when and how to come out. Again, it’s a strange thing because no one else has to go through that. It’s a bizarre thing to do to pull your parents aside and talk about your sexual preference. It’s something straight people don’t have to do—and hopefully, gay people won’t have to do it either. But to answer your question: there was no drama in the Levy house. Were your parents cautious about you entering show business? I’d be more worried about that. No. They were very supportive. Any concerns or fears they had about me getting into entertainment, they didn’t vocalize—which was probably for the best [laughs]! All parents should be supportive when their child wants to pursue their dreams or at least try. That sort of helped me…having no pushback. What is it like being an accidental sex symbol? Several blogs have written pieces on you as the new face of the geek/hottie aesthetic movement. [Laughs] Speaking of passive-aggressive judgments! If you happen to wear glasses, you’re labelled a geek. I remember thinking, that’s a flagrant judgment on how people look. But yeah, you know...I don’t think I’m a Ryan Gosling, that’s for sure. I’ve thought very little about it. I spend my days in a writers’ room or edit suite, so I don’t get that much attention from the outside world in that realm. But I’m flattered by the accidental sex symbol status [laughs].
Above: Dan Levy, Annie Murphy, Catherine O’Hara, Eugene Levy and Chris Elliott on the set of Schitt’s Creek
You are definitely a style and fashion icon. And that’s been written about too. I’m just glad my glasses caught up with the trend. I’ve been wearing thick glasses since I was 16. I think personal style is getting up in the morning and wearing what makes you feel good. Hence, people have responded to my style. It’s great. It’s offered me opportunities to explore fashion in ways I don’t think I ever could otherwise. It is something I love, appreciate and pay attention to, particularly on the show. Fashion is an important character on Schitt’s Creek. Yes. I work very closely with our costume designer, Debra Hanson, in terms of styling the family on the show. It’s a very intense process because the Rose family came from money, so you want them to look like money. To be able to work in that realm and dip my toes in the fashion world by having access to clothes we use on the show has been really fun. I loved your tweet reminding Prime Minister Justin Trudeau that he has yet to fulfill his election promise that gay men will one day be allowed to donate blood in Canada without discriminatory limitations. What was the reaction? I didn’t receive any negative response. As for the usual trolls, you just block people you don’t necessarily want to hear from. That’s what is great about social media at this point: you can really curate your world to include those who really care about what you’re talking about and sharing. I, for one, don’t see a point in tearing someone down just because you disagree with what they are talking about. People’s inner constitutions are so fragile right now. ‘I love apples’ will lead to ‘How dare you love apples and not oranges; die mother*cker!’ Yes! [Laughs] I know! It’s crazy. We all need to do our best and try to be as good to one another as we can. That fundamentally needs to happen now: we need more respect and awareness for other people.
It’s ironic: the more communication tools we have, the less effectively we’re really communicating. That’s it. When you read these intense criticisms, they feel more like an ego trip for the people writing them. It’s almost like they’re looking for an opportunity to tear someone down. Again, and unless it’s slanderous, ignorant and hateful, we’ll only learn when we have more open dialogue—not reactive, but more constructive. You live in Toronto but you used to live in LA, and you still spend some time there. Are you worried about US President Donald Trump dismantling the LGBTQ progress that Barack Obama made? All I can do is hope that Trump brings out the passion in people, the passion for change. The most important [strategy] is to combat a lot of what he stands for, which is intolerance, racism and homophobia. And that’s something that isn’t okay and it’s not something that should be empowered in people. What do you think of reality TV as a vet? I have not watched an episode of reality TV since I left The Hills After Show. I walked away and never looked back. I literally have no interest. What if Oprah Winfrey came to you and/or your family and wanted to produce a smart reality series on the Levys on OWN? You’d really have to offer something on a personal level to people that they’d be interested in. And maybe it’s because I’m Canadian, but I just don’t have that kind of ego. Boxers or briefs? Boxer briefs, how about that?
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.
SOCKS FOR A CAUSE Bustle Clothing’s limited-edition Safe Sox are helping raise funds for CANFAR
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Above: Bustle Clothing founders Shawn Hewson and Ruth Promislow during the finale of their Fall/Winter 2016 presentation at Toronto Fashion Week (Photo: George Pimentel)
Toronto-based Bustle Clothing has teamed up with the Canadian Foundation for AIDS Research (CANFAR) to create a funky line of socks that are helping raise funds for Canadian HIV/AIDS research and educational programs.
annual fundraising event of the year] as a guest, I knew it was time for Bustle to generate its own fundraising and awareness initiative to support CANFAR. I thought, everyone wears socks—why not make great socks in support of this great cause?”
Bustle’s limited-edition Safe Sox come in playful patterns, plaids and colourful pop-art graphics, with all proceeds going to CANFAR. And, despite having launched just late last year, the charity socks already have some famous fans including Newfoundland and Labrador MP Seamus O’Regan, beloved design personalities Tommy Smythe and Brian Gluckstein, TV host Ben Mulroney, former politician John Baird, and even Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
But there’s more. Hewson is taking his fundraising initiative one step further and encouraging others to get charitable. He’s issued a Safe Sox challenge, motivating people to pay it forward. Translation? Each set of socks comes with a card challenging the receiver to, in return, gift someone else with another pair of the charity socks.
Currently, 75,000 people in Canada are living with HIV, with affected people now living longer but having to struggle with the complications associated with the virus, according to CANFAR vice-president and COO Kyle Winters. What was the light bulb moment for the new line? Bustle Clothing co-founder and creative director Shawn Hewson told IN, “After a few seasons of attending Bloor Street Entertains [CANFAR’s largest 28
Safe Sox come in 15 electric styles and are available in single pairs ($15), sets of three ($48)—or, if you’re feeling extra fancy, you can grab the complete boxed set of 15 ($187). Bustle Clothing’s limited-edition Safe Sox are available now through www.bustleclothing. com/canfar.
MUST-HAVE ACCESSORIES Did you purge all of your unnecessary possessions when you kicked off the year? Well, as the weather starts to warm up, the sales floors are being flooded with tons of new gear you need…well, that you kinda need. Here are a few of our favourites right now.
Timex Fairfield watch $120 Watches are as much about making a statement as they are about telling time, and Timex’s reasonably priced collection of unisex Fairfield watches are where simple and minimal win out over too complicated and elaborate. Varsity-inspired nylon straps are perfect for weekend OOTD snaps. Available at: Select stores across Canada and online at timex.ca Contour sunglasses $135 Montreal-based BonLook is set on becoming the ultimate fashion destination for your eyewear needs, and they’ve got us sold. These super-stylish aviator metal rim frames will define any face and are perfect for spring. Available at: BonLook stores across Canada and online at bonlook.com Apple AirPods $219 Apple’s latest must-have accessory lets you stream music from your iPhone or iPad, as well as letting you control that device (to a certain extent) with your voice. Bluetooth-powered earpods can be sketchy, but…surprise…the AirPods actually offer great audio quality and you can easily take a call while you’re listening, with just a tap. Available at: Apple stores across Canada and online at apple.ca The Giving Keys necklace $42 An accessory that helps those in need? That’s exactly what the US-based Giving Keys necklaces are all about. Each upcycled key necklace is inscribed with a message of love and hope, and when you purchase one you are helping to support shelters and transitional homes by creating jobs for the homeless. Available at: thegivingkeys.com Michael Kors Reversible camouflage nylon tote $250 Camouflage…it’s the trend that just won’t go away. Good thing for this on-trend Michael Kors bag with its standout camo print. The durable nylon bag is reversible (the inside is a dark olive colour) and oh-so-versatile, while a leather-trimmed zip pocket is the perfect place to store your keys and keep them in reach. Available at: Michael Kors stores and online at michaelkors.ca
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Step into spring wearing one of these slick ensembles from the Spring/Summer 2017 collections Photographer: Brent Chua Fashion Director: Danyl Geneciran Model: Jonathan Marquez @ CLICK
Full look: GIORGIO ARMANI
MARCH / APRIL 2017 CHRISTOPHER TURNER acted as guest editor for this issue of IN Magazine. He is a Toronto-based writer, editor
32and IN lifelong MAGAZINE fashionisto with a passion for pop culture and sneakers. Follow him on social media at @Turnstylin.
FASHION Full lookPhotos : LOUIS by NEONelements VUITTON 33
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On Stefano (left): Coat: JOAO PAULO GUEDES Pants: VALENTINO On Cohen (right): Full look: Kenzo Coat: BERLUTI Full look: LOUIS VUITTON Pants: NEIL BARRETT 34
FASHION Full look: GUCCI 35
FASHION MARCH / APRIL 2017
On Stefano (left): Scarf: BARENA Blazer: BRUNELLO CUCINELLI Pants: VALENTINO On Cohen (right): Blazer: NEIL BARRETT Coat: DALLA Full look: GUCCI Pants: NEIL BARRETT 36
Full look: EMPORIO ARMANI 37
FASHION MARCH / APRIL 2017
Full look : LOUIS VUITTON 38
TORONTO PRIDE’S “UNCOMFORTABLE” REVOLUTION Amidst the outrage, the founders of Black Lives Matter–TO keep their eye on the prize: a more inclusive Pride By Paul Gallant
Alexandria Williams, the queer co-founder of Black Lives Matter– TO, can’t stop laughing when I ask her if anybody at the Toronto Police Service has ever called her about the group’s demand that Pride Toronto exclude police floats and booths from its marches and parades.
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“No, no, I hear you, Paul,” interjects co-founder janaya khan, who also identifies as queer. (Neither of them, it should be said, has called Prime Minister Justin Trudeau a “white supremacist terrorist.”) “As we demand accountability from law enforcement, we understand that law enforcement is not in a place where they are hearing where we are, and therefore we do not engage with law enforcement. And they’ve never reached out to us.”
BLM–TO supporters, passed a motion to exclude police floats from the parades and marches. Since last summer, the exclusion demand has launched a million sometimes nasty Facebook conversation threads, perhaps understandable in a community that, on principle, has been wary about telling anyone how they should look at Pride. Some critics (I’m looking at you, Sue-Ann Levy from the Toronto Sun) have been arguing, either in error or with malice, against a supposed “ban” on police officers participating in Pride, even though BLM–TO never even asked for uniforms to be prohibited, never mind prohibiting officer participation. Critics have also complained the group was a disruptive “invited guest” at Pride, as if they were outsiders, and accused them of being bullies, even as their cause was able to mobilize a great number of LGBTQ supporters, especially people of colour, to join Pride and make a democratic vote. That’s in an organization where minorities have, by Pride’s own admission, historically felt unwelcome.
According to its website, BLM–TO has set for itself the gargantuan goal of dismantling “all forms of anti-black racism,” including “all forms of state-sanctioned oppression, violence and brutality committed against African, Caribbean and Black cis, queer, trans and disabled populations in Toronto.” Considering how uninterested the government and police leaderships have been so That doesn’t sound like bullying or hijacking; it sounds like clever far, and how news stories continue to break about Toronto police grass-roots activism that has opened the gates to the excluded. If using unnecessary force against minorities, BLM–TO has found you swapped out “anti-racism activists” for “AIDS activists,” I more traction in its narrower, yet controversial efforts to make Pride can’t imagine such squeals of outrage over a parade protest or Toronto more welcoming. Will a less visible police presence at police booths and floats, even though both racism and HIV/AIDS Pride make racialized people and other minorities who have been affect different quarters of the LGBTQ community very differently, subjected to police violence feel more included and more safe? some very much and some not at all. It’s shaping up to be an interesting experiment…if the community can withstand the conversation about it. “Just to ask the question ‘What happens now with Pride?’ suggests that we’ve become so comfortable with Pride being shaped by gay A quick recap. The demand to exclude police floats and booths from white men that we actually don’t know how we’ll relate to it when Pride was one of nine demands accepted, then recanted, by Pride’s it’s going to be shaped by women of colour, by trans people, by then-executive director Mathieu Chantelois last summer, when Black people,” says khan. “The concern that Pride will transform BLM–TO used its position as honoured group to hold a dramatic into something different and unknown suggests that so many people 20-minute protest mid-parade. In the fall, the Pride board said don’t have community with people of colour.” that in apology for the organization’s “history of anti-blackness,” they would apply their dispute resolution process to the demand. “If Pride does what its membership says,” says Williams, “then Then, in January, before the board could be reconstituted with members are going to be pleased and Pride is going to look like new members, the Pride membership, which has swelled with something they can be proud of. There’s so much rage coming to 40
Photo: Shawn Goldberg
the surface for such small issues that need to be changed.”
has been unpleasant and, at times, racist, the two women see the discomfort of their critics as a necessary step in the longer process of persuasion. Speaking to the majority white Pride population, “our job isn’t actually to make you feel comfortable,” says Williams, who in her day job is vice-president of equity at the York Federation of Students. “It’s to make our community feel comfortable and safe. The process of understanding why you’re not cool with that is a personal process, but our job is making sure our community is good.”
In fact, Williams doesn’t see the demand about the police as much different from the other eight demands, which have been accepted without much question by Pride and, judging by social-media chatter, by the community. Space for Black Queer Youth, selfdetermination for community spaces at Pride, the doubling of funding for Blockorama, the reinstatement of the South Asian stage and the prioritizing of the hiring of Black trans women, Indigenous people and others from vulnerable communities: these are all part “Our Pride action has really exposed the political immaturity of of a broader package to make racialized people feel more a part this moment,” says khan, who is also executive director of Gender of Pride. “Isn’t the fact that some communities aren’t represented Justice L.A., a Los Angeles-based social justice organization for at Pride something we should be shocked about?” Williams asks. gender non-conforming, gender-fluid, two-spirited, questioning and trans people of colour. “We held up a mirror to a lot of people Although I’m against anything that would make an already pretty whose casual racism began to show, as well as their inability to boring parade even more boring (I’m hoping the police, deprived grasp that we have as much of a right to that space as anyone else.” of their floats, march in tutus, rabbit costumes or leather harnesses), I’m more skeptical of depriving the police of their recruitment I’ve always seen persuasion as a subtle art; ideally, you want to make booths. Recruiting from minority communities seems to me like people change their mind without even realizing they’re changed a viable way to get better officers who could create a less brutal it. But I accept that to achieve the radical systemic change that police culture. But Williams and khan don’t buy it. BLM-TO is working towards requires far more discomfort. Pride, which has known much discomfort over its history, is certainly an “We’re not concerned with the recruitment processes of police institution that can handle it. because we’re aiming at systemic changes. The Band-Aid solution of recruiting people from diverse backgrounds is insufficient,” “When we’re challenging someone, if we can create a moment of, ‘Is this true? Could this be true? Maybe I don’t know this thing’, says khan. that moment is one of such incredible possibility,” says khan. Though much of the community infighting around BLM–TO 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.
On this Eastern Caribbean delight, you’ll find blissful bays, white sand, cool rhythms and warm welcomes. Just head to St. Martin and turn left By Doug Wallace
Our little private pool overlooking Crocus Bay was just the right refreshing temperature; ditto the meltiness of the gin and tonics. And there would be time for another while we waited for the private chef we had hired for the night to work his magic in our glassed-in kitchen. When can I come back? I thought, already fast-forwarding to next time. It turns out I’m not the only one in love with idyllic Anguilla. This British island just north of St. Martin/St. Maarten has one of the highest rates of repeat visitors in the Caribbean. And for good reason: the beaches are insane, the food is phenomenal, and the people are charming—a sun spot’s triple threat. That the sub-tropical weather is a comfortable plateau of 27º—not too rainy, not too dry—lends further credence to my Goldilocks theory.
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Sunshine aside, Anguilla, with its population of 14,000 spread over 90 square kilometres, also has just the right amount of semi-poshness: enough luxury to make it luxe, mixed with just enough normal to make it affordable. You can still drop an absolute ton of cash here, no problem, but you don’t necessarily have to. Luxury resorts, cool villas, cozy cottages, guest houses—you’d be hard-pressed not to find something to suit your wallet. Setting up camp at CeBlue Villas, we immediately took advantage of the wood-fired oven in the restaurant and ordered a pizza to go, snacking while unpacking. This gorgeous hillside resort sports five-bedroom homes, each with its own little pool, media room, kitted-out kitchen and gorgeous ocean view. It’s far enough away
from it all to enjoy the serenity you’ve come all this way for, but just a few minute’s drive from the heart of the island action. The beach is just down the hill a ways, complete with attendants, ample watercraft for those inclined, and Da’Vida, a cool beachfront restaurant whose waiters we kept busy for hours. As mentioned, the opportunity for over-the-topping is there if you’re looking. The Kelly Wearstler-designed Four Seasons Anguilla is beyond dazzling. Sunset at the Sunset Lounge couldn’t be more special. People flock to this elegant waterfront bar overlooking the infinity pool at cocktail time to see how the other half lives, and to prime the night with the signature jalapeño margarita. The adjacent Cobà restaurant is superb. If you’re pub-crawling, you can hit the lounge later in the evening for a nightcap and a spot of jazz. Other top accommodation choices include the new Zemi Beach, a condo resort on the north end of the island on Shoal Bay; the elegant Malliouhana Resort on Long Bay, revamped within the last few years by designer Todd-Avery Lenahan; Cap Juluca on Maundays Bay at Anguilla’s south end; and The Reef by CuisinArt, just down the road a little bit from its daddy, CuisinArt Golf Resort & Spa. The more down-to-earth Frangipani Beach Resort on Meads Bay is both authentic and friendly. What to do, what to do… Once you’ve settled where you’re laying your head, hurry up and get relaxing. Just staring into the turquoise water from any of Anguilla’s 33 white-sand beaches will melt your cares away.
Photo: Four Seasons Sunset Lounge
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Shoal Bay in particular is extolled as one of the best beaches in the world. If you ever tire of relaxing, you can easily occupy your time with deep-sea fishing, kite surfing, paddle boarding, kayaking and scuba diving. An afternoon sailing from bay to bay on the classic sailboat Tradition, or taking a powerboat adventure with Funtime Charters, are just two different types of cruise options to seek out. Landlubbing adventures include golf, tennis, horseback riding and art-gallery hopping. Many choice craft boutiques and galleries dot the streets of The Valley and the West End. Cheddie Richardson’s studio in Cove Bay will net you arresting driftwood pieces, stone sculptures and bronze casts, all inspired by nature. And the handmade jewellery, bright ceramics and sensual mahogany carvings at the Devonish Art Gallery are equally cool. You can get in touch with the island’s cultural history at the new Fountain National Park, visiting the historic Amerindian Fountain Cavern at Shoal Bay East. With 100 restaurants on the island, you’ll never worry about where
your next meal is coming from. Crayfish is the local specialty, with lobster, snapper and mahi mahi rounding out the menus. All of the high-end resorts have beautiful restaurants, all worth the cash. The stand-alones—both high-end and street-side—have something special going for them, particularly Blanchards, where executive chef Melinda Blanchard not only spent time getting to know us, but also helping us decide on dessert. At affable Straw Hat Restaurant, the draw is the lionfish, a serious predator that restaurants across the Caribbean are being encouraged to start including on the menu. I stopped in with a gorgeous female friend, to be greeted by the waiter with, “First date?” Um, no. Earmark Wednesday or Sunday for lunch on Scilly Cay, a tiny coral islet off the village of Island Harbour, reachable by a free, 10-minute boat ride. The whole island is a charming and rustic open-air restaurant run by Sandra and Eudoxie “Gorgeous” Wallace, who whip up Anguilla’s deadliest rum punch, plus platters of barbecued lobster, snapper and chicken. We rode over with the band and all their equipment, pretending we were the go-go dancers, then spent the whole afternoon letting the punch
knock us flat on our backs, wallowing in the shallow waters on the soft sandbars, working on our tans and taking videos. (“Do you want to be in our video? It’s a gay video. Is that okay?”) For our evenings out, we headed for the sound of live music, which is very much a part of the Anguillan culture. Locals and tourists lap up reggae, jazz and R&B bands almost every night at the many venues scattered around the island, including the Powerhouse, Johnno’s Beach Stop and the Dunes Preserve, owned by music icon Bankie Banx. Other acts to seek out include Banx’s son, super-hot cricket-champ-turned-reggae-star Omari Banks, as well as Natalie Richardson, Da Movements, True Intentions and Sproka. The talent per capita on this island is astonishing. Back at CeBlue Villas, our bougainvillea-scented nights were capped off back in the pool with a skinny dip, as we planned the next day around our stomachs, and our next visit looking up at the stars.
When you go Off-season (between May and August) is the best time to visit Anguilla; you’ll get prime deals and avoid the rains. Or you could time your visit to coincide with the 26th Annual Moonsplash Festival, where the legendary Bankie Banx welcomes musicians from around the world. It hits the Dune Preserve on Rendezvous Bay April 21 to 24. The Anguilla Summer Festival—the annual island twist-off of epic proportions—is held July 28 to August 7. WestJet flies to St. Martin from two to five times a week from Toronto. Book Funtime Sea Shuttle in advance to get you from the airport to Anguilla via the 25-minute ferry, which runs daily from 8:15 am to 6:15 pm. You can also charter your own seven-minute flight on a Britten Norman Islander BN-2 with Anguilla Air Services (from $665). The airport runway has been extended to cater to private jets, if you have one. Keep an eye out for Denzel Washington and Robert DeNiro (no, not together). Go to ivisitanguilla.com for more.
DOUG WALLACE is the editor and publisher of travel resource TravelRight.Today.
BRIGHTON ROCKS Forget jolly olde London; Brighton is the new gay capital of Britain By Doug O’Neill
London used to be the go-to destination for LGBTQ visitors to the UK. Queer folk automatically flocked to the trendy bars, clubs and clothiers of Soho, or hopped the tube to Vauxhall for its popular drag acts and after-hours warehouse clubs. But that’s been changing. Big time. Even Londoners, along with visitors from abroad, now head south to Brighton to party and play—especially during Brighton’s Pride festival, which now outshines London’s festival in popularity and size. And, yes, size does matter. This sassy seaside city has the highest percentage of same-sex households in all of the UK. Has Brighton truly become London-by-the-Sea?
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Welcome to Brighton Café Coho, on Queen’s Road outside the Brighton train station, was jam-packed but subdued when I stopped in on a Monday morning last August, the day after the annual Pride Festival. The café had that Boxing Day quiet that settles in the morning after a big celebration, when streamers are scattered, hangovers abound and everyone is waiting to go home. That’s where Rhys and David were headed, home to London.
Piers, queers and pleasure palaces “Brighton has become an LGBT destination because it’s a holiday city,” says Ric Martin, who leads an LGBT-themed walking tour of Brighton called Piers & Queers. “In a town devoted to recreation rather than industry—transient population, lots of leisure time—the rules can be a bit different.” Standing on the iconic Brighton Pier with the English Channel in the background, Martin explains to a group of LGBT visitors that “people have been letting their hair down and being unconventional in Brighton for over 250 years.” The liberal lifestyle, he says, goes back to the turn of the 19th century, when the then-Prince Regent (later King George IV) entertained upper-class toffs in Brighton’s Royal Pavilion—away from the prying eyes (and raised eyebrows) of the conservative set back in London. “Then, as now,” says Martin, “Brighton was the first-choice destination to escape your everyday life, and it’s the one most influenced by the cosmopolitan capital.”
The two thirtysomethings flopped down at the counter next to me, overnight bags at their feet and return tickets to London’s Victoria Station stuffed in their pockets. David introduced himself with a voice so hoarse it obviously pained him to speak. His boyfriend, Rhys, simply blinked a “hullo,” barely looking up from the doppio espresso he cradled in his hands like it was a vessel of life-giving nectar—which it probably is if you’ve been partying for 48 hours and only want to go home to bed.
Much of the “loose living” that Brighton became known for back in the 18th and 19th centuries took place in what is probably the seaside city’s most-visited tourist site today: the Brighton Pavilion. Originally built as a royal residence for that naughty Prince George, the Pavilion is unlike any castle in all of Britain. Historian Sandeep Singh Brar once quipped that “the Brighton Pavilion appears to be designed as if for a children’s fairytale book.” With its huge domes and minarets, the Pavilion looks like a grand mosque or palace right out of the Mogul Era of India. Inside, it’s all palm-tree columns, lacquered furniture, Chinese dragons and gilded everything.
“We never carry on like this in London,” David explained, “only when we come down here to Brighton.” “Ee’s right, ya know, only in Brighton,” offered the tousle-haired Rhys, who on this morning had that adorably dissolute look reminiscent of the flamboyant bisexual poet Lord Byron—who, if you’ll recall, romped his way through Brighton back in the 1800s. David and Rhys were simply following a tradition established by the LGBT crowd long, long ago.
But the decadence (some say debauchery) that transpired inside the Pavilion drew more attention than the campy décor. Not only did the Prince Regent host lavish parties in the sprawling complex, but his seaside pleasure palace afforded his pals a discreet rendezvous spot for romantic (often illicit) assignations. The bisexual poet Lord Byron “made merry in the extravagant Banqueting Room” while the flamboyant opera composer Gioachino Rossini performed in the grand Music Room.
Above: The Brighton Palace Pier at dusk (Photo: Adam Bronkhorst)
It’s only fitting that one of the very first same-sex marriages in the UK took place inside the Brighton Pavilion after the stroke of midnight on March 29, 2014. But naughty George can’t take all the credit for the social and sexual liberation of Brighton. “A large attraction to Brighton was the city’s large number of garrisoned soldiers during the Napoleonic Wars,” says tour guide Martin. “Single, unmarried men with time on their hands? Say no more.” By the 1920s and 1930s, Brighton was well-known as a place to “enjoy yourself and let your hair down” as bars catering to lesbians and a gay clientele flourished. Then came World War II, when Brighton once again bustled with uniformed soldiers, many of them Australian and Canadian. The gay history chronicle OurStory quotes a gay man who lived in Brighton at the time: “You used to meet the soldiers round the Clock Tower and off you’d go, there was plenty of places because of the blackout.” Brighton today: anything goes Recent polls suggest that from 13 to 17 per cent of Brighton’s
population of 250,000 is gay. It was reported three years ago that 15 per cent of Brighton & Hove council staff identify as LGBT. Many of Brighton’s estimated 35,000 LGBT residents have come down from London; in fact, the trend of Londoners buying up homes in Brighton grew so much in the early 2000s that it prompted local entrepreneurs Kevin Newman and Richard Briggs-Price to set up Britain’s first gay real estate agency in Brighton-Hove. LGBT tourists and transplanted Londoners flock, of course, to Brighton’s thriving gaybourhood in Kemptown, which is easily walkable. Pubs and clubs catering to gays, lesbians, bears and everything in between—some date back a few decades—cluster along St James’s Street and the Old Steine, a stone’s throw from the seafront. “The beauty of Brighton’s gay life,” says Martin, “is that it’s all so accessible. We even have the UK’s first-ever official nude beach just a short walk east of of Brighton Pier.” And then there’s the Brighton-Hove Pride Festival, which is where many visitors get their first taste of queer-friendly Brighton. It’s 47
Above: The Royal Pavilion, also known as the Brighton Pavilion (Photo: Adam Bronkhorst)
the biggest Pride festival in the UK, drawing 350,000 people in 2016—in contrast to the 40,000 who attended London Pride. “Our Pride committee puts a lot of effort into the post-parade entertainment,” said Pride director Paul Kemp. “We have a huge festival site that features more than 14 stages, tents and areas for all sections of our diverse and glorious community.” This is one up over London, says Martin: “London Pride no longer offers a huge post-parade event. I think that explains why we draw so many to Brighton Pride.” (The headliner for Brighton’s post-parade party in 2016 was none other than Canadian singer Carly Rae Jepsen.)
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Brighton’s year-round appeal includes a growing arts and culture scene. Brighton Fringe Festival (May 5 to June 4 this year), for example, is Britain’s largest arts festival. And there’s plenty of good wining and dining, especially in The Lanes, Brighton’s historic maze of twisting alleyways and shops. Only in Brighton, you say? Pity Residents and tourists naturally gravitate to Brighton’s seafront, which is where I enjoyed my last meal in Brighton. Knackered after a four-day visit (and a few too many pints in Kemptown), I sat down with my mates in the award-winning Jetty Restaurant, only to accidentally set fire to my beautifully crafted menu, thanks to a misplaced candle. Our Brighton-born waiter didn’t bat an eye: “Oh trust me, dearie, we’ve seen more outlandish sights here in Brighton, believe me.” Oh, I believe you, I most certainly do.
MAKING THE MOST OF BRIGHTON, ENGLAND Walking Piers & Queers Tour: Ric Martin offers his LGBT-themed walking tour of Brighton year-round. onlyinbrighton.co.uk Pride Save the Date: Brighton-Hove Pride 2017 is August 4–6, 2017. brighton-pride.org Lesbian B&B Rejuvenate post-Pride in quaint Hastings, a one-hour drive from Brighton. Book yourself into the the lesbian-run Old Rectory B&B, which is within walking distance of the seafront, art shops and fish market. theoldrectoryhastings.co.uk Night in a castle You’ve travelled all the way across the pond, partied your heart out in Brighton…now it’s time for a Royal treat. Hop on the A23 for a one-hour drive to Hever Castle, where you can book a suite for the night. The 700-year-old, double-moated castle was once home to Anne Boleyn, the second wife of Henry VIII. Everyone slept here. So should you. hevercastle.co.uk/stay Official visitor site: visitbrighton.com
DOUG O’NEILL is a Toronto-based writer who aspires one day to write The Happy Homo Hiker. His travels have landed him
IN MAGAZINE smack down in some of the world’s largest Pride Festivals (i.e., Brighton, England, and New York) along with some of the smallest (“there was that time in Saskatoon”).
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FLASHBACK APRIL 1997 IN LGBT HISTORY Ellen DeGeneres comes out as a lesbian on the cover of Time magazine, stating, “Yep, I’m Gay.”
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Ellen DeGeneres has been a champion for the LGBT community for two decades now, ever since coming out on the cover of Time magazine in April 1997. In the summer of 1996, DeGeneres called a meeting with the writers of her hit show Ellen, who were about to write the fourth season, and told them that she wanted her character to come out on the show. Next? She decided to come out in real life before her character did on the show, with high-profile interviews with Diane Sawyer on Primetime Live, on The Oprah Winfrey Show, and with an appearance on the cover of Time (which the magazine considers one of the most lasting images to appear within its red border). “I never thought it was anybody’s business, who I am and who I am with. And then I realized since I had this secret that worried me all the time that it made it feel like something was wrong,” DeGeneres told Winfrey at the time.
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2017 LEXUS NX TURBO I UNSPOKEN STYLE
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.
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