LUKE MACFARLANE JUNE 2017
ON SUPERHERO ENVY AND THE JOY OF BEING OUT WHY WONDER WOMAN HAS BECOME A GAY ICON DID YOUR FINGER LENGTH, YOUR OLDER BROTHERS OR BROADWAY MAKE YOU GAY? 1
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LOCATED IN DOWTOWN TORONTO, STRIKER IS THE FIRST SPORTS BAR EXPLICITY DEDICATED TO SERVING THE LGBTQ COMMUNITY & CREATING AN INCLUSIVE ENVIROMENT FOR EVERYONE TO ENJOY THE GAME IN HI-DEF...OR ANY NIGHT OUT! 31 ST. JOSEPH STREET
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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 Nelson Branco, Kalvin Coria, Colin Druhan, Ryan Emberley, Adriana Ermter, Jeffrey Feng, Ruth Hanley, Jacq Hixson-Vulpe, Ashley Kowalewski-Pizzi, Karen Kwan, Patrick Lacsina, Michael Pihach, Al Ramsay, Maria Rodriguez, Jumol Royes, Adam Segal, Renee Sylvestre-Williams, Terri-Lynne Waldron, Doug Wallace, Casey Williams, Ryan Wohlgemut DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS Reggie Lanuza DIRECTOR OF MARKETING Woodrow Monteiro MARKETING AND PROMOTIONS MANAGER Bradley Blaylock CONTROLLER Jackie Zhao
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Mardi Gras madness in Sydney, Australia (Photo: Jeffrey Feng)
FEBUARY / MARCH 2016
06 | REJUVENATE, REVIVE, REFRESH! It’s summer! Lighten your load with season-appropriate products for hair and skin care
08 | WHAT DEFINES AN EMPLOYER AS LGBT INCLUSIVE? Survey takes the pulse of Canadian workplaces 09 | HOW TO GET CROSSFIT WITHOUT HURTING YOURSELF So you’ve decided to give this workout a try 11 | EVOLVING TD’S LGBTA CUSTOMER INITIATIVE IN’s Money$tyle columnist, Al Ramsay, chats about his expanded role at TD Bank 12 | DATING AND DISCLOSING THAT YOU ARE HIV POSITIVE Dating is hard for anyone, but dating while positive can pose some unique challenges 13 | TAKE OFF YOUR TOP FOR THE PERFECT DATE The coolest convertibles for a hot summer 14 | THE ADOPTION OF LITTLE MISS FANCY PANTS (BY HER GAY DADS) IN’s Wheels columnist, Casey Williams, shares the story behind his new book
15 | ON THE TOWN Scenes from the party circuit
FEATURES 18 | FEMINIST TV ICONS MEET IN COMIC WORLD Comic book writer Andy Mangels brings Wonder Woman and The Bionic Woman together, and talks about his groundbreaking career 20 | AMAZON, WARRIOR, DIPLOMAT, ICON Why Wonder Woman has become an enduring gay icon
22 | SUPERHERO ENVY AND THE JOY OF BEING OUT Move over, Deadpool: Luke Macfarlane wouldn’t mind playing a gay, caped crusader
28 | AMFAR RAISES MORE THAN $3.5 MILLION AT HONG KONG GALA Celebs kick up their heels to support AIDS research
30| BEAUTY BOYS How four men are changing the face of the makeup industry
32 | DJ ZEKE THOMAS OPENS UP ABOUT BEING SEXUALLY ASSAULTED The son of NBA legend Isaiah Thomas reveals he was raped at ages 12 and 27
33 | TO BE OR NOT TO BE… VULNERABLE Unmasking the truth behind the stories we tell ourselves to avoid being seen
34 |MIAMI STREET TO BE RENAMED AFTER MOONLIGHT It will be called Moonlight Way to celebrate Barry Jenkins’ achievements in moviemaking
44 | DID YOUR FINGER LENGTH, YOUR OLDER BROTHERS OR BROADWAY MUSICALS MAKE YOU GAY? A Toronto researcher searches for the developmental stage that determines sexual orientation and gender identity
46 | MARDI GRAS MECCA Sydney pulls out all the stops for its annual Pride blowout. Put it on your gay bucket list now, while you still have the stamina to follow through 50 | FLASHBACK Toby’s Act: a historic achievement for Ontario’s trans community
35 | FASHION Summer styles that will help you look your best when the temperatures start to soar
REJUVENATE, REVIVE, REFRESH! It’s summer! Lighten your load with season-appropriate products for hair and skin care
By Adriana Ermter
There’s a saying in Canada: if you don’t like the weather, wait five minutes. And while it’s (mostly) true, when winter’s cold season finally breaks, so should your personal care habits. “Spring is the perfect time to refresh your beauty and grooming routines,” says Kathy Reilly, associate director of education for Kao Canada. “You need to change your regimen to accommodate the seasonal changes.” It’s time to re-examine and rejuvenate the products you’re using from your head to toe.
skin tone and discoloration. Then, shelve your heavy creams and moisturizers and pick up a lightweight lotion, such as Nivea All-in-One Facial Cleansing Lotion ($9, available at Shoppers Drug Mart), which works as a face cleanser and hydrator in one easy application. Finally, smooth on Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Lotion SPF 60 ($14.50, available at Walmart) for a layer of protection against the sun’s harsh UVA and UVB rays.
Face and neck After months of hiding behind thick scarfs and wool turtlenecks to avoid freezing temperatures, your skin is more sensitive and congested than you may realize. “Your skin has just undergone extreme climate assault,” affirms Charmaine Cooper, education manager for the International Dermal Institute and Dermalogica Canada. “Exfoliation equals hydration, so you need to exfoliate to shed the dry, dead skin cells and reveal brighter, more hydrated cells.” For a healthier glow, use an exfoliating scrub or retinol-based nighttime product such as Dermalogica Overnight Retinol Repair 1% ($134, available at dermalogica.ca) to accelerate skin renewal and reduce the appearance of wrinkles, uneven
Hair and scalp Think of your scalp as an extension of your skin that requires a balance of oil and water just as your face and body do. The challenge is achieving the perfect balance. “As we move into spring and early summer temperatures, the scalp produces more oils, so your hair doesn’t need as much moisture as it did during the colder temperatures,” says Reilly. “Your scalp and hair acclimate to accommodate the environmental changes.”
Swapping your moisture-rich shampoo for a lighter version will give your hair more volume and body, and will help prevent flakes, remove dead skin cells and condition your scalp
without weighing down your hair. Deep-cleansing shampoos such as KMS Head Remedy Deep Cleanse Shampoo (from $20, available at salons) are also ideal at removing sweat and chlorine and are safe to use daily, while dry shampoos such as Cake The ’Do Gooder Volumizing Dry Shampoo ($19, available at Shoppers Drug Mart), can be used in between washes to absorb excess oil. Body, including hands and feet As you transition from winter to spring, “your body’s skin undergoes similar conditions as your face and scalp,” says Cooper. “So regular exfoliation and optimized moisturization are key to ensure your skin looks its best.” Replace thick and creamy shower cleansers with light gels and foam-based versions such as Dove Shower Foam in Cucumber and Green Tea scent ($8, available at Shoppers Drug Mart), which lock in essential lipids and proteins to keep your skin feeling light, hydrated and healthy. And while you can pack up and store your thick body creams until next winter, don’t skimp on moisturizing. Refreshing, light lotions such as Philosophy Fresh Cream Lotion (from $17, available at Sephora) absorb into your dermis quickly, ensuring your skin looks and feels hydrated all season long. ADRIANA ERMTER is a Toronto-based, lifestyle-magazine pro who has travelled the globe, writing about must-spritz fragrances, child poverty, beauty and grooming.
PROPERTY DIVISION. ASSET PROTECTION. COHABITATION AGREEMENTS. CHILD CUSTODY AND ACCESS. DIVORCE. ARBITRATION AND MEDIATION. INTERNATIONAL FAMILY LAW ISSUES. RELOCATION. PRIVATE ADOPTION. LGBT HUMAN RIGHTS ISSUES. RESTRAINING ORDERS. PRENUPTIAL AGREEMENTS. SEPARATION AGREEMENTS. SPOUSAL SUPPORT. WILLS & ESTATES AND MORE.
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PRIDE AT WORK
WHAT DEFINES AN EMPLOYER AS LGBT INCLUSIVE? Survey takes the pulse of Canadian workplaces By Colin Druhan and Jacq Hixson-Vulpe
Lots of employers want potential customers, clients and job seekers to see them as inclusive, and an increasing number of companies are developing strategies to target the recruitment of LGBT people. At Pride at Work Canada, we know that ensuring diversity and inclusion is hard work. Being inclusive of employees who face challenges because of their gender expression, gender identity and/or sexual orientation involves a lot more than simply putting a rainbow flag on the wall or in the window. Since 2013 we’ve been benchmarking the inclusion efforts of Canadian employers with our LGBT Workplace Inclusion Index, a uniquely Canadian tool that helps employers recognize gaps in their diversity and inclusion strategies. The complete Index is a 35-question survey that measures work in a number of areas, including:
Policies and procedures An employer’s internal harassment, discrimination and anti-bullying policies should specifically reflect gender expression, gender identity and sexual orientation as prohibited grounds of discrimination, as well as provide examples of how biphobic, homophobic and transphobic discrimination is manifested in the workplace. Based on the 2016 findings, 74 per cent of organizations have policies that bar discrimination based on sexual orientation, but only 51 per cent have policies that specifically address gender identity and gender expression. Policies must also be reviewed on a regular basis, made easily accessible to employees, and use language that is gender-neutral. Benefits that are relevant to all employees The most inclusive employers understand that LGBT employees may have specific needs related to such things as mental health
support, medical coverage and parental leave. The best benefits packages include drugs related to HIV/AIDS (including PrEP) and coverage for transition-related costs (including gender affirmation surgery), but many employers miss the mark. Of the employers we surveyed in 2016, only 11 per cent have benefits that cover medical transition-related costs, and the vast majority do not have a defined policy on supporting employees who transition on the job. Diversity and inclusion training that addresses LGBT issues One of the biggest barriers to LGBT inclusion in Canadian workplaces is employees who do not have the vocabulary and tools to ask questions in a respectful way. Organization-wide training should help people understand harassment and discrimination policies, teach people how to use respectful (vs. harmful) language, and explain how employees can get help if they experience, or are witness to, harassment. Support for LGBT Employee Resource Groups LGBT Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) provide space for LGBT and ally employees to connect. They can also transform workplace culture in dramatic ways. For any ERG to succeed, it needs an employer that will support it both financially and in principle. It is crucial that these groups have access to a budget as well as someone from the organization’s senior leadership. 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. Want to know how your workplace measures up? Contact info@ prideatwork.ca to get a quick assessment of your employer’s LGBT inclusion efforts.
COLIN DRUHAN is the executive director of Pride at Work Canada, a not-for-profit organization that empowers employees to
IN MAGAZINE foster workplace cultures that recognize LGBT employees. JACQ HIXSON-VULPE is the coordinator of Pride at Work Canada’s LGBT Workplace Inclusion Index program. For more information, visit prideatwork.ca.
HOW TO GET CROSSFIT—WITHOUT HURTING YOURSELF So you’ve decided to give this workout a try… By Karen Kwan
We’ve all seen those CrossFit epic fail videos all over the Internet: people dropping heavy dumbbells on themselves, missing their mark and flailing and falling in the process—the series of cringe-worthy failed moves and injuries seems endless. Samantha Diamond, a public relations director based in Toronto, fell in love with the sport about five years ago, until she was sidelined with a back injury. “The instructors were pretty casual and sometimes corrected my form, but they pushed me to lift more and more weight,” she says. And when she continued to go to class when pregnant, she was often left to her own devices to modify the workout. While CrossFit definitely has a rep for being dangerous, if you’re keen on trying it, how can you keep injury-free? Here are key considerations to help you learn to crush every WOD (that’s “workout of the day,” for you non-CrossFit types) without ending up in your own epic fail reel. Research CrossFit trainers One criticism of CrossFit is that trainers can be certified over a weekend, and many have very little experience. Do your homework on finding trainers with a strong background of experience. “It comes down to the instructor,” says Blair Lyon, co-owner and head coach of Crossfit YKV in Toronto. He suggests looking for trainers with at least two years of experience teaching. “The instructor should get to know the athletes in front of them, and scale the weight or prescribe a different movement for each athlete.” Begin by building a solid foundation of the sport Be wary if you’re a newbie at a CrossFit gym and are thrown right into regular workouts with people who’ve been doing the sport for years. Get prepared for regular classes by doing a series of foundation (or on ramp) classes: you’ll learn proper technique, and both you and your trainer will better understand what kind of volume you can manage.
Beware sacrificing proper form Any trainer or gym that focuses only on completing as many reps as possible or on sticking to the prescribed weight for the WOD— without taking into account form and your fitness level—is not good for you. “Every rep should meet standards; that is the goal,” says Lyon. (As for research on the injury rates in CrossFit, one study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research in 2013 reported that 73.5 per cent of CrossFit athletes in the study injure themselves, from which researchers calculated an injury rate of 3.1 per 1,000 hours trained, which has been said to be similar to training for a triathlon or marathon.) Don’t buy into the “no pain, no gain” mentality Lyon insists CrossFit has come a long way since he first tried it eight years ago, but does admit that in its earlier days, the mentality was to push through the pain no matter what. In his first CrossFit workout, he recalls, he felt like he was going to throw up. Despite his body’s distress, he says that the guys at the gym (“They had limited experience,” he notes) encouraged him to keep going until he finished the workout. “It was a miserable first experience and if I hadn’t had the body awareness that I did, I could have potentially gotten injured.” Diamond says she would happily return to the sport—even with the back injury she suffered, and even though she acknowledges that the classes she has tried lacked personal attention, which could spell out danger and injury for someone with little fitness knowledge. She points to CrossFit’s community feel and the efficiency of the WOD (“It could be a quick 30-minute workout some days, so it’s very convenient!”) as two of its benefits that make her a fan. So, what do you say: do you care to risk becoming OCD— obsessive CrossFit disorder?
KAREN KWAN is a freelance health, travel and lifestyle writer based in Toronto. Follow her on Twitter at @healthswellness and on Instagram at @healthandswellness.
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EVOLVING TD’S LGBTA CUSTOMER INITIATIVE IN’s Money$tyle columnist, Al Ramsay, chats about his expanded role at TD Bank
A little over two years ago, we introduced Al Ramsay to our readers as the contributor for our Money$tyle column when he assumed the role of Regional Manager, LGBTA Business Development, at TD Bank. His role was and still is the only position of its kind in the financial industry in Canada. It was also a big part of TD’s Diversity and Inclusion initiative to deepen their support in the LGBT community. Since then, TD has evolved this initiative with the recent announcement that Al has been promoted to National Manager and now leads a team across Canada. We sat down with Al to get some insights about his new role, his accomplishments and what’s in store for him and his team going forward. Tell us more about your new role and how it differs from your previous one. The biggest change is scope. As my title suggests, I’m now in charge of our LGBTA customer initiative from a national perspective, with regional managers now reporting to me. Overall, our strategy hasn’t changed a lot: our main goal still is to recognize our LGBTA customers, tell them we value their business and continue to provide the best financial advice and client experience. And if you’re not a client (yet), we tell and show you why TD is the better bank. There is no denying TD is seen to be a leader in the LGBT community. Why is that? We’ve had a long history in supporting Diversity and Inclusion in general. Back in 2004, TD was one of the first companies in Canada to provide same-sex benefits for its employees. We were the first bank to feature same-sex couples in a mainstream advertisement. In 2009, we established our Transitioning in the Workplace guidelines for our employees. We support numerous grassroots organizations, including more than 60 Pride festivals across North America. The list goes on. However, most importantly, I believe it’s our genuine commitment from all levels of our organization that supporting the LGBT community is a non-negotiable business strategy from a customer, community and employee standpoint year round. Hence, why we’ve coined #TDPride365 #ForeverProud.
couldn’t have done this without a dedicated team of advisors across the bank. They are the best advisors in the industry. What’s the most difficult part of your job? Saying no to people. There are so many wonderful initiatives in our community across the country, and I’m proud to say TD supports the majority of them—but, unfortunately, we cannot back everything. However, we try our very best to support, whether monetarily or in-kind, where possible. What can we expect from you and your team going forward? Gosh, there are so many things we would like to accomplish! First on my radar is to evolve our national strategy by deepening our support in our largest markets: Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal. Secondly, to expand more broadly in other markets such as the Prairie region, where we have tremendous support from our community partners, leaders and employees. You’re always at community events, seminars, networking events, etc. How do you separate your professional life from your private life? Honestly, for the most part I don’t. I really love what I do, so I incorporate both. I know how fortunate I am to do what I do. I couldn’t imagine in my wildest dreams growing up in Jamaica that I would be living in the greatest country in the world and working for the best organization. Also, it doesn’t hurt to have a very supportive and understanding husband.
What’s your biggest accomplishment since this initiative started? Firstly, we’ve proven to the organization that not only is supporting the LGBTA community the right thing to do, but it makes good business sense. Numbers wise, we’ve excelled beyond expectations. Secondly, we’ve been able to embed support for our initiative across the entire organization. It’s business led. What do you attribute to your success to? Hands down, it’s my team, and their undying passion about the work they do to support our community. This doesn’t surprise me, because our people are the heart and soul of our organization. I
AL RAMSAY is TD Bank Group’s national manager, LGBTA Business Development, and leads a team of expert advisors dedicated to serving the 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.
DATING AND DISCLOSING THAT YOU ARE HIV POSITIVE Dating is hard for anyone, but dating while positive can pose some unique challenges By Adam Segal
About six months ago, I was diagnosed as HIV positive. I knew there was a chance of becoming positive because I’d had a few higher-risk slip-ups so wasn’t totally shocked, but I was definitely overwhelmed at first. I have a great GP and started treatment right away, and I quickly became and remained undetectable. I’m only now thinking about dating, and this has me pretty stressed out. I’m terrified that someone will berate me for not disclosing it up front, but also feel like there’s no way to casually drop my status into the conversation without it seeming dramatic or ending up with me getting rejected before they even know me. I’m also aware of the laws around disclosure, and shudder at the horror stories of people being charged for not disclosing. How can I do the “right thing” without freaking guys out or being super awkward? —Evan Dear Evan:
I’m so glad to hear that you’re getting good health care and support, and that you’re feeling ready to check back into the dating matrix. Your question highlights a very complex and contentious issue regarding criminalization of HIV-positive folks and the related fears they face about being prosecuted for not revealing their HIV status prior to having sex. I could write pages about how homophobia has informed laws in ways both oppressive and unhelpful. You may want to look into the nuances of the current laws in your area, to make sure you are fully informed and ready to consider all your options around disclosure. Beyond those legal factors, my hope is to offer some support about the stress connected with disclosing, and how you can take care of yourself as you start to date. It is clear that you feel a need to be up front with potential sexual partners about your status, and your anxiety makes so much sense. Despite great advances in the treatment and management of HIV, there is still an abundance of fear and judgment
that makes disclosure a real drag (criminalization laws really don’t help here!), and the possibility of rejection is all too real. That said, there’s a lot of mixed-status and same-status coupling going on in a relatively breezy way when people are willing to be real with one another and sidestep outdated hysteria or unexamined ignorance. Most importantly, consider all your options in terms of how and when to disclose. If you feel the need to tell people right away, that is absolutely an option. For some, getting to know someone first and taking the time to see if there is relationship potential before disclosing is what feels most comfortable and practical. How you go about this has to feel right to you, but remember: you certainly don’t have to apologize for having a virus. There’s no doubt that you will meet guys who welcome your disclosure and won’t feel this to be a barrier to moving things along. Others might initially have a fearful reaction, but with time could adapt to a more current and realistic understanding of hooking up with an undetectable partner. And then there are those dudes who, for a whole host of reasons, are utterly closed to being with an HIV-positive person. (Interestingly, a lot of those guys will hook up with folks whose status is unknown, which intrinsically comes with greater risk.) Dating, for anyone, can be hard on ye olde self-esteem—all the excitement and lust is usually peppered with moments of rejection and disappointment.Navigating all of that with the additional disclosure piece may not always be simple, but it will certainly get easier as you rack up more experiences—good and bad. Putting your esteem in the hands of another isn’t a good idea for anyone, so remember that you have every right to hot sex and deep love, and that guys who don’t give you the time of day solely because you’re poz have no business sustaining your attention anyway.
ADAM SEGAL, writer and therapist, works in private practice in downtown Toronto. Ask him your relationship or mental-health questions at @email@example.com.
TAKE OFF YOUR TOP FOR THE PERFECT DATE The coolest convertibles for a hot summer By Casey Williams
Warm weather has finally arrived, and with it comes the need for speed—even better with the top down and sitting by the one you love. Go for a date in one of these convertibles and you’ll get anything you want when the sun goes down.
Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 Born in 1969, Camaro ZL1 returns with a supercharged 6.2-litre V8 engine that delivers 640 horsepower and 0-100 km/h in 3.5 seconds. Get it with a six-speed manual or eight-speed automatic transmission. Magnetic ride control, Brembo brakes and Goodyear Eagle F1 Supercar tires keep it grounded. Enjoy Recaro seats, WiFi and a Performance Data Recorder. Put the top down and blow your hair back. Base price: $75,755
VW Beetle Any Volkswagen Beetle Convertible is cool, but it looks especially fetching in Dune trim with Bi-Xenon headlamps, LED headlights and DUNE lettering. While it looks like a beach buggy, its increased ride height can only take light trails. Sandstorm Yellow is the best hue, but you can also get it in Pure White and Deep Black Pearl. Step into a 170 horsepower 1.8-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine. Power the top down in just 9.5 seconds at speeds up to 50 km/h. Base price: $25,390 Fiat 124 Abarth While based on the Mazda MX-5, Fiat uses its own 164 horsepower 1.4-litre turbocharged engine for the 124 Abarth. It connects through a quick-click six-speed manual or automatic transmission. Sporty exterior trim highlights round headlamps, long hood, and rear lights that echo classic Fiat Spiders. Blind spot monitoring, backing camera and rear cross path detection enhance safety. The soft top can be manually deployed from the driver’s seat. Base price: $35,495
Porsche Boxer 718 Named for the Porsche 718 race cars from the ’50s and ’60s, the latest model places a 300 horsepower 2.0-litre “flat four” engine behind the seats. It runs 0-100 km/h in just 4.5 seconds on the way to a 273 km/h top speed. A revised suspension, quick steering and perfect balance make for easy handling. Classic beauty is enhanced by a wider, more muscular appearance and optional LED headlamps. In any decade, the car looks drop-dead sexy. Base price $61,500
CASEY WILLIAMS is a contributing writer for Gaywheels.com. He contributes to the New York-based LGBT magazine Metrosource and the Chicago Tribune. He and his husband live in Indianapolis, where Williams contributes videos and reviews to wfyi.org, the area’s PBS/NPR station.
THE ADOPTION OF LITTLE MISS FANCY PANTS (BY HER GAY DADS) IN’s Wheels columnist, Casey Williams, shares the story behind his new book
Jerrod, Amelia and Casey
In the fall of 2010, my husband and I decided to adopt. We had been together nearly nine years and loved each other very much, so we were definitely attached for eternity one way or another, and we wanted to share our lives with a child. While we had never been the kind of guys who went out and partied all night or headed to Miami for White Parties, we had no idea how much the decision to adopt would change our lives.
After nearly three years, we received an email from a mother who lived two hours away from us. She was still with the father, and both families were supportive of her choice to put her baby up for adoption. We fell in love with her immediately and officially matched. Nothing except seeing our seconds-old baby girl roll out of the delivery room several months later will ever equal the day we found out we would be parents.
After considering traditional adoptions (where the mother never knows her child), we decided to pursue an open adoption (in which the mother chooses her baby’s parents and all involved maintain an ongoing relationship). Not only were we stressed about adding a baby to our lives, but we began looking for a mother.
All of this took place during a time of shifting rights for these two gay dads. One day before our adoption was to be finalized, a US Federal Court overturned Indiana’s ban on same-sex marriage. My husband and I raced to the courthouse, waited in celebration with others, held hands, and promised to love each other forever. One day later, we returned to the same courthouse with our daughter. We became the first same-sex couple to both legally marry and adopt in Indiana.
We received lots of help from our adoption agency, where the amazing counsellors guided us through every contact with birth mothers and helped promote us as good prospective parents. More important than helping us, the adoption agency made sure that mostly-young mothers were cared for during incredibly difficult decisions. We had some rough moments. We were “live” for a couple of years before we began getting emails and calls from mothers. Even for gay parents, that’s a long wait.We became close with a mother in Fort Worth, Texas, but she lost her baby in a car accident. We also spoke with a mother in Kansas who had multiple kids, including one on the way, by the same father. She was interested in adopting with us, but her boyfriend, who was often in jail, told her he wanted her to raise the child. Of course, he wasn’t going to help much—simply unbelievable. We spoke with another mother who took her baby home, but decided she couldn’t care for him. We could hear the baby in the background when she called us. It was heartbreaking. 14
That beautiful little girl, Amelia Rose Williams—with a middle name given to her by her mother and a first name from her daddies—celebrated her third birthday on March 9. We remain very close with her birth mother and birth father as well as with their families, and think of them as our own. Everybody in Amelia’s life loves her more than the world. For the full story on Amelia Rose’s adoption, check out Casey’s book, The Adoption of Little Miss Fancy Pants (By Her Gay Dads), available on amazon.com.
ON THE TOWN
SCENES FROM THE PARTY CIRCUIT By Michael Pihach
Firefly Pub at The 519 1: Heather Myers, Maura Lawless, Christina Martin, 2: Vince Morano, Armando Mendonรงa, 3: Bill Coulter. SNAP at Bram & Bluma Appel Salon 4: Jason Patterson, Scott Mullin, John Maxwell, 5: DJ Sumation, 6: Sonja Scharf, Kelly Kyle, 7: Kelly Jordan, Ian Whittaker, 8: Peyman Kamrani, Andre Rose. Strangelove at Brooklynn Bar 9: Clay Brown, Brennan Hodge, Eric Hutchison, Ben Lavrysen, 10: David Robert, Andrew Edwards, 11: Stephen Anton, Andrew Moses, 12: Rama Luksiarto, Andrew Gouveia, Jason Yantha.
plan your summer
Trade in your everyday routine for a fresh change of scenery and a weekend of unexpected adventure just a hop, skip and a jump north of Toronto.
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FEMINIST TV ICONS MEET IN COMIC WORLD Comic book writer Andy Mangels brings Wonder Woman and The Bionic Woman together, and talks about his groundbreaking career By Terri-Lynne Waldron
It is no surprise that comic book writer Andy Mangels is Mangels served as editor of the award-winning Gay Comics for indulging in the comic world as an adult. At an early age, he eight years. He was instrumental in bringing it into the mainstream, immersed himself in comics on his path to becoming a bestselling a feat that at the time had never been accomplished. author, an award-winning comic book anthology editor, and a DVD producer and director—to name just a few. “When I wrote an article for Amazing Heroes [a magazine about the comic book medium], it was radical because no one had really “I started to read comics around the age of four or five,” says the discussed the topic of the characters and gay creators in the comic openly gay Mangels. “One of the earliest comics that I got was a book world,” he says. “At that point, Gay Comics as an anthology Teen Titans comic from the 1960s, and very soon thereafter I read was an underground comic. It was only sold in certain stores and Justice League and Wonder Woman. My favourite characters were it was classified as an adult book—whether it had sex or not, it always Wonder Woman, Aquaman and the Teen Titans.” didn’t matter. It didn’t receive very good distribution and nobody in the mainstream world had worked for it, but it was absolutely As a precocious child, a young Mangels made a bold move that groundbreaking in what it accomplished. When I approached the may have cemented his future: he reached out to DC Comics in publisher, I said, ‘Let me take this to the next step—let’s take this the hopes that they would let him help shape future storylines of into the mainstream.’ So I moved it from a once a year or once some of their comics. every couple of years series that was sold in only a few minor stores, and I got it listed through all the major distributors and got “It was actually kind of funny because I was from a very small town it in all the stores. The other thing that I did was establish a rule in Montana called Bigfork,” he says. “I got my mom’s permission that 50 per cent of the material would be by men and 50 per cent and somehow tracked down the phone number for DC Comics—I would be by women.” believe I was nine or 10 at the time. I called them and offered to give them ideas for free or to create stories for them because I had Go to www.andymangels.com for more. such incredible stories in my nine- or 10-year-old brain, that were bursting to be told.” He laughs. “The receptionist who answered the phone call was very polite and she said, ‘If you want to work in comics, then you need to read.’”
Mangels is currently writing the six-part comic book series, Wonder Woman ’77 Meets The Bionic Woman, for Dynamite Entertainment and DC Comics. Issue #4 in the series is scheduled to be released on May 3. He grew up as a fan of both TV shows and their female leads, Lynda Carter and Lindsay Wagner. “There’s probably no show that has affected my life more than the Wonder Woman and The Bionic Woman TV shows,” he says. “I was a young gay boy in Montana and I had a very good mother and a sister who was seven years older than me, and I was raised to think of women as smart, intelligent, loving and independent people. Lynda Carter played Wonder Woman with such believability. She never played it for kitsch; she always played it straight as if the character was absolutely so certain of her mission and of the importance of truth and love and the importance of not getting into conflict if you can avoid it. With The Bionic Woman, Lindsay Wagner played her so smart and with such a sense of humour and a very quirky attitude.” Andy Mangels
TERRI-LYNNE WALDRON is a Montreal-born, Toronto-based writer. As a freelancer, her work has appeared in publications such as the Toronto Star, Metro, Windy City Times and Urban Latino.
AMAZON, WARRIOR, DIPLOMAT, ICON Why Wonder Woman has become an enduring gay icon By Renee Sylvestre-Williams
It’s a good thing Wonder Woman is powerful: she has a lot of expectations riding on her shoulders this summer when her solo movie hits theatres. She means many things to many people. To some she’s an Amazon, warrior, superhero and part of the Justice League triumvirate. She’s also a feminist, ambassador and lesbian, according to psychiatrist Fredric Wertham, who wrote Seduction of the Innocent, and a gay icon to others. Wonder Woman has always been a character who has reflected the socio-politics of the time.
Phil Jimenez, the comic book artist and writer who worked on Wonder Woman from 2000 to 2003, has said in a Newsarama article that the character is “the perfect representation of ‘The Other’” and called her the “the perfect queer character.” He also said she was more progressive during her early decades. “Comics served as an outlet for sexuality. It was just generally not discussed in public, so when we look at queer ideas within that, we’re looking at this very loaded text,” says Brian M. Peters,
an English professor at Montreal’s Champlain College. In 2003, Peters published Qu(e)erying Comic Book Culture and Representation of Sexuality in Wonder Woman, which analyzed Wonder Woman through queer theory. Both men have been Wonder Woman fans for decades, reading the comics and watching the TV show. They agree that her twirl—which changed her from Diane Prince to Diana, Wonder Woman—is iconic. So when Peters began his research, it was a natural fit to look at Wonder Woman through queer theory. “My vision was very particular,” he says. “I was coming fresh out of my Ph.D., which was primarily looking at very heavy comparative literature from French philosophy to American expatriate writers in Europe, so I went into Wonder Woman understanding it through queer theory.” Her appeal as a queer icon, says Peters, is due to the multiple
Wonder Woman stars Gal Gadot and opens in theatres on June 2, 2017
nuances of her narrative. “There are three different nuances that take place, and I think that’s also what makes Wonder Woman unique. You’ve got that heterosexual storyline of the empowered straight woman who could attract this wonderful alpha male. There are the lesbian parts, which [The Challenge of Artemis series] really crystallizes in the contemporary readings, and the queer parts. Reading Wonder Woman as drag queen, as gay boy wanting to have some power in a very straight world, I think with the three of them spinning—and I’m using that word on purpose—I think that’s what makes the narrative queer and less timeless.” Jimenez says Wonder Woman’s position as a queer icon is because the character has always been anti-traditional, anti-patriarchal and anti-assimilationist, political actions that have helped shape queer culture. Wonder Woman’s story has been a strange narrative. She was created by the American psychologist and writer William
Moulton Marston and throughout her run, she’s been seen in a number of personas: super-powered, rescued by Steve Trevor, depowered, a detective wearing an Emma Peel-inspired white outfit and doing martial arts, and regained her powers. Jimenez says a lot of that is due to her writers. Many of them were men and, says Jimenez, they were writing for the comic industry’s main audience of boys and young men. As a result, Wonder Woman moved away from her diplomatic and ambassadorial role and became more militant. The current writer, Greg Rucka (Queen and Country, Lazarus, Gotham Central) confirmed to Comicosity last fall that Wonder Woman has had relationships with women. While we may not see those relationships flowering on screen (nothing in the current movie’s trailer suggests that), the current comic run has Wonder Woman back to her early years and has become inclusive once again. Wonder Woman will be released on June 2, 2017.
RENEE SYLVESTRE-WILLIAMS is a Toronto-based writer. When she’s not writing, she’s collecting and reading Greg Rucka’s run on Wonder Woman.
SUPERHERO ENVY AND THE JOY OF BEING OUT Move over, Deadpool: Luke Macfarlane wouldn’t mind playing a gay, caped crusader By Nelson Branco
It’s Pride month—and London, Ont., native Luke Macfarlane is proud of himself for managing to be out as an actor in Hollywood and still manage to work steadily for almost a decade. Coming out in an interview with The Globe and Mail in 2008, Macfarlane wasn’t sure at the time of how news of his sexuality would impact his career—especially during that recession-plagued era. The Lester B. Pearson School for the Arts and Julliard graduate said at the time, “I don’t know what will happen professionally.… That is the fear, but I guess I can’t really be concerned about what will happen because it’s my truth. There is this desire in L.A. to wonder who you are, and what’s been blaring for me for the last three years is how can I be most authentic to myself.” Macfarlane first caught critics’ attention with his performance in FX’s gritty US army series Over There, which was produced by NYPD Blue/L.A. Law showrunner Steven Bochco and focused on the first tour in Iraq. Then came what was arguably his breakout role in ABC’s drama Brothers & Sisters, where he played popular Scotty Wandell, husband to Kevin Walker (played by Matthew Rhys). Since then, the former singer and songwriter has worked on Canadian series Satisfaction as well as NBC’s The Night Shift and PBS’s Mercy Street.
Just about every actor and their stepmother has a superhero franchise. Would you be up for sporting some tights in your own superhero film in the future? Omigod, of course I would. My agent would kill if I didn’t do that. Of course, you need to find the right superhero who matches the deeper aspect of your personality. So who would my superhero be? He’d probably an architecture fanatic… One who likes dudes? Other than bisexual-leaning Deadpool, we don’t have any gay superheroes on the big screen. That is so true. But you know what? Things are changing so rapidly so I could see it happening, for sure. I’d be down.
Your body is a machine these days. What did you do with that lovely tall and lean build we all loved? You could definitely fill out a superhero costume today. [Laughs] Awww… I’ve always been very schizophrenic. I don’t always know what I want to do professionally. On Brothers & Sisters, it was a huge and successful TV series. I loved playing IN caught up with the 37-year-old hunk, who has been romantically Scotty. That show probably got me the most recognition in my linked to actors like Wentworth Miller, to chat about playing a career. When the show was wrapping up, I remember saying, gay superhero one day, whether Pride needs to reinvent itself and ‘Oh no. I have to move on to something new. I need to reinvent why he thinks Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is the world’s moral myself. I need to think about the next stage.’ So that’s when I compass in these uncertain, chaotic times. decided to transform my body. When I was doing the Broadway play, The Normal Heart, I was working out all the time. I For those who haven’t watched Killjoys, what can they expect? remember when I was backstage in between shows, the director It takes place in an unspecified place and future. The trio of bounty would say, ‘Luke, you have to stop working out! You look way hunters are played by me, Aaron Ashmore and Hannah John-Kamen. too healthy to play an HIV patient in the 1980s!’ I did want to It’s an unlikely, future family drama. Aaron plays my brother and do a lot of action and adventure films and TV, so that’s why my character has a thing for his best friend, played by Hannah. It Killjoys is a perfect fit for me. has a lot of action and comedy. What are you doing at the gym? Why is there such a fascination with sci-fi and superhero I train almost every single day. I usually go to the gym before work. I content at the moment? find it makes my day so much easier if I have already worked out. My cynical answer is…especially looking at the film industry today, I really enjoy the rowing machine when I’m not doing weights. Today, he’s sporting armour as D’avin Jaqobis on Space’s sci-fi fantasy series Killjoys, which returns for a second season on June 28 at 8 pm. Killjoys is described as a “fast-paced space adventure about a trio of hard-living, party-loving bounty hunters working for the R.A.C. (Recovery and Apprehension Coalition).”
because there’s a lot of rebooting of old narrative.… I think it’s due to studios being scared that no one will come to see a new story, so they rely on projects with pre-existing fan bases. So many of the ’80s audiences now have young families, so it’s a good time to reintroduce a proven, successful franchise to a new generation via their parent, who also gets an update to watch. One of the reasons I’m really proud of our show is because it’s original material. But my other answer is that I think people need right now to escape to a world they can create in their own imagination, given the state of everything going on today in politics.
Luke Macfarlane as D’avin Jaqobis on the Space television science fiction series, Killjoys
How do you deal with being a sex symbol? Some in the industry worry you can’t be an authentic sex symbol and be out. Researching your career, I read a quote from a director who didn’t want to cast you as a gay character because you come off too heterosexual! First of all, who knows what being a sex symbol is? It just means getting more attention if you look a certain way. As far as identity and how I want to be perceived, I really feel like I just want to be known for my work and that I want to keep working. The perception of being gay or straight, I don’t know, I think we’re in a new era in life where it doesn’t matter as much as it did before, but I could be totally wrong. You came out in 2008. Had you stayed in the closet, imagine how much more difficult these past nine years would have been. Any advice you would have given yourself back then? I would have told myself, especially when I was younger, that I 24
should be easier on myself. I remember my first professional TV show and I wasn’t as open with everybody about myself as I could have been. Yes, it was a different time back then, but you always have to give people the autonomy to react in their own way to our own truths. This year the Toronto Police are banned from marching or displaying any booths at this year’s Pride Toronto celebrations, after a motion from Black Lives Matter–Toronto ‘passed.’ Thoughts? I won’t be here for Toronto’s Pride. I’m not going to say anything about the issue but I do feel like we have to be inclusive with ideas and people—and those who want to march with our community should be allowed to. Do you think Pride needs to be reinvented? It’s more relevant than ever in the US given this current White House administration.
I do think Pride is still relevant. Acts of gathering are still powerful, as we saw with the Women’s March. Pride and Pride parades are two very different things. There has been so much discussion about slacktivism and what we really gain from retweeting/ tweeting causes, but I think the act of gathering publicly is still a very profound and powerful experience—as we’re seeing all over the world. The commercialism at Pride? Listen, I remember being at a New York Pride parade and I saw these go-go Altoid boys in red Speedos. I was like, ‘Oh, what does this have to do with Pride? And that’s a straight trainer from Equinox gym on that float!’ But I don’t know…maybe that’s how you get people out these days, with the lure of Speedos. Do you like Prime Minister Justin Trudeau? I think he’s a moral compass of the Western world. I can say I’m deeply proud of his commitment to immigrants and refugees. I think he’s important not only to Canada but also to the rest of the world. Narratively, Brothers & Sisters was kind of ahead of its time, but its ratings weren’t on fire. It aired before streaming services tackled heavier material. While it could have continued a few more seasons, I consider the show a success. Do you think the show’s lifespan was cut too short? It’s hard to tell. We did have a big cast and we had a lot of big names. It was hard to keep everyone happy. I feel particularly blessed in that role because Matthew and I got along so well. You can tell the writers liked writing for us so we always had a good storyline. I don’t think a lot of the other actors felt that way. I would have
loved to have seen Scotty and Kevin go on but others felt we had told all the story we could. Do you still see Matthew? [Sarcastically] I hear he’s doing pretty badly in his career right now… [Laughs] No, he’s doing really well. I haven’t seen him in a while but we do exchange texts occasionally. It must be a good time to be in Canada, as the US seems to be imploding politically. It’s great. I got here to Toronto a couple of weeks after Christmas, but I’ll be spending the summer in L.A. It’s nice to be here because I have a lot of pride in Canada. I will say Canadians really love talking about Americans, though! I’m constantly being asked what I think about Trump. During the past two years, I’ve been flying down to Richmond and Petersburg, Virginia, to film a PBS series called Merchant Street about the Civil War—which couldn’t be a more American experience—but then I would fly back to Toronto, so I do have one foot in each country. It’s a good balance. Are you single these days? Not sure if you want to share your romantic status. Yeah, I’d rather not. I don’t like to talk about my personal life in interviews. Hard-hitting question time: boxers or briefs? Or a hybrid? [Laughs] I have to tell you I wear all types of underwear. It depends on the workout of the day.
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.
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PRIDE TORONTO DJ LINEUP ROUND ONE PURPLE DISCO MACHINE • STONEBRIDGE • SEAMUS HAJI BARRY HARRIS • DJ KITTY GLITTER • DEKO-ZE JOJOFLORES • JELO • YES YES Y’ALL • MIKEQ / QWEEN BEAT SHIVA • ROBB G • WAKE ISLAND • MOBILEGIRL TICKY TY • MIZ MEGS • DJ HARAM • LISSA MONET TYGAPAW • JASMINE INFINITI • DJ BLACKCAT CRAIG DOMINIC & MORE TO BE ANNOUNCED
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AMFAR RAISES OVER $3.5 MILLION AT HONG KONG GALA Celebs kick up their heels to support AIDS research By Ryan Emberly
The American Foundation for AIDS Research (amfAR) and its loyal band of celebrity supporters made a splash once again with the charity’s third annual Hong Kong gala. Co-chaired by Charlize Theron, the recent Studio 54-themed event at Shaw Studios in Hong Kong raised over $3.5 million (USD) this year—bringing its three-year total past the $10 million mark.
Theron, clad in a dazzling black Saint Laurent gown, walked the red carpet alongside Naomi Campbell (in Ralph & Russo) and Charli XCX (in Stella McCartney). Kenneth Cole, Mark Ronson and Jackie Chan rounded out the star-studded guest list.
Chan, it turns out, is an excellent auctioneer. In two languages and with his signature sense of humour, the Hong Kong movie legend expertly auctioned off a number of big-ticket items, including a stay in Leonardo DiCaprio’s Palm Springs villa, and an appearance in an upcoming Sylvester Stallone movie that fetched $300,000. Following musical performances by K-pop singer/rapper CL and British pop star Charli XCX (her fourth time performing for amfAR), Brit DJ Mark Ronson and supermodel Naomi Campbell helmed the turntables and kept the affluent attendees dancing late into the night.
The scene inside the gala
Charli XCX performing
Mark Ronson on the decks
Charlize Theron and Jackie Chan
RYAN EMBERLY is one of Canada’s premier event photographers. He shoots top-tier press launches, galas and private functions both nationally and internationally. In 2015, the Toronto Star dubbed Ryan the “younger-gen’s go-to snapper.” His photos have appeared in Vogue and W Magazine, among others.
How four men are changing the face of the makeup industry By Ashley Kowalewski-Pizzi
The expectations of various gender roles go as follows: young girls will grow up and play with makeup, eventually making it part of their daily routine (but, of course, never so much that it distracts or becomes too bold), while young boys follow more “masculine” pursuits. We all know how the story goes: if a boy were to become too interested in such things as makeup—you know, more than your average general curiosity of why his female counterparts powder their faces and apply black goop to their lashes each morning—he would be assumed gay and likely subsequently ridiculed.
Brands have a long history of ambassadors, or faces that represent the company and help to launch new products. And while fragrance and male-focused skin care have long since brought men into the equation, the same hasn’t been said for makeup companies—at least until now.
historically speaking, makeup was a universally worn accessory. From the ancient Egyptians to the French monarchy, makeup was never solely reserved for women. And yet, in more recent decades, you’d hardly ever see a man wearing makeup unless he was in drag. In addition to Patrick Starrr and Jeffree Star, two other men—Manny MUA and James Charles—have also become household names on the YouTuber circuit. They create show-stopping looks, from your everyday smoky eye and natural makeup to bold, colourful drag-worthy designs, while also informing men and women alike which beauty products are worth the splurge.
These four men now have more followers on Instagram and subscribers on YouTube than some up-and-coming influencers could dare to dream of having—and two of them even have ambassadorship deals and collaborations with big-time mass-makeup brands like Maybelline and CoverGirl, which seems like a big step in the Men have always had a presence in the beauty industry. In fact, right direction. As Patrick Starrr expresses in his Instagram bio, some of the best makeup and hair artists have been male, like the “makeup is one size fits all,” proving that inclusivity and diversity is late and revolutionary Kevin Aucoin and Vidal Sassoon. But what stretching into every corner now—and that’s exactly what we want. has been less obvious is the guys wearing the makeup themselves. Earlier trailblazers like Patrick Starrr and Jeffree Star not only Jeffree Star (born Jeffrey Steininger) gained notoriety in the made makeup artistry cool by tapping into the beauty YouTuber mid-aughts, but before he made his stamp on the beauty industry, craze, but they wear it even cooler. The irony, we all know, is that he was known for a hit single that made it big on the now-extinct
social media platform MySpace. Someone who has notably and openly spoken about wearing makeup early in his teens, it seemed inevitable he would eventually rise to fame on the beauty front, too. Now, with a huge following—4.4 million followers on Instagram and just over four million subscribers on his YouTube channel—he took the plunge into product development and launched his own beauty brand, Jeffree Star Cosmetics, in late 2014. Patrick Starrr was next on our “who to notice” list, though he rose to fame in 2013. Born Patrick Simondac, the 27-year-old was working at MAC Cosmetics while going to nursing school when it became apparent that it was time for him to switch gears—in an interview with Nylon Magazine, he recalled that he had once been told to wipe his makeup off while he was working. We’ve come a long way when it comes to accepting people as they are, but it feels like there are still miles to go. Though when Patrick Starrr teamed up with Formula X for the brand’s #ColourCurators collection—a nail brand, no less—we were definitely listening. Now, with more than three million followers on Instagram and two million subscribers on YouTube, the world is definitely listening. Manny Gutierrez, known to the world wide web as Manny MUA, is the third shining star to add to this quartet of talent. He has
3.4 million followers on Instagram and more than 2.6 million subscribers on YouTube, and says he owes a lot of his inspiration to both Jeffree and Patrick. The three of them are now friends and colleagues in a variety of ways (in that same Nylon interview, both Patrick and Manny referred to themselves as work wives), but it was the news that Manny and Jeffree would be collaborating together that really sent fans into a frenzy. Of course, while diehard beauty buffs have been waiting for the release of the Skin Frost high-shine highlighter and three new liquid lipsticks, it was the announcement that Manny MUA was mass-makeup giant Maybelline New York’s first-ever male brand ambassador that had our ears perked. Manny announced on Instagram that he and fellow beauty YouTuber Shayla (Makeup by Shayla) would be a part of the Big Shot Mascara campaign earlier this year, which came as a happy surprise after hearing about another first. James Charles, who is not yet 18 years old, made headlines back in October when he was announced as the first-ever CoverBoy for the mass-makeup brand CoverGirl to help launch the brand’s So Lashy mascara. He was just the first in a long line of diverse faces that CoverGirl has added to its roster, including YouTuber Nura Afia, Queen Latifah, Ellen DeGeneres and Janelle Monae, to name just a few.
ASHLEY KOWALEWSKI-PIZZI is a Toronto-based writer and editor who has more pink lipsticks, neon Post-its and daily cups of coffee than the average human. When she’s not testing out beauty products, you can find her hanging around the city with her pup Odie. Follow her on social at @ashkowapizzi.
DJ ZEKE THOMAS OPENS UP ABOUT BEING SEXUALLY ASSAULTED The son of NBA legend Isaiah Thomas reveals he was raped at ages 12 and 27
DJ and producer Josh “Zeke” Thomas has opened up publicly for the first time about his experience with sexual assault, revealing on Good Morning America and in a recent New York magazine article that he had been raped twice.
The disclosure came on the same day that the US National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC) announced that Thomas, 28, would become their first male ambassador. He has also since released a PSA on supporting survivors of sexual assault.
“Being gay, being African-American, it’s definitely something that I never imagined would happen to me,” Thomas told GMA’s Robin Roberts last month.
“You know a survivor of sexual violence,” he says in the PSA. “You might be the first person someone tells immediately after being sexually assaulted. Or a survivor might wait weeks, months, even years to say what happened. Both are common, normal reactions.”
Thomas, the son of NBA legend Isaiah Thomas, said he was raped for the first time when he was only 12 years old, and again just last year. “At first I didn’t realize what had happened, what had transpired. I knew that it was wrong, I knew that I did not want it. I did not seek it out,” he said of the sexual assault he experienced when he was 12. “I didn’t let my family know until much later that this had happened.”
He added, “It was definitely hard for them to hear, and even more hard for them to hear that it happened again.” In an interview with New York magazine, he discussed the rape he experienced last year, which he says happened after he was drugged while on a date with someone he met on Grindr. “All I remember is…getting in the cab. I know that I got drugged. I knew probably the moment that it happened because something didn’t taste right. But I didn’t think about it. I just didn’t think about it.” Afterwards, Zeke said, he couldn’t leave his apartment. “I didn’t move from my apartment for two days. I didn’t move. I didn’t talk to anybody. I froze.” 32
Thomas says he didn’t tell friends or family about the assault right away and began using drugs to cope with his pain. Eventually, he did end up telling his parents, and they got him help. The experience made him want to be a spokesperson for the NSVRC so that he could talk about something we don’t often hear about in the media: sexual assault in the gay and black communities. According to the NSVRC, 40 per cent of gay men and 47 per cent of bisexual men report having been victims of sexual violence aside from rape in their lifetime, compared to 21 per cent of heterosexual men. The US Bureau of Justice Statistics notes that black people are at a higher risk of sexual assault than other communities. And, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (via ABC News), more than 19.5 million men in the US are the victims of contact sexual violence, including rape, over the course of their lives. That’s why Thomas opened up in the PSA for NSVRC about his status as a survivor, and talked about how to talk to survivors in a supportive way. Hopefully, his words and honesty will help others who have also experienced sexual assault know that they aren’t alone.
TO BE OR NOT TO BE… VULNERABLE Unmasking the truth behind the stories we tell ourselves to avoid being seen By Jumol Royes
Start a conversation about being vulnerable and take note of the reactions: people tend to clam up, change the subject or dismiss the idea outright. I know, because I used to be one of those people. Vulnerability isn’t tied to being fun or sexy and it rarely tops a list of trending topics. The truth is, vulnerability is hard—and sometimes, it just plain sucks. For most people (myself included), the thought of being vulnerable—i.e. uncertainty, risk and emotional exposure—can be terrifying. So it’s not surprising that we wear many masks (I’m putting all my imperfect perfectionists on blast) and play a variety of roles (here’s looking at you, my people-pleasing peeps) in order to protect ourselves from vulnerability.
We tell ourselves a lot of stories that make it difficult for us to open up and tear down our walls. Brown has debunked some of the most common vulnerability myths to help move the process along. Myth #1: Vulnerability is weakness Vulnerability is a perfect example of a case of mistaken identity. We associate it with weakness when in fact it’s the ultimate demonstration of courage. We value it in others, but are afraid to let them see it in us. Is it weak to be true to yourself in the face of uncertainty, risk and emotional exposure? I don’t think so.
But when the perfecting, pleasing and pretending becomes too exhausting, our eyes can be opened to the simple truth that all we need is the courage to show up in our lives and allow ourselves to be seen just as we are.
Myth #2: I don’t do vulnerability You’re on a first date worrying about whether or not the guy sitting across the table really likes you. That’s vulnerability. You share a personal post on Facebook even though you aren’t sure how it will be received. Vulnerability. Or maybe you’re taking a leap of faith and trying something new. You guessed it, vulnerability. Life is vulnerable. If you think you don’t do vulnerability, think again.
Bren é Brown is a research professor at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work who has spent more than a decade studying vulnerability, courage, worthiness and shame. Her 2010 TEDxHouston talk, on the power of vulnerability, is one of the most watched TED talks in the world, with close to 30 million views. (Watch it at www.ted.com/talks/ brene_brown_on_vulnerability.)
Myth #3: Vulnerability is letting it all hang out When we equate being vulnerable with being an open book about everything with everyone, we’re no longer talking about vulnerability. We’re talking about WikiLeaks-style information sharing. Vulnerability is not a tool to use or a weapon to wield; it’s a state of being and a two-way street where boundaries and trust are essential.
In Daring Greatly, her number one New York Times bestseller, Brown writes: “As children we found ways to protect ourselves from vulnerability, from being hurt, diminished, and disappointed. We put on armor; we used our thoughts, emotions, and behaviors as weapons; and we learned how to make ourselves scarce, even to disappear. Now as adults we realize that to live with courage, purpose, and connection—to be the person whom we long to be—we must again be vulnerable. We must take off the armor, put down the weapons, show up, and let ourselves be seen.”
Myth #4: I can go it alone Like love, belonging and connection, vulnerability is a team sport. We all need encouragement to travel the unbeaten path, and a helping hand when we inevitably stumble along the way. When one of us hurts, we all hurt—but when we rise, we rise together. To be or not to be vulnerable really isn’t the question. The better question is: do you have the courage to show up in your life and be seen?
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.
MIAMI STREET TO BE RENAMED AFTER MOONLIGHT It will be called Moonlight Way to celebrate Barry Jenkins’ achievements in moviemaking Awards season may be over, but Barry Jenkins’ groundbreaking film, Moonlight, is still racking up honours. After taking home three Academy Awards and one Golden Globe, the film is being celebrated once again. A street in Miami’s Liberty City neighbourhood—where Moonlight largely takes place—will be renamed Moonlight Way after the film. Moonlight Way will encompass the length of Northwest 22nd Avenue from Northwest 61st Street to Northwest 66th Street. Jenkins (the film’s screenwriter and director) grew up in the neighbourhood himself, as did Tarell Alvin McCraney (the playwright of In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue, the play upon which Moonlight is based). “We’re two boys from Liberty City, representing the 305 [Miami’s area code],” McCraney said, standing next to Jenkins while accepting the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay earlier this year.
“This movie—at least what I got from it— depicts the life of how a lot of us were raised and what we had to go through and endure as children in the inner city,” Commissioner Audrey Edmonson of Miami-Dade County told the Miami New Times. The county’s commissioners (elected officials) are sponsoring the name change.
“This goes out to children still living here in the inner city who are told they’ll never amount to anything,” she continued. “It shows that it doesn’t matter how you were raised or where you grew up; you can still turn out to be someone.” The film has been unanimously praised for pushing past tired, limiting stereotypes of inner-city African-American life by presenting a young gay boy’s quiet story of his search for himself. Edmonson believes Moonlight has created national awareness of the impoverished neighborhood. “To everyone, I’d say it’s still not too late to watch it. It will bring awareness to those not brought up that way.” The name change passed unanimously, and the legislation stated that Moonlight “evidences the possible heights of success for students from underserved communities and dysfunctional family backgrounds, and exemplifies life’s possibilities when family members foster a love of reading and when neighbors and educators fight for all students and cultivate their talents.” Here’s to driving along Moonlight Way and feeling extra proud.
Alex R. Hibbert and Mahershala Ali in Moonlight
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DID YOUR FINGER LENGTH, YOUR OLDER BROTHERS OR BROADWAY MUSICALS MAKE YOU GAY? A Toronto researcher searches for the developmental stage that determines sexual orientation and gender identity By Paul Gallant
Decades ago, if little Leo was more interested in the hockey team captain than in hockey, or if little Laura was more interested in playing soccer with her dearest friend than in playing house, an expert might be called in to look for something or someone to blame. Was Mom too bossy? Was Dad absent? Were dolls too accessible (or not)? Had a creepy uncle done something?
In more recent times, thinking about the causes of homosexuality and gender nonconformity (for example, effeminate behaviour in people born male, or masculine behaviour in people born female) has shifted away from environmental factors. Instead, researchers are homing in on pre-natal factors like genes and what happens during those nine months in the womb. Despite Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way” decree, scientists don’t expect to find anything that looks like a gay gene. Sorry to say, Gaga, but they’re still grappling with the reasons for—and the possible evolutionary purpose of—homosexuality.
that throws a wrench into someone’s plans for a gender-normative heterosexual offspring. So when I saw a new study that suggested that (I know this is a coarse paraphrase, but I can’t resist) gay male bottoms are more likely to be left-handed or ambidextrous than tops, I knew I had to find out more. The study, based on data from research subjects recruited at Pride Toronto 2015 and on Facebook, was co-authored by Doug VanderLaan, an assistant professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Toronto Mississauga. He founded the Biopsychosocial Investigations of Gender Laboratory shortly after he started at the school in 2015, aiming to do comprehensive investigations into sexual orientation and gender-non-normative behaviour, drawing on developmental, social, cultural, cognitive, biological and clinical psychology, as well as neuroscience. As a student, the topic intrigued him.
That’s why you’ll regularly see studies suggesting that, say, lesbians are more likely to have index fingers shorter than “One of my professors was one day talking about motivations their ring fingers, or that gay men are more likely to have more behind behaviour, including sexual behaviours,” says VanderLaan. older brothers. Though these studies seem mostly to function as “Heterosexuality, from a biological evolutionary standpoint, has icebreakers at parties (“Take a look at these gay fingers!”), what an obvious function of passing on your genes through sex where they’re looking for are biomarkers that help us see inside the process reproduction is a possibility. Then he asked, What could the function of human development. For example, if we know that finger-size of same-sex sexuality be? He basically had no answers. The fact ratio is affected by testosterone and estrogen levels during a that there wasn’t an answer to that question—I was gobsmacked.” certain period of development, and if we show that finger-size ratio correlates to sexual orientation, then we can speculate whether it’s With another researcher, VanderLaan helped study female Japanese exposure to a particular hormone at a particular time of pregnancy monkeys that engage in same-sex mounting, and later helped study
the human group known in Samoan culture as the fa’afafine, who are considered a third gender. Closer to home, VanderLaan has worked on studies examining the connection between sexual orientation and gender atypicality, and depression and anxiety; studies on self-harm and suicidality in children referred for gender dysphoria; and studies linking fraternal birth order to sexual orientation in men.
routes. To be cheeky: your gayness might have been caused, in part, by a hormone wash late in your mother’s pregnancy that makes your finger ratio weird, while my gayness might have come from a hormone wash early in my fetal development that makes me ambidextrous. Or whatever. We’re both “born gay,” but our preferred sexual roles and sense of gender identity may have emerged along very different pathways. We belong to different tribes.
Most studies like this are looking for differences between straight and not-straight. But some of VanderLaan’s more recent work “I am hesitant to argue that these biomarkers are somehow indicating explores the idea of dividing gay people into subgroups in order to processes that are directly related to the sex role that someone get a clearer picture of what shapes us. The study I mentioned earlier prefers to take or actually does take,” says VanderLaan. “I think compares the left- or right-handedness of tops to that of lifetime that’s likely to have a lot to do with other factors—social factors sissy bottoms (my paraphrase for what the study describes as “the as opposed to biological factors.” variation in anal sex role behaviour and recalled childhood gender nonconformity”). This builds on previous research suggesting that In his 12 years in academia, VanderLaan has seen dramatic changes self-identified bottoms tend to be more gender nonconforming than in mainstream views. In 2005, it was considered difficult to detect tops, and so might be more linked to specific biomarkers than tops. bisexuality in men. Nowadays, men are considered to have lots of variability and fluidity: there are heterosexual men, mostly “Gay men who reported being more mixed-handed or left-handed heterosexual men, bisexual men and everything in between. tended to be less gender conforming,” says VanderLaan. “That tells us that the processes related to handedness aren’t just related to “One thing I’ve learned is to never get too comfortable with one sexual orientation. They are related to this subset of gay men who way of thinking about sexuality because a few years and a few are more in the middle [between male and female] in terms of their papers down the line, the tone of the field can change,” says gender-role presentation…. But among straight men, if they were VanderLaan, who happens to identify as straight. “When I first left-handed, then they were more masculine. So we’re finding the started, I was more of the point of view that everything is biologically opposite pattern among gay men and straight men.” determined. I think now I can appreciate the role of development, our experiences and the context in which we live in terms of influencing Which raises the question of whether people come by their sexual our ideas of what is appropriate sexually and what kind of identities orientation and gender expression via different developmental we should form. There is so much potential for complexity there.”
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 executive editor at BOLD magazine.
MARDI GRAS MECCA Sydney pulls out all the stops for its annual Pride blowout. Put it on your gay bucket list now, while you still have the stamina to follow through By Doug Wallace
We arrived on Thursday, totally skipping Wednesday. “It’s like stepping into the future,” I told my partner drily as we packed our bags for Australia. The irony was lost on him that he was at that moment throwing out his gold lamé shorts, which hadn’t survived the washing machine. No matter: there would be plenty of lamé to spare, and gold—and glitter, and sparkles (not to be confused with glitter), and confetti, and feathers, and makeup, and wigs, and rainbows, and leather, and tulle, and bikes, and much more. The annual Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras continues to foster rights and equality for LGBTQ+ individuals and communities in Australia and around the world. My pilgrimage to it didn’t disappoint, with all the players coming together nicely to serve up the city’s unique gay culture and the international scope of Mardi Gras in equal measure. It was, in short, and using the local vernacular, a bloody good time, mate.
This year’s theme of Creating Equality heavily underscored Australia’s current fight for gay marriage. With Australia’s reputation for being so easy-going, it’s a bit surprising that their legislation is so far behind—even further than the US, for crying out loud. Although the majority of Australians and government MPs support the Marriage Amendment Bill, the Senate is still ironing out the wording so as not to step on any religious toes. Don’t get me started. Speaking of tolerance, during the course of my weekend, I happened to follow two men holding hands walking across the Pyrmont Bridge one afternoon. Yes, I was checking out their asses, but I was also checking out the looks they received from passersby. And there were quite a few prolonged stares: not exactly consternation, but certainly “giving pause” expressions. It made me think about how much we already take for granted here at home. 46
But back to the glitter The floats mustered in Hyde Park, then headed down Oxford Street and carried on to Flinders Street, with about 12,000 marching this year and close to half a million watching. “Backstage” was remarkably orderly for so many people and tractors and balloons. Toronto parade organizers could learn a thing or two from these people, I thought, including the smart idea of holding the parade at night, and setting up proper bleachers to watch it from. That they sold tickets to these particular elevated seats was genius. Of course we splurged. New faces in the parade this year included members from the transgender community of the Tiwi Islands in the remote Northern Territory, who had crowd-funded in order to travel the 4,000 kilometres to Sydney. Inspiring to say the least. Familiar faces included the “1978ers,” who had met with unexpected police violence, assault and arrest 39 years ago. Three hours later, after bikes, dykes, fairies, rugby players (sigh), chess pieces, dolphins, furries, angels, marching bands, schoolkids and cops(!), we were busy accepting Facebook friend requests from the people sitting behind us. The big party followed the parade in pavilions nearby that everyone just walked to (again, so orderly and civilized). The dancing was epic, the lights stellar, the people-watching spectacular. Some friends had told us before we left Toronto of a previous Mardi Gras experience, in which police and dogs had combed the dance floors, but they must have all taken the night off this year. One of the showtime highlights included participants from the My People My Tribe community photography project, which showcased the experiences of LGBTQ+ people to help support those who may feel like they’re floundering or disconnected. The
Photos: Jeffrey Feng
TRAVEL group’s float earlier in the night was more like an art installation, each letter in EQUALITY spelled out in three-metre-high 3-D letters, each featuring the portrait of a participant. The result was a very captivating and encouraging visual feast. Bright lights, big city With all the distracting gayness, it was hard to remember that there was an actual city to explore beyond Oxford Street. Sydney is very manageable and walkable, the central business district fringed with many little pockets of fun, each neighbourhood radiating its distinct character, one not just centred on ethnicity. The harbours and little bays are achingly picturesque, and the busy districts of Newtown, Darlinghurst and Surry Hills provide numerous taste sensations and way-cool watering holes. (Note: Sydney folk use the term “suburb” when referring to a neighbourhood.)
People tend to make at least one visit to the Opera House, an icon etched onto the minds of millions. The Opera Bar—a giant covered outdoor bistro and bar that stretches along the waterfront walkway—is a must-do, as is the 360 Bar and Restaurant revolving at the top of Australia Square tower. Drinks here give you a view of the whole city, provided you relax there long enough for one full spin. This might sound like pure tourist cheese, but the opposite is the case—cool grown-ups only. Nary a sport sandal in sight.
Bondi to Bronte Beach. The sea was particularly dramatic that day, which made it perfect for the surfers, whom I’m convinced have at least nine lives. We wandered the rocky cliffs ogling the massively expensive homes and imagining ourselves wintering here in some distant future. A guy can dream. We stopped for quite a while to watch four extremely good soccer players play beach volleyball, using soccer rules—feet, head and chest. Is this a thing? we wondered. Yes, indeed, footvolley was invented by some cool cat in Brazil and was one of the demonstration sports at the recent Olympic Games in Rio. Before heading back into the city centre, we took a brief respite at the rather posh Bondi Icebergs Club, where we invented the game of Spot the Brand Name while watching the beautiful people gobble up their crudo and crackers. Luckily, my swimmers were fancy enough to double as shorts, and nobody said anything. The first glass of bubbly went down far too easily, and backup was required, until the sun started to set. Our Mardi Gras weekend finished up with an afternoon/early evening sexy dance party at an old theatre downtown. It was fun and intimate, with blinding lights, suggestive glow sticks, and lots of muscles. It was the type of party where the inside of your nose smells like armpit the next day. Truly, just when you think you can’t dance another step, you actually can. I didn’t come all this way to sit on a park bench.
Speaking of which, this town is pretty relaxed sartorially, which has a lot to do with the crushing heat for so much of the year. Less is definitely more when it comes to dressing for a night out. Leave the heavy denim at home when you go, and break out the breathable, And neither will you. Australia’s high season is November to May, moisture-wicking gear. I learned this the hard way. and the shoulder seasons with their more temperate temperatures are also good. Plan ahead so you have lots of lead time to save up. And then I rocked hot pants Hopefully, you can celebrate marriage equality—and every other Recovery came in the form of a manageable transit ride to Bondi type of equality for everyone—when the 40th Mardi Gras party Beach on the east edge of town, followed by a coastal walk from presses play next year. It’ll be a doozy. 48
DOUG WALLACE is the editor and publisher of travel resource TravelRight.Today.
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FLASHBACK JUNE 2012 IN LGBT HISTORY Toby’s Act: a historic achievement for Ontario’s trans community
On June 13, 2012, the Ontario government finally passed Bill 33 (named in honour of accomplished trans activist, pianist and jazz musician Toby Dancer), which amended the Ontario Human Rights Code to include gender identity and gender expression. The passage of Toby’s Act made Ontario the first major jurisdiction in North America to provide long-overdue human rights protection for transgendered people.
It took six years and four separate attempts (2007, 2009, 2010 and 2012) for Ontario New Democrat MPP Cheri DiNovo to get the amendment passed. DiNovo dedicated her work on this issue to Dancer, who had died in 2004.
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