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Outwords | May/June 2012 | Issue 193 | Serving the GLBT Community Since 1994


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A U G U S T 9 -3 1


The miracle of Pride editorial


Gay judge triumphs in court

international news

inside outwordS may/June 2012


Hate case goes to Supreme Court national news


Winnipeg Pride at 25


pride parade route





pride week events

Safe at school

How to build a Pride float

Gio’s celebrates its 30 years of service



The perfect Pride costume


The business of Pride


A beautiful marriage


Here Comes the Pride Fashion fashion


Kickin’ butt at Steers & Queers


A warm welcome

Yes, you can start a blog



EDEN as you’ve never seen it







Mirror image: poetry

trans-woman triumphs over Trump

Generations apart: poetry


wowed by Wiccan Wedding

Club 200 reinvents itself

A surprising beard: poetry

two-SPiritEd PEoPLES wErE rEcognizEd aS having thE SPEciaL rESPonSibiLity of carrying two SPiritS and thiS waS conSidErEd a gift.

Proud with you. Aboriginal Peoples Television Network | Réseau de télévision des peuples autochtones |

outwords Serving the GLBT Community Since 1994 Issue 193• May/june 2012 

Published by the outwords volunteer staff: 

Mission Impossible

Rachel Morgan editor

The annual Pride miracle

Gord McDiarmid General manager

M. Buchanan art director & layout 

Dylan Bekkering Assistant layout

Gord McDiarmid, Debbie Scarborough Advertising

Barry Karlenzig Financial officer

Terry Wiebe, Gord McDiarmid distribution  Vic Hooper web manager

Rachel Morgan, Michele Buchanan, Dylan Bekkering, Corey Shefman, Katrina Caudle, Peter Carlyle-Gordge, Nancy Renwick, Mark Schollenberg, Gord McDiarmid, Jay Richthammer, Shannon VanRaes, Marilyn Bell, Brad Tyler-West, Jason van Rooy, Jefre Nicholls Contributors

Debbie Scarborough, Shayne Duguay, Gail Eckert, Scott Carman, Kevin Hills, Sky Bridges, Dale Oughton, Diane Ready, Liz Millward, Helen Fallding, Barbera Bruce board of directors


201-63 Albert St. Winnipeg, Manitoba R3B 1G4 Phone: (204) 942-4599 For office hours, please call. General Inquiries:

Editor: Creative: Advertising: Distribution: Accounts: Event Submissions: Letters Submissions: Website: Outwords provides news, analysis and entertainment for the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, two-spirit and queer community and its allies.   GST 89671 7618RT, ISSN 1715-5606 (print) ISSN 1715-5614 (online)  Canada Post Publication Licence 416 99032, Contents copyright © 2011 Outwords Alll rights reserved. Outwords is a member of the Manitoba Magazine Publishers’ Association. Articles are not necessarily the views of the staff, management, or board. We accept no liability for our advertisers’ claims.

editorial rachel morgan

By every measure, Pride festivals across Canada have become more successful every year. The number of floats and marchers is increasing and the crowds lining the routes continue to grow. Even smaller cities are managing to stage their own scaled-down events. But with success come problems. Take Vancouver, for example. One of Canada’s largest Pride festivals came exceedingly close to collapsing this year. After months of internal strife, Vancouver

voice but eventually ended up with two groups running two separate events – Pride Week and Divers/Cite – which reflect the cultural and language divides that still exist in Canada’s most cosmopolitan city. It would make sense to have one large festival, but organizers have been unable to unite the communities. Toronto’s Pride festival has been dogged for several years by a dispute over whether a group called Queers Against Israeli Apartheid can bring Middle East politics into the parade. In 2010, the Toronto Pride festival organpride festivals can cost hundreds izers decided to ban the group. of thousands and involve countless It was a no-win scenario for numbers of volunteers who must do the organizers. If they had let the immeasurable hours of work. group participate in the parade they would have run afoul of Pride Society members kicked out their the City of Toronto’s anti-discrimination board and president. In March, a new policy. The city gives $121,000 to the board and president were elected. festival – money the festival needs. As The turmoil was over alleged voting well, it would have offended many Pride irregularities, but outsiders will never likely sponsors, Jewish advocacy groups and a know the entire truth. Regardless of the lot of Torontonians. On the other hand, actual reasons, it shows the kinds of stress the decision to ban the group led to other that are now part of organizing a large anGLBT activists denouncing the ban as nual Pride festival. It is no longer enough censorship. to have an ad-hoc group of community So far, Winnipeg’s volunteer Pride members get together over coffee to figcommittee has managed to keep a lid on ure out a 30-minute parade and rent a hall things while producing a larger festival for a party. each year. But you can be sure the workPride festivals can cost hundreds of load is a killer and behind the scenes they thousands and involve countless numbers are struggling with money issues, political of volunteers who must do immeasurable issues and logistical issues. hours of work. This is big-time stuff. It It’s really no surprise there is high requires people with strong organizational turnover in Pride festival organizations skills, strong financial skills and strong poacross Canada. It’s a tough job for little litical skills. Pride organizations aren’t for or no reward – and too few people in the the faint of heart. community are willing to do it. One has The larger the festival, the more comto wonder how many more years we can plicated it gets. That’s especially true of go on expecting ever more miraculous our bigger cities where the GLBT commufestivals. One thing is for sure, if we take it nities reflect multiple languages, ethnicifor granted, it’s likely that someday we will ties and religions. see a headline saying “No Pride parade In Montreal, the gay community this year.” O struggled for years to create a unified // outwords, may/june 2012

4 5


Compiled by Peter Carlyle-Gordge

Gay judge wins custody of kids

Nookie spotted through porthole

SANTIAGO, CHILE » A gay judge has

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC » Two men from California have

won a custody case

pleaded guilty to charges of breaking Dominica’s anti-gay laws after

against the Chilean

being seen having sex on a gay cruise ship. AP reports that the

courts which had

men, who were on a Caribbean gay cruise when they were spotted

taken away her three

having sex on the ship by someone on the island of Dominica,

daughters in 2004

were fined $900. The Palm Springs couple were aboard the Atlantis

believing her sexuality

Events-chartered Celebrity Summit ship, which sailed on to St Barts

put their development “at risk”. As the Inter-American Court of Human Rights is the ultimate adjudicator for

without them after their arrest.

NEPALBUNJ, NEPAL » Nepal’s first openly gay MP

the Americas, deciding cases in accordance with the

Pope disses gay marriage

has secured the opening of the country’s first gender-

American Convention on Human Rights, it marks the end

neutral washroom. The public convenience, paid for by a

VATICAN CITY » Pope Benedict has again denounced the

of eight years of legal battles for Karen Atala. The Court

Parliamentary Development Fund, opened in the western city

“powerful political and cultural currents” seeking to legalize gay

criticised the decision by Chile’s Supreme Court

of Nepalgunj under the auspices of Sunil Pant. “I decided to

marriage in the United States, where Maryland has just become

to uphold an order removing Atala’s children from

use part of my parliamentary development fund to build the

her and giving their father custody because of

toilet that is “for all”, not just for men and women,” said Pant.

Atala’s sexual orientation. Chile’s supreme

“Toilets and places for praying are simultaneously private

court had ruled that the girls were in a

and public places, but for those people who don’t identify as

said the traditional family and marriage

“position of risk” and could have

male or female, accessing these places might mean that they

had to be “defended from every possible

harm done to their “psychic

have to reveal an intimately private aspect of their lives to

misrepresentation of their true nature”

development” by living with the

strangers and authorities.”

because, he said, whatever injured

judge and her female partner.

families also injured society.

the eighth state to allow it. The pope’s latest comments came in an address to bishops from several Midwestern states on a regular visit to the Vatican. He


Homophobic DAR ES SALAAM, TANZANIA » Campaigners in Tanzania have criticised some schools for making HIV-positive pupils wear a red ribbon on their uniforms. The headmaster of one school said it was done at the parents' request to ensure that all sickly pupils do not do tasks that may affect their health. But such stigmatization is against the law, punishable by up to three years in jail, a campaign group warned. It’s believed at least seven schools in the area operate the ribbon policy. "They are only doing that because they want to identify those who are


BELARUS » The president of Belarus has responded to German criticisms of his government’s human rights record and accusations of a dictatorship in the European

state by saying it is “better to be a dictator than gay.” Alexander Lukashenko has been described as the “last dictator in Europe.” His latest comment came after Germany’s openly gay Foreign Minister criticised his 18-year rule and recalled the German ambassador from Minsk. Guido Westerwelle is Germany’s first openly gay foreign minister. Homosexuality is legal in Belarus but gays still face much discrimination.

HIV-positive," said Jane Tibihita, a co-ordinator of Upendo Partnership, a local campaign group.

Webcam spy defends reputation

Hellish comments! JACKSON, MISSISSIPPI » A high school principal in Tennessee has resigned

PLAINSBORO, N.J » The former Rutgers University student convicted in a webcam spying

following allegations she told gays students they were “going to hell”. The Jackson Sun

case says he was insensitive toward his gay roommate but not biased, and that he doesn't

reported that Dorothy Bond of the Haywood County High School had resigned. Later

think he was the reason for his roommate's suicide. Dharun Ravi, 20, was convicted in March of

the Haywood County Board of Education said it “strives to provide an atmosphere of

invasion of privacy and bias intimidation, a hate crime, after using a webcam to view a snippet

tolerance and diversity while maintaining high academic standards.” Bond was alleged

of Tyler Clementi's dorm-room liaison with another man, then tweeting about it. Clementi later

to have made homophobic comments in a meeting with students. Said one student:

threw himself off a bridge. “I didn't act out of hate, and I wasn't uncomfortable with Tyler being

“She directly pointed to the gay people and said if you’re gay you’re going to hell and if

gay,” Dharun Ravi told The Star-Ledger of Newark.

you’re pregnant, your life is over.”

Karen Busby, Academic Director, Centre for Human Rights Research Initiative, and Professor of Law at the University of Manitoba, is a unique form of trailblazer – the trails she blazes open up new spaces for genuine collaboration, in the classroom and the courthouse, but also on our streets and in our communities, wherever there are voices needing to be heard. Action-oriented and interdisciplinary in outlook, Professor Busby has worked relentlessly to bring about the social change necessary to resolve real-life challenges faced by the LGBTQ community, Aboriginal people, sexual assault victims and others in Canadian society.


Inducted in 2011 into the Canadian Q Hall of Fame, she is just one of many University of Manitoba faculty, staff and students dedicated to human rights generally and the LGBTQ effort in particular.

For more information about Karen Busby and the Centre for Human Rights Research Initiative, visit


Compiled by Peter Carlyle-Gordge


OTTAWA » The Department of Foreign Affairs is warning gay travellers to tread carefully in St. Petersburg, in advance of the Russian city’s incoming laws banning homosexual “propaganda.” The vaguely written law cracking down on displays and even public discussions of homosexuality has just come into effect in St. Petersburg . Offenders under the new law risk arrest, criminal prosecution and fines of between 5,000 and 500,000 rubles ($167 and $16,763). “Canadians are advised to avoid displaying affection in public, as homosexuals can be targets of violence,” the advisory reads. “Homosexuality is legal, though some still strongly disapprove of it.”

Ontario Catholics split over GSAs ONTARIO » A split has emerged among Ontario Roman Catholics over a new provincial bill that would force religious schools to accept gay-straight alliances on their campuses. While the Roman Catholic Church and the province’s Catholic school trustees oppose the bill, arguing that a group advocating for a gay lifestyle is in direct conflict with Church teaching, the Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association, which represents 44,000 separate board teachers, said fear of gaystraight alliances is based on ignorance of what these groups do. “The Catholic bishops need reflect on whether a club like a gay-straight alliance is really going to be about advocating for a lifestyle,” said Kevin O’Dwyer, president of the Ontario English Catholic Teachers Association. “These clubs are about building dialogue and safer classroms and that’s a good thing.”


case goes to top court CALGARY » An anti-gay campaigner who made headlines last year when he argued before the Supreme Court of Canada for the right to distribute hateful literature about gay and lesbian people is again stirring up trouble. Anti-gay activist Bill Whatcott was briefly arrested in March after distributing homophobic flyers in Calgary. Police received complaints about flyers delivered in neighbourhoods near the University of Calgary. He was released soon afterwards with no charges laid. The Calgary Herald says one resident called police after receiving a flyer that included anti-gay statements and pictures of genitalia infected with a sexually transmitted infection. Whatcott received national exposure last fall when he appeared before the Supreme Court of Canada to challenge the hate speech section of the Saskatchewan Human Rights Code. In 2005, the Saskatchewan Human Rights Tribunal fined him $17,500 for distributing hate literature in the province. The Saskatchewan Court of Appeal overturned that decision in 2010. The case is now pending before the Supreme Court.

204.985.9200 OUTNABOUTTRAVEL.COM 8 9

outwords, may/june 2012 //

Was medication withheld? VANCOUVER » A man who knowingly spread the HIV virus to four women claims the British Columbia govenrment failed to consistently provide him with the medication needed to keep his virus under control. Charles Mzite has launched a complaint with the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal, claiming his treatment regime was interrupted 36 times while he was at the Vancouver Island Regional Correctional Centre. The rights tribunal has agreed to hear the case, saying it raises important issues around a vulnerable person. Mzite was convicted of aggravated sexual assaulted by a B.C. Supreme Court judge in March 2009, eight years after he moved to Canada from Zimbabwe.

Elton John joins fundraiser TORONTO » Fashion Cares, the AIDS fundraiser, is back, and this year Sir Elton John will be the headliner, according to the AIDS Committee of Toronto (ACT). The Sept. 9 fashion and fundraising event, chaired by Michael King and David Furnish, will feature a gala party, an intimate dinner and a live show, with

Vancouver Pride in turmoil VANCOUVER » The president of the Vancouver Pride Society (VPS) has been ousted and a new interim slate of directors will govern the organization until the end of the year, members decided at a special general meeting on March 11. An overwhelming majority of the nearly 100 members present voted to nullify January's election results due to “voting irregularities.” Gone from the board is the narrowly re-elected president, Ken Coolen, who claims he had been elected fairly. The new election was held in the wake of alleged voting irregularities involving individuals casting multiple votes.

performances by John and other notable international musicians to be announced later this spring. Tickets go on sale in June. “2012 is going to be a very special year for Fashion Cares as we partner with the Elton John AIDS Foundation to transform Fashion Cares from a Toronto-based initiative into one that reaches and helps Canadians nationwide,” said King in a news release.

Homophobie » non merci WINNIPEG » The Université de Saint Boniface has some work cut out in terms of normalizing the idea of homosexualité on campus. Social work students had put together a campaign using thought provoking posters, photographs and brochures, only to have it torn down soon after in an act of vandalism. In light of the cowardly act, the posters are going back up and the campaign is back on stronger than ever. After all, isn’t French the language of love?

Fuming over smoking law

OTTAWA » Organizers of Capital Pride are worried the City of Ottawa’s proposed expanded smoking ban will hurt attendance at this summer's Pride festival. The proposed bylaw, which city council plans to implement this spring, will effectively prohibit smoking in all outdoor areas under the city's jurisdiction, including Marion Dewar Plaza, the venue for Capital Pride celebrations. “If the proposed bylaw goes through, we hope that this year's festival season will have a grace period and [provide] education from Public Health for all festival attendees," says Loresa Novy, chair of Capital Pride. Capital Pride committee members say studies show that smoking rates are approximately twice as high in the gay community as the general population. They worry that the proposed ban could discourage a significant portion of the community from attending the festival site.


Pride 25 years later By Nancy Renwick

The first official Pride march in Winnipeg was a celebration, but it could have been a protest instead. On July 15, 1987, the Government of Manitoba passed legislation that recognized the rights of gays and lesbians. A couple of weeks later, the march took place. A group in Winnipeg were planning some sort of event for a couple of weeks after the vote took place in the Manitoba Legislature, they just weren’t sure what that would be until after the final count took place. “It was either going to be a demonstration if it didn’t pass, or a celebration it if passed,” said Albert McLeod, a two-spirit activist who was there at the first parade.

The crowd at the inaugural parade was somewhere between 150 and 300 people, with some allies there as well. Some of the marchers wore T-shirts with the parade’s slogan, “Out on the Streets.” It was a nice sunny day, with people dogs, signs, some kids and a green Volkswagen bug at the front of the parade. That first parade went from Vimy Ridge Park to the Legislature, McLeod recalled. “It was a festive and pleasant thing, with balloons and such, no violence or other harassing incidents,” said Chris Vogel, who was at the parade and had been involved in gay and lesbian activism since the early ‘70s in Winnipeg. In 1974, he was part of a national gay conference that took place at the University of Manitoba and included the first public gay march on the Prairies. Looking back at that first Winnipeg Pride March in 1987, he was surprised there were so many people, considering it was long before the advent of e-mail and

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outwords, may/june 2012 //

the Internet to let people know about it. “I don’t know how they gathered people,” he said. Then he thought for a moment. “The lesbians had a good phone tree,” he said. John Rymon was a member of the gay youth group when he attended the march. “There was a woman standing

core of that group went on to work on a number of Pride parades after that. “It was an overwhelming sense of freedom that day. It was a licence to be myself. There was strength in numbers and there were only 150 to 200 people that day,” he said before pausing. “Now, it’s 30,000 strong.” He wasn’t worried about being seen. He’d been out since he was about 16 and dressed like Boy George at the time. Although he stood out he says he didn’t encounter much harassment at school. “It was like “Oh, that’s just John. He’s like that.” Albert McLeod described himself as being “very out” even before that parade. He’d been involved with some of the early First Nations groups organizing around two-spirit issues. It was still early in the GLBT rights movement, he remembered, with homosexuality having been removed from the criminal code in 1969. “That’s not very far from 1987,” he said. “There

The energy was there, that this was going to be a force to be reckoned with. You could just feel the energy there counting and you could physically count everyone that was there,” he said. He wound up helping plan many of the Pride parades in Winnipeg after that first one, but he hadn’t planned on participating in the first one. He didn’t have many openly gay friends until he got involved in the youth group. “I didn’t want to go. I kind of stumbled into it,” he said. It really was only intended as a way to hang out with the gay friends he had in the youth group, he recalled. A

was some fear,” he said. “It’s a Prairie city, conservative. Maybe kind of liberal, but when push comes to shove…” Those concerns may have led to some people wearing paper bags at the parade. Vogel said he only remembered a couple. “The people at the parade didn’t mind being seen,” he said. Rymon remembered a few people who looked like they had bags on their heads, but they were more like masks, with decorations. “They’re gay men, “he said. “They’d make something pretty out of it.” McLeod said he knew some people who did wear bags, but it wasn’t out of shame at being gay or being at the parade. “There were concerns about losing your job or violence,” he said. But there was also excitement at what the future could hold. “The energy was there, that this was going to be a force to be reckoned with. You could just feel the energy,” said Rymon. “This was the start of something.” It’s become even more for him

now. “It’s gay Christmas,” he said. “What’s your favourite holiday? Pride.” The parade and the community, he said, have changed since then. “We’re interwoven to society. It’s a family event now. We’re celebrating ourselves.” The legacy goes farther for McLeod. “I don’t think we understood the potential,” he said. “The community was quite small – Purdy’s, Gio’s, Happenings. “ For the Aboriginal community, which began to organize in 1988, the parade galvanized the community. “It created an opportunity for the two-spirited community to be more organized and begin our liberation movement,” he said. “The two spirit community? We wouldn’t be here without the march.” For McLeod, marching has always been important. “It’s for self-liberation. It means you believe in something,” he said. It’s a physical way of embracing your identity. A way of being out.” For Vogel, the advancement of gay rights was helped by the march, but it’s just

one part of the struggle for rights. “What really caused liberation to occur wasn’t the courts or the legislature,” he said, “it was in the living rooms. People became positive when they knew someone. Everything we did was to cause that to happen.” Vogel and Rymon both said they’re amazed at how quickly the changes have taken place. “It surprised me it [legal recognition for gay marriage] happened at all,” said Vogel. “It surprised me it happened so quickly.” But he always thought it should. “What does non-discrimination mean if not that?” he said. “I didn’t think I’d see it [gay marriage] in my lifetime,” said Rymon. Looking back now at 25 years of Pride marches in Winnipeg, he is proud of having been there for the first one. “I was there in the beginning,” he said. “I saw the birth of it in Winnipeg.” – Nancy Renwick is a Winnipeg-based freelance writer. // outwords, may/june 2012

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Winnipeg Pride Week

events Wednesday May 23

Rainbow Resource Centre open house & community barbecue: 5-7 p.m., 170 Scott St. participation by donation Friday May 25 Pride Flag Raising Ceremony: 12:15 p.m., City Hall, 510 Main St., Kick off Pride Week with this official rainbow flag-raising ceremony at City Hall. Justice To Your Nightmare! 9-10 p.m., participation by donation, Lo Pub, 330 Kennedy St., poetry, performance storytelling. Dirty Dance Party: 10 p.m. to 2 a.m., entry $5, Lo Pub, 330 Kennedy St., come out to this tribute party to the dirty, sweaty ‘80s and the Dirty Dancing movie! Saturday May 26 Pitch for Pride Slo Pitch Tournament: 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., entry $100 per team, Old Exhibition Grounds, Sinclair & Dufferin, open to the first 16 teams registered. Pride Without Prejudice Beach Volleyball Tournament: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., entry fees from $60-$100, Adrenaline Adventures, 600 Caron Rd. (Headingley) Registration opens April 30.

Everybody Dance Now! - Family Pride Dance Party: 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., $10 donation or "pay what you can" at the door; kids free, 318 Ross Ave. Sunday, May 27 Pride Family Fishing Festival: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., $20 for adults; kids free, Location: TBD, Check www. Yoga for Couples: 1-3 p.m., $50 per couple, Yoga Centre Winnipeg, 2-915 Grosvenor Ave., all levels welcome, contact to register. Open Hearts: Introduction to Loving Many: 4 p.m., free event, Location: TBD, Visit for location and details. West End Queers BBQ: 6 p.m., $10 (proceeds to Pride Winnipeg), You MUST live in the West End to participate in this event! RSVP to Trevor at tdoner@ to confirm your attendance. Monday, May 28 KWM Wine Walk-About: Doors open 7:15 p.m., tasting starts 7:30 p.m., $25 ($10 of each ticket goes to Pride Winnipeg), Kenaston Wine Market, 1855A Grant Ave., for info or 204-4889463 to reserve your spot.

Manitoba Bar Association/Law Society of Manitoba Pride Reception: 5:30-7:30 p.m., Blackstone Lounge, Taylor McCaffrey LLP, 11th floor, 400 St. Mary Ave., wine and cheese hosted by LGBT members of Manitoba’s legal community. Thursday, May 31 Pride Winnipeg Volunteer Orientation: 6 p.m., Red River College, 160 Princess St., (Room P107). Beyond Gay: The Politics of Pride: doors open at 6:30 p.m., Program begins 7:30 p.m., entrance by donation, Red River College, 160 Princess St. (Room P107) More info: at RRC. ProPRIDE Business Mixer: 5-7:30 p.m., Delta Winnipeg, There is no cost to attend but RSVP is required. Please RSVP to: Friday, June 1 The 12th annual Pride Coffee House: Doors 7 p.m., show starts 7:30 p.m., suggested donation $10+ (proceeds to Camp Aurora), 75 Albert St., Suite 200 Saturday, June 2

Tuesday, May 29

Pride Golf Tournament: Registration 1:30 p.m., Shotgun start 3 p.m., $65 Southside Golf Course, register for this event by calling the Rainbow Resource Centre at 474-0212.

1987 Winnipeg Gay Pride Marchers Reunion: 6-8 p.m., Crossways In Common, 222 Furby St.,visit for additional details. 

All Ages Dance Party: 9 p.m. to 2 a.m., $5, Pop Soda's, 625 Portage Ave., Check us out on Facebook under QueerView – Winnipeg.

Lesbian Lube Wrestling: 8-11 p.m., Club 200, 190 Garry St., Lubed-up lesbians will wrestle to see who is the most smooth, yet tactical Lesbian Lube Wrestler of 2012. 

Sunday, June 3

Wednesday, May 30 Pride Pool Tournament: 6:30 p.m., $15, location to be determined, For more info: PridePoolTournament

Peer Project for Youth Pancake Breakfast: 8:30 10:30 a.m., by donation, Club 200, fundraiser for the Youth Program at the Rainbow Resource Centre. Donations welcome!

parade route on next page >

OutWords is Expanding its Team We are looking for passionate people dedicated to serving the GLBT community Editor • Assistant Editor • New Media Editor • Advertising Salespeople visit for more details on these positions OutWords and its predecessor, Swerve, have been the voice of the GLBT community in Manitoba since 1994. OutWords provides news, analysis and entertainment. If you want to be part of the OutWords team while serving the GLBT community, contact // outwords, may/june 2012

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RALLY AT 11:00 a.m.

Summer in

Saskatchewan May 2 to May 6 Canadian University Queer Conference

June 9 to June 16 Pride Saskatoon

June 18 to June 24 Queen City Pride, Regina

August 3 to August 6 Camp Fyrefly Saskatchewan



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You have questions. We have answers. ®

Please drink responsibly - Moderation tastes so much better ®™ Trademarks of AIR MILES International Trading B.V. Used under license by LoyaltyOne, Inc. and The Manitoba Liquor Control Commission

Outwards-ExpertsAd.indd 1

12-04-13 11:42 AM

By Jason van Rooy The difference between a Pride march and a Pride parade is the floats. Parade floats, loaded with people, dripping with energy and pounding music bring the energy level up in the parade. Without these floats and the music and energy they bring to our annual Pride Parade we would all have a much different experience marching on Pride Day each year. Building that perfect Pride float is no small undertaking, however. Pride floats require planning and co-operation to come together just right but they are worth every second that we put into making them come alive for that one special day. When getting started building your Pride float, there are a few things you need to remember. Following just a few steps will ensure you are able to provide an even better Pride experience, not only to those riding on your float but also for the thousands of people who come out to participate in the parade each year.

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outwords, may/june 2012 //

Get together a group of volunteers to decide on a theme for your float and who will help to build it. Your theme is important, it is the message you want to get out. For some people the theme can be as simple as a slogan painted on the side and for others the theme is worked into the entire float design. Work with your team to decide what time and resources you need to build it.


Register your float with Pride Winnipeg and get all the regulations and safety information you will need in order to construct your float safely.

2. 3.

Floats can be expensive; many floats are sponsored by organizations and businesses that are willing to foot the bill. If you don’t have a sponsor there are ways of keeping your costs down. You can call a trailer manufacturer and ask to borrow a trailer in exchange for putting a sign on the side of your float with their logo. Try to find someone from whom you can borrow a truck or ask for a deal on a rental in exchange for signage. Once you have decided on your theme and design you will need to get your volunteers together to do the actual construction. You will need to find a volunteer whose driveway you can use, or if you have a sponsor ask to build in their parking lot. Make sure you budget some money for treating your volunteers right. Buy them coffee in the morning and lunch in the afternoon. Building a float can take time, so keep your volunteers happy and they will last through the day.



You will likely need music. You can get camping batteries or a generator and borrow or rent a stereo system. There are tons of places to rent generators by looking in your local phone book. If you are renting a generator, you may want to make sure your stereo system is loud enough to overpower the sound from the generator. Once you have built your perfect float, load all your volunteers on it and take it for a test drive around the block. Turn the music up and let them dance and move around on the float. You want to be sure your float is safe, everything is attached, and that the vehicle you are using can handle the constant motion on the float itself. Your float will need to hold a bunch of people for at least an hour, and will need to be safe for those on and around it. Work out the kinks after your test drive and then celebrate with your volunteers.


Make sure you get your float to the parade registration on time so you and your volunteers get a great place in the parade and then enjoy all the fruits of your hard work and have a happy Pride.


– Jason van Rooy is a Winnipeg-based freelance writer. // outwords, may/june 2012

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By Jefre Nicholls

Beyonce, Brittaney and Tyra Banks have nothing on Sofonda Cox, mostly because she's been all of them tucked into one – literally.


iss Cox knows all too well the importance of dressing for the occasion. A staple in the Toronto Pride parade, she knows how to assemble effortless ensembles with nothing more than some feathers, electrical tape and a glue gun. Most of us however lack the centre-stage lighting, back-up dancer boys and pop and lock to pull out all the stops when it comes to dressing for pride. For the secrets behind one of Canada's top kneeling ladies of drag stage and sound we headed direct to the source. With Pride just around the corner and a pub crawl of parties to attend – the fashionesta of the float whose name is more often synonymous with men taking their clothes off, sat down with us to dish on what putting on the perfect Pride outfit is all about.

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outwords, may/june 2012 //

OW: When we first met back in 2002 you had just come

OW: What three things do you notice about a guy’s outfit?

backstage covered head to toe in body paint from re-enacting the

SC: Hmm, that’s tricky. Honestly, the three things I notice about a

Indian Goddess scene from Tomb Raider, where you flew over a

guy’s outfit would be how his pants fit on his butt. I have a butt fetish

crowd of four to 5,000, talk about a look!

(laughs). I love them. The footwear says a lot about the person and

SC: Oh shit, yeah – that was my favourite performance, maybe of

lastly the overall look of his clothes. The style, creativity leaves a

ever. It was for a party called UNITY, held at the CNE – Canadian

lasting impression.

National Exhibition. It was one of my biggest performances where

OW: What do you want to see guys turn out when it comes to their

I got to fly over the crowd in a harness, pyrotechnics were going

pride outfits this year?

off everywhere and I was fully painted from head to my tippy toes

SC: I would love to see guys turning themselves out everyday when

in blue paint. The adrenalin I felt was unexplainable.

it comes to their outfit. If we have to do a Pride outfit, turn out the

OW: When putting together your outfit what is the most important

use of colour- bright neon, colours that pop etc. not rainbow. And if


they have hair. Style it. Give me Hunger Games Chic!

SC: When putting an outfit together, the most important part is

OW: What has been the craziest thing you’ve had to wear for a

that you feel good in it. Feeling good and confident makes all the

Pride performance?

difference in the world. In my case, loose fitting clothes, flowy

SC: The craziest thing I've had to wear for a Pride performance was

skirts are a bonus. It just means I don’t have to tuck. (laughs)

a 12-foot lavender ostrich skirt that opened 20-feet wide, complete

OW: What’s more important at Pride, an outfit that’s sexy,

with hot male dancers underneath. It was astonishing!

comfortable or shows how much pride you have?

OW: Any secret tips or tricks to finish off your Pride look?

SC: What’s more important is that you are comfortable of course.

SC: Smize! Baby. Work your look but as always, Tyra says never

I'm the kind of girl that shows her personality better when I feel

forget to smize – smile with your eyes! You never know when

good and comfy. But of course the outfit has to always be tasteful.

someone could be taking your picture!

I'd rather carry the flag rather than wear a rainbow. // outwords, may/june 2012

19 18

How your business can

benifit from Pride I

n 2010, Pride Toronto had an impact of $136 million and created 600 jobs. Pride Winnipeg has not yet studied its economic impact in our city. But we do know that Rainbow Biz last year more than Mark 15,000 attended the Schollenberg Pride Festival at the Forks, and hundreds of those were from out of town. And any event that brings external dollars into the Winnipeg economy is a good thing. This year’s Pride Week is expected to draw an even bigger crowd and many more out-of-town revellers are expected to come help us celebrate our 25th anniversary. So, what is your business doing to leverage

Most people think of the social and political impact of Pride. But Pride festivals also have a huge economic impact.

20 21

outwords, may/june 2012 //

the excitement (and economics) of Pride? Whether you call the shots or simply make the coffee, here are some ways that you can get your workplace more involved in Pride. The most direct way to get involved is to become a financial sponsor of Pride Winnipeg. Pride sponsors can benefit from exclusivity (being the only hotel sponsor) and a premium exposure (like TD had in 2011). This exposure at the festival and the events leading up to it can go a long way to getting your brand noticed. This year, Pride Week events are expected to draw more than 30,000 attendees. Another option is to provide in-kind support to Pride events. Pride engages all types of vendors to put on the 15-plus events of Pride Week. This year’s Pride Festival will continue to showcase local LGBT-friendly businesses at PrideMART. PrideMART has been an integral part of Pride for years. This is where local businesses can show off their pride (and their merchandise) to the crowds at the festival. Last year, PrideMART showcased more than 40 businesses and organizations that are

dedicated to serving Winnipeg’s LGBT community. Many businesses offer special promotions or products around this time of year geared towards the LGBT community. The Delta hotel usually offers special rates during Pride. And do you remember the rainbow-coloured roses sold by Family Florists & Handicrafts? Think about some promotions that your business could offer. And one thing that every business should do is: decorate and be proud. Pick up a few rainbow flags, some colourful beads, and maybe a feather boa. Celebrating Pride in your workplace helps to build employee morale and boost productivity. It also sends a powerful message to your customers (and vendors) that you care about your community. I look forward to seeing your business at this year’s Pride festivities!

– Mark Schollenberg is Chair of LAMBDA: Manitoba’s LGBT Business Chamber. He is a commercial account manager with RBC Royal Bank.

You make our community an amazing place to live, work and play in. RBC® is proud to share and celebrate PRIDE, today and year-round. For more information on diversity initiatives at RBC, please visit


® / ™ Trademark(s) of Royal Bank of Canada. RBC and Royal Bank are registered trademarks of Royal Bank of Canada. VPS68063

A “God moment”

When love finds a way Jayne and Laurie came to our church about a year ago. Both are deeply spiritual women who have shared an intimate relationship with God for most of their adult lives. They are gay. And, fortunately, they have always known within themselves that God loves them, heart and soul, just as they have been created. One day, the phone rang in my office. I lifted my head from the mountain of paper that always seems to pile up on a minister’s desk and answered. It was Jayne, asking if I would come to dinner. Without a moment of hesitation, I accepted the invitation. After all, who would think to pass up on a home-cooked meal when most of my din-

ners come out of a box? The food, by the way, was excellent and provided a welcome preparation for the wonderful invitation that followed. With eyes brimming and voices choking, Jayne and Laurie told me that they wanted to be married. And, most wonderful of all, they wanted me to officiate at the wedding. It was one of those “God moments” that are absolutely indescribable in the life of a minister. It was to be a small wedding, in their backyard, in a cathedral of flowers and fountains, with family and friends there to offer witness and support. In the days that followed, Jayne, Laurie and I spent countless hours preparing for their wedding ceremony. They shaped and moulded a service that was uniquely their own, filled with promises of love, commitment, faithfulness and hope for their shared future. The centrepiece of the whole affair was a special blown-glass vase in which we created a beautiful rainbow sand sculpture, with layers of multi-coloured sand poured into the vase by Laurie and Jayne and by selected family members and friends. Each layer was a profound statement of love. I poured the first layer, white sand, representing God, the foundation of their married life. And I poured the last layer, white sand, spilling out over the confines of the vase, again representing God and God’s unconditional love that cannot be contained as it spills out over the world. At the close of the ceremony, I offered Jayne and Laurie a blessing from

By Rev. Linda Hunter

God and joyfully declared, “I now pronounce you … spouses to one another and partners in life!” There was a hushed moment of silence, as if God was holding us in that sacred moment, and then the whole backyard erupted in cheers, handclapping, hugging and crying. In a world filled with much that is violent and turbulent, love had found a way to bring two women to this moment - a moment of profound grace and joy. As I bask in the glow of this remarkable experience, I know that many are seeking to legislate against such love. And even though the United Church has declared its full support for same-gender marriages, there are individual congregations that are wrestling with this very issue, refusing to allow their ministers to officiate at such weddings. There are also a number of ministers in the United Church who refuse to officiate at such services. While I can appreciate such struggling, I cannot help but regret the number of gay and lesbian folk who have been deeply wounded by the church’s rejection of them and their love for one another. My deep prayer is that we, as a church that is committed to love and justice, will take to heart the words of the old Shaker song:

When true simplicity is gained, to bow and to bend we shan’t be ashamed to turn, to turn will be our delight ‘til by turning, turning, we come round right! – Rev. Linda C. Hunter is the minister of Wild Rose United Church in Calgary.

In a world filled with much that is violent and turbulent, love had found a way to bring two women to this moment… 22 23

outwords, may/june 2012 //

DR. JON GERRARD MLA for River Heights 204-945-5194

Best Wishes to Manitoba’s GLBTT Community


Celebrate Pride

INSIDE&OUT! Whether you are just beginning to question aspects of your gender or sexuality, or you have come out to everyone you know, it’s important to take pride in yourself and celebrate healthy sexuality for all.


Visit GL BT T *

Free safer sex products are available at Nine Circles Community Health Centre, Rainbow Resource Centre and the Gay Men’s Health Clinic. Title: GLBTT coalition ad for Inside and Out Book Publication: Outwards Image Size: 7” x 4.6”



w w w.g

e titon.c


Walking down the aisle of fashion this season was the most colourful bridal party of vibrant hues seen in years. This confirmation of colourblocking is the No. 1 trend to marry for spring. Bright, bold and in every tone of the rainbow, this Pride, say " I do" to saturated suiting and bright bottoms for a guaranteed way to turn a party of one into a party of fun.

24 25

outwords, may/june 2012 //

Mark is wearing a neon orange-striped tank, jewelled rosary, all from Forever 21. Vintage chiffon rose appliquÊ blazer, stylist’s own.

26 27

outwords, may/june 2012 //

Opposite page: Mark (left) is wearing orange fitted knit blazer, coral sanded silk top from Urban Planet, cockatoo broach by Prada, sunglasses stylist’s own.

Cameron (right) is wearing orange fitted knit blazer and red, orange yellow striped tank, both from Urban Planet, neon yellow skinny jeans from Forever 21, glasses by Marc Jacobs, vintage jewelled brooch, and custom shoes stylist’s own.

Above: Cameron (left) wears cream sheer silk collared shirt with mother of pearl buttons from Urban Planet, aqua skinny jeans from Forever 21 and vintage silk scarf stylist’s own.

Mark (right) is wearing a green knit fitted blazer and blue cordoroy shorts from Urban Planet. Pink and orange sheer silk top and orange chain Forever 21, vintage sunglasses stylist’s own.

Clockwise from top

Mark wears blue linen scarf from Urban Planet, stone washed denim gym bag, Forever 21 and vintage frames stylist’s own. Cameron wears cantelope pinstriped collared shot from Space FB, patterned elastic bandage kilt, Urban Planet, aubergine reptile skinny belt, pink lace leggings and vintage glasses stylist’s own. Mark wears orange fitted knit blazer, coral sanded silk top from Urban Planet, cockatoo broach by Prada, striped leggings by American Apparrel, sunglasses and custom shoes stylist’s own.

28 29

outwords, may/june 2012 //

Cameron wears neon yellow fringe top and aqua skinny jeans, Forever 21. Rainbow sequin jacket and custom shoes stylist’s own. Cameron is wearing a cobalt woven bowler hat, sheer knit sweater, floral printed canvas gymbag worn as a backpack and jeweled bracelet, all Forever 21, jeweled vintage brooch stylist’s own.

Your Members of the Legislative Assembly Jim Rondeau

Jennifer Howard

MLA for Assiniboia 888-7722

MLA for Fort Rouge 946-0272

Understand what matters

to the Community

Ron Lemieux

MLA for Dawson Trail 878-4644

Deanne Crothers

MLA for St. James 415-0883

Rob Andrew Altemeyer Swan MLA for Wolseley 775-8575

MLA for Minto 783-9860

30 31

outwords, may/june 2012 //

Red River College

leads by example

Creating a safe and nurturing space By Brad Tyler-West


s a community member, advocate and educator, I have had the amazing opportunity over the years to be a part of significant changes within organizations – from anti-homophobia training for Winnipeg School Division to gaining equal access to marriage and seeing the massive growth of the Pride Festival in Winnipeg to become the largest between Toronto and Vancouver. I am proud of the past and hopeful for the future. There are shifts happening in our educational institutions. Across the country changes are being made to ensure that education is accessible and safe for all of us, not simply some of us. One of the most-promising recent developments is Red River College’s ground-


outwords, november 2011 //

breaking LGBTT* initiative. It’s headed by Nora Sobel, who talked with OutWords about the project and its goals. OW: Nora, what is your role with the initiative? NS: As the diversity initiatives co-ordinator, I am the staff lead person for the LGBTT* Initiative at Red River College. I plan, coordinate and promote learning opportunities for all students, staff and faculty to provide education on sexual orientation and gender identity – strategies to foster a college climate that is more inclusive of all LGBTT* people on campus and information about resources that exist for LGBTT* individuals on campus and off campus. The cornerstone of our work relates to the development of LGBTT* allies. Allies receive education and training about LGBTT* issues and resources and are expected to support and welcome LGBTT* individuals. Allies

are also informed about LGBTT*-positive counselling resources and can provide referral to these persons and programs as appropriate. My work involves creating learning opportunities that can include training sessions to develop allies for LGBTT* individuals; in-depth training sessions for allies to further develop ally skills; workshops for students to develop awareness about LGBTT* related matters; guest speaker lectures on issues affecting the LGBTT* community, among other learning options. We also have an online site and a resource corner with educational publications. I am also the main point of contact for any LGBTT*-related issues college-wide, and develop and propose college-wide new policies and standards related to support services for LGBTT* individuals across campuses. I partner with college departments to provide LGBTT* educational opportunities or work on LGBTT* related issues, and also liaise with the local LGBTT* community at large

and participate in community-wide LGBTT* activities and/or projects. OW: What are the goals of the initiative? NS: The LGBTT* Initiative at Red River College fosters the development of a safe environment on our campuses so everyone has the chance to work, learn and access services in an inclusive and welcoming manner. The LGBTT* Initiative provides educational opportunities and resources to build communication, understanding and respect for diversity throughout the college. This is an initiative for all Red River College students, staff and faculty. OW: Why did RRC decide they needed this initiative? NS: In 2009, an LGBTT* ad-hoc committee -formed as a volunteer group to gather information-provided recommendations for the college that created the framework for the initiative. Following these recommendations, the student services division decided to implement an LGBTT* Initiative at Red River College. Launched in September 2010, the LGBTT* initiative was established to provide inclusive services to students, faculty and staff at Red River College in two main areas: training and education. The LGBTT* Initiative at Red River College was designed to: Foster a college climate that is more inclusive of all LGBTT* people on campus, including students, faculty and staff. Educate staff, faculty and students on sexual orientation and gender identity. Assist college staff, faculty and students to become familiar with issues and resources that exist for LGBTT* people on campus and off campus. Respect the confidentiality of all people.

OW: How has the response been from the staff and students? NS: The response from staff, faculty and students has been really good, with more and more people getting involved with the initiative every day. OW: What has the initiative been able to accomplish so far? NS: When the initiative was launched

"The LGBTT* Initiative also identified and established four genderneutral washrooms" in September 2010, there were only six identified allies. After six trainings delivered over the past two years by facilitators from the Rainbow Resource Centre, Red River College is thrilled to have 130 allies across our different campuses, academic programs and student services. All allies are identified by Red River College ally cards, and an ally code of conduct is located in the back of the ally cards with rules of conduct about confidentiality and inclusive and respectful behaviours. The LGBTT* Initiative also identified and established four gender-neutral washrooms (single-person facilities that are available to anyone, no matter their gender identity or biological sex). Two facilities are located at Notre Dame Campus and two are at Roblin Centre. We think this is an important step for Red River College students, staff and faculty that are transitioning genders or do not identify themselves within a certain gender identity label, and feel uncomfortable when using female- or male-identified washrooms. The LGBTT* Initiative also developed an online educational site within the college portal that can be accessed by all staff,

faculty and students with confidentiality and privacy at any time and from any location. The site provides information on sexual orientation, gender identity and discriminatory practices, an up-to-date list of current allies at the college with their contact information, and links to LGBTT* local community organizations. The initiative also co-ordinates LGBTT* awareness workshops for students at the request of faculty on a regular basis, and plans educational sessions all year round, including an ally practice session available to all allies that would like to further develop their ally skills for the college environment, and a college day LGBTT* educational activity for all staff and faculty. OW: Is there any one moment or accomplishment attached to the initiative that stands out to you from the journey so far? NS: We are especially proud to participate for first time in Pride Week. The LGBTT* Initiative is partnering with the University of Manitoba Students’ Union and the University of Winnipeg Students’ Association to offer the documentary screening Beyond Gay: The Politics of Pride. The event will be held on Thursday, May 31, at Red River College (160 Princess St.). We will open the doors at 6:30 p.m. and the program will start at 7:30 p.m. The college is also looking forward to our participation in the Pride parade this year! OW: What kind of support does the initiative have, in terms of leadership, resources, etc.? NS: The LGBTT* Initiative has full support from the college leadership. The mission of the initiative was approved by college relations and is part of our organizational values. We work in partnership with the college staff learning and development and the faculty development areas, as well as with recruitment and college relations. – Brad Tyler-West is a Winnipeg-based freelance writer.

MNU is proud to support the Winnipeg Pride Festival 2011

We understand Pride. At Pitblado Law we believe that our people, our culture and the way we do business is as important as the work we do. We seek to become a trusted advisor to our clients so that we can provide proactive, creative and strategic solutions. Our team of lawyers are active in the community. Paul Hesse has volunteered on the Board of the Pride Festival.

2500 – 360 Main Street • Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada • R3C 4H6 Phone: (204) 956-0560 • Fax: (204) 957- 0227 Email:

34 35

outwords, may/june 2012 //


proud history

by Jay Richthammer

Thirty years ago, on March 4, 1982, Giovanni’s Room opened its doors to patrons. Today, as Gio’s Club and Bar, it remains the “heart of the GLBT community” of the Prairies. // outwords, may/june 2012

34 35

richard north While there is less fear of and within the GLBT community today, this milestone anniversary gives pause for thought. Laws protecting GLBT people’s rights and freedoms have been enacted, and attitudes have become more informed. However, the relatively small group of acutely brave gay men and women who founded non-profit, community-based social clubs such as Happenings, Gio’s, and Ms. Purdy’s, had much oppression to overcome in order to create safe spaces for GLBT people. The entire concept of Giovanni’s Room as a meeting place/cabaret was created by Richard (Rich) North, a long-time Winnipeg GLBT community leader, who was ably assisted by his husband, Christopher (Chris) Vogel. Just as Giovanni’s was North’s dream, so was its original name. He gleaned “Giovanni’s Room” from the title of the controversial and profoundly influential gay classic by African-American novelist James Baldwin. It is the story of an American who, during a visit to Paris, has a gay relationship with an Italian named Giovanni. North felt that the community could identify with the name because, in the novel, Giovanni’s bedroom “becomes a symbol of the struggle to make a place for homosexuality in the hostile, heterosexist culture.” North founded the Oscar Wilde Memorial Society, Inc., which was duly incorporated in September 1980. In a detailed, pioneering report to Winnipeg’s Project Lambda Inc., an organization dedicated to


outwords, may/june 2012 //

opening a community centre, North outlined his vision for a centre in which members would be welcomed, safe, and validated. “At the time when Baldwin wrote the novel [Giovanni’s Room], it was inconceivable that a place could be made for gay people in the dominant culture…There is room for Giovanni’s room now, and it is up to us to realize that possibility,” North wrote. The request was approved, Lambda joined with the OWMS and the Winnipeg Gay Centre was born. As initial fundraising efforts and as a means of socializing, the groups obtained special occasion permits and held licensed monthly socials. In January 1982, a lease was signed for the centre to be located at 277 Sherbrook St. in the Sildor Ballroom building, which had been constructed in 1905 as the Normandie Ballroom. Landlords Sylvia and Edward Posner rented the entire second floor for $1,650 per month. The location merged existing educational and social-service organizations such as a GLBT lending library, resource centre and telephone line. A constitution was written and plans were

One of the early controversies at the first location was the exterior signage. City officials refused to allow the word “community” to be used

soon underway for a licensed clubroom. Altogether, the second floor of that aged structure provided an open meeting space, built community spirit and reinforced a positive GLBT identity. After much renovation of one of the rooms (formerly Maharajah’s, Roggi’s, and Hunter’s restaurants) on the second floor, Giovanni’s Room, which included a restaurant, opened on March 4, 1982. Hearty and inexpensive meals were prepared by a professional chef, and served until late. While the café consistently lost money and was eventually closed, the then-legal sales of poppers was a tremendous money-maker. The stuccoed walls were painted in a soft coral-rose colour, and an ivory grand piano sat near a narrow, curved stage. Live music and, occasionally, fashion shows, lectures and drag acts took place. Some of the well-known drag entertainers in that era were John Cumming (Jennifur Coates), Justin Keyes (Jackie Duncan), and Jonathan Carrington (Shauna-Raye). Additionally, aboriginal men occasionally performed in drag during the Sunday socials which Gio’s hosted for the Nichiwakan Native Youth Group. Since 1985, there have been Ms. Gio’s contests and, in recent years, occasional Mr. Gio’s. The Winnipeg Gay Youth group was also given a safe meeting place. The patrons ranged in age from late teens to senior citizens, but the majority was in the 20-35 group. During the first 18

his part, was for 25 years the society’s accountant. From June 1982 through March 1989, Chris Vogel was the longest-serving president, having been elected at seven annual general meetings. In an effort to keep the community informed, Vogel edited and published Wilde Times gio’s 1982 - 277 Sherbrook location magazine, and there months of operation, the annual memberwere later subsequent ship fee was $2 (as was non-member admisefforts at a Gio’s newsletter. sion), and there were 1,200 members. Bob Wilson, an accountant, was both Naysayers were quick to deride the the first president and the first general enterprise and predict its financial failure. manager of Giovanni’s Room, from March However, as Chris Vogel notes today, “The through June 1982. Succeeding managers first few months were hell, but within its in the early years were Christopher Labram first three years of operation, Giovanni’s and Veronica Trowski. Room made and spent $1 million, which When the Posners decided to sell the was a great deal of money in the early land and demolish the Sildor building, 1980s.” Giovanni’s Room One of the early controversies at the had to find a new first location was the exterior signage. City home. The board officials refused to allow the word “commusearched for a nity” to be used (so as to allegedly not conlocation at which fuse the place with other community cenrain water did not tres). The sign then read “Winnipeg Gay pour through the Centre” until the membership so hated the light fixtures, as it word “gay” in the name that Vogel painted had in the Sildor. over it. North painted a large, three-sheet A 1952 onesignboard on the front exterior wall of the storey commerfirst club with a number of gay themes and cial building at messages. 616 Broadway became the second home of Many have served on the board of Giovanni’s Room and the resource centre/lidirectors. At the opening of Giovanni’s brary in August 1986. It had been a medical Room in 1982, its board consisted of: Glenn clinic and, later, a wicker store. Fewster (vice-president/membership secAs he had done at the first location, retary), David Hosking, Patricia McGowan, Richard North extensively renovated 616 Rod Neufeld (secretary), Doug Nicholson, Broadway. He and two other carpenters Richard North, Shane Rice, Murray Speer, also built its magnificent oak bar. OpChris Vogel, Robert F.W. Wilson (president) posite the bar, tropical fish and a resident and Donn Yuen. In an age when an outing turtle peered out of an old aquarium. This could mean a loss of a job, rented premises, was the first location at which Gio’s hosted or family conflagrations, many of them strippers. Its first dancer was Wesley Kent, boldly and generously allowed their names a member of the community whose stage to appear on official documents. name was “Brave Denim.” Several of its early board members In November 1994, the club (rechrisstill live in Winnipeg; Doug Nicholson, for tened Gio’s Club and Bar) opened at 272

Sherbrook St. (across from its inaugural location) in the basement level of the twostorey, 1955 Happenings building. The fourth home of Gio’s has, for the past 10 years, been 155 Smith St. in a building formerly occupied by East Side Mario’s and The Storm restaurants. The move to and renovations of each location was done with the tireless assistance of many volunteers. Today, Gio’s is co-managed by volunteers. The OWMS continues to give back to the community. Its registered charity, Gio’s Cares, was founded by Ray Lewis and Aimé Olivier, and

Richard North extensively renovated 616 Broadway. He and two other carpenters built its magnificent oak bar. provides assistance to people living with HIV and AIDS. A memorial list holds a place of honour at Gio’s so that members, former employees, supporters and friends who died from all causes, may be remembered. Since its founding, Gio’s has awarded 29 honourary life memberships (including to Vogel and North) to those who have given outstanding volunteer service to the OWMS. – Jay Richthammer is in his second term as President of the OWMS, Inc. Previously, he served on its executive since 2006. He is also a director of Gio’s Cares, Artemis Housing CoOp, and the GLBT Sexual Health Coalition. // outwords, may/june 2012

36 37


logs have been around since the earliest days of the internet. From personal diaries to do-it-yourself manuals and yes, even porn. Blogging is a way to express yourself, to share your interests technology and to rant – for all Corey Shefman the world to read. But how can a person choose between the blogging ‘platforms’? How do you know if you should be blogging on Twitter, Tumblr or Livejournal? (Hint: You should not be blogging on Livejournal). As with pretty much everything else on the Internet, blogging platforms vary widely. Some are just for photos; some are mostly for text; some are a mix of both. The one you use will depend on what you plan to do with it. One of the newest platforms is Pinterest. Pinterest follows the new model of blogging, which moves away from the traditional diary style and towards the ‘bulletin board’ or ‘pinboard’ idea (which is where its name comes from). It allows you to collect things that interest you, things you like, things you’re curious about and ‘pin’ them to your curated boards. Others can then ‘repin’ your pins. While Pinterest is reputed to be female-dominated, many have compared it to the older, (gay) male dominated, but still relatively new multimedia blog platform, Tumblr. Tumblr, with its reputation for hosting ‘hipsters’, gratuitous instagram photos of Starbucks cups and of course, porn, has struggled to establish a reputation outside of the teenage demographic. While Tumblr is one of the most user-friendly

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outwords, may/june 2012 //

blogging platforms, it’s much more difficult than others to connect with people who have similar interests. This puts it in the corner of old-style blogs – the diary style, where you write mostly for yourself. Another platform that uses this model is Wordpress. Wordpress is generally thought of as an expert’s platform. It’s easily the most versatile platform, standing in stark contrast to the most popular platforms – Facebook and Twitter.

Most people think of Facebook and Twitter as social networks – but think about what Facebook was like when it started . . . For many people, Wordpress becomes more of a website itself, rather than a blog. Most people think of Facebook and Twitter as social networks – but think about what Facebook was like when it started, or even two years ago. Over the last few years, both sites have steered more towards blogging and sharing, and less towards networking. For most people, Facebook and/or Twitter do a good job as a platform for their blogging. They allow you to share, create and comment, without the hassle of maintaining a separate online presence. But if you want a dedicated space separate from your ‘social’ life, the dedicated platforms – Tumblr, Wordpress and Blogger (a Google service) have created legions of ‘citizen columnists’ and are eager for you to join in. -Corey Shefman is a Winnipeg-based freelance writer.

What’s it for?

is best for photos. Wordpress is for writing commentary or prose.

lets you create a kind of online magazine.

lets you share things you find online.

Twitter lets you share news and keep up with what’s happening with your favourite company or celebrity.

How internet-savvy are you? Twitter and Facebook are user-friendly. Tumblr requires some know-how. Wordpress takes even more time. For basic text only, is very straightforward.

Who is the blog for? Wordpress or Facebook are good if the blog is a diary for yourself, or a place to collect things. Tumblr and Twitter are best if you want to interact with others, share thoughts, debate issues and form communities.

Ballad of the man who stole her mirror image By Debbi

He kidnapped her mirror image,

lipstick, nail-polish, mascara,

stripping her more than bare.

and a dawerful of slips

And she, looking for herself,

whose creamy white he watches

finds nothing there.

cascade down her hips.

Captive in his mirror,

With the captive in the mirror

she’s spoiled like a princess.

he does what he pleases;

He buys her jewels, perfume,

and she, in pleasing him,

and often a pretty dress;

every pose that teases.

gifts loved for the love of her,

But one day she just steps out,

lacey panties, push-up brassiere,

and he’s never seen again.

dainty heels and stockings,

She combs her hair in the mirror,

silky, sleek and sheer,

where once he’d been. // outwords, may/june 2012

39 38

Change Begins Here The Canadian Museum for Human Rights in Winnipeg will be our nation’s commitment to recognizing, celebrating and promoting human rights. It will bring to life stories past and present, so that we can move forward and take responsibility to create a better future. You can help us change the world.

Support the Canadian MuSeuM for HuMan rigHtS

donate today at: 1-866-828-9209

Join us at

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outwords, may/june 2012 //

A universe of possibilities By Peter Carlyle-Gordge

Talackova was born a boy but knew from age four that her spirit was definitely female le this artic ed by s n o p or proudly s nes

nd Jo Banvilleearchants

Jenna Talackova is one of the few people in this world who can say they have taken on Donald Trump and won. She has gone from obscurity to being one of the most recognizable faces in the world. Her image has been splashed over TV screens, newspapers and magazines everywhere. If you Google her name, you will get more than 44 million hits. She is the most famous trans-woman since Christine Jorgensen stepped off a plane in New York in February 1953. Not bad for a slim 23-year-old contestant in the Miss Universe Canada pageant. Earlier this year, Talackova was unceremoniously dumped from the pageant when

organizers realized she was a trans-woman. Talackova was born as a boy but knew from age four that her spirit was definitely female. She underwent sex reassignment surgery and has turned out to be quite a stunning blond. She began hormone treatment when she was 14 and had surgery at 19 to complete the metamorphosis into a female. So far no straight men are complaining. Miss Universe Canada contestants must meet a basic requirement of being a Canadian citizen and be between the ages of 18 and 27. They also must not be married or pregnant. There is no mention of rules regarding sex reassignment or cosmetic surgery.

wine m // outwords, may/june 2012

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Donald Trump runs the U.S. version of the pageant. The Miss Universe, Miss Teen USA and Miss USA Pageants are a Trump and NBC Universal joint venture. The Canadian version is run by the Beauties of Canada Organization, which gained the exclusive rights to send a Canadian representative to the Miss Universe Pageant in 2002. The Miss Universe Canada contest was first held in 2003. The American Miss Universe contest began in 1952 and went international in the 1970s. To counter feminist claims that it exploits women, pageant organizers have of late put more emphasis on other qualities, such as intelligence, caring and compassion and healthy lifestyles. Ambition, goal setting and courage to change oneself and the world are also considered good modern attributes for any pageant contender. In barring Talackova as a contestant, Miss Universe Canada promoters said: “She did not meet the requirements to compete despite having stated otherwise on her entry form….We do, however, respect her goals, determination and wish her the best.” Talackova’s photo and profile were removed from the Miss Canada website overnight, but if organizers thought she was going to go quietly into the night they were wrong. There was a tsunami of media coverage, even though Talack-

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ova, largely stayed out of the limelight for a few days. She did make statements over Twitter about being “disqualified for being born.” “I’m disqualified, however I’m not giving up,” she wrote, defiantly. “I’m not going to just let them disqualify me over discrimination.” She also stated her disqualification was really a “human rights” issue. “All I can say is that they disqualified me because I am not ‘natural born,’” she said. “(That) doesn’t make sense because since I was conscious I always felt this way.” Within days, Talackova hired celebrity attorney Gloria Allred, known for taking the cases of clients including a number of Tiger Woods’ ex-lovers and Nicole Brown Simpson’s family during the O.J. Simpson murder trial, to fight her case for re-inclusion into the competition. It was a media circus when Talackova, sitting beside Allred at a press conference in California, raised her Canadian passport for photographers. The passport clearly showed her as female. The negative publicity was so overwhelming, it didn’t take long for the Miss Universe Canada organizers to capitulate and reinstate her. That left only one question – would the U.S. organizers let her compete in the international competition if she were to win the Canadian version. The suspense didn’t last long. U.S. pageant organizers said they, too,

would recognize her as female and let her compete. Donald Trump, who runs the Miss Universe Organization, wished her “the best of luck in her quest for the crown.” The official rules will be changed by NBC, so that other trans-women will be able to enter the contest next year. Talackova attended Killarney secondary school in Vancouver, where she began dressing as a girl. She identified as female from a young age and in high school changed her name from Walter to Page. Even as a Grade 8 student Talackova’s femininity was apparent. She was still classified as a boy back then, but the teenager’s mannerisms and appearance were that of a young woman. She had a slender frame and a blond bob. She hung around mostly with female friends. “It was very obvious,” Teruko Walker told the Times Colonist, recalling the looks and behaviour of Talackova when she was in her early teens. “It wasn’t like she looked like a boy but acted like a girl. She very much looked like a female,” said Walker, who was in Grade 11 at the high school at the time. At age 14, Talackova began hormone therapy and changed her name again to Jenna. Talackova’s family live in east Vancouver but she also has family in the northern B.C. First Nation community of Burns Lake, where her family comes from. John Bertacco, her cousin and band councillor in the Lake Babine Nation in Burns Lake,

I thought as a society we had moved past this. I’m not sure why it would matter. Is there any advantage she would gain in this contest by being born male?

outwords, may/june 2012 //

“I’m not going to just let them disqualify me over discrimination.” earlier told The Vancouver Sun that the community was aware of what was going on in her life and has been supportive of her throughout her transition. The Lake Babine Nation helped her pursue her Miss Universe dream by giving her $2,500 to help with the entry fee, as well as moral support, Bertacco told the Sun. In April, Talackova was a guest on Good Morning American and said she has a boyfriend and wants to have two kids one day. In April, Talackova told the TV program Good Morning America she initially didn’t tell her boyfriend that she was born male and had sex reassignment surgery. “Of course I had to let him know,” Talackova said. Once she told her boyfriend of two and a half years, he was very supportive and accepts her for who she is, she said. O // outwords, may/june 2012

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outwords, may/june 2012 //


Arriving late

By Gord McDiarmid

half his age

Photo courtesy of Darron Field

to see a friend he turns a page … with honesty. They form a bond on private matters … with conversation. Wanting limits with a friend half his age he asks … with openness.

Trying again he discovers his friend

To talk, to touch,

is seeking a life

to kiss, to play.

… with integrity.

What are the limits for this stay?

No sluts, no fags, no queens, no drags,


he wills a life


… of morality.

silence. Avoiding his friend twice his age … with diplomacy. He shares his recent discoveries … with sexuality. They talk. They’re tense. Thee is a sense … of unreality. Between two people, when one is … twice the other’s age. // outwords, may/june 2012

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something A new kind of party is coming to Winnipeg from Toronto for this year’s Pride, hosted by Toronto artist and DJ Lauren Hortie and Winnipeg’s own Hannah Godfrey. Godfrey recently launched her queer dance night “PegGay-Licious” as DJ MonkeySparrow with fellow artist DJ Stagpanther. This June, they’re inviting Hortie to bring her “Steers & Queers” party to our city. “I wanted to do this because firstly, I like music. Secondly, I like to dance. Thirdly, I like to make other people dance,” says Godfrey. “Fourthly, I love the queers, breeders, don’t-label-me’s, lesbians, trans, benders, straights, homos, gays.” Godfrey, who is the programming co-ordinator at aceart inc. (an artist-run centre in the Exchange) always wanted to throw a queer party but only recently found the encouragement to do

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outwords, may/june 2012 //

it. “The important things about parties By Katrina Caudle are people having a good time and a collective experience together. It’s a part of community and community being confirmed.” Hortie is a self-taught artist and a fixture in the queer scene in Toronto. Godfrey was instrumental in bringing Hortie to exhibit at aceart for last year’s Pride, an opening turned dance party Hortie dj-ed for under the name DJ Sigourney Beaver. Godfrey knew about Hortie’s “Steers & Queers” parties from when she was in Toronto in 2007 and was excited to bring her to Winnipeg. Hortie brought collaborator Andrew Li aka Man Chyna to do a strip-hop boylesque number. Steers & Queers has a culture all its own in Toronto – with its country imagery and reputation for great parties. “They’re electric,” Godfrey says. “They’re really, really fun. There’s nothing going to be happening at Pride like that. People are going to love its novelty and unique-

a little


that really makes me want to dance. What gets played at some other events is not always the kind of stuff that gets me in the butt.” The event will also include a cabaret, with Man Chyna as the headliner. Other acts include Winnipeg burlesque artist Lizzy La La, performance artist Ian Mozdzen, as well as singer Kerri Latimer – who will be performing covers of Anne Murray songs. “At the end of the day, all these things – whether it’s putting on a dance party, telling stories, aceart – it all comes from a place of love,” Godfrey says thoughtfully with a furrowed brow. “It’s not like a rainbow, though rainbows can be quite nice … Maybe more like a Slurpee. Slushy, with all the colours running together.” She and DJ Stagpanther will also be hosting a recurring music listening event, “The Intrepid Portfolio” named after a local legend – Sir William Stephenson – who was one of the men that inspired the character of James Bond. The first installment of “The Intrepid Portfolio” was held at Parlour Coffee on Main Street. “The name is a nod to local culture. It’s from Winnipeg and you’re on a mission to find interesting music from different places. From the past, the present,” she says and pauses, “from the future.” Godfrey’s previous cultural contributions have included a cassette exchange club and the book/cassette “Dear Peggy,”

It’s not like a rainbow, though

rainbows can be quite nice … Maybe more like a Slurpee

ness. It’s not just going to be a good party but it’s also an opportunity to bring another aspect of queer culture from another city.” Steers & Queers will be travelling to other Canadian cities as well. It will be at Saw Gallery in Ottawa, as well as travelling to Montreal. The music is, in Godfrey’s own words, “rocking hip-hop booty music”. “That’s the kind of stuff

by Katrina Caudle

erent a collection of Winnipeg folklore. Her quirkiness and charm come through in the work she’s created and helped exhibit in the city after moving here three and a half years ago. Her first trip to Canada was for an art residency in Toronto. She returned home to the U.K. after her visa expired and organized a festival of Toronto art in Bristol. While looking for a job in Canada, the posting for a job aceart came up in a city she’d never heard of and came to love. “I’m very excited by the art in Winnipeg,” Godfrey says . “I want to make the gallery a place where people want to come out and take a risk. Because ace is free – as all artist centres are – people can afford to take that risk. I love seeing people’s work and love being able to help disseminate it. I love people’s imaginations and want people to love ace’s imagination.” Though her most recent work, “Dear Peggy”, has a very minimal, poetic feel – Godfrey wanted a slightly different aesthetic for the PegGay-licious parties. “My nature is not squeaky clean. PegGay-licious is just trashy enough for me without being depraved,” says Godfrey. When asked what her definition of depraved, Godfrey smiles, a little mischievously. “There was one event I was playing music at. People ended up fucking in adjacent rooms. There were people in the bathroom fucking. I like to think it was my set that did it.” For details on the venue for of the event, please check the Facebook page at http://www. You can view Lauren Hortie’s work at http://www. and Andrew Li at http://

There was one event I was playing

music at, People ended up f*cking in adjacent rooms.

– Katrina Caudle is a Winnipeg-based freelance writer // outwords, may/june 2012

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A helping hand for

newcomers Life can be hard for LGBT immigrants By Shannon VanRaes


aving goodbye to family and country in search of a better life isn't easy for anyone, but if you're LGBT the challenges can be even more daunting as you settle into a new life in Canada. That’s why Winnipeg’s Rainbow Resource Centre launched the Newcomer Project. "My hope is that no one will live in fear as they journey to a new life," says Elgee Merquita, who leads Newcomer Project. The project's goal is to identify issues and barriers preventing sexual minorities from integrating into Manitoban and Canadian society. "We want to better serve LGBT newcomers, refugees and immigrants ... and work towards creating more inclusive communities, agencies and service providers," explained Merquita, who spent several months meeting with individuals and organizations to better understand the experience of newcomers in Manitoba. The architect-turned-researcher has her own experiences to fall back on. Merquita immigrated to Canada from the Philippines several years ago. "My story is like a movie," she says with a laugh. She decided to stay in Canada during a holiday here in 2004. But Merquita is quick to add she stayed for new experiences, not to escape persecution in her homeland. Others are not so lucky. Merquita's work reveals that for some LGBT newcomers, the stigma of being gay is not so easily shed once they leave their homeland and can have real consequences for friends and family they have left behind. "One thing that surprised me is that when you come to Canada and people back home learn that you have come out ... if you are from a country where homosexuality is punishable by law or death, your family really could be affected," she says. "It scares me to think about it sometimes." The researcher said this was especially true for newcomers from some African countries where homosexuality is listed in

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outwords, may/june 2012 //

the penal code. One example is Uganda, where a member of parliament recently re-tabled legislation that would make homosexuality punishable by life in prison, but eliminated a death penalty clause included in a 2009 version of the bill. The law isn't just lip-service, in February a workshop hosted by Freedom and Roam Uganda, an organization founded by Uganda gay rights activist Kasha Jacqueline Nabagesera, was raided by police at the request of that country's minister for ethics and integrity. "There are literally millions and millions of LGBT people living in countries with repressive regimes, where they have to hide their true selves or risk their lives," says Horst Backe, who participated in the Newcomer Project. Iran is one of those countries noted for its repressive and even deadly attitudes towards sexual minorities, particularly gay men. That knowledge prompted Backe to put talk into action. Along with four other Winnipeggers, Backe has sponsored a queer refugee from Iran, so that person can come to Manitoba and start a new life. "Although we are really very privileged here, most people in the world aren't," he explains. "And if I just did nothing about it, how could I expect the world to change?" Sponsorship isn't just about signing some paperwork. Sponsors must work to settle and integrate the individual and assist in finding them housing and employment. If employment isn't available, sponsors must financially support an individual for at least three years. Backe is looking for people to sponsor a second individual, and has taken part in the Newcomer Project to share what he has learned about the immigration system. He hopes the individual his group has sponsored will land in Canada in the coming weeks. But new challenges begin once someone arrives in Canada.

Merquita says most new immigrants tap into established cultural communities for support, something that isn't always an option for LGBT newcomers because a cultural community in Canada may be just as unaccepting of homosexuality as in the country the newcomer left. "Every culture has different issues when it comes to LGBT," Merquita says. "They may not even be aware that LGBT people exist in their community." That means awareness of LGBT issues is important for all newcomers, as well as those who provide services to immigrants, Merquita says. She adds the project has also shown it's important to give newcomers a vocabulary to discuss sexual minorities and to describe themselves, as language barriers may make communication difficult. This barrier is further exacerbated when immigration officials and service providers

Elgee Merquita decided to stay in Canada during a vacation in 2004. Now she helps other LGBT immigrants adjust to their new lives here.

assume newcomers are in a heterosexual relationship – another issue identified during Merquita's research. "The main object is acceptance, so if you are not accepted within your family, and you aren't welcomed when you go to your community or a service provider ... this is really a serious barrier for LGBT, and it can result in people isolating themselves," she said. At the same time, service providers in the LGBT community may not be aware that there is a need for support in the newcomer community. How to connect these two groups is one of the questions posed by the Newcomer Project. But for now the goal of the project is focused on identifying barriers faced by LGBT immigrants, not tearing them down. Merquita hopes that funding becomes available to continue the Newcomer Project

and possibly make it a permanent fixture at the Rainbow Resource Centre. "In my own opinion, I think this project has had a huge impact already and I would really like to see it continue," she says. Now that many of the issues facing LGBT newcomers have been identified, Merquita would like to see work begin on addressing those issues, building networks between agencies and working to find ways of identifying those who need assistance early on. "It's really a very exciting project," she says. "We are acting here like John the Baptist, and we are preparing a path for the newcomers so they will not hesitate to go to any service providers, or community or agency." The federal and provincial governments also need to provide funding for services and include the needs of the LGBT immigrant

community in their planning, Merquita says "Often newcomers hide there identities out of fear that they will be rejected, and so Citizenship and Immigration Canada must fund settlement services that facilitate the full and equal participation of all newcomers to Canadian society," Merquita emphasizes. Backe agrees that more needs to be done by governments, especially in smaller cities like Winnipeg that may not have the same resources as cities such as Toronto or Vancouver. But he is worried by recent changes made be the federal government when it comes to immigration."Permanent resident doesn't sound as permanent now that the (immigration and citizenship) minister can revoke it," he says. "Some people are fearful about that." – Shannon VanRaes is a Winnipeg-based freelance writer.

We all know the tale of a boy and a girl, an apple and a snake. And we know what it was like to be a teenager – a time when we rolled our eyes at the things our parents told us and rebelled by getting forbidden piercings or coloured our hair in outrageous colours. And if we’re lucky, we know what it is like to belong to a family and understand the notion that blood really is thicker than water and that it is possible to share a trust that supersedes all else. Enter EDEN, a world created by playwright Hope McIntyre. It is the world of a pair of 15-year-olds – Adam and Evelyn.

EDEN is a dystopia of post-terrorist panic, when the interests of the group overrule individual rights. It’s a place where the governing body assigns people into groups of desirable and undesirable. Fear is harnessed as a tool to segregate, marginalize and persecute the different and misunderstood. It is arguably the most dangerous weapon of all. It can divide family, trump common sense and allow the governing minority to control the masses. McIntyre’s characters have grown up never questioning the things they were told – only to discover it is all a lie. In EDEN, McIntyre explores the reactions to

By Jefre Nicholls

this new knowledge. She asks how does one move on? How blissful is living in ignorance? What happens after you’ve bitten the apple? “The seed for this play was planted after 9/11, in watching the use of fear tactics to justify the abuse of human rights,” says McIntyre. “It frightened me to think where that could lead us as a society.” The production uses new media techniques to transport its audience into the world of McIntyre’s characters. Recorded and live video murals give audiences insight into the future world of EDEN, a world divided between the ruling class and the underworld of the persecuted. EDEN is a story spanning three generations that deals with the themes of truth, justice and family. Interesting and provocative, EDEN will provide plenty of food for thought.


outwords, april 2012 //

EDEN is directed by Winnipeg playwright and performer Sharon Bajer and features Winnipeg stage veterans Ti Hallas, Marsha Knight, Tracy Penner, Steven Ratzlaff and Tom Soares, with emerging artists Kevin Anderson, Andrea del Campo and Kevin Gabel. Developed and supported through the Winnipeg Arts Council New Creations program and the Manitoba Arts Council, EDEN runs April 27 to May 13, Wednesday through Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. The production is being staged at the Asper Centre for Theatre and Film (at the University of Winnipeg, 400 Colony St.). Tickets are $18 for adults and $12 for students/seniors, and can be purchased at or reserved at 204-586-2236. – Jefre Nicholls is a Winnipeg-based freelance writer. // outwords, may/june 2012

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“I’ll get you my pretty, and your little dog, too,” is a phrase entirely synonymous with the Wicked Witch of the West; and we all know what happened to the lime lady with an affinity for flying monkeys. But what do we know of the good witches that hail from the other compass cardinal points? Do they, too, have it in for our pooches and covet our footwear? Well, unless the footwear in question falls into the Croc, Birkenstock or not-so-stylish sports shoe category, the lesbian ones most certainly don’t. They do however, as David Hein, singer, songwriter and playwright of My Mother’s Lesbian Jewish Wiccan Wedding has found out, have it in for our moms – but in a much more matrimonial way. My Mother’s Lesbian Jewish Wiccan Wedding is the classic tale of boy meets girl, girl

ABewitching 52 53

outwords, may/june 2012 //

meets girl, girl marries girl in field with flower tiaras and moon chanting ceremony avec chuppah. It is the true story that happened to Hein when he was a teenage boy and it’s also the Fringe sensation Cinderella story that’s now en route to Broadway. A truly Canadian love story and coming out chronicle as seen through the eyes of the child, Wican Wedding is Hein’s true recantation of his mother’s self-revelation, and the sapphically laced events that followed. The whole process started when a song about Hein’s mother’s ridiculously long nuptials sparked a major response with its audiences. The then-travelling musician put pen to paper with his wife, Irene Sankoff, in a small cafe in Toronto, turning the notes and verse with the help of a little good magic into a full-fledged musical.

In its initial staging, 10 actors filled a four-metre stage and played to a small audience of 85, one of whom on a particular night happened to be a big player. David Mirvish, the man who holds the keys to Canadian theatre happened to stumble into the show, then in its Fringe debut and decided then and there that it was something he needed to do something about. With catchy tunes such as “You Don’t Need a Penis,” “Hot Lesbian Action” and “Don’t Take Your Lesbian Moms to Hooters,” one might suggest that the show is nothing more than sensationalized fluff, the opposite couldn’t be truer. Heartwarming and outrageously humorous, the only thing worse then getting a house dropped on you would be to miss this performance’s small engagement in the friendly province.


For a show that may seem as targeted as the tongue-twisting title it carries theatregoers have found the opposite. They all have the same to say, which is that the themes are universal and really do apply to all audiences, gay, straight, lesbian, Wicca or Jew. The musical comedy opened at Toronto’s Panasonic Theatre on November 7 in 2009. It now makes its way to Winnipeg, premiering in a production produced by the Winnipeg Studio Theatre at MTC’s Tom Hendry Warehouse Theatre on May 10. For tickets and dates visit http://www.mtc. – Jefre Nicholls is a Winnipeg-based freelance writer.

By Jefre Nicholls // outwords, may/june 2012


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For all things Real Estate


member of the LAMBDA Business Association

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outwords, may/june 2012 //

Club 200 the

warms up Birthday

Candles By Peter Carlyle-Gordge

Winnipeg Pride may be raising the champagne glasses to celebrate its 25th anniversary this year, but Club 200 is rapidly closing in on the celebratory atmosphere. The GLBT club, privately owned, is building up to its own 25th birthday next year and is thriving according to co-owner and manager Allen Morrisson, who says the business has shown good growth in the past two years. The current premises were the site of a former restaurant and piano bar that had tables in the shape of baby grand pianos. Joel Sarbit, who was formerly a board member of Happenings, decided to become a partner with two others and in April 1988 Club 200 opened as a gay bar and cabaret. When partner Harold Dewar retired in 2001 Allen Morrison, who has worked at the club for 20 years, also became a partner. He and Sarbit make a good team and Morrisson says he has been a cleaner, bus boy and general factotum over the 20 years he has been involved. The one job he has not done is DJ.

They plan 24th birthday celebrations April 27 and 28. Though there have been some lean years they have soldiered on as other bars fell by the wayside. Morrisson says they have survived because they run a true community bar that attracts all ages. “We also listen to clients and are constantly changing and reinvent-

ing ourselves to meet their needs,” he says. “We don’t just cater to one demographic but to all so you can meet people from every walk of life and every income level. We keep coming up with new ideas as time goes on.” To stay abreast of the times they embarked on a major renovation project last November and have now updated toilet fixtures, furniture, the bar and even the carpeting and TVs. A rainbow palette of colour schemes has gone and the accent now is on reds and charcoal grey. “Since we are privately owned and not run by a community group or committee we are more hands-on and committed,” he says. “Some days I might be here for 16 hours, but at other times it is quieter. We enjoy working here and it really is a full-time job.” Not having to deal with a community based board also makes decision-making easier and faster, so they can adjust quickly to any new challenges. He says entertainment has been part of their success formula. Music, dancing and regular drag shows are well established. Drag afficianados have always been loyal customers. For several years, Minneapolis-based drag artiste Tinea performed there and the club has also showcased much local drag talent, including Anita Stallion, Stephanie Lane-Barr, Chiqita Banana and // outwords, may/june 2012

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A Quick Review


Joan Costalotsa. They have long been supporters of the Snowy Owl Monarchist Society and have been involved with every Pride parade since the beginning.


This may not be her best work but if you want to dance you can always count on our girl to give us a party. Some catchy tunes and overall a funfilled album just in time for pride!

“We strongly believe in supporting local charities and GLBT events.” “We will have a float in the parade this year and we are also sponsoring the baseball tournament for Pride Week,” he says. “We strongly believe in supporting local charities and GLBT events. We have a broad customer base and if they support us we should support them.” Morrisson, who came out at age 17, says one of the more challenging periods in their history was when in a short space of time the new Gio’s opened very close by. That was a challenge, but the MLCC also curtailed cheap draft promotions, which dented their popular Tuesday night promotion. At 25 cents a glass, they regularly went through five kegs. As a further challenge, a smoking ban came in and not long afterwards Club Desire also opened up. Club Desire has gone the way of Happenings, but another straight-owned gay bar, Fame, has since opened up, though it doesn’t operate all week. These were all major challenges, but Club 200 faced them and bounced back. As to the future as they approach their silver anniversary next year, Morrisson is optimistic. “We’ve seen steady growth over the last two years so I see a bright future,” he says. “We have a broad clientele and regard them all as family and our formula for entertaining them has worked well over the years.” A strong work ethic has also helped ensure their success. Running a busy bar is time-consuming but lately they’ve also branched out, forming an outside catering company known as Big Deal Catering Company. So far, says Morrisson, it’s going well. – Peter Carlyle-Gordge is a Winnipeg-based freelance writer.

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outwords, may/june 2012 //


Clays Way

Thoroughly entertaining from beginning to end, this book creates great sexual tension and a beautiful environment. A thrilling, sexy descent into one person’s madness.


Bite Marks

This low-budget horror/comedy proves you don't need a huge budget to be entertaining. Some laugh-out-loud funny moments and some really sexy scenes, with a fairly solid storyline to boot, make Bite Marks a cut above other low-budget queer films.



! t u o s g n si SATURDAY 2012




n of A presentatio yre’s nt ci M Da vid L. Stories ed sh er at W s from and highlight cks Ro ay dw oa Br ve Lo of s • Season ning or M od Go • Circ le Of Baltimore • ore! Life – and M




The little girl who could grow a beard What happens when a four-year-old girl insists she can grow a beard any time she wants? Is she a budding lesbian or trans-guy? Is she merely expressing her defiance at stereotypes at an early age? Poet Marilyn Bell explores the possibilities through the eyes of a precocious child.

d r a e B e Th

By Maril yn

On Monday, my mother told me not to grow a beard. But I did. By Friday it was full of jam and toast and cookie crumbs. “We’re going to take you to a shop where that beard can be cut off,” said my mother. “Alright,” I said, and climbed into the car beside the big, purple purse. Perfume filled the air, and I watched out the window tugging softly on my beard. The man at the shop wore a long, white dress. He didn’t like my beard. He sat me in a chair and started snipping, clipping and shaving. We drove all the way home without the beard. When we got there, my mother said, “No more beards!” I said, “No more beards.” But when she was gone, I started growing one again. Just a small one beside both my ears. One that she might not see for a week. It felt good, me lying there in the dark growing this soft sort of hair on my face. In the morning I looked in the mirror. “Oh no,” I said to myself. “What’s that?” asked my mother. “A beard,” I said. “Here we go,” she said. Into the car we went, down the street, around the corner and past all the other children without beards.



The man in the white dress looked angry. He snipped and clipped and shaved. “Children should not have beards,” he said. “They shouldn’t,” said my mother. I was holding tears inside. For two weeks I went without a beard. Ate lunch without a beard. Read books without a beard. Took baths without a beard. It was not easy. “This is enough,” I said. “I need a beard!” I sat down on the edge of my bed and began to concentrate and listen. There is nothing like the sound of a freshly growing beard. This was going to be the best one of all. It would grow down to my toes and farther. It grew all across the floor, and down the hall, and out the door, and down the street, and past the shop where they cut beards, around my school, and out of town. In the morning, my mother saw what my beard had done. She saw that my eyes were shining. “You really like that beard.” “I love that beard!” “You can keep it,” she said. “There are worse things than a child with a beard.” The end

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outwords, may/june 2012 //

– Marilyn Bell is a Toronto-based freelance writer who met the four-year-old girl in person.

“ As partners, we applaud the Ally Project, which exemplifies RRC’s commitment to community and genuine respect for all.” Debbie Scarborough, Chair of the Board, Outwords Magazine

Stephanie Forsyth,

President and CEO, Red River College

Embracing the Community Red River College’s LGBTT Initiative fosters the development of a safe campus environment, in which everyone has the chance to work, learn and access services in an inclusive, welcoming manner. RRC’s Ally Project supports LGBTT staff, students and faculty by identifying campus Allies who can provide a safe and inclusive space. For more information: Nora Sobel, LGBTT Initiative Staff Lead or 204-632-2404.

Y A D N SU 2 1 0 2 , m June 3

nipe dewin


g e p i n n i W 06





Outwords May/June 2012 Issue 193