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OutWords // Letter to the Editor

queer views, news, issues

IN THIS SPECIAL HEALTH ISSUE:

WHAT HIV/AIDS LOOKS LIKE FOR THE GAY COMMUNITY WHAT WINNIPEG ORGANIZATIONS DO TO STOP THE SPREAD OF

SYPHILIS

WHY MORE YOUTH GO ONLINE IN SEARCH OF

MENTAL HELP

HOW LOCAL

PORN WORKERS

PROTECT THEMSELVES

OutWords | November 2013 | Issue 205 | Serving the GLBTQ* CommunityJuly Since 1994 / August 2013

// www.outwords.ca // 1


“ I want all students to feel that they have a safe, nonjudgemental, caring and knowledgeable person to come to for advising so that they will be successful in reaching their educational goals.”

Leslie Walsh

Coordinator Student Advisement and Recruitment: Nursing Program

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 nsobel@rrc.ca or 204-632-2404 www.rrc.ca/LGBTTInitiative


OutWords // Index

4

Why health matters

5

Trans coverage welcome

5

20

The modern face of HIV/AIDS in the GLBTQ* community

22

GLBTQ* Volleyball league set to heat up the winter

24

Adoption for samesex couples in 2013 no big hurdle

26

Out superheroes

28

James Cameron offers an inside glimpse into writing gay erotica

28

Autumn Fire: A book review

30

Rae Spoon comes home to the prairies for new documentary

31

Where spirituality and sexuality meet On dealing with guilt through religion

editorial

Letter to the editor

GLBTQ* youth at greater risk of suicide News BrIEfs

8

Give a little, get a little help online

12

Winnipeg organizations protect GLBTQ* men from syphilis

15

Stylish winter kicks

18

Health and safety in Winnipeg’s porn industry

Fashion editorial

Spirituality column

November 2013 // www.outwords.ca // 3


OutWords // Editorial Published by the outwords volunteer staff:  editor : Ksenia Prints

A MATTER OF HEALTH

Social media editor : Miles McEnery News and Books & Movies: Meg Crane Entertainment editor: Graeme Coleman Music editor: Danelle Cloutier Fashion and Beauty editor: Jefre Nicholls Food and lifestyle editor: Shayna Wiwierski

A host of mental and physical threats face the GLBTQ* population; but how do we separate the myths and prejudice from reality?

art director & layout: Dylan Bekkering Assistant layout: Michele Buchanan Financial officer: Darrel Nadeau distribution: Meryl Kaye De Leon & Terry Wiebe web manager: Vic Hooper sales representative: Phillip Olcen Design Intern: Christel Nadeau

W

ith World AIDS Day coming up on Dec. 1 and the holidays just around the corner, it’s not surprising that our Editorial minds are turning to Ksenia Prints our health. We all know that calls to suicide prevention lines and reports of stress and depression increase during the festive months. The problem is even bigger for closeted members of the GLBTQ* community, and especially for our youth, among whom suicide is substantially higher than in the general population. So in attempt to prevent an already bad situation from turning worse, OutWords has decided to use November as a chance to examine our most pressing health questions – depression, AIDS, syphilis, and many more. In September, Egale Canada Human Rights Trust released the Report on Outcomes and Recommendations from the first national Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Two Spirit, Queer and Questioning Youth Suicide Prevention Summit, and the results were enough to alarm us. According to the study, GLBTQ* youth are at significantly greater risk of suicide than their heterosexual and cisgender peers. Thirty-three per cent of surveyed GLBTQ* youth have attempted

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suicide, in comparison to seven per cent of youth in general. A staggering 47 per cent of trans youth have thought about suicide in the past year alone. A big part of the problem is the prevalence of bullying and gay-bashing, which remains a sad reality for many of our youth. And despite the abundance of suicide and teen help services, many GLBTQ* and questioning youth turn to the Internet, with its vastness and promise of anonymity, in search of help. On page 8, Gina Dascal presents the first look into why youth go online in search for help. In our books and movies and music sections, we look at the various methods artists are coping through the mental burden of coming out, be it in comic form, literature, or through film and music. But mental health isn’t the only risk we have to keep in mind. While GLBTQ* people have traditionally been more severely affected by HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases, modern scientific advances mean there are methods to prevent, identify, and live with the diagnoses that used to cripple us. In this issue, read about the current state of HIV/AIDS across the world and syphilis in Winnipeg, and what some organizations are doing to combat them. A fascinating look at the health risks of the porn industry is on page 18. As always, we look forward to hearing what you feel about these issue. Email, Facebook or tweet us at @OutWords with your thoughts on GLBTQ* health.

Cover Photo: _Mojave_ Make-up by: Aled Barry Models: Caroline Fox and Keelie Costumes provided by premium adult boutique Smitten contributors to this issue: Gina Dascal, Charlie Peters, Larkin Schmiedl, Eric Plamondon, J.A. Shapira, Corey Shefman, Ray Buteau. board of directors: Debbie Scarborough, Kevin Hills, Darron Field, Liz Millward, Armando Perla, Darrel Nadeau, Rachel Wood, Rachel Morgan.

OutWords 201-63 Albert St. Winnipeg, Manitoba R3B 1G4 Phone: (204) 942-4599 For office hours, please call. General Inquiries: info@outwords.ca Editor: editor@outwords.ca Creative: creative@outwords.ca Advertising: sales@outwords.ca Distribution: distribution@outwords.ca Accounts: billing@outwords.ca Event Submissions: calendar@outwords.ca Letters Submissions: letters@outwords.ca Website: www.outwords.ca   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 © 2013 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.


OutWords // Letters To The Editor

MORE FOCUS ON TRANS ISSUES NEEDED

M

y name is Aimee and I’m from Winnipeg and I’m a self-identified queer trans woman. Let me say, as someone who is a part of the trans community, that I really appreciate all of the transgender related content in the July/ August issue. Good job. It’s really very nice and refreshing to see so much exposure; lately transgender issues have been getting in the magazine, especially in that issue. (For simplicity, when I say queer I’m referring to queer sexuality meaning lesbian, gay, bisexual, pansexual, asexual and all other non-straight sexualities).

Previously, I felt that trans issues were somewhat neglected in OutWords. Granted, there are far more queer cis folks or allies than trans-identified folk so I understand the whole idea that the magazine has to appeal to the majority of its audience. I feel this “popular appeal” is commonplace in many other aspects of the queer community, which is problematic for me, but also understandable. I mean, we all are products of our environments. For example, I feel it can be a pretty safe generalization that most trans folks are seen and feel like they are viewed as the fringe of the fringe within the queer community and many other communities as well. I feel this is for a variety of reasons, one major reason

being is a lack of education and the media, including OutWords, plays a huge role in that, so it’s good to see you are getting things out there. One can hope this will lead to at least important dialogues that need to happen within both queer and non-queer communities. - Aimee C.

The title of Jenna Talackova’s E! reality show has been changed from “Brave New Girl” to “Brave New Girls”. The air date has been pushed back to January 2014. Will you be watching? Let us know!

QUEERS AND THEIR PETS Do you feel like your pet gets into the holiday spirit just as much as the next guy? Does your cat look adorable in a Santa hat? Does your iguana light up for Hanukkah? We want to know! Send us a holiday-themed photo of you and your pet, and we’ll be happy to show the world just how fabulous they are! Send all photos and names to info@outwords.ca by November 28th.

OutWords // News Briefs

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GLBTQ* youth at higher suicide risk

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Coroners should investigate the sexual orientation of youth who commit suicide, according to a report released by the B.C. Coroners Service Child Death Review Panel. The panel reviewed and analyzed 91 youth suicides between 2008 and 2012. They determined that youth who do not identify as heterosexual are at a greater risk of attempting suicide. However, of the 91 cases they looked at, only two youth were reported to be questioning their sexuality. Because many youth are not open about their sexual orientation it is difficult to know for sure how many of the youth who commit suicide were not heterosexual. The panel advised that coroners ask family, teachers and friends questions to determine the sexual orientation of youth who kill themselves.

November 2013 // www.outwords.ca // 5


News Briefs News // Compiled by Megan Douglas OutWords // International

UN talks about glbtq* issues On Sept. 26, the United Nations (UN) held its first ministerial meeting on GLBTQ* rights. As part of the UN’s Free & Equal campaign, a video of the meeting was created and posted on www.unfe.org. The video includes statements by some of the people who attended the meeting, including the high commissioner for Human Rights and the director of Human Rights Watch. The goal of Free & Equal is to increase awareness of the issues facing GLBTQ* people and promote respect for the community globally.

as Q* s w LBT old r G eyn t fo g R por e. Gre sup yli est is a W pri or h gel ex- ted f y An lian ica to b stra un ho Au omm s P exc tholic Ca

Priest Excommunicated According to The Herald, Father Greg Reynolds was excommunicated from the church for his views on homosexuality and women’s ordination. The official letter to Father Reynolds was dated May 31, 2013, meaning it was written after Pope Francis’ announcement that the Catholic church needs to show less disapproval towards gay people. Father Reynolds had formed Inclusive Catholics, a community group in Melbourne, Australia, who are for the ordination of women and inclusion of the GLBTQ* community.

“Pedophile” released from prison Now 19-year-old Kaitlyn Hunt is being released from jail in December without being registered as a sex offender, under the conditions that she wear an ankle tag and not have contact with her former girlfriend. Hunt was expelled from her Florida high school in May after her 14-year-old girlfriend’s family discovered their relationship. Hunt was 18 at the time. She was charged with two counts of lewd and lascivious battery of a child. An unsuccessful social media campaign was launched to have the charges dropped.

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Th Equ e Uni of G al c ted N LB amp atio TQ aig ns * is n, ha sue mea s la s. nt t unc o in hed cre the ase Fr aw ee & are nes s

The Sea of Love cruise will take off with a boat full of same-sex couples ready to get married next year. The week-long cruise will leave Miami Sept. 27 and return on Oct. 4. A mass commitment ceremony will take place once they arrive on the Caribbean island of St. Thomas. For just over $2,500, couples will have access to an open bar and photographers on the decorated cruise that will have live music. For a cheaper price, loved ones can join in the celebration.

Ka wi itlyn Ima ll be r Hunt ge elea , wh fro se o w m F d f as ree rom ac Kat pris cuse e F on d o ace in f p boo Dec edo k g em phi rou ber lia, p. .

in a ed n itch tha et h ther to g fur ng no oki ook s lo to l ple ed cou ne se. ex ony rui e-s rem ove c Sam ss ce of L ma e Sea th

Same-sex marriage cruise


OutWords // News Briefs OutWords // International News

De Joa spite Joa nne rece nne Ber ivin Ber nard g ha nar ref te m d/T use ai wit s t l, L ter o h ibe ide ral her can sex dida ual te ity.

LIBERAL CANDIDATE RECEIVES HATE MAIL Joanne Bernard’s profile was posted on the Liberal website after she became the candidate for the Dartmouth North riding in Nova Scotia. Soon after, she received homophobic hate mail. The letter’s author ignored most of what was on Bernard’s profile, including that she was a mother who rescued kittens and received an award for her work on homelessness. The homophobic letter focused on the first part of the last sentence that reads, “Joanne is married to Annette...” Bernard told Global News she expected backlash, but was surprised by the letter. She has no plans to take legal action or change the course of her political career.

ke ma s can 4 day n. ting 1 tio tes ere nfec ion a m r i cat HIV afte plifi ect am det cid to ic a ible cle ss Nu it po

EARLY DETECTION OF HIV British Columbia has tested a new method of detecting HIV infection early, reported Gay Star News. Nucleic acid amplification testing (NAAT) can determine if a person has contracted the infection only 14 days after exposure. Early detection means people who are tested HIV positive can address it sooner, leaving less of a chance of spreading the infection. After four years of studying NAAT in six sexual health clinics in Vancouver, the province has found a 12 per cent increase in detection despite the number of HIV cases overall declining. The provincial government has decided not only to continue using NAAT, but to spread it to other clinics in the province as well.

Th hel e Saa plin ha e fo y Pr r g ojec ay t w me ill n in be Ind the f ia. irst c

A 24/7 phone counselling service has been set up for men who have sex with men and transgender women, or Hijras, in India. The Saahay Project, as it is called, will provide support, counselling and sexual health information for anyone in the states of Chhattisgarh, Delhi and Maharashtr who falls into this category. Callers can talk to a live person or listen to recorded health-related messages. The goal is to increase support for the GLBTQ* community in smaller urban centres and towns, and to determine how effective telephone help lines are.

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to h dy tea s s ds. old in a nt h les ide up res x co ta p -se Pas ame illa re s Bar featu to

barilla supports the “sacred family” Barilla Pasta president Guido Barilla invited anyone who didn’t like his homophobic remarks to “eat someone else’s pasta.” And that’s exactly what the more than 130,000 people who signed the MoveOn petition calling for the boycott of the company’s products are doing. Barilla said he would never feature a same-sex couple-headed family in an ad for his company. He said the backbone of his company is the “sacred family” and same-sex headed families don’t fit in that category for him.

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OutWords // Entertainment

In this two-part series, OutWords examines why more youth are looking for help online

never P

arents create a Facebook profile for their newborn, sharing one picture daily with the entire family and strangers. Students studying abroad share every detail of their new place with their parents via Skype. A lonely teenager finds friends through an Internet forum dedicated to their favourite TV show. Many people go to dating websites in search of their next partner. These kinds of stories are becoming more and more accepted in our culture. The fact that the Internet has influenced our social and communicative experiences to a point of no return isn’t big news for anyone these days.

8 // October 2013 // www.outwords.ca


OutWords // News

Something that has been in the news lately, however, is indubitably related—the increasing concerns about online privacy and cyberbullying. The stories on these topics remind us how easily our actions online can become massive. Sometimes we forget that, on the web, we are never alone. While this type of news raises awareness about the dangers of never being alone online, for some, it’s a good thing. A 2013 report from Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) reveals that 14 per cent of GLBTQ* youth

support forums where they can be oriented through the experience of others, as many young people don’t feel that their families would support them. You can remain anonymous there. You can change your name, and that’s appealing,” says Aguayo.

Pride is like my Christmas Georgia Cook wears glasses, a colourful necklace, a striped shirt, jeans and men’s underwear. She shows me her briefs, laughing. “When I was 18, 19, and I was finally

alone By Gina Dascal

respondents came out online, while the 52 per cent who are not publically out yet said they reached other GLBTQ* peers online. “The prevalence and pervasiveness of new technologies—and the speed at which they are incorporated into our everyday lives—really do mark a major transformation in the adolescent experience,” writes Eliza Byard, executive director of GLSEN in the report, Out Online: The Experiences of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Youth on the Internet. Chilean psychologist Maritza Aguayo agrees that the Internet has transformed the adolescent experience. “I think that many young people feel less punished if they seek support on the Internet, currently felt as the place where you can find answers for anything you can think of. About coming out, they’re looking for the help of peers on

able to go to the bar, I started to feel peace, you know?” She says confidently, seeming happy with herself. “I feel comfortable with my skin, in my clothes, you know? I can wear baggy jeans, I can do whatever I want. I can wear guys’ clothes at the bar. I will not be judged. And, oh Pride—I just love it. This year’s was so amazing. To be honest, Pride is like my Christmas.” Cook, who can be found on Facebook by Bobby-June, calls it her “lesbian nickname.” She is 22 and works in Winnipeg for Nintendo, but she’s planning to return to college and work on something that allows her to help young people. “To be honest,” she says, “I really did not get into the community until I could go to the bar because in high school I didn’t really know where to go.” Cook didn’t seek help on the Internet, but she used it to meet other GLBTQ* teenagers.

“I didn’t really have many gay friends. Seeking help online for me meant flirting with other girls online.” Cook met other GLBTQ* teenagers on Yahoo Answers, one of the most popular question-and-answer websites. There, in an open forum, each user is free to ask and answer whatever they want. Due to its popularity—according to Quantcast, 314,235 people in the U.S. visited the website in July alone—and easy access, is also one of the sites where GLBTQ* youth go for answers; one of the categories under the society and culture section is a GLBTQ* category. “I myself was very supportive with random strangers coming out,” says Cook. “You made friends with them, you made them feel better about themselves and that’s what I really enjoyed. When somebody asks, you gotta help, because you’re in the same shoes. I mean, one person’s gay, the other person’s gay, they can get together and talk about it online. I’ve been around those chats just making friends, you know? Truth to be told, I found one of the loves of my life online. I was with her for six years.” However, Cook never felt safe to share her own questions. “I was probably shy. I thought nobody would really care. I still had a little bit of anxiety. What if I open my mouth and say something wrong?” She admits that she would have liked professional help online and thinks it should be more accessible to teenagers.

Not alone Things have changed quite a bit since a girl named Katy Butler came out. The 18-yearold Michigan, U.S. resident made it to the news in 2011 when legislators added a clause to a state-wide bill that allowed bullying if there was “strong religious or moral conviction” behind the aggression. Thanks to her petition, which gained over 53,000

November 2013 // www.outwords.ca // 9


Photo by Danelle Cloutier.

“Many young people feel less punished if they seek support on the Internet… You can remain anonymous there. You can change your name, and that’s appealing.” - Maritza Aguayo, psychologist signatures, the clause was removed from the bill. The other petition Butler spearheaded had the rating of the documentary Bully drop from R to PG-13, so the film’s important message would reach the kids. The petition gained half a million signatures and support from celebrities like Ellen DeGeneres, Meryl Streep and Justin Bieber. “As a sophomore in high school I really had no idea what I wanted to do after college, but being a part of something so amazing really showed me what I wanted to do with my life,” says Butler. “My school didn’t have a [Gay-Straight Alliance], any teachers that openly supported LGBT students or any resources available, so as most teenagers do, I turned to the Internet.” She says that apart from Google and resources like GLSEN and GLAAD, for-

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merly known as the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, another kind of approaching is necessary. “I also really looked for fictional resources,” says Butler. “I tried to find books, movies or TV shows with LGBT characters, or even songs about being gay.” The resources Butler sought normalized GLBTQ* people. “They didn’t provide specific advice or try to tell me how to deal with what I was going through; they made me feel like nothing was wrong and that is so important.” Dianna Grywinski, a youth counsellor at Rainbow Resource Centre (RRC) in Winnipeg, explains that Internet resources lack human connection. “For some folks it’d be better to go outside and meet other people.” Grywinski says that face-to-face interaction is really important. “I think that’s important

for growing, for communicating, you know? Have relationships! I guess I would like to encourage that transition, to get from online to meeting people live.” Still, it’s a fact that several GLBTQ* youth around the world are seeking support from others who have similar stories. Sometimes the Internet appears as an open space where all these shared experiences collide. For some it may be the easiest and fastest way to gain support, but it’s not the only way. What’s certain is that the number of different ways the Internet can provide help is immense and the proof is in the commitment and creativity of so many websites that already exist. But behind those websites committed to helping youth are people who are working on making the Internet a safer and kinder place. Sometimes we forget that, both on the web and in our communities, we are never alone. In the next part of this series, OutWords will examine exactly where it is that youth go online in search of help. - Gina Dascal is a Winnipeg-based writer with a background in aesthetics and cultural studies


OctOber 11 – January 5

Organised by the natiOnal gallery Of Canada

Purchased 2011 with the generous support of Jay Smith and Laura Rapp,and Carol and Morton Rapp, Toronto. Jointly owned by the National Gallery of Canada and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Christian Marclay, The Clock, 2010. Single channel video. Duration 24 hours. Jointly owned by the National Gallery of Canada and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. © the artist. Photo: Ben Westoby. Courtesy White Cube.

Winnipeg Art Gallery 300 Memorial Boulevard • Winnipeg, MB • wag.ca


OutWords // News

WINNIPEG STRIVES TO AVOID A WINNIPEGGERS BAND TOGETHER TO KEEP GLBTQ* COMMUNITY HEALTHY By Charlie Peters

T

he number of Winnipeggers getting syphilis has increased and, by a substantial majority, the affected population is men having sex with men. Between 2003 and 2007, there was an outbreak of syphilis among men having sex with men and another among women and men having sex with each other. Currently, healthcare workers, organizers, activists and the media are working together to stop the spread of syphilis and avoid another outbreak. Previous syphilis outbreaks were contained “by going anonymously to people to cut off transmission,” explained Dr. Pierre Plourde of the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority (WRHA). This year, the number of cases tallied by the end of August is high enough that the WRHA “may call it an outbreak sometime soon,” he said. What makes this a local issue is that 70 per cent of these cases were acquired locally. In 35-40 per cent of cases, the meetings with the person syphilis was contracted from were arranged using social media. An interviewee wishing to remain anonymous said it is important to understand, however, that not “everyone on social media is hooking up left, right and centre.” Once people do hook up, “consensual risky behaviours,” like agreeing not to use condoms, are a concern, said Plourde. He said our culture may bring us up in an environment that rewards risk-taking. If you engage in unprotected sex, Plourde advises getting tested regularly. Dr. Dick Smith of the Gay Men’s Health Clinic said health care in the province can be improved. Dr. Smith wants to be kept in the loop regarding developments related to gay men’s health and this doesn’t always happen. Smith offered tips for healthcare providers: “You need to be seeing a lot of men and you need a relationship sometimes for men to be candid.” Being knowledgeable about and respectful of men’s activities also helps. Patients who share de-

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Going on “crusades” to stop the spread of STIs doesn’t help, Mozdzen points out. Confronting the issue of STIs head on is preferable. If we “excise [STIs] out of our fantasy life, then we don’t know how to deal with them in our real life,” said Mozdzen, who advocates addressing “condom fatigue” with a positive, creative approach to safe sex: using your imagination. “You can sexualize a condom.” - Charlie Peters is a researcher, editor, independent scholar, and freelance writer who would love for people to give french Philosophers Deleuze and Guattari a go!

Jared Star’s of the Rainbow Resource Centre believes more positive sex education, directed specifically at men, is needed. tails about sexual practices assist healthcare workers in advising how often they need to be tested for sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Smith acknowledges that sexual excitement can be enhanced by risk but said that people need to “choose to take risks for themselves only.” “Everyone should be able to choose the level of risk they take,” he explained. Rainbow Resource Centre (RRC) youth coordinator Jared Star expressed concern about a “lack of sexual health messaging specific to homosexual men.” A set of RRC workshops called Totally Outright is addressing this problem. A committee of gay and bisexual men got together to create a Winnipeg-specific curriculum for the workshops. Star maintains that positive messaging is best. “The more stigma is attached to certain behaviours, the less likely it is that people are going to get help.” Star said the workshops will be fun. “Come meet guys, come learn about sex, come learn about your community!” Performance artist Ian Mozdzen is a risk-taker on stage and off. “I’ve taken some risks in my sexual life,” he admitted. “There’s danger in being a homo already,” he said. “You’re dangerous because society has taught you to be dangerous.” There’s also “the problem of shame that we turn into pleasure,” he muses.

A blood test will detect syphilis Syphilis is easy to cure If left untreated, syphilis can kill you Syphilis is easily transmitted through oral sex

Forty per cent of men with syphilis present no symptoms

After you are cured of syphilis, you can get it again since antibodies don’t seem to protect against it Syphilis can’t live without a human host

Totally Outright took place in Winnipeg over two weekends, Oct. 19-20 and Nov. 2-3, and featured free workshops for 18 to 26-year-old gay, bi, trans, queer and two-spirit men. The workshops focused on holistic health, which includes coming out, oppression, relationships, drug-related harm reduction and the different kinds of sex in men’s cultures. Especially popular were the interactive presentations from health experts and community leaders, which were based on a similar program that first happened in Vancouver in 2007. For more information, contact info@outrightwpg.com.


We Are Proud to Stand Up for All Manitobans Greg Selinger

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MLA for St. Boniface MLA for Fort Rouge MLA for Assiniboia 204-888-7722 Premier of Manitoba 204-946-0272 204-237-9247 JenniferHoward.ca JimRondeau.mb.ca GregSelinger.ca

MLA for St. James 204-415-0883 DeanneCrothers.ca

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MLA for Wolseley 204-775-8575 RobAltemeyer.ca

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MLA for St. Vital 204-237-8771 NancyAllan.ca


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OutWords //OutWords International // Fashion News

Photography and fashion: Jefre Nicholls Hair & make-up: Alexander Garofalo, Makeup courtesy of The Manor Hair Lounge and Day Spa Model: Ted Kasprow

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h i s ye a r, a s t he t ree s er upt i nto t hei r aut u m n bla z e a nd Jack Frost st a r t s n ippi ng at you toe s, O utWord s t u rn s a ver y e xcited g la nc e sout h, way sout h, to t he f a sh ion re a l- e st ate of foot we a r. Chel se a , Hi k i ng , M i l it a r y i n spi red or HiTop, it ma ke s no d i f ferenc e wh ic h form you f a nc y, t here i s somet h i ng i n nately se x y about a ma n i n a boot. So before we lose t he la st c ha nc e to d re s s for a ny t h i ng but su r v iva l, sl ip i nto t he se se x y se a sona l selec t s; you r a n k le s w i l l t ha n k you.

Ted wears a floral tapestry button up shirt and tan belted chinos from Zara. Camouflage tan shade desert boots by Polo Ralph Lauren, available at the Bay.

November 2013 // www.outwords.ca // 15


OutWords // Fashion

Grey wool vintage-inspired suit from Topman. Pocket square by Unfamous. Paper print button-up shirt from Zara. Grey Chelsea boot by Ted Baker, available at the Bay. Sunglasses, stylist’s own

16 // November 2013 // www.outwords.ca


OutWords // Fashion

Black quilted faux fur & leather jacket, militaryinspired leather ankle boot and leather suspendered black wool harem pants, all from Zara. White slim-fit dress shirt by Topman.

Clockwise from the topAll Pocket Squares by Unfamous, Camouflage tan shade desert boots by Polo Ralph Lauren, available at the Bay, Grey Chelsea boot by Ted Baker, available at the Bay, Limited edition wool Hudson Bay print and leather high tops by Converse, Military-inspired leather ankle boot by Zara

November 2013 // www.outwords.ca // 17


OutWords // Entertainment

I

f the U.S. has a trade association to help contribute to regulations in the adult entertainment industry and three performers contracted HIV in about a month, what does this mean for performers in Manitoba who don’t have an association to help keep them safe and healthy? Porn website owners in Winnipeg are responsible for creating health and safety regulations for their performers. Kate Winiarz, who goes by her publication name Kate Sinclaire, started the still photography erotica website Cherrystems.com six years ago and is now creating a backlog of videos for a harder porn website that will likely launch in February. “So far what we do is we have a meeting with our performers and talk about their sexual histories, where they’re at, if they’re monogamous, if

18 // November 2013 // www.outwords.ca

By Danelle Cloutier they’re not.” Everyone assesses the risk and chooses to be tested or not. Although Sinclaire doesn’t agree with making mandatory condom use, she adds that if someone doesn’t want to be tested, barriers are required, or the performers have to discuss which precautions to take. Sinclaire is also compiling lists of resources and regulations that exist in Canada surrounding the porn industry and putting them online so that others looking into starting a porn website have resources in one place. “We’re at a lack of resources out here, where in Montreal there’s a much bigger scene, as well as Toronto and Vancouver, so I’m seeing what already exists out there and most [regulations] seem pretty informal.” A Google search about

the Canadian porn regulations shows that Canadian government, media, and citizens are pretty quiet when it comes to the porn industry, even about regulations. “Porn is a very interesting topic in Canada because of our obscenity laws and the vagueness of them,” says Sinclaire. The Parliament of Canada website says that porn is regulated through the obscenity laws in section 163 of the Criminal Code. The federal website says it’s legal in Canada as long as it doesn’t violate the obscenity laws. The website admits that porn is difficult to debate because it means different things to different people. The government considers crime, horror, cruelty and violence in conjunction with sex as obscene.


OutWords // Entertainment

So what about bondage? The Parliament of Canada website notes that the “obscenity standard is flexible.” Ariyanna Kresnyak and Marielle Duplak practice bondage and have been involved with the volunteer-run non-profit Cherrystems. They say that consent before a shoot and discussion before and afterward are key. “It’s really just a matter of negotiating out your limits beforehand,” says Kresnyak. “Hurt, not harm. That’s my philosophy. I’ll hurt you but I don’t want to cause any lasting damage,” says Duplak, a bondage rigger and top performer under the name Keelie. “Everyone goes into it negotiating, saying, ‘I don’t want a bruise left’ or ‘I’m open to having bruises’ but nobody’s going to go in saying ‘yeah! Nerve damage! I’m pretty cool with that,’” says Kresnyak, a bondage

every video just to be safe’.” Her doctor told her that’s too much because HIV takes three weeks to two months for your immune system to produce HIV antibodies. This is called a “window period” and during this time you can test negative for HIV, according to the AIDS InfoNet, a website that aims to make information about HIV and AIDS widely available. The couple named other safety measures like having safe sheers on hand to cut the rope, a spotter and a safeword system. “The idea is to come up with a word that wouldn’t come up during regular sex or a video or a scene so that it can’t be understood,” says Kresnyak, who hopes to do videos involving hot wax and electricity in the future. “For us to make sure that it’s clear when we’re doing videos, I use ‘firetruck’ because it’s multiple syllables, there’s no sex scene, dirty talk phrase that’s going to come up that even slurred can kind of pass off

model under the name Caroline Fox. Duplak adds to her girlfriend’s comment, laughing, “who needs those fingers anyways?” Kresnyak thinks it’s important to also debrief on-camera after the shoot, which she and Duplak did after their shoot. “Interview the rigger, interview your model, interview everyone and post it so that if people want to see it, they can see it,” says Kresnyak. In the interview, the models would talk about what they did, what they liked, and reaffirm that they were in control the whole time. Though they have so far only been involved with the one video for Cherrystems, Kresnyak took all the health precautions that she could. “I went to my doctor and said ‘OK, we’re going to set this up every two weeks and once before

as these big words. Pomegranate would be a good one actually!” they laugh over a cup of tea in their home. Sinclaire, Kresnyak and Duplak agree that it’s everyone’s responsibility in the porn industry to keep performers safe. “No performer wants to get sick and also, the companies that have the stars listed as their people, they don’t want their performers to get sick,” says Sinclaire. Do we need strict porn regulations? Tweet us at @outwords to let us know! - Danelle is the music editor for OutWords. Photo by Claupacius for Cherrystems.

November 2013 // www.outwords.ca // 19


OutWords // Lifestyle & Food

0.58%

48.8%

10.83%

The mystery of HIV

Unlocking some of the stories behind the numbers By Larkin Schmiedl

O

ne shows the trend in Canadian HIV infections at large over time. Another shows the trend in Men who have sex with men(MSM) infections since 1998. A third shows known routes of transmission in 2011, with MSM at almost half. The other shows different types of marginalization experienced by queer men, which my article explains can be indirect factors in HIV infection rates. HIV is a charged topic for many because of the stigma, history and reality that surround it.

20 // November 2013 // www.outwords.ca

But for gay men in Manitoba and nationwide, it’s a topic worthy of attention. Gay and bisexual men and other MSM continue to make up the greatest proportion of new infections: over 46.6 per cent in Canada in 2011. And MSM (a category created to be inclusive of behaviour rather than just identity) represent 50 per cent of all people living with HIV in Canada according to CATIE, Canada’s source for HIV and hepatitis C information. While numbers in many other populations are going down around the country, those for queer men continue to rise. In Winnipeg, HIV prevalence among MSM is 19 per cent, states the M-Track survey.

After decades of scientific research, public education and detailed knowledge on how to prevent infection, it may seem confounding that infections are still on the rise. It’s a very complicated issue, according to Olivier Ferlatte, research education director at Vancouver’s Community-Based Research Centre for Gay Men’s Health. He’s worked in HIV research for about a decade. “If there was a very easy answer, I guess we would have probably resolved the epidemic,” he said. Government funding, or lack


OutWords // Lifestyle & Food

thereof, as well as approaches used to address the issue are both factors.

The need for a targeted strategy Ferlatte said there is a lack of funding for HIV prevention that is targeted toward gay men in particular, despite the fact that they represent nearly half of new infections. “Also what we’re seeing is that the efforts that we have are perhaps not really addressing all the causes of the epidemic.” Ferlatte’s research shows HIV risk among gay men is connected to both mental health and substance-use issues. The approach often used for educating gay men about HIV and encouraging changes in behaviours isn’t bad, but it isn’t addressing connected issues that actually increase HIV infection. “One of the shifts in the last several years has really been shifting from dealing only with HIV... to basically looking more at health more holistically and running services that are about gay men’s health,” said Andrea Langlois, manager of community-based research at the Pacific AIDS Network. “And so yes, HIV is within that, but so are other STIs, so is depression, so are all of those related issues.” However, one of the challenges with this new approach is how to bring services into smaller communities, since a gay men’s health clinic would depend on a dense population to make it worthwhile. Langlois said partnership organizations within smaller communities are one way people are talking about making it work. Sané Dube is membership co-ordinator with Nine Circles Community Health Centre in Winnipeg, a community-based non-profit specializing in HIV and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) prevention. Dube acknowledged the HIV program in Manitoba is very Winnipeg-centric, and many patients have to travel to access specialized care. An estimated 25 per cent of new diagnoses are in people living outside Winnipeg. In 2013, three outbreaks of HIV occurred in Northern Manitoba, where communities are often under-resourced. An estimated 1,100 people total are living with HIV in Manitoba, said Dube. And, aboriginal Manitobans are disproportionately affected. “In 2012, 61

per cent of all newly-diagnosed people were aboriginal,” said Dube. The effects of race and class on HIV infection rates are well documented in Canada and the U.S. A Fenway Health report released in January found that among MSM, black men were especially impacted in the U.S. The report from the Boston-based GLBTQ* health and education centre also said that in the U.S., HIV prevention is largely targeted toward heterosexuals and other risk groups, despite MSM representing 64 per cent of new infections. Only 27 per cent of HIV education and risk reduction funding in the U.S. was targeted toward MSM. The director of the Centre for Disease Control’s HIV centre, Dr. Kevin Fenton, even acknowledged funding for gay men was half what it should be due to stigma and homophobia cascading down and resulting in underfunding.

16.3%

Environmental factors come into play in HIV contagion and prevention The U.S. report also named “resiliency factors” linked to lower rates of HIV-risk behaviour among GLBTQ* youth, such as having openly-gay role models among teachers or family, anti-bullying policies in schools and parental acceptance. Dr. Sean Cahill of the Fenway Institute wrote, “Public health departments should fund campaigns and interventions that promote parental acceptance of gay sons as a resiliency factor that can be protective against HIV infection.” On the flip side, health disparities affecting gay youth, such as bullying and social isolation, can play into higher risks for HIV. “If we don’t address those epidemics, we’ll really never resolve the HIV epidemic.

13.23% 1.44%

0.29% 0.29%

0.86%

6.14%

10.83% 48.8% 1.82%

KNOWN ADULTS TRANSMISSION ROUTES OF HIV 2011

MSM MSM/IDU INJECTION DRUG USERS MALE INJECTION DRUG USERS FEMALE BLOOD PRODUCTS MALE BLOOD PRODUCTS FEMALE HETEROSEXUAL CONTACT MALE HETEROSEXUAL CONTACT FEMALE OTHER MALES OTHER FEMALES

November 2013 // www.outwords.ca // 21


OutWords // Lifestyle & Food

Number of positive HIV test reports among adults attributed to MSM exposure category by year. 1998-2008

L L A N B U F A F O

Number of positive HIV test reports

600 550 500

THE GOLDENBOY VOLLEYBALL LEAGUE IS BACK, 19 AND RUNNING

450

By Shayna Wiwierski

you are looking for balls-to-the-wall fun, Ifthen the Goldenboy Volleyball League has

400 350

1998

1999

2000 2001

We need a holistic strategy that addresses many issues, many health disparities that gay men are facing, because HIV is only one. And we don’t have that. I think it’s getting even worse,” said Ferlatte from Vancouver. The Sex Now survey Ferlatte helped conduct showed gay men today are experiencing as much discrimination as previous generations, and sometimes more. “[People think that] in today’s age, homophobia and discrimination are less of an issue for gay men. Although we have now perhaps made most of the gains we could have made from a legal standpoint, we’re seeing the climate in which young gay men are building their sexual identity, and it’s hostile to that,” he said. “Things like workplace discrimination.... young gay men still feel they’ve been discriminated against, even though they started working at a point when workplace discrimination was [a] protected [grounds]. This has an impact on their mental health, which has an impact on HIV infection.”

The risk of not knowing In Vancouver, a shocking one-in-five gay men are HIV positive, found a 2008 sexual health survey called ManCount. That’s in contrast to the general population in the city with a rate of one in 100. Numbers are comparable across Canada. Dr. Terry Tussler worked on the survey and said numbers alone are a big part of the increasing infections among gay men. Being in a fairly fixed population means the percentage of

22 // November 2013 // www.outwords.ca

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

2008

HIV-positive men will increase each year as people within the population sleep together. The survey also found that 2.5 per cent of men surveyed were HIV positive but believed they were negative. Tussler believes rising infection rates are partly driven by men making decisions under the false assumption they are negative. People who are newly infected have a higher chance of passing on HIV, since they will have a high viral load. On Dec. 1, this World AIDS Day, it will be 32 years since the first diagnosed case of HIV. An estimated 71,300 Canadians were living with HIV as of 2011, according to ACT. And a quarter of Canadians living with HIV aren’t aware they’re positive. A common mental image of the illness harkens from the late ’80s, but HIV and its treatment have changed drastically. Canadians with access to adequate shelter, food and treatment often live long, healthy lives. HIV today is seen as a chronic illness, rather than a death sentence. Factors such as class, cultural background, refugee status, type of work, trauma and more can play large roles in people’s access to health care, and thus affect how HIV influences their lives. This year, the first-annual Prairies HIV Conference by Manitoba and Saskatchewan took place Nov. 4 and 5 in Saskatoon. - Larkin Schmiedl is a freelance journalist living in Vancouver, B.C. He’s a GLBTQ* contributing editor with rabble.ca, hosted a queer-issues radio show called Gaydio, and loves to write about social and environmental justice.

you covered. The recreational volleyball group started in 1994 after founder Mike Law saw the need for GLBTQ* individuals to be involved with sports. “Twenty years ago, GLBTQ* people were less likely to be involved in team sports, especially men because of the macho dynamic that exists in [organized] sports sometimes,” says Law, 44. The league plays every Friday night and although official details weren’t finalized by press time, Law says that presumably they will be playing at the same location they have been at for the past 15 years, Gordon Bell High School, located at 3 Borrowman Place in Winnipeg. Usually the tournaments are from 8 to 10 p.m. Friday nights, however, the official time and date depends on the permit for the school use. Anyone can join in to play and watch, but Law says that they usually collect two dollars per person for players, based on an honour system, which goes towards to the cost of the annual application and replacement volleyballs. Law says that the turnout is usually enough to form four teams and each game goes to 25 points. There are two courts and anyone is welcome to come out and play, no matter the orientation. “The purpose of it is to provide a venue for GLBTQ* people to play, but sometimes the third of the people we get are nonGLBTQ*. Anyone is welcome.” For more information, visit the Goldenboy Volleyball League Facebook page. - Shayna Wiwierski is the life-style & Food editor for OutWords.


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SAME-SEX ADOPTIONS GET EQUAL TREATMENT IN

I

2013

f you ask Janice Knight what the differences are between a GLBTQ* couple and a non-GLBTQ* couple adopting a child, her reply is “what do you mean?” Don’t be taken aback, wondering whether she’s being cruel or aloof. She’s just being honest. Knight is the manager of adoption and post-adoption for the Province of Manitoba. Not only is she the top dog when it comes to everything to do with adoptions, but

24 // November 2013 // www.outwords.ca

What Manitoba adoption agencies think of queer parents in 2013 By J.A. Shapira

she’s also a huge supporter of the GLBTQ* community and their right to be parents. So when she asks what you mean, don’t be upset. It’s because in her eyes, there are no differences. If anyone knows the rules, regulations and policies around adoption in Manitoba, it’s Knight. Not only was she instrumental in advocating for the GLBTQ* community when laws prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation were introduced,

but she’s also put programs in place to ensure her staff feel the same way. And as far as the Government of Manitoba is concerned, when it comes to potential parents, there is no difference between same-sex or straight. When I sat down with her I was expecting to be given boxes full of charts, statistics and research that would identify the numbers of GLBTQ* vs. non-GLBTQ* couples that have adopted children, or discussion of the challenges our community


OutWords // Lifestyle & Food

has faced during the process. There were none. Whether you’re white, black, straight or gay, with one leg or two, it turns out that the Province of Manitoba doesn’t care. So long as you can provide a healthy and happy home for a needing child, they will allow you to adopt one. And because everyone is treated the same, they don’t keep track of statistics like those. In fact, the only obstacle that a samesex couple might face in 2013 Manitoba is if they choose to adopt a child from outside of Canada. According to Knight, some countries such as Russia won’t allow GLBTQ* Canadians to adopt their children. “It’s the sending country’s prerogative,” said Knight. Her office can only control what happens in Canada, but if you’re dead-set on adopting a child from another country, there are more than 14 countries that are happy to help you find a child, with millions of children looking for mommies or daddies to love them. Once I realized that on paper, there was no difference between GLBTQ* and non-GLBTQ* prospective adoptive parents, one thing I wanted to investigate was what processes were in place should an applicant feel discriminated against. However, again, any fears I had were quickly squashed. Knight reminded me there is a hierarchy at the provincial level. Although individual social workers assessing each case have a significant amount of say and power over whether an applicant can adopt, there are appeal boards in place should the applicant feel they were treated unfairly. “We also have a human rights commission which can review the application. There are several ways if they feel they aren’t assessed fairly,” says Knight. Bonnie Snow, who works with Adoption Options, a not-for-profit adoption agency licensed by the Manitoba government, echoes that sentiment. “Any report written by the social worker has to be approved by me,” said Snow, “and if anyone had a complaint about our process, we have a

board of directors that governs us, not to mention we’re licensed by the province.” To date, they’ve never received a single complaint. While Adoption Options has only had four same-sex couples adopt in the last four years, Snow said it’s only due to a lack of applications. After a few emails back and forth with an introduction from Snow, I had the chance to sit down for coffee with adoptive parents Chris and James LittleGagne and their adorable son Caleb. The couple couldn’t help but praise the service they received when they went through the adoption process with Adoption Options less than a year ago. “All in all, it was pretty seamless,” said Chris. As James sits in the Starbucks feeding Caleb from a bottle, he nods in agreement as Chris skims through my questions with nothing but positive remarks. The couple said they have never felt mistreated or discriminated against. When asked if they had any reservations recommending adoption to other same-sex couples, the answer was a resounding no. After spending a lot of time delving through mountains of paperwork and conversations with the agency, when it came time to finally meet a birthmother, things happened very quickly for the Little-Gagnes. Within just a couple of days, they were bringing Caleb home to start their family. I would have loved to fill this article with facts and figures on adoption by samesex couples. It would have been great to use this as a catalyst to fight for more rights. It certainly would have made my job easier. But it seems all the lobbying our community has done is beginning to pay off. We have the same rights as anyone when it comes to adopting children, and in addition to those rights, we have people like Knight and Snow fighting on our behalf. They may have no control over the public perception of samesex parents and they certainly can’t battle the schoolyard bullies, but

Whether you’re white, black, straight or gay, with one leg or two, it turns out that the Province of Manitoba doesn’t care. they’ve given us an incredible gift. They’ve said they don’t care who we share our bed with, they don’t care about the personal feelings or agendas of politicians and policymakers that may be against us. All they care about is that we meet or exceed the same requirements as anyone else in any other type of relationship that has applied to become a parent, and that we’ll love and support our child, standing behind them through all of life’s trials and tribulations. The process is exactly the same for everyone. There are background checks and home studies, interviews and selection processes. Snow said that even in private adoptions, where the parents have the right to choose the adoptive couple, rarely does the subject of sexuality come up. If it does, Snow’s staff will move along until they help find you the perfect child. In private adoption it’s all about fit. And when the pieces of a puzzle come together, that’s when adoption really works. Have you had a different experience with same sex adoptions? Are you currently in the process? Email, Facebook or tweet us @OutWords to let us know of your story! - J.A. Shapira is a Winnipeg-based freelance writer.

getty images


OutWords // Entertainment

SUPERHEROES ON OUR TEAM THE COMING OUT STORY OF GAY COMIC BOOK CHARACTERS By Corey Shefman

I

n 1954, American psychiatrist Fredric Wertham published the now-infamous book Seduction of the Innocent. This exposé of the mid-century comic book industry and its allegedly negative effect on youth led directly to U.S. Congressional hearings and parents across the U.S. and Canada taking up the cause of so-called moral righteousness and launching an inquiry into comic books. The culprit? Superheroes. Thanks to Wertham, a number of parents learned that Batman and Robin were really lovers, not just crime-fighting partners. And Wonder Woman’s strong and independent nature meant that she was obviously a lesbian. The result was the 1954 Comics Code, which prohibited, among other things, any suggestion of “sex perversion.” Until 1989, when the Code was updated to allow certain depictions of gay characters, gay people simply didn’t exist in comic book worlds, except when publishers defied the code. And although publishers were slow to accept gay characters, as societal attitudes shifted, so did comic books. There have been gay superheroes in Marvel and DC (the two main produc-

26 // November 2013 // www.outwords.ca

ers of superhero comics) for decades now, although DC (the producer of Superman and Batman) has taken longer to accept diverse superheroes in its ranks. It is probably not a coincidence that one of the first and most well-known gay superheroes is Canadian. Jean-Paul Beaubier, also known as Northstar, is a member of Alpha Flight, Marvel’s premier Canadian superhero team. Born in Montreal, Northstar is a mutant, with superhuman speed and the ability to fly. Since his debut in 1979 and his coming out in 1992, Northstar has appeared in Alpha Flight comics and Marvel’s X-Men publications both as a member of, and antagonist to, the famous mutant team. Few can challenge Northstar’s status as a trailblazer. Not only was he one of the first major superheroes to come out of the closet, he’s also been a mentor to younger gay superheroes (Anole, see sidebar) and was the first gay superhero to get married. And yet aside from his initial coming out (which was handled rather poorly as an inyour-face AIDS awareness issue), Northstar has generally been treated as just another superhero. He paved the way for the latest generation of out superheroes who

IT IS PROBABLY NOT A COINCIDENCE THAT ONE OF THE FIRST AND MOST WELL-KNOWN GAY SUPERHEROES IS CANADIAN. generally haven’t gone through the coming out process the way Northstar, Midnighter and Apollo, and Batwoman had to. This new generation of gay heroes addresses the problem that Allan Heinberg (creator of Young Avengers and a writer for “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Sex and the City”) has identified. “We want it both ways, don’t we?” asked Heinberg in an interview with Comic Book Resources. “We want more gay characters in comics, but we don’t want them defined by their sexuality.” Characters like Heinberg’s own creations, Wiccan and Hulkling, fit this description perfectly. Members of the Young Avengers, Wiccan (Billy Kaplan) and Hulkling (Teddy Altman) are teenage superheroes and boyfriends – in that order. And in a fulfilment of many comic book readers’ fantasies, Hulkling is a shape-shifting Skrull. Anole and Gray-


OutWords // Entertainment

malkin, teenage newcomers to the X-Men are similarly well-adjusted. And each of these four prominent gay heroes have a story to tell, stories that reflect the realities of readers’ lives, as good comics should. Like many teenagers, Anole refuses to be defined by his sexual orientation, even getting angry when teammates talk about it too much. Wiccan and Hulkling stress over how to tell their parents the truth about their secret lives… as superheroes. Yet despite the positive portrayal of these characters, the fact remains that Northstar shows up every couple years, Anole isn’t appearing in any ongoing title and Young Avengers is always on the brink of cancellation. And what about DC? The publisher of Superman, Batman and Green Lantern has a dismal record of GLBTQ*-friendly publication. Although Batwoman came out of the closet in the early 2000s, the writers of her series quit this past summer, after DC refused to give permission for her to get married to her long-time partner. And that’s aside from DC’s ill-advised partnership with noted homophobe science fiction writer Orson Scott Card, author of Ender’s Game. Perhaps most interesting is Marvel’s decision to shelve its plans to make a movie about its other young superhero team, the Runaways, which features a lesbian and (arguably) transgender character. Although Marvel claims that the plans were put on hold after the success of The Avengers movie, one might wonder whether they simply got cold feet. Although we can’t expect either Marvel or DC to rewrite (also called “retcon”) a hero’s history to make them more representative, the complete absence of gay characters from both companies’ most visible franchises, their movies, is problematic. Unlike the superheroes themselves, the comic companies are certainly not out front, leading the charge for social acceptance of the GLBTQ* community. But the superhero universes are starting to resemble our own world. When you can open up a comic book and see a proud, gay hero flying across the page, beating the bad guys and saving the day, all while wearing the same spandex tights as the straight heroes, I think it’s safe to say we’re on the right track. Should there be more GLBTQ* comic book characters? Tweet us at @outwords to let us know!

WANT TO READ THE STORIES OF SOME GAY SUPERHEROES? Here’s where you go to read some GLBTQ* adventures: Young Avengers First series written by Allan Heinberg, #1-12 (2006), Avengers: The Children’s Crusade(2010) and Volume 2, written by a new creative team (2013-present), all featuring Wiccan and Hulkling. Young X-Men One series of 12 issues (2008), featuring Anole. Alpha Flight Canada’s home-grown super hero team is Northstar’s main team (1983-1994, 19971999 and short runs in 2004 and 2011). X-Men, New X-Men, Astonishing X-Men Ongoing series featuring Northstar as a semi-regular member of the X-Men team (2002-2005). Astonishing X-Men #50 and #51 (2012) saw Northstar marry his partner. Batwoman An eponymous series (2010). Ironically, a previous incarnation of Batwoman was created in the mid-1950s as a romantic interest for Batman, to convince readers that Batman wasn’t gay.

- Corey Shefman is a geek, and proud of it.

November 2013 // www.outwords.ca // 27


OutWords // Books & Movies

SETTING FIRE TO OUR LOINS OutWords catches up with, author of the gay erotic novel Autumn Fire By Meg Crane

What led you to this genre? In the science fiction novel I was attempting to write, I had a sex scene about two thirds of the way through. I had great fun writing it and so when I needed something fun to divert myself away from the dark sci-fi, I decided to look into sex writing. I did all my research first – I read a bunch of short stories and novels and had an email discussion with an agent for erotic fiction. I worked out how these stories are constructed, what the expectations of the genre are, the tropes commonly used, what seems effective and what doesn’t.

What is your favourite part in the book to write? The sex. Definitely the sex. It’s really difficult, though. To write good sex, you have to be aware of every word choice you make, the pacing, the positioning, and progression and a million other things. There’s a reason there are “awards” for bad sex writing in fiction—it’s hard to get it right!

What was the hardest part of writing the book? The sex. It was my favourite part to write, but it was the hardest. I’ve never seriously written a sex scene until this book. The sex scene in my unpublished sci-fi novel was short and, now that I know a bit better, awkwardly written. In the gay erotic romance genre, not only do the sex scenes have to be very well written, but they also have to last for pages and pages longer than they would in any other genre. And there has to be rising heat – within the individual scenes, and throughout all the sex scenes. It has to get hotter and hotter all the time. 28 // November 2013 // www.outwords.ca

What made you decide to use a pseudonym? There were two main reasons. First, my real name isn’t that sexy. Cameron D. James has some masculinity and sexiness to it that my real name seems to lack. And, secondly, it allows me to lead a bit of a dual life—clean and wholesome under my real name, sexy and dirty under my pen name. Also, when I go back to my science fiction roots, I would need to publish under a different name, so I’m reserving my real name for my science fiction, if anything should ever happen with that.

Are you working on any books right now? I’ve got a few plans in the hopper. I’m about a third of the way through my next novel, which I plan to submit to my publisher as soon as it’s polished. It will be a gay erotic romance situated in rural Scotland, featuring a young Canadian man who seems to be running from something in his personal life. He meets a confident young Scot who tries to push his boundaries and help him experience life. And there will be lots of sex along the way.

For the full interview with James, go to outwords.ca.

CAMERON D. JAMES’ EROTIC NOVEL A HOT WINTER READ By Eric Plamondon

Book review of Autumn Fire

Prairie summer 2013 was not the hot sunny bliss we dreamed about. Luckily, those who still need a bit of inner heat to survive the coming winter can turn towards the recently released erotic novel Autumn Fire by Cameron D. James. Set on a university campus in Toronto (one of the only credible settings for the plethora of hot, horny and available men that fill the pages of Autumn Fire, the story wastes no time setting up the closeted hero of the story, Dustin, with numerous tricks and hookups. The plot line thickens when Dustin falls in love with a blonde jock who was supposed to be a simple hookup during a linear algebra study break. He is forced to deal with both linear algebra and these new feelings; turns out you can’t just lust love away. James nobly crafts an erotic story that bases self-affirmation on the strength of love and letting oneself be loved. The elements will speak to the targeted gay male audience, particularly those who spent a lot of time in university gym showers, libraries and dorm rooms. However, James fails to spend any valuable time describing those undeniable moments where the heroes awaken to love. Pre-established formulas of erotica, where precum and muscle men are found on every page, allow for a hot autumn, but foreshadow a cold winter. - Eric Plamondon is a Winnipeg-based freelance writer.


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by Roewan Crowe images by Paul Robles

Winnipeg launch at McNally Robinson 7:00 pm, November 27 discover more at arpbooks.org


OutWords // Books & Movies

By Danelle Cloutier

T

he musical documentary My Prairie Home, shown this year at Reel Pride, is the essence of two things that have been engulfing Rae Spoon lately— youth and music. “Music was the first way that I learned how to bridge the gap with people. I realized I could, like, communicate better through music,” ring the first words of the musical documentary’s trailer about Spoon’s life growing up queer on the prairies in an evangelical household. From being estranged from their schizophrenic father, to suffering abuse, the Calgary-born musician used music as a teenager to escape and to build a safe world. “It kind of gave me something to focus on and I think it is, like, useful for selfexpression, you know? Especially grunge music at the time,” said Spoon over the phone on their way to Fredericton on their Canadian tour. Spoon, who prefers gender-neutral pronouns, released an album titled My Prairie Home in August, which doubles as a soundtrack to the National Film Board (NFB) documentary.

30 // November 2013 // www.outwords.ca

Because working with youth is one of Spoon’s major priorities, the documentary’s director Chelsea McMullan said they wanted to include a shot of Spoon facilitating a workshop with GLBTQ* youth who used music for self-expression. But McMullan said they made the hard decision to cut the scene because it didn’t fit the film’s narrative. “The footage was great and they wrote an amazing song about their experiences growing up queer/trans in the prairies. The song was like a queer/trans prairie anthem,” said McMullan, who’s also busy working on developing an interactive music experience for GLBTQ* youth with Spoon and the NFB. “Rae sometimes performs the song at their shows and they always bring down the house. I’ve seen them get a standing ovation when they play it.” You might be able to catch Spoon performing the queer/trans prairie anthem at the Windsor Hotel in Winnipeg on November 23 at 8 p.m. Spoon will also be speaking at StandOUT!, Manitoba’s third-annual gay-

“Music was the first way that I learned how to bridge the gap with people.” - Rae Spoon straight-alliance (GSA) conference on Nov. 25, where Spoon said they plan to address issues that they have noticed in the queer community. “I think there’s still a lot of issues like sexism and misogyny and racism and a lot of things that happen within the queer community, and I feel like the youth today can be leaders in paying attention to that.” The GSA conference, hosted by Rainbow Resource Centre at the Victoria Inn, is open to junior high and high school students from Manitoba and Ontario. My Prairie Home is set to hit theatres this month. - Danelle Cloutier is the music editor for OutWords.


OutWords OutWords // Columns // Books&&Opinions Movies

BORN WITH GUILT B

oth Robert, who is offering a Spirituality mentoring project to Ray buteau the rainbow youth and Tom, who Robert’s group, is his subject for today, counselling meet at the coffee shop sessions entrance at the same time. continue “Hi Tom, nice timing, how are you?” with a frank “Hi Robert, to be discussion of honest with you, if I religion hadn’t seen you inside, I would have used it as an excuse to leave quickly. You have no idea how difficult it is for me to be here right now.” “I kind of got that impression from your first comment,” Robert responds. “Robert, don’t take this personally. It’s just that I never spoke to anyone about this stuff, and I mean no one. I feel like I’m going to a counsellor and someone is looking from up there.” “If it makes you feel better, I’m not only bound by professional confidentiality, but I won’t charge you my usual $60-an-hour rate,” Robert replies. “And as for that person looking from above, I know from confidential sources that He frequents the other coffee shop.” “I’ll hold you to that confidentiality part,” Tom says with resignation. “Tell me Tom, did you have a religious upbringing?” “I was raised Catholic, are you familiar with them?” “Oh yes,” Robert says with an air of smugness. “So I don’t have to explain to you about confessions, mortal sins, the rosary, going to Mass and catechism?” “Nope, been there and done that,” Robert assures Tom. “Tom, do you feel that you’re a Christian?” “No, I told you I was a Catholic,” Tom says emphatically.

“I see I have some fundamentals to get over with first, before we begin,” Robert suggests. “Tom, every person who follows the symbol of the Cross is a Christian. There are literally hundreds of groups, called denominations, of which Catholics are one, that make up the Christian religion.” “Other religions, rather than call their God ’Father’ as Christians do, refer to their deity as Allah, Yahweh, Krishna, Manitou and other sacred names.” “Which one is the right one?” Tom asks. “I believe that they are all trying to speak about love and to lead their people to a sacred place,” Robert suggests. “May I ask which one you belong to, Robert?” “None of them. I get my spiritual insight and support from listening to ‘Sacred Space’ on Sunday mornings on the University of Manitoba radio station. They speak my spiritual language and I feel as if I’m listening to like-minded people,” Robert says. “I thought we were here to speak about my guilt issues around the person above,” Tom says, sounding almost disappointed. “When you can respect the beliefs of others without any judgment and you can list the gifts that you received from having been brought up in your own religious group, you will be ready to let go of your religious guilt,” Robert replies. “What are you happy about, having been a Catholic?” Tom quickly asks. “The first gifts that I think of are an awareness of a higher power, the importance of prayer, forgiveness, thinking of others, having faith, to name a few.” Tom asks, “What about hell, mortal sins, confessions and all the other stuff I no longer believe in?” “You made the most important first step today, Tom. You started speaking to another person about a difficult issue for you. And when someone says the words ‘Catholic’ or ‘God’ to you, and you’re able to speak of the positives first before any negative feelings, you’ll be on your way to letting go of the guilt

and accepting that as an adult you can choose to believe, while respecting those that continue to cherish different religious faiths.” “That has to be it for today,” Robert concludes. “I’ll be meeting with you and Danny together next month to begin speaking about relationships.” “About that meeting Robert, do you mind if Danny and I bring our mutual friend Jan along? We are like the three amigos these days. She keeps Danny calm and I think I have a crush on her, and I thought I was gay.” “This should be interesting,” Robert says, acceptingly. - Ray Buteau is a former Catholic priest and author of the book No Longer Lonely.

You can visits Ray’s website at www.raybuteausweb.com


OutWords // Columns/Opinions

e n i m MY KNOWLEDGE will do many things IT MIGHT build a home OR MAYBE start a business MY KNOWLEDGE, EARNED AT UCN. UCN is diverse. Our students come from all over Manitoba and neighbouring provinces. You will share classes with people right out of high school, as well as mature students. UCN is inclusive and is for everyone. Picture yourself here. To find out more, visit www.ucn.ca and call 866-677-6450 (Thompson) or 204-627-8500 (The Pas)

OWN YOUR FUTURE UNIVERSITY COLLEGE OF THE NORTH 32 // July / August 2013 // www.outwords.ca


Outwords 205 November 2013