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CHIEN HEH TORONTO, ON

The original reason for Pride was because of discrimination, but even though it has mostly evolved into a celebration, the original reason for its existence still stands — a protest against discrimination [“Toronto Pride Nudity Motion Delayed,” dailyxtra.com, March 6]. When it comes to body acceptance and nudists, discrimination still prevails. Just listen to the comments being spewed by people who profess to be against discrimination. They sound like the homophobes of the past. You know, like the ones that used to say things like “I don’t discriminate against gays; I just don’t want to see them kissing or holding hands in public. Why do they have to flaunt it?” Or, “There’s no reason to be gay in a public place. Think of the children.” This issue is about intolerance and discrimination. We’re all human, so why are another person’s breasts offensive? Or their penis? Or their ass? Even children know what we all look like naked, and it is not offensive to them. It’s only offensive to the parents, and I really don’t think they know why. TOM BALINT TORONTO, ON

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and when they inevitably expand the Island airport, pretty soon Hanlan’s Point Beach will be gone too. As far as gay interest is concerned, Toronto is just another rust-belt town. RYAN TORONTO, ON

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I very much enjoyed seeing the picture of last year’s Pride parade in your last issue [“Pride Nudity Prompts Funding Fracas,” Xtra #767, March 20]. Our bodies are perfect creations in nature. I have always been proud of my body and am still appreciating all kinds of human form now in my 70s. Those who attack us for being naked in the parade, probably they feel shameful of their own bodies. They will not intimidate us. We, brothers and sisters of the LGBT community, will make a statement by getting together and marching naked at this year’s WorldPride parade to make it the biggest celebration of freedom, love and pride in Toronto ever. Together we will succeed. Viva body beauty!

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I have a 30-something friend — let’s call him Mark — who once worried his father would murder him because of his sexuality. Mark’s small-town Ontario father was so homophobic that his gay teenaged son feared for his life. So Mark moved to Toronto as soon as he was old enough, got a job and started a new life. He’s since come out to his dad, who didn’t kill him. Mark’s father instead accepted his son for who he is — like any good parent should — and even got over his own unwarranted fear of gay people in the process. Many similar stories don’t have such a happy ending. Xtra recently sat down with five queer youth who have experienced homelessness or currently live in one of Toronto’s shelters (see page 8). In many cases, these kids have had to deal with homophobic parents, guardians or stepparents. Youth such as Ryan M, who says his sexuality is a “major disappointment” for his father. Despite several attempts to get back on his feet, Ryan, who remains homeless, recently moved from a downtown shelter where he was harassed to one in North York because he feared for his safety. Nakisha Millien’s story reflects a similar reality, one in which LGBT youth face harassment, homophobia and transphobia in those few Toronto shelters where they can find space. “I was kind of scared for my own life,” Millien says of her experience in a Toronto shelter. These stories point to the urgent need for a facility dedicated to assisting young homeless LGBT people, who, studies show, account for as much as 40 percent of street youth. Such a shelter would be only the first step in tackling the problem of youth homelessness in a city that has long brushed aside this embarrassing — and mounting — social issue. A report from Covenant House, a downtown youth shelter, estimates that as many as 2,000 youth are homeless every night in Toronto. Unfortunately, there are only about 500 shelter beds for these youth to fight over. Meanwhile, advocates raised the alarm last winter when the province ended its Community Start Up and Maintenance Benefit, which annually supported 200,000 individuals,

including queer youth escaping abusive environments. A study released March 3 by the Canadian Homelessness Research Network finds that a lack of dedicated funding to tackle the growing problem of youth homelessness is a problem across the country. It notes that Canada is lagging behind other Western countries, including Australia and the United States, in dealing with the issue. Sadly, even with dozens of credible studies that set out ways to mitigate growing homelessness, it remains all too common to find Canadian leaders who, like Toronto Councillor Giorgio Mammoliti, put forward wacky ideas about how to solve the problem. Mammoliti, who was chosen to chair Rob Ford’s failed special task force on homelessness, has said he wants to close all Toronto shelters and force homeless people off the streets. Fortunately, amidst such lunacy there has been an increasing chorus of reasonable people voicing support for a dedicated queer youth shelter. Federal NDP deputy leader Megan Leslie recently told Xtra that her party plans to put a commitment for such a shelter into its 2015 election platform. Toronto mayoral candidate Olivia Chow also told Xtra she supports the creation of an LGBT youth shelter. And groundbreaking research on queer youth homelessness by University of Toronto doctoral candidate I Alex Abramovich has spurred some city councillors into action, including Kristyn Wong-Tam, who successfully fought for the creation of a working group that will look into the viability of such a shelter. Despite these positive signs, there’s been a conspicuous lack of outrage about the extent of this crisis. And we’ve yet to see any firm financial commitment or plan to address youth homelessness from federal, provincial or local governments. Perhaps Toronto needs a vocal celebrity champion like Cyndi Lauper, who recently raised money to open True Colors, a 30-bed housing facility for LGBT youth in New York City. “These young people often face discrimination and at times physical assault in some of the very places they have to go for help,” Lauper said. “This is shocking and inexcusable!” It sure is.

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Forty years of Xtra I read Ken Popert’s editorial comment with a great deal of interest [“While We Weren’t Looking,” Xtra #766, March 6]. I have just returned to living in Toronto after working as a flight attendant in the United States for the last 20 or so years. While I was not looking (or living in Toronto), I have to agree with Popert’s comments. The city I left 20 years ago had its problems for the LGBT community, but I felt a strong sense of “community,” where anything was possible, and a sense of pride in our battles won. The Toronto I now find myself living in seems to have lost the “edge” it once had, and most people seem to be more interested in their own personal lives rather than our community. I could not agree more with Popert’s fears that our community will no doubt wake up in a year or two and realize we have lost some of our rights and community feeling, as the forces against us have not gone away at all. BRENT MCKINSTRY TORONTO, ON

WorldPride Why visit Toronto anymore? Toronto has very limited options for gay tourists these days. The Village is dead — not a single new gay nightclub has opened in it since the early 2000s —

The outcome that we seek is this — gay and lesbian people daring together to set love free. Xtra is published by Pink Triangle Press, at 2 Carlton St, Ste 1600, Toronto, M5B 1J3.

Nobody outside of Toronto seems to know what WorldPride is or that it is happening. I have asked gay friends from all over North America, and no one knows anything about it. I contacted Pride about this, but they haven’t replied to email or phone messages. Then again, I’m not a corporation with a cheque for them, just a member of the community. KEVIN JOHN MCDONALD (FACEBOOK) TORONTO, ON

The focus should be on the people that live here. There are some conferences, but I think if you make it good for the locals, you’re attracting visitors and if not, it doesn’t matter. ROY MITCHELL (FACEBOOK) TORONTO, ON

ACT cuts I understand that Hazelle Palmer was the executive director of ACT from April 2009 to October 2013, before resigning to become chief executive officer of the Sherbourne Health Centre in November 2013 [“AIDS Committee of Toronto Cuts Staff to Control Deficits,” dailyxtra. com, March 19]. The article states that since 2009, ACT has posted deficits of $483,978 in 2010, $74,580 in 2011, $9,070 in 2012 and $47,816 in 2013. These deficits appear to have been under Palmer’s tenure. Given ACT’s current financial state, failed fundraising events and uncertain role, it’s not surprising that Palmer decided to leave the top job at ACT and instead take the top job at the Sherbourne Health Centre. What is surprising is that the board of directors of the Sherbourne Health Centre decided to hire Palmer as CEO, given her record at ACT. ELLEN TORONTO, ON

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Homelessness doesn’t just happen in downtown Toronto ... gay people don’t just live in downtown Toronto. James Bar E 8

Pride Toronto says it has increased its marketing efforts in tourism circles, but some in the community worry there hasn’t been enough international advertising for WorldPride. ADAM COISH

Will anyone show up to WorldPride? Pride Toronto and Tourism Toronto send mixed signals WORLDPRIDE ROB SALERNO

Since it was announced in 2009 that Toronto would host WorldPride 2014, euphoric projections of exponential growth in Pride’s attendance, a legacy of making Toronto one of the world’s top LGBT travel destinations, and a multiplied economic impact have been taken for granted as the benefits of hosting what is hoped to be one of the largest celebrations of queer sexuality in the world. But what if we host WorldPride and no one comes? Some community members say they worry that organizers aren’t doing enough to promote WorldPride to the global gay community. “Friends of mine went on a three-week honeymoon in Australia, and I asked them if they saw anything there and not one thing,” says MORE AT DAILYXTRA.COM

Brent Baker, part of a group who wrote an open letter to Pride Toronto urging it to step up advertising for the event. Pride Toronto says it has dramatically increased marketing efforts in international tourism circles, which Torontonians may not recognize because they’re not the target audience. “We have been targeting markets in South America and Brazil, specifically, across Europe, and we have upcoming events across the US and Canada,” says Trevor Hampden, Pride Toronto’s communications manager. “Our tourism partners [Tourism Toronto] are very excited to be working with us. They’re telling us that hotels are being booked well in advance, and they expect hotels to be booked across the city.” But a spokesperson from Tourism Toronto says that they have no such data. “I don’t have any data on advance

bookings for Pride. It’s always one of our busiest weekends of the year. We have every reason to be optimistic,” says Andrew Weir. Pride Toronto’s executive director, Kevin Beaulieu, reached in Berlin where he was doing promotional work, says the organization is aiming for two million total visitors over the two-week stretch. Weir says that the real impact of WorldPride won’t be measured in the number of tourists who visit Toronto this June, but in the establishment of the city as a premier destination for LGBT travel. The event, he says, will draw international attention and feed the local tourism industry for years to come. “This is about establishing Toronto’s Pride as one of the Pride events to be at every year,” he says. “This is a long-term play; it’s not about June 2014.”

NEWS BRIEFS

Signs of life returning to Church Street, sort of As winter finally makes its retreat, signs of economic life are returning to Church Street, with North of Brooklyn Pizzeria opening its second location in the former Flatirons shop, a 24-hour dry cleaner opening next to Pizza Nova, and deals to open franchises of a major fast food chain and a bank in the vacant spaces once occupied by Yogen Früz, 7-24 Video and Priape, Xtra has learned. The three latter spaces were sold in January to an investment capital company, according to the spaces’ realtor, Karen Koenig, of CBRE. Koenig says the former Yogen Früz location has been leased to “a well-known fast-food chain” that does not serve burgers, although she would not offer specifics. She says the location could be open in a matter of months, once renovations are complete. Koenig says also that the former 7-24 Video and Priape locations may be joined together and that there have been several expressions of interest. She says the landlord is close to a deal with “a major financial institution.” “The landlord wants someone who’s in it for the long term and can support the types of rents we’re asking,” Koenig says. The asking price on the units is $75 per square foot per year, which comes to $47,775 per year for the former Yogen Früz and $427,500 per year for the joined former Priape and 7-24 locations. Koenig says that despite the asking price, which she admits is high for commercial rents, she’s received a lot of interest in the sites. Originally, Starbucks was planning to move into the 7-24 location, but negotiations broke down over the rental price. Instead, since March 16, Starbucks has been undergoing a major renovation that

will see the Church Street store closed for at least 10 weeks. A store manager on duty says that the renovations will improve customer flow and wheelchair accessibility. It is hoped that the renovations will be completed ahead of WorldPride in June. — Rob Salerno

AIDS Committee of Toronto cuts staff to control deficits The AIDS Committee of Toronto (ACT) has made big staffing reductions to cope with financial pressures caused by four straight years of budget deficits, a memo received by Xtra reveals. In a memo sent to staff on March 18, executive director John Maxwell writes that ACT has for several years faced a “structural deficit.” “We have been running deficits due to the fact that most of our government funding is flat (not increasing), does not cover off administrative functions that are necessary for an organization to run, while at the same time, our fundraising revenues have been flat or declining. Yet, we have many ‘fixed’ costs that we cannot change — for example our rent for office space, costs associated with salaries and benefits,” Maxwell writes. “ACT’s board of directors has made it clear that for the long term stability of ACT, we need to take steps to address this.” In order to stem costs in the short term, the organization is eliminating several staff positions, including the position of manager of programs and services, which Maxwell held before being promoted to executive director last fall. Other managers are being reclassified as directors, and several staffers are having their work hours reduced to four days per week. ACT is also reducing its number of case managers from two to one. — Rob Salerno For more on these stories, go to dailyxtra.com.

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COVER STORY

Raising the roof

The stories of five queer youth who have experienced homelessness highlight the need for a dedicated LGBT youth shelter in Toronto BY DANIELA COSTA PHOTOS BY ADAM COISH

A

s a minority group, Toronto’s queer community is used to asking for more representation in politics, the workforce and beyond. It’s the all-too-familiar cry of the marginalized. Yet there’s a little discussed area where the community’s numbers are strong, and it’s nothing to be proud of — homelessness among LGBT youth. While LGBT people make up only about five percent of the general Canadian population, queer youth account for at least 20 percent of those using Toronto’s shelter system. These numbers come from the city’s interim Street Needs Assessment report, released in September. And in fact, they’re on the conservative side. According to a 2013 study by the Canadian Homelessness Research Network, about 25 to 40 percent of homeless youth (ages 16 to 26) identify as LGBT. The numbers point to a serious problem. But as is so often the case, facts and figures have a way of desensitizing us to the very real and very human issues at hand. It’s time we put faces and names to the LGBT homeless youth crisis in Toronto. 8 APRIL 3–16, 2014 XTRA!

Tyler Johnson

where he stayed for three years and flourished, as his aunt was able to dediAGE: 25 STATUS: EXPERIENCED cate the time and resources his mother HOMELESSNESS FOR ONE YEAR could not. The former troublemaker “I’m always constantly thinking of and bully quickly became an A student where I came from and how I got to who was well liked by his peers. where I am now.” The Nova Scotia experience ended For Tyler Johnson, this journey has when Johnson moved back in with his seen him through a group home, 14 dif- mother, this time in Woodstock, Onferent schools, discrimination at home tario. Not one to stay in one spot long, and, eventually, homelessness. he moved in with his estranged father Johnson’s troubles started early on. in Toronto nearly two years later. This His mother gave birth to him when stay was short-lived, even by Johnson’s she was just 15, and his father became standards; after a few months, his stepa part of his life only in Johnson’s mid- mother kicked him out — because she teens. Growing up, money was always found out he’s gay. an issue. “My family has always lived in “I wouldn’t have been kicked out poverty,” he says. “I’m trying otherwise,” Johnson says to change that for myself.” confidently. It’s an uphill battle for He doesn’t know how Johnson, who had the odds she found out, as he’s never stacked against him. From made it a point to come shelter users age 10 to 12, he lived in an out to anyone, and he has are youth all-boys group home. He no clue what his father’s says that decision came as a thoughts on the matter are. result of behavioural issues. “I was just “I don’t know what his reaction was, not a good child.” other than he didn’t defend me.” Johnson needed a change of scenery. With nowhere to turn, Johnson, then Surprisingly, it came at the hand of his only 15, was homeless. paternal aunt and grandmother, though In the beginning, he would kill as his father continued not to be present in much time as possible in the break room his life. Johnson moved to Nova Scotia, at the McDonald’s where he worked.

1 in 5

But eventually he had to leave, and so he would tuck in for the night on the stairs of an apartment building across the street. At first he continued going to school, but soon the need for money saw him dropping out and taking on extra shifts. After two weeks of this, he decided to take refuge in a Scarborough shelter, but he says poor living conditions led him to pursue other shelter options within a month. When a friend mentioned Covenant House, located near Yonge and Gerrard streets, it sounded like an oasis. “I’ve always liked discipline and structure,” says Johnson, adding that those elements were lacking in his home life. He got what he was looking for at Covenant House. They assigned him a “point person,” whom he checked in with twice a day. Staff also required

that he be in the shelter’s job-search program, as he was out of school and had quit his job at McDonald’s because of the lengthy travel time and general stress of his situation. Through the job-search program he participated in resumé clinics and mock interviews. Covenant House helped him eventually land a job as a lifeguard at Canada’s Wonderland. But shelter rules bit him in the ass, too. Shelter staff discharged him briefly when he spent money meant to stay in his savings. He says Covenant House expects that clients not spend their savings, as they believe the resources provided are sufficient and want to see clients build up funds for when they leave permanently. Staff members did provide Johnson with a list of shelter options when they TORONTO’S GAY & LESBIAN NEWS


I DO KNOW THAT THERE ARE SOME YOUTH WHO HAVE HAD A NEGATIVE EXPERIENCE. 0°1<:;5,=,9,?7,90,5*,+ THAT. Tyler Johnson, pictured at Covenant House, where he once sought shelter, now works as an executive assistant to Chris Bolton, chair of the Toronto District School Board.

unlikely that staff wouldn’t have heard about it. “If someone had brought that forward, it would have been dealt with.” In May 2012, having had enough of Covenant House, Millien moved to another Toronto shelter: Eva’s Phoenix. She stayed there for a year, but staff denied her application to extend her stay another year. She had three months to move and no job. Fortunately, she soon got one at McAGE: 22 STATUS: EXPERIENCED Donald’s and was able to rent a room in HOMELESSNESS FOR 15 MONTHS the west end, where she still lives. She No two experiences are identical. is taking part in a filmmaking program Nakisha Millien moved to Toronto organized by a non-profit organization from Montreal in February 2012. She while she looks for employment and had aspirations of attending film school supports herself with savings. in the city, but when plans to room with She certainly wasn’t and isn’t living friends didn’t work out, she found her- the dream, so why stay in Toronto? self homeless. “I stayed because I wasn’t ready to As a result, she stayed at Covenant leave,” she says. “I feel like me leaving House for three months. To hear her is me giving up on this.” describe it, however, it was “This” is Street Voices, a anything but an oasis. “I felt magazine that showcases like an outcast when I was the art and voices of Toronstaying there,” says Millien, to’s street youth. Millien is who preferred not to have the publication’s creative her photo taken. director. She attributes this largely She says the public doesn’t of youth to her being out as a lesbian know that many street youth experiencing while she was there. She says are incredibly talented or homelessness ZLSMPKLU[PÄLK that she felt hostility from that the shelter system is seas LGBT certain staff members and riously flawed. Street Voices shelter clients and that it aims to change that, and the was common to get “weird” looks and team behind it is in the process of apcomments from young women who plying for grants. Millien is hopeful that weren’t happy about rooming with a the magazine will be one of several tools lesbian. that will help reform the system. “Things like that would only happen “The system that’s running right now when staff wasn’t around,” she says, as is not working, and there needs to be defamatory remarks are grounds for change,” she says. discharge. To Millien, none of that compared to the threat of physical abuse gay men and trans people faced. One incident in particular stands out: she says she saw a AGE: 23 STATUS: EXPERIENCED man stab a trans woman at the shelter. HOMELESSNESS FOR 18 MONTHS She doesn’t know why it happened or Ryan Tremblay has seen for himself that what, if any, repercussions there were. the system needs changing. Struggles All she knows is how it made her feel. with mental health and drug use landed “I was kind of scared for my own life,” him in the shelter system; he was there on and off from the age of 18 to 20. He she confesses. Yet according to Carol Howes, direc- says his parents tried to help him but tor of program services at Covenant wouldn’t permit him to continue his House, no one reported the incident. destructive behaviour at home around “We are not aware of any formal com- his two younger brothers. plaint around that,” she says, claiming continued next page E that if a stabbing had occurred, it’s House’s board of directors about a project the school board was looking into. While the project didn’t pan out, Covenant House invited him to be a spokesperson for the shelter after they found out he’s an alumnus. He gladly accepted the role.

Nakisha Millien

25 – 40%

discharged him. The short time away made him appreciate Covenant House all the more. “There was a noticeable difference between shelters,” he says, claiming the differences lie in Covenant House’s emphasis on structure and its better funding. Indeed, more than 80 percent of the shelter’s funding comes from private donations, whereas the city primarily funds most other shelters in Toronto. Covenant House’s Catholic roots also set it apart from other shelters, but, Johnson says, you wouldn’t know that from being there. He says there was no talk of religion during his stay, and he didn’t get the sense he was dealing with homophobic people. “If there was anything that was wrong, we could always go to staff.” He did sometimes hear shelter clients casually throw around homophoMORE AT DAILYXTRA.COM

bic slurs but says he never witnessed a targeted physical or verbal attack. “I had a positive experience. I do know that there are some youth who have had a negative experience. I just never experienced that.” Except when it came time to make the move to transitional housing. Staff at Covenant House referred Johnson to a transitional housing facility in the west end. By this point he had returned to school, where he was, fortunately, behind by only a semester. But the extracurricular activities he was involved in often meant he missed curfew, which didn’t fly with staff members at the home. Add to that the fact that they had a no-cellphone policy and required clients to do chores, and it quickly became apparent this wasn’t the place for Johnson. “Worst experience ever,” he says. It

lasted only a month. He then stayed with a friend for two weeks before finding a room to rent. Ontario Works funds covered the cost of rent, while his grandmother back in Nova Scotia pitched in $500 to $800 each month to help cover other expenses. From there, life took a turn for the better. One of his teachers shared his story with Toronto District School Board trustee Chris Bolton. Impressed by Johnson’s perseverance, Bolton offered him a co-op position as a constituency assistant. Today, Bolton is chair of the board of trustees and Johnson is his executive assistant. “I’ve become someone who’s recognized as knowing the school board in and out,” Johnson says proudly. In a full-circle moment, he had the opportunity to speak before Covenant

Ryan Tremblay

XTRA! APRIL 3–16, 2014 9


GAY YOUTH FACE A SPECIFIC NEED SET THAT ISN’T CURRENTLY BEING MET BY THE SYSTEM.

E continued from previous page

10 APRIL 3–16, 2014 XTRA!

When Ryan Tremblay lived in the shelter system he witnessed a gay friend being attacked. “I saw the face of discrimination,” he says. Tremblay is no longer homeless and has started a social media campaign to lobby for a dedicated LGBT shelter.

Said Salim

himself. “Fearing for my safety, I carried a rock around with me should things get AGE: 19 STATUS: CURRENTLY physical,” he says. After he showed that IN TRANSITIONAL HOUSING rock to staff, he says, they finally realIf there’s a case study for the strides ized the gravity of the situation. LGBT homeless youth can make when By then, Salim was in his own group. they band together, it’s that of Said Five LGBT-identified people and severSalim and his friends. They found com- al allies had bonded over the incidents. munity in one another and used that With the support of one of these friends, strength to push back against those Salim filed a complaint with staff even harassing them. though he knew other clients would This story takes place at the Queen consider him a snitch for doing so — a Street West YMCA Centre, where Salim label that can be very stigmatizing in a arrived in October 2012. For months shelter setting. before that he had been homeless with As a result, he says, staff discharged his mother and sister, whom one of the residents who he says had been abusive had been making threats, toward him. which led to more tension. At the beginning of his Eventually, the two groups shelter stay, things were called a truce and agreed going relatively well. He that they would essentially re-enrolled in high school ignore each other; the situof youth and finally had a place to ation never became violent. experiencing live. But beginning in early Salim attributes this to his homelessness have been in summer of 2013, he says, it and his friends’ efforts to foster care or became hard to maintain a make it known that they group homes positive outlook because he would use the shelter comand other queer-identified plaints process and, if need shelter residents became the targets be, the police to protect themselves. of bullies. Salim believes the fight ultimately He says it was typical for these bul- brought a greater level of LGBT aclies to go around calling young gay men ceptance to the shelter. And despite “batty boys” and making gun gestures the incidents, it was a summer of fun. as they yelled, “Boom!” While Salim Salim explored city parks with his new wasn’t usually the target, he says he friends and even participated in the often witnessed such incidents and Pride parade. He says his experiences did his part to stop them. He spoke to at the shelter allowed him to come out several staff members about what was of his shell and blossom. going on, but he says they didn’t take “To me, I considered it a huge evoluhis claims seriously. tion,” he says. So he did what he could to protect Salim left the shelter this past Octo-

41– 43%

ber and moved into transitional housing at the Sprott YMCA Centre, in the Annex neighbourhood. “The issues of violence and harassment that are so common for LGB and trans youth in the shelter system are, by comparison, very rare in our transitional housing program,” says Blair, who also manages Sprott. She says this is because residents have their own rooms and bathrooms, an emphasis on privacy she believes should be system-wide. At Sprott, Salim engages in such hobbies as playing the recorder and saxophone. He has no curfew and pays a small rent. He’s excelling in school and has learned he has an affinity for acting. “I’m happy,” he says. “I went from a scared individual when I was living with my mother to someone who is out, loud and proud.”

Ryan M

AGE: 24 STATUS: CURRENTLY LIVES IN A SHELTER

Redemption is a journey, and sometimes you have to start right back at square one before you reach your destination. That’s certainly the case for Ryan M, who is now in the shelter system for a second time. Ryan has asked that Xtra not disclose his last name because he does not want his employer to learn about his living arrangements. Ryan’s first brush with homelessness occurred in 2011, when he says he had to drop out of university because he ran out of OSAP (Ontario Student

Assistance Program) funds. According to Ryan, relatives wanted to give him money, but his father wouldn’t allow it. He believes his sexuality, which he claims is a “major disappointment” for his father, had a lot to do with it. “I think it removed a lot of the motivation to help me,” he says. Out of school and out of funds, what came next is no surprise. “I didn’t have a job lined up, and I ended up in a shelter for two months,” he says. His parents, who are divorced and living in Thunder Bay, knew of his situation and yet didn’t open their homes to him. Instead, he stayed at Turning Point Youth Services, on Wellesley Street near Jarvis, before moving into a boarding house for four months. These were tough times for Ryan, who says he has bipolar disorder and has suffered from manic episodes. While staying at the boarding house, he had suicidal thoughts. “I was actually looking at places to jump off of,” he says. “I had picked the bridge.” The only reason he didn’t go through with it, he says, is because around that same time he met someone he felt truly cared about him. Ryan, then 22, began dating a well-to-do 30-year-old. He says that while money was a motivating factor for his decision to get into the relationship, the emotional support he received was paramount as well. “It was a needs-based relationship,” he explains. Ryan began staying over at his boyfriend’s place, and by February 2012 he had moved in and given up his boardinghouse room. But after 10 months together, the relationship ended. “It was a very mutual breakup,” Ryan says. “I just wanted to be independent again.” Independence meant moving into a North York basement apartment, which he was able to afford through his work refurbishing internet equipment. He continued to rely on his ex for emotional support. TORONTO’S GAY & LESBIAN NEWS

STATS SOURCE: GAETZ, S. (2014). COMING OF AGE: REIMAGINING THE RESPONSE TO YOUTH HOMELESSNESS IN CANADA

He says Toronto’s shelter system provided him with food and a roof as he battled his demons but little else. “When I was at my most desperate, the shelter system wasn’t there to help me the way that they could have.” What finally did the trick were his family’s repeated attempts to help turn his life around. “I would have been dead if my family didn’t support me,” he says. Having used the shelter system as a gay individual, he’s convinced queer youth have it particularly rough. “I saw the face of discrimination in these shelters,” he says. He decided to do something about it. Nine months ago, Tremblay started the Facebook group Youth for an LGBT Shelter in Toronto, with the intention of helping prompt the creation of such a shelter. “Gay youth face a specific need set that isn’t currently being met by the system,” he says, noting that LGBT youth often confront prejudice from family and friends and discrimination in the workplace while grappling with a tendency for drug and alcohol abuse and a distinct form of self-hatred and potential for self-harm. In his experience, it is shelter clients and not staff members who are discriminatory. He says that a fellow client physically attacked one of his gay male friends when he stayed at the Queen Street West YMCA Centre. According to Tremblay, shelter staff allowed the alleged assailant to return. Jeanette Blair, manager of democratic living for the shelter, says she can’t comment on any specific incident because of confidentiality and privacy policies. Nonetheless, she admits that it’s tough for LGBT youth in the system. “We do see that there is violence against LGBT youth in our shelter and all shelters.” But Blair says staff members intervene quickly if such situations come to their attention. It’s not always easy, however, because shelter clients often choose not to file complaints for fear of retaliation. “I think we do the best we can with the information that we have,” she says. For the clients using the facilities, that’s not enough. “To say you’re gay in a shelter is very scary,” says Tremblay, who believes a shelter meant specifically for LGBT youth would go a long way in doing away with that fear. Tremblay and other members of his group have met to discuss goals and specifics for such a project. He says they’re being realistic and know that if this is to happen, it will take years and plenty of funds. Undeterred, one thing is clear to Tremblay: “Someone needs to stand up and do this.”


He attributes the manic episode he had in May 2013 largely to this lack of closure. The episode coincided with his apartment flooding and an unreasonable landlady who kicked him out because of it. He spent most of the month that followed in a hostel. Two of those nights, however, he spent on the street when he wasn’t able to reserve a spot ahead of time. Requiring more stability, he returned to Turning Point, this time staying for five months. He says that he mostly kept to himself at the shelter and that, other than being called a “fag” a few times, he didn’t face much homophobia while there. Yet he says it was harassment that led him to leave the shelter. He claims that he became a target when he refused to move around some money for, and give up his bottom bunk to, a fellow shelter client. He says that person stole his glasses and placed pot hash and Zig-Zag rolling papers on his bed in an effort to get him kicked out. When he told staff about this, Ryan says, they accused him of creating the problem by being too open about his willingness to work with staff. He says they also pointed the finger at him for running away from his problem instead of trying to resolve it, so he left for a different shelter. “I didn’t feel safe,” he says. Turning Point did not respond to Xtra’s request for an interview. Since January, Ryan has been staying at a North York shelter, which he says he likes a lot more than Turning Point because there are fewer people to a room and staff are able to better interact with clients. Ryan was on a waiting list for transitional housing but has been told he’s not eligible because he has a full-time job. Even if he had landed a spot, he would have had to move out in May when he “ages out.” Most Toronto youth shelters admit only clients aged 16 to 24. Fortunately, Ryan recently found a roommate and is set to move out of the shelter on May 1. He plans to continue saving money until then. “I came out of the system too early the first time around, and I didn’t have things set up,” he says. “I see myself as making use of resources so that the problem I had won’t happen again. And I think that should be the goal of the system.”

M

any hope the Toronto shelter system, which is under review, will soon be revamped. The city recently passed a motion that will see the creation of an anti-discrimination framework and ensure shelter staff members are trained in responding to trauma. A working group made up of MORE AT DAILYXTRA.COM

I WENT FROM A SCARED INDIVIDUAL TO SOMEONE WHO IS OUT, LOUD AND PROUD. Said Salim, who currently lives in transitional housing, says that while staying at the Queen Street West YMCA shelter, he often saw gay youth being harassed because of their sexuality. He says most youth don’t report violence or harassment to shelter staff because they don’t want to be labelled as snitches.

community partners and service providers is also looking into the feasibility of creating a shelter for LGBT youth. “Both those requested items are very proactive,” says Kristyn Wong-Tam, the Ward 27 councillor who spearheaded the motion. She expects the group to come up with a working plan that addresses the overrepresentation of LGBT youth in the shelter system. The group will report back in the second quarter of this year. Wong-Tam hopes the group’s findings will support her planned funding request for an LGBT youth shelter in the 2015 budget. It’s still early days, but she sees the best possible solution as using community fundraising efforts and city money to make improvements to an already existing city-owned building. Covenant House is one of the participating organizations in the group. The shelter has done its own research into the matter, and the results only solidify claims that LGBT youth are overrepresented in the system. Howes says that in January 2012 and 2013, Covenant House surveyed 100 clients and asked several questions, including how they self-identify. Both times, about 25 percent of those surveyed identified as LGBT. “Those numbers are understated,” says Howes, who believes many youth don’t feel comfortable disclosing that information. “In street culture, anything that makes you different makes you a target, too.” But the differences that make queer youth stand out from their heterosexual counterparts would be the norm in a dedicated LGBT shelter.

While Wong-Tam believes such a get a designated LGBT youth shelshelter will come to be — and she sup- ter, it’s important that it have a solid ports it — she wants more. She wants relationship with a good health cento see the whole system overhauled. tre. And he believes that this shelter “I think certain members of the com- should be located near other LGBT munity want a quick fix and they want resources — if not in the Village, then this one shelter.” But, she warns, “there elsewhere downtown. “I think comis no silver bullet.” munity is important,” he says. “There’s Shawn Fowler, a sexual health coun- comfort in numbers, and there’s safety sellor at the Hassle Free Clinic who also in numbers.” works at the 519 Church Street ComNot everyone, however, is a fan of munity Centre, thinks such a shelter building yet another downtown shelter. is a “no brainer,” but he’s not looking “Homelessness doesn’t just happen for a Band-Aid solution. He sees it as in downtown Toronto,” says James Bar, part of the solution to a much larger an associate junior planner. “Gay people problem. “We see a numdon’t just live in downtown ber of clients who are street Toronto.” involved or street active,” In 2013, Bar analyzed how he says. Because of their urban planning can have circumstances, it’s hard to a hand in remediating the youth follow up with these cliissue of LGBT youth homeexperiencing homelessness ents, and he says many “fall lessness. He says decisiondo not through the cracks.” makers need to understand graduate from “These conditions aren’t the issues before moving to high school optimal for maintaining enact policy, at which point health,” he says. they can work toward guarFowler is concerned about what, anteeing funding. “We can’t write policy if any, healthcare services the “most and enact actions without knowing marginalized youth in the downtown what is going on,” he says. core” are accessing in the aftermath of Bar says wards 27 and 28 already have two major closures — Shout Clinic and an oversaturation of social-housing Street Outreach Services (SOS). units, so he expects opposition to the In 2011, Shout Clinic, which pro- idea of creating another shelter there. vides services for homeless and street- “There’s stigmas between shelters and involved youth, moved from its former what they’ll bring to a neighbourhood,” location near Jarvis and Wellesley he says. He claims people associate shelstreets to the Queen West area. A few ters with drug and alcohol problems and months later, SOS, which provided feel they lower property values. community services for youth engaged He concedes, however, that because in the sex trade, also closed its doors. of the entire GTA’s ease of access to Fowler says that if Toronto does the two wards, they are the most likely

2 in 3

candidates to house such a shelter. “Chances are if we did put in a shelter, it would be in this area.” Whether we see such a shelter in the near future or not, Bar says there is plenty to concentrate on in the meantime. “The next step is to look inside what we’ve already created and find out how we can make it work better.” That’s where the working group comes in. The city’s Shelter, Support & Housing Administration division (SSHA) will be reviewing the current envelope of training related to LGBT issues in consultation with the group. At present, shelter staff members must attend anti-oppression training within the first year of their employment. But the city developed this curriculum in 2002, and many feel it does not deal adequately with issues of LGBT sensitivity. Staff can attend Trans Awareness Training 101, which is offered through the Hostels Training Centre in partnership with The 519, but this is not mandatory. The city requires that all shelters have a complaints process in place and that staff inform clients of this upon admission. And yet despite this, there have been “no formal complaints or incident reports concerning homophobia or transphobia issues,” according to SSHA. Something’s clearly amiss, as Xtra’s investigation alone highlights. The complaints process and other identified areas of concern within the shelter system will be matters of public comment should plans for a dedicated LGBT youth shelter move forward. Along with calls for public consultation, there will be calls for financial donations. For her part, Wong-Tam feels confident that the community will respond. “Our community has always risen to the challenge to try and improve the conditions for ourselves,” she says. Time will tell if this will be the case once again. XTRA! APRIL 3–16, 2014 11


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Winston Moseley murdered Kitty Genovese at 3am on Friday, March 13, 1964, in New York City. Genovese was a 28-year-old bar manager in Queens. She was driving home from work when the 29-yearold Moseley (computer punch-card operator by day, housebreaker and murderer by night) spotted her. He followed her to Kew Gardens, attacked her, ran off, then returned a short time later to attack her again in a back foyer of her apartment building, where she had taken refuge, sexually assaulting her and stabbing her repeatedly. With the 50th anniversary of Genovese’s murder just passed, the media is reexamining this sensational story, and reluctant though I may be to join in with ruthlessly scavenging through this poor woman’s remains, I think there’s a valuable point to be made about her case. I can’t help but think that The New York Times missed a key opportunity with its original coverage of the murder. There were 636 murders in New York City in 1964. Genovese wasn’t wealthy or famous, but The Times covered her death in such a way that it garnered attention across the United States. According to the front-page story in The Times, 38 people saw the attack, but nobody did anything to help. One person called the police after Genovese had died. This strange story of witness apathy captured everyone’s imagination. To those who were wary of the civil-rights movement, then at its height, the crime seemed indicative of the erosion of social conventions. It was the subject of Sunday sermons and the impetus for psychological research into what became known as the “bystander effect,” which says that the more witnesses there are to a calamity, the less likely people are to help the victim. The story was also used in the effort to establish the 911 emergency phone systems. Within the last decade or so, it’s

In recent years, it’s become clear that the Genovese case isn’t quite what The New York Times originally reported. Though it probably wasn’t relevant to the crime, Genovese was gay and lived with her partner, Mary Ann Zielonko. JORI BOLTON

become clear that the Genovese case isn’t quite what The Times originally reported. Most notably, there were far fewer than 38 eyewitnesses, and several of them did try to help (so, while this case began the study of “bystander effect,” it probably isn’t an example of the phenomenon). A man yelled from his window, “Leave that girl alone!” At least two people called the police, and Sophia Farrar bravely left her apartment to help Genovese and was holding her when the ambulance arrived. Finally, though it probably wasn’t relevant to the crime, Genovese was a lesbian and lived with her partner, Mary Ann Zielonko. It was shoddy reporting, but at least it helped in the establishment of the 911 system. However, because of this sloppy journalism, an opportunity was missed. When Moseley attacked Genovese the second time, inside the apartment building, her neighbour and friend Karl Ross saw her being stabbed just outside his door. Terrified, he called a friend and a neighbour, and then left his apartment via the window, making his way into a neighbour’s apartment, where he finally called the police. Ross didn’t leave his apartment to defend Genovese and took ages getting around to calling the police; it could

seem like cowardice. However, Ross was probably gay, and at that time in New York he would have been wary of homophobic attacks, as much from the police as anyone else. Getting involved would have brought him in contact with a police force that he probably feared intensely. With better investigation and a lot of courage, The Times, in addition to the witness apathy story, could have run a story about how rampant police homophobia results in fewer crimes being reported. This might have been leveraged to improve the way law enforcement treated gay people and perhaps moved forward queer rights in general. Maybe it’s fanciful to think that a mainstream paper could have published a story about police homophobia in the mid-1960s. I also have the benefit of research material based on years of reexamination of the case. And I certainly doubt that such a story would have had the same clout as the witness-apathy narrative we’re used to associating with the Genovese case, but I can’t help but wonder how such a story might have improved the situation not only of queer people, but society at large. History Boys appears in every issue of Xtra. TORONTO’S GAY & LESBIAN NEWS


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OutintheCity Proud Mary, Mary Ocher’s quest for world domination had a rocky start. The second date of the Russian-born, Berlin-based musician’s North American tour saw next to no audience and zero cash, thanks to a sketchy, deadbeat promoter. “He didn’t even turn up at the show and never paid us,” she says. “There was another incident where the manager flat out refused to pay. I’m not a big person, so I can’t threaten or intimidate people. I don’t know if those will be the only cases, but I’m hopeful things will be better.” Ocher is promoting her third full-length disc, Eden. Recorded two years ago under the watchful ears of Canadian producer King Khan, the 14 eclectic tracks play like a collection of Kate Bush’s kookiest B-sides. Spanning 40 cities, Ocher’s first foray across the pond has been a true labour of love. Working without a booking agent, she singlehandedly lined up the gigs, scheduled the travel and scored accommodations for herself and the one person who’s accompanying her on the road. “Musicians are kind of spoiled in Europe compared to North America,” she says. “Here, everybody’s in a band, everyone wants to tour and the conditions are much harder. Some days are

He spent his teen years as a hustler and rent dodger in London’s Soho district. He took older lovers. He wore too much makeup. Marcus McCann E17

keep on burnin’ Mary Ocher is like a kooky Kate Bush.

amazing and the show goes really well. Other times it’s awful and I play for an empty room and then sleep on a stranger’s dirty couch. But the upside is that thousands of people have helped. I think because the conditions are so hard, there’s a sense of community among musicians that doesn’t exist in Europe.” The tour isn’t just about promoting her music. Along with playing shows and hawking merch, Ocher, who counts the Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ Karen O as one of her many fans, is making a documentary about the nine-week trip, giving fans a gritty look inside life on the road. “People try to make touring sound more glamorous than it is,” she says. “It’s a wise strategic move from the point of your career and getting more attention for your work, but I don’t actually like doing it very much. Sometimes, though, what makes it more interesting is that it’s so challenging.” —Chris Dupuis Mary Ocher performs Thurs, April 10 at The Silver Dollar Room, 486 Spadina Ave. Visit the arts and entertainment page at dailyxtra.com for free tickets.

Coming out, La Gallienne style Theatre creator Margo MacDonald came out of the closet with the help of 1930s actress Eva Le Gallienne. A New York City theatre diva, Le Gallienne was outed by the media at the height of her career when her lover, Josephine Hutchinson, divorced her husband to be with Le Gallienne. As if the difficulties surrounding her sexuality weren’t enough, Le Gallienne was soon disfigured and nearly killed in a gas explosion. “It kind of destroyed her,” MacDonald says. “She’d always had a bit of a problem with alcohol, but after that she became a volatile alcoholic. She went back to the stage, but it was very difficult for her.” When MacDonald first heard of Le Gallienne, she became fascinated by the actress’s personal struggle and lasting influence on the theatre scene, as founder of the Civic Repertory Theatre. Le Gallienne’s tale was also particularly relevant to MacDonald’s own life. “I found her story when I was just starting to come out to myself. In going through the journey of figuring out who I was, coming out, and trying to figure out what that would mean for my theatre career, I found that part of Eva’s story inspiring,” she says. Dismayed that hardly anyone knows Le Gallienne’s story, MacDonald decided to write a play based on it to give others “a chance to discover who MORE AT DAILYXTRA.COM

Margo MacDonald and Sarah Finn play fiery lovers in Shadows. ANDREW ALEXANDER

she was, and so that she’s not forgotten.” When the play, called Shadows, had its successful first production at the 2010 Ottawa Fringe Festival, it was not only Le Gallienne’s resurgence, but MacDonald’s as well. “For anyone who had eyes to see, that production was my coming-out party,” MacDonald says. Shadows made its way to Toronto in autumn

of 2013, with a staged reading at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre. The first full production outside Ottawa will soon be mounted at Videofag in Kensington Market. —Jeremy Willard Shadows runs Fri, April 11–Sat, April 19, at Videofag, 187 Augusta Ave. videofag.com

Aykan Safoglu, in Off–White Tulips.

QUEER IMAGES Aykan Safoglu’s Off-White Tulips seamlessly weaves together sexuality, politics and race from the perspective of an outsider. Tiny Bird, by Dane Komljen, explores a gay cruising ground, taking on the issues of brotherhood and manliness while doing so. These are just two examples of the queer content in this year’s Images Festival. One of the largest experimental and independent film festivals in North America, Images has expanded to include live performances and media installations. The 2014 lineup promises more LGBT-focused content, featuring three headlining films that tackle queer issues. The festival will also host Transcending Binaries, a collection of multimedia works from six artists. Curated by Adrienne Crossman, Transcending Binaries explores notions of sexuality and gender in digital media. Works from Sarah D’Angelo and Adriana Disman not only question the relationship between the physical and digital self, but blur the lines between gender and sexuality. Seeking Single White Male will screen as part of the Monitor Reruns program — which showcases the last decade of the South Asian Visual Arts Centre’s Monitor program. Created by author Vivek Shraya, this short film examines the South Asian experience in a whitewashed culture. — Andrew Jacome The Images Festival runs Thurs, April 10– Sat, April 19 at venues throughout Toronto. imagesfestival.com

XTRA! APRIL 3–16, 2014 15


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Woman charged under Russian anti-gay law for helping teens acquitted

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TORONTO’S GAY & LESBIAN NEWS


A taste for pain

Francis Bacon’s lifelong dance with terror and beauty

ART & BDSM MARCUS MCCANN

Police found Francis Bacon collapsed in an alley, badly beaten but still breathing. At the time, he was living in Tangier with his lover Peter Lacy. Bacon (the painter, not the philosopher) was an established artist by 1955, having already painted some of his most famous work. The chief of police told the British counsel-general he would step up patrols. In the following weeks, police repeatedly found Bacon bruised and passed out on the street. Eventually, the chief concluded that “Monsieur Bacon aime ça.” Indeed, Bacon enjoyed a good beating every now and then. To use today’s language, Bacon was a sub. And his lover Lacy — tall, handsome, alcoholic, several years his junior — had a cruel streak. But Lacy was so volatile and so destructive that Bacon occasionally feared for his life. On at least one occasion, the threat seemed sufficiently imminent that Bacon charged out of his flat in nothing but a pair of fishnet stockings. Bacon’s paintings are extreme: figures are contorted, howling, their skin is being peeled. He often painted the male body using a bruise palette of greys, purples and greens. One cannot be sure, in many cases, whether the figures are involved in consensual BDSM torture or the kind of non-consensual torture that so marred the 20th century. It is no accident that the Art Gallery of Ontario’s new show, featuring Bacon’s work alongside that of sculptor Henry Moore, is subtitled Terror and Beauty. While Bacon publicly drew a line between his personal and artistic life, he no doubt cultivated his bad-boy image. The same anecdotes pepper each of his major biographies: He spent his teen years as a hustler and rent dodger in London’s Soho district. He took older lovers. He wore too much makeup. One such gem: Bacon’s father, exasperated by his son’s queerness, asked family friend Cecil Harcourt-Smith to straighten him out. Harcourt-Smith took the 16-year-old to Berlin. But rather than cure Bacon of his homosexuality, Harcourt-Smith fucked him mercilessly for a few days until he lost interest. The teen elected to stay in Berlin a while longer, turning tricks and stealing money in what was then MORE AT DAILYXTRA.COM

“You can’t tell where the head is and where the anus is and where the armpit is. You become conscious of the fact that humans leak fluid,” says Gillian McIntyre, describing Study for Portrait on Folding Bed (1963). OIL ON CANVAS, TATE BRITAIN, COURTESY OF THE ESTATE OF FRANCIS BACON / SODRAC (2013)

Rather than cure Bacon of his homosexuality, Harcourt-Smith fucked him mercilessly for a few days until he lost interest. Despite his hard-living, hard-drinking ways, painter Francis Bacon took pride in looking boyish well into his 50s. BILL BRANDT. FRANCIS BACON. ND. GELATIN SILVER PRINT. THE BILL BRANDT ARCHIVE, LONDON. COURTESY OF EDWYNN HOUK GALLERY, NEW YORK.

the world’s premier city of sin. After Harcourt-Smith, Bacon would continue to take father surrogates as his lovers until his early 40s, when he met Lacy in a dive bar in London’s West End. Out of hundreds of men, Lacy is often singled out as the love of his life — a tempestuous complement to Bacon’s masochism and dramatic flair. Viewed in this light, pairing Bacon with the heterosexual, buttoned-down Moore is an odd choice, admits Gillian McIntyre, the visual interpreter of Terror and Beauty. And yet there are parallels. “Bacon and Moore couldn’t be much more different. But when you see their work together, you see the shared themes of trauma and violence,” she says.

The exhibition starts with a timeline as they may be, rather than abstract of the two artists’ lives, with important forms. In the post-war period, where events of the 20th century spliced in. pure colour blocks and geometric Seen in this way, it’s inshapes were en vogue, evitable that they would Bacon and Moore were FRANCIS BACON AND have certain experiences at odds with the prevailHENRY MOORE: TERROR AND BEAUTY in common. ing tastes. Sat, April 5–Sun, July 20 “They were both in In the 1940s and ’50s, Art Gallery of Ontario London for the Blitz. Bacon’s work elicited 317 Dundas St W ago.net And they both saw all strong reactions — much kinds of horror. World of it sharply critical — ESSENTIAL READING War II was the first really from the art world. And Francis Bacon: Anatomy of an Enigma, civilian modern war for it’s no wonder. Even toMichael Peppiatt, 1996 the British. Bombs were day, he has the power to The Gilded Gutter dropping relentlessly on shock and surprise. Life of Francis Bacon, top of you,” McIntyre “Whatever came his Dan Farson, 1993 points out. way, he looked at it full Unlike most of their in the face and painted contemporaries, both Bacon and Moore it. Everything was grist for his mill,” took as their subjects people, distorted McIntyre says. XTRA! APRIL 3–16, 2014 17


Denim dreams Trends come and go, but jeans are forever STYLE LIFE DIEGO ARMAND

It’s always time for a new pair of jeans. While I’m a fan, I’m definitely not an aficionado. I don’t really care how many grams they weigh or where they came from; I’d rather buy denim based on how it makes me look and feel. Since menswear is starting to move at a womenswear pace, churning out megatrends every season, it’s time to stop and recognize what you truly love to wear and own it. I’ve handpicked a range of denim, from fast fashion to premium. While some of these jeans start as low as $70, don’t be afraid to spend $200 on a solid pair — you’ll likely end up wearing them every day.

Lighten up a bit

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We’re leaving raw and dark denim out in the cold and warming up to light and white washes, adding in some 1990s-style relaxed fits. No one has time to break in stiff denim in warm weather. White jeans no longer belong only in Miami; wear them with dark neutrals for less of a daytime bottle-service feeling.

Levi’s 511, $98, Dutil, 704 Queen St W. American Apparel T-shirt, $26, americanapparel.net. Jean jacket, Chad’s own.

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I like ’em straight (and tapered)

Gap 1969 slim-fit white jeans, $70, gapcanada.ca.

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Skinny jeans are no longer a must-have. Let’s give your goodies below the waist some breathing room, shall we?

BLK DNM Jeans 25, $208, Dutil.

Blue is the warmest colour

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Wear indigo sweatshirts, jean jackets and button ups (now in patterned options) with your denim. Japanese blue hues meet the Canadian tuxedo.

Black party Black jeans will take you a long way. You can wear them like classic rock or edgy like ghetto goth. The choice is always yours. Our model, Chad Vincent, is an actor who’s new to the city, fresh from Montreal. 18 APRIL 3–16, 2014 XTRA!

LVC (Levi’s Vintage) 505 Blue Shadow, $285, Nomad, 819 Queen St W.

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Old Navy patterned shirt, $27, oldnavy.ca.

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Topman baseball shirt, $50, and tapered-cut jeans, $70, The Bay, 176 Yonge St. PHOTOS: MAY TRUONG MODEL: CHAD VINCENT

TORONTO’S GAY & LESBIAN NEWS


A Proud Representative of the Gay Community

Kenyan MPs call for stricter anti-gay laws

2

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dailyxtra.com

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MORE AT DAILYXTRA.COM

XTRA! APRIL 3–16, 2014 19


WHAT'S ON Hackerlove — Buddies, Wed, April 30–Sun, May 11

HEALTH & ISSUES FTM Support Group Trans men share their experiences in a supportive environment. Takes place the first and third Friday of each month. For more information, contact ftmtoronto@yahoo.ca. Fri, April 4 and Fri, April 18, 7:30pm. The 519 Community Centre, 519 Church St. Free. the519.org

TANJA-TIZIANA

Dressing for Downton: Costumes from Downton Abbey Along with Downton-themed tours of the historic Spadina Museum, fans can view several costumes actually worn on the show. Runs until Sun, April 13. Spadina Museum, 285 Spadina Rd. $25. spadinamuseum. streamintickets.com

THEATRE & DANCE

SOY Monday Night Drop-In

Me Talking to Myself in the Future

Queer youth ages 14 to 29 gather to watch movies, participate in art projects and special workshops, and talk to Supporting Our Youth’s community mentors. For more info, contact jcaffery@sherbourne. on.ca. Every Monday, 5:30–8pm. Sherbourne Health Centre, 2nd floor, 333 Sherbourne St. Free. soytoronto.org

Floating through a fantastical dream world, a dying old woman delivers surreal reflections on everything from childhood to possible dystopian futures. Runs until Sun, April 6, various showtimes. Buddies in Bad Times, 12 Alexander St. PWYC–$37. buddiesinbadtimes.com

LEGIT Legal counsel for same-sex couples immigrating to Canada. Tap into the community and access useful resources. Takes place the second Thursday of each month. Thurs, April 10, 7–10pm. The 519 Community Centre, 519 Church St. Free. legit.ca

Marry Me a Little Songs cut from Stephen Sondheim’s better-known musicals are spliced into a dialogue-free musical about the relationship between a man and woman. Runs until Sun, April 6, various showtimes. Tarragon Theatre, 30 Bridgman Ave. $21–53. tarragontheatre.com

Camoutopia — Artscape Youngplace until Sat, April 12 MARY TREMONTE

Shadows Positive Routes to Recovery

FOR MORE EVENT LISTINGS, GO TO DAILYXTRA.COM

ART Camoutopia: Dazzle, Dance, Disrupt Mary Tremonte’s exhibition features everything from her silkscreen printed mirrors to a discussion of the intersections between anarchafeminisms and queer theory. For more info, contact mary@justseeds. org. Runs until Sat, April 12, various times. Artscape Youngplace, Flex Studio Gold, Rm 107, 180 Shaw St. Free. justseeds.org

Generations of Queer A varied exhibition comprising work by Robert Flack, Elisha Lim, Kiley May and John Greyson, including Prison Arabic, a video of flashcards Greyson drew while imprisoned in Egypt. Runs until Sat, June 28, various times. Onsite [at] OCAD University, 230 Richmond St W. Free. ocadu.ca

COMEDY & CABARET Carla Collins Live The beaver-loving comedian returns for a night of hilarity. Sun, April 6, 7pm. The Flying Beaver, 488 Parliament St. $20 advance, $25 door. pubaret.com

Gay Trivia Drag divas Gina Hamilton and Bunni Lapin host a night of outrageous trivia and fabulous prizes. Every Tuesday, 9pm. O’Grady’s, 518 Church St. Free. ogradyschurch.ca

20 APRIL 3–16, 2014 XTRA!

Club120 Wednesday Standup comedian Mandy Goodhandy presents a weekly open-mic comedy night. For more info, contact toddklinck@gmail. com. Every Wednesday, 8pm–1am. Club120, 120 Church St. No cover. club120.ca

Lesbians Who Wear Lipstick: The Middle Ages Twenty-six years after she last performed it, Marcy Rogers revisits her show about braving a world of stone butches and sports dykes to find a place for misfits like herself — that is, lipstick lesbians. Sat, April 12, 9pm, and Sun, April 13, 7:30pm. The Flying Beaver, 488 Parliament St. $10 advance, $15 door. pubaret.com

GAYMERS Toronto Gaymers 3DS Spring Dinner Social Spring is here and the geeks are feisty. Gaming enthusiasts bring their 3DSs or gaming consoles and nerd out in a comfortable environment. Sat, April 5, 5–9pm. The Marquis of Granby, 418 Church St. Free. torontogaymers.ca

Play Again? Gamers gather to play Super Mario, Tetris and other games on a big screen, as well as board games like Trivial Pursuit and Scrabble. Every Tuesday, 7pm–2am. Henhouse, 1532 Dundas St W. Free. henhousetoronto.com

Cock

Based on a true story, Margo MacDonald’s play looks at the life of Eva Le Gallienne, a 1930s actress who, at the height of her career, was outed in the press and disfigured in an explosion. Runs Fri, April 11–Sat, April 19. Videofag, 187 Augusta Ave. $20; $15 artists, students, unwaged. videofag.com

A peer-led support group for gay men working through substanceabuse issues. Takes place the first and third Tuesday of each month. Tues, April 15, 6–8pm. The 519 Community Centre, 519 Church St. Free. pr2r.org

The Canadian premiere of the Olivier Award–winning comedy about John, a man who, when he takes a break from his boyfriend, accidentally meets the girl of his dreams. Fri, April 4–Sun, April 27, various showtimes. The Theatre Centre, 1115 Queen St W. $25–35. studio180theatre.com

LGBTQ Peer Support Drop-In Group

Tango Legends

Elegies: A Song Cycle

Direct from Buenos Aires, 12 award-winning dancers bring glamour, precision footwork and seduction to a Toronto stage. Thurs, April 10, 8pm. Sony Centre for the Performing Arts, 1 Front St E. $42.50–72.50. sonycentre.ca

Thom Allison performs in a production of William Finn’s Elegies, a 90-minute song cycle that commemorates the lives of both real and fictional people. Runs until Sun, April 13, various times. Daniels Spectrum, 585 Dundas St E. $30–

Queer people with mood disorders stop in for support and discussion. If the building door is locked, press the button under the intercom near the wheelchair entrance. Wed, April 16, 7–9pm. Mood Disorders Association of Ontario, 36 Eglinton Ave W, Ste 602. Free. mooddisorders.ca

LEISURE & PLEASURE King Break The Yes-Men drag-king troupe breaks out the swim trunks and summer tunes for a beach-partythemed performance. Fri, April 4, 10:30pm. Buddies in Bad Times, 12 Alexander St. $12 advance, $15 door. buddiesinbadtimes.com

Spearhead’s Easter Food Drive People are encouraged to drop off non-perishable food items or make cash donations to the Toronto PWA food programs. Sat, April 5, 2–5pm, Flash, 463 Church St; and Sun, April 6, 3–8pm, Black Eagle, 457 Church St. Free. spearheadtoronto.com

Lesbians Who Wear Lipstick — The Flying Beaver, Sat, April 12 & Sun, April 13

50; $10 off for students and arts workers. actingupstage.com

Hackerlove Inspired by Bradley Manning and Adrian Lamo, Sky Gilbert’s new play is about a queer love affair between two fictional characters in the midst of the 2010 WikiLeaks scandal. Wed, April 30–Sun, May 11, various showtimes. Buddies in Bad Times, 12 Alexander St. PWYC–$30. buddiesinbadtimes.com

SEX & BURLESQUE Feminist Porn Awards A celebration of pornographers who offer fresh perspectives on the sexual expression of women and everyone who finds themselves under-represented in mainstream porn. Fri, April 4, 8pm. Castlefield Theatre, 2492 Yonge St. $25–200. goodforher.com

The New Wave: Electro Play Men and women ages 19 to 35 enjoy electro play under the stern guidance of Master Tony. Sat, April 5, 5–8pm. Black Eagle, 457 Church St. Free. blackeagletoronto.com

Bad Girls of History This burlesque tribute to rebellious women throughout history features performances by Bianca Boom Boom, CoCo La Crème and Scarlett LaFlamme. Sat, April 12, 9pm–3am. Club120, 120 Church St. $12 advance, $15 door. badgirlsofhistory. brownpapertickets.com

The Fraternity

Naked Girls Reading: What’s Cooking?

The social- and businessnetworking group welcomes spring with a dinner in the heart of Yorkville. Mon, April 7, 7–10pm. Vaticano Italian Restaurant, 25 Bellair St. $35. thefraternity.org

St Stella, Beaver Galore, Kelly Mari and other burlesque performers read spicy, food-related passages. Sun, April 13, 7pm. Round, 152 Augusta Ave. $20 advance, $25 door. nakedgirlsreading.com

TORONTO’S GAY & LESBIAN NEWS


CLUBSCENE Thurs, April 3

Red Rose Ball Tribute to Rick Mercer The St George’s Society of Toronto honours political satirist Rick Mercer. Event features prizes, entertainment, cocktail reception, dancing and a dinner

prepared by the Fairmont’s head chef, Collin Thornton. 6pm– midnight. The Fairmont Royal York, 100 Front St W. $500 individuals, $5,000 table of 10. stgeorgesto.com FPA Afterparty Andre Shakti and Cinnamon Maxxine dance onstage for the official Feminist Porn Awards afterparty. DJ Boy Pussy spins, plus queerporn.tv DVD giveaways and porn projections all night. 10pm. The Steady, 1051 Bloor St W. No cover. thesteadycafe.com

Fri, April 4 Dynasty V: Bambi Does Dolly Glam-drag trash-bomb Bambibot hosts a powerpacked tribute to Dolly Parton as DJs Michael K and MKW play the

Wrongbar, 1279 Queen St W. $5. big-primpin.com Were-House DJs Scooter and Aeryn Pfaff spin deep house and techno. Hosted by Gia Cox, with images by Inked Kenny. 10pm. Church, 504 Church St. churchonchurch.com

Sat, April 5 Road to Las Vegas DJs Hector Fonseca (NYC) and Shawn Riker spin house beats, with a performance by Sofonda Cox; hosted by Juan Rodriguez. 10pm. Fly, 8 Gloucester St. No cover for first 300 people before midnight. flynightclub.com Tramp DJ Jacqie Jaguar spins for the girls (dykes, rug munchers, femmes, hussies, lezzies, et al) and their friends. This is a party for femaleidentified folks, but all respectful people are welcome. 10pm. The Steady, 1051 Bloor St W. No cover. thesteadycafe.com Snatch DJ Recklezz spins for the raunchy women and their friends. 10pm. Flying B, 8 Gloucester St. $5 before 11pm, $7 after. facebook. com/theflyingbbaratfly DND DJs Dwayne Minard and Mike B spin house music for daddies and daddy chasers. 10pm. WAYLA, 996 Queen St E. $5. facebook.com/ waylabarnounge Tapette DJ Phil V ushers in spring with French house hits and hunky Montreal go-go boy Charles Dubuc. 10:30pm. Henhouse, 1532 Dundas St W. $5. henhousetoronto.com Adorn 3 DJs Pleasure and Blackcat spin for the fashionably cool event. 11pm. Harlem Lounge, 67 Richmond St E. $10 before midnight, $15 after. harlemrestaurant.com

Sun, April 6 Diva Brunch Scarlett Bobo hosts a mimosafilled afternoon of food and day drag, while DJ Phil V spins diva hits. 11am–3pm. Ganzi, 504 Jarvis St. No cover. Email eat@ganzi.ca for reservations. ganzi.ca Spread Eagle Jenna Syde hosts a rock-and-roll party in the spirit of Toronto’s legendary Vaseline party. Performances by Nobel Prize Fighter and Vag Halen. 9pm. Black Eagle, 457 Church St. $10 advance, $15 door. blackeagletoronto.com

Pitbull: Sci-Fi — Fly, Sat, April 12 DAVID HAWE

hits of the ’80s and ’90s. Themed dress encouraged. 10pm. The Beaver, 1192 Queen St W. $5 after 11pm. facebook.com/dynastyto Born Ready: Kick-Off Party DJs Regina the Gentlelady, Essence Brown and Madam D spin alternative, electro, chillwave and throwback mixtapes at this inclusive blowout bash. 10pm. Tattoo, 567 Queen St W. $7–10. Growlr Night DJ Chez spins for the cruisey men looking for easy hookups. 10pm. Black Eagle, 457 Church St. $5. blackeagletoronto.com Big Primpin’ DJs Miss Recklezz, Dionne and Blackcat spin hip hop for homos. 10pm.

MORE AT DAILYXTRA.COM

Mon, April 7 Dodgeballer Night The Gay (dodge) Ball Society’s flirty social. DJ Blue Peter spins for the Cher concert afterparty. 8pm. Woody’s, 467 Church St. No cover. woodystoronto.com

Tues, April 8 Industry Tuesday TICOT, with Carlotta Carlisle and Katherine Hytes Dior, 9pm–11pm; DJ Quinces in Tangos and Vocal Rehab karaoke, with DJ Elyse, in the Zone, both at 10pm; Industry Night, with Brooke Lynn Hytes and Vitality Black, 11pm– 2am. Crews & Tangos, 508 Church St. No cover. crewsandtangos.com

Wed, April 9 Woody’s Wednesday DJ Mark Falco spins for the hump-day boys. 8pm. Woody’s, 467 Church St. No cover. woodystoronto.com Toronto Drag Kings Tyler Uptight, Cameron, Kenny and Chase Manning perform in the weekly drag-king show. 11pm. Zipperz/ Cellblock, 72 Carlton St. No cover. facebook.com/zipperz

Thurs, April 10 Ladyplus Party DJ Todd Klinck spins for the meet-and-socialize event for T-girls and their admirers. Spontaneous T-girl go-go shows and private VIP dances throughout the night. 8pm. Club120, 120 Church St. $5 cover before 11pm, $10 after. club120.ca Pup Night Argo hosts pups, handlers, spectators and dirty dogs at this monthly puppy-play event. Bring your own pup hoods, squeaky toys, collars, tails and leashes (limited gear available to borrow). Fun, physical and kinky. No dress code. 9pm. Black Eagle, 457 Church St. No cover. blackeagletoronto.com

Fri, April 11 Cub Camp: Singlet Party DJs John Caffery and Scooter McCreight spin for the scantily clad hairy boys and their admirers. 10pm. The Beaver, 1192 Queen St W. $7. beavertoronto.ca The Dirty Hustle The DJ spins hiphop dance beats for the west-end crowd. 10pm. The Steady, 1051 Bloor St W. No cover. facebook.com/ thesteadycafebar Fly Pop DJ Sumation spins top 40, house and dance beats. 10pm. Fly, 8 Gloucester St. No cover before midnight. flynightclub.com Her: The Tomb RaidHer Edition DJs Produzentin, Cozmic Cat and Omgblog.com spin lost house and legendary disco. Hosted by Igby Lizzard. 10:30pm. La Perla, 783 Queen St W. $5. herherher.com

Sat, April 12 Bad Girls of History Blazing Bombshell Burlesque honours the rebellious women of history. Performances by Bianca Boom

Tapette — Henhouse, Sat, April 5 JAMO BEST

Were-House — Church, Fri, April 4 INKED KENNY

Boom, Coco Framboise Leelando Calrissian, Tiny B Hiney and more. Hosted by Belle Jumelles and Johnny B Goode. DJ Tanner spins the afterparty. 9pm. Club120, 120 Church St. $12 advance, $15 door. badgirlsofhistory. brownpapertickets.com Pitbull: Sci-Fi DJs Chez and Aural spin house and circuit faves. Performances by Fay Slift and her sexy cyborg backup dancers, plus alien go-go dancers all night. Sci-fi outfits encouraged. 10pm. Fly, 8 Gloucester St. $10 advance. pitbullevents.com Trade DJs David Picard and Scooter McCreight spin deep, tech house for the frisky lads and bearded bad boys. Hosted by Marcus Isaacs and A Bearded Boy. 10pm. Black Eagle, 457 Church St. $5 before 11pm. blackeagletoronto.com Bump N’ Hustle DJs Paul E Lopes and Mike Tull spin soul, funk, house, disco and boogie tunes. Hosted by Carlos Mondesir. 10pm. Rivoli, 332 Queen St W. $10. rivoli.ca Sultry Saturday DJ Cajjmere Wray spins house beats and vocals in the intimate venue. 11pm. Byzantium, 499 Church St. No cover. byz.ca

Sun, April 13 Woody’s Sunday Hollywoody Broadway Show, hosted by Mahogany Browne and Brooke Lynn Hytes, with Carlotta Carlisle, at 6pm; Old School, hosted by Georgie Girl, with Katinka Kature, at 9pm; Five Smokin Hot Divas, hosted by Georgie Girl, with Michelle Ross,

Tynomi Banks, Sapphire Titha Reign and Kitanya, at 11pm. DJ Blue Peter on decks. Woody’s, 467 Church St. No cover. woodystoronto.com

Mon, April 14 Drag Race Viewing Party Scarlett Bobo and Daytona Bitch host the dinner and bitchfest every Monday, with Bradley serving up food and libation. 8pm. The 8th Deadly Sin, 6 Gloucester St. No cover. the8th.ca Singular Sensation Open Mic Amateur crooners perform their favourite show tunes with a live band every Monday night. Hosted by Jennifer Walls. 10pm. Statlers, 487 Church St. No cover.

Tues, April 15 Woody’s Tuesday DJ Mark Falco spins for boys taking advantage of the low day prices. 8pm. Woody’s, 467 Church St. No cover. woodystoronto.com

Wed, April 16 Club120 Wednesday Open-mic for comedians, magicians, illusionists and burlesque performers, with Mandy Goodhandy. Open-mic performers must show up before 8:45pm. 8pm. Club120, 120 Church St. $8, $5 guest list (toddklinck@ gmail.com). club120.ca

Submit your event listing to listings@dailyxtra.com. Deadline for the April 17 issue is Wed, April 9. XTRA! APRIL 3–16, 2014 21


DEEP DISH

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BY ROLYN CHAMBERS PHOTOS BY TONY FONG & ROLYN CHAMBERS

RuPaul’s Drag Race viewingparty barhop

MON, MARCH 24 @ 8TH DEADLY SIN, PEGASUS, O’GRADY’S, CREWS

Shhhh. I have a secret. I’ve never watched an entire episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race. I humbly hand over my Gay Camp Card. But after the Drag Race viewingparty barhop I orchestrated last Monday, I think I’ve earned it back. It starts at 8th Deadly Sin, for Rupaul Untucked, where host Daytona Bitch is filling in for Scarlett Bobo (who is en route from her monthly New York gig). Gorging on perogies, we choke back laughter at the action on the flat screens, taking breaks every so often to slurp back drinks and stare at the delicious rump roast belonging to the bartender. Forty-five minutes later, we click our heels over to Pegasus, where the size of the crowd blows us away. Barbie Jo Bontemps and Michael Ain are holding court, giving away Mill Street paraphernalia to raffle-ticket holders, some of whom are busy sliding Pizza Nova slices down their throats. Half an hour later, we run screaming into O’Grady’s, where Sofonda and the cast of Chicago (here on a short Toronto run at Mirvish) sit casually cocktailing and critiquing. It’s a bit quieter here (they started their weekly viewing party a few weeks late because someone didn’t know how to hook up their TVs or something). Finally, stumbling next door to Crews, we catch Scarlett Bobo (who finally makes it back to Toronto) and Daytona Bitch (who finally makes it over from 8th Deadly Sin) performing for a group of rowdy revellers who attempt to compete in a messy drag race of their own. The nails are out and fur is flying. 1E Sofonda, Christof, Chris, John-Paul & Naomi 2E Ryan & Tommy 3E Barbie Jo Bontemps, Cassandra CheapEasy & Michael

4E Spence & james

Farley Chatto runway show: World MasterCard Fashion Week THURS, MARCH 20 @ PECAUT SQUARE

Shhhh. I have a secret. I don’t really follow fashion. I humbly hand over my Gay Credit Card. But considering that I know many a designer and have bedded many a model, I expect to get it back. One such designer whose bold, colourful style I love is Farley Chatto. It’s been years since he’s shown off his talents by gracing fashion lovers with a runway show at Toronto Fashion Week. But this year, he’s come out of hibernation alongside some of the animals he’s been sharing a warm cave with. He returns with a bang and a growl and a mega-presentation of functional pimped-out furs for his fall/winter 2014 line — which would make Nanook of the North do a double take. He’s cut chinchilla, beaver and mink pelts for both men and women (the fantastic Stacey McKenzie closes the show), and his menswear line (models include Alex Doomas and the legendary Paul Mason) runs from chunky, cinched bomber jackets suitable for log-chomping to sleek, fitted silhouettes perfect for a night at the opera. Front-row watchers include Glen Baxter; the dynamic Dixon duo, Glen and David; and my two favourite interior designers, Colin and Justin. My thoughts on fur? We’re all animals. It’s called a food chain for a reason, and we’re at the top. But, when the aliens come to eat our meat and wear our flesh, I hope to be made into a high-waisted evening dress for an interterrestrial drag queen.

3

5

6

8

9

7

5E Pietro & Barrington 6E Andrew & Alexander 7E Mike, Terrence & Matt 8E Dino & Magda 9E Paul Mason 10E A furry Farley Chatto model 11E Stacey McKenzie

Deep Dish appears in every other issue of Xtra. For this week’s Xposed column, by Anna Pournikova, visit dailyxtra.com. 22 APRIL 3–16, 2014 XTRA!

4

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11 TORONTO’S GAY & LESBIAN NEWS


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A world of gay adventure

Travel

10

great island getaways

Take your pick of tropical idylls, Mediterranean gems & Atlantic escapes BY AEFA MULHOLLAND Those who seek out and explore these watery wonders will find a wealth of great LGBT hotels, bars, beaches and bookstores awaiting.

Magnetic Island, Australia With a permanent population of approximately 2,500 and many times that more courtesy of year-round visitors, Magnetic Island — or Maggie, as regulars call it — claims to be the gayest bit of Queensland. The mountainous isle is mostly national park, but the rest has beautiful beaches and an appealingly accepting air. Townsville, from which ferries leave, has an LGBT hotel, the Sovereign, and LGBT bookstore Mary Who.

Key West, Florida Bridges thread together to link the 100-plus islands and keys that make up the Florida Keys. At the end of this ribbon of highway that ties these palm and porpoise-populated spots to the mainland — and just 175 kilometres from Cuba — you’ll find quirky Key West. The focus here is more bar than beach, and many folks spend their whole holidays between their gay guesthouses and the famed Bourbon Street bar complex and its neighbours along Duval Street.

STAVROS

Ibiza, Spain Europe’s summer social centre, this party-prone Balearic hotspot has even more late-night LGBT locations than Mykonos and a popular LGBT beach, Playa es Cavallet, on the island’s southern tip. Not all spaces are as big as Privilege — with room for 10,000 partiers, it’s the world’s largest nightclub — but you’ll find LGBT venues crammed all along harbourside Calle de la Virgen and Calle Alfonso XII in the town of Ibiza. On top of all the homo antics, the 16-by-40-kilometre island can claim looming cliffs, rugged rocks and hidden coves, and there’s also an atmospheric, cobblestoned old quarter in town. AEFA MULHOLLAND

24 APRIL 3–16, 2014 XTRA!

TORONTO’S GAY & LESBIAN NEWS


Curaçao, Caribbean

AEFA MULHOLLAND

Oahu, Hawaii When temperatures take a turn for the teens, head for Honolulu. The Hawaiian capital, and the main town on the 80-by-110-kilometre island of Oahu, it offers amazing surfing and swimming beaches, laid-back restaurants and outdoor bars, and the perfect jumping-off point for exploring Oahu. With a million residents, Honolulu and adjacent Waikiki are home to several popular LGBT bars, including Fusion, Hula’s and Wang Chung’s, and Queen’s Surf gay beach.

Curaçao is arguably the most queer-friendly Caribbean island and is certainly the most LGBTmarketed, with a clutch of great venues, incredible beaches and lovely locals. There’s an easygoing air to this isle, with its sweet mixture of liberal Dutch-Caribbean attitudes, laid-back island outlooks and quirky, calm take on life that’s singularly Curaçao. The island’s very first Pride celebration took place in September 2013, and a year-round range of other gay or lesbian events decorate this idyll’s social calendar. Many bars are warmly LGBT-welcoming. JONATHAN LUNDQVIST

Lesvos, Greece An easy ferry ride from Piraeus (just outside Athens), Lesbos, aka Lesvos or sometimes Mytilene (this lady-loved island has a whole lot of aliases), is the obvious option for an island for women. Keep in mind that some of the island is not especially Sappho-centric, so set your sights on low-key beach resort Skala Erresos for some safe, same-sex time in bars, streets, restaurants and on the beach. Make lesbian-run bar The Tenth Muse, on the central square, your first stop. Aubergine, also on the square, is the other year-round ladies’ room.

AEFA MULHOLLAND AEFA MULHOLLAND

Isla Mujeres, Mexico A popular cruise stop for both major women’s cruise companies, Olivia and Sweet, this liberal Cozumel-adjacent spot off the Yucatan peninsula was once the hideout of Ixchel, the Mayan goddess of childbirth and medicine. Today, it’s a good way to escape the mainland crowds, see endangered turtles and lounge on stunning sandy beaches. Check into the mixed (straight/LGBT), all-inclusive Isla Mujeres Palace or unpack for a luxurious stay at the gay-owned, six-room Casa Sirena. AEFA MULHOLLAND

JON MORROW

Mykonos, Greece Two all-gay hotels, a labyrinth of narrow whitewashed streets and three nude gay beaches make chic Mykonos not just the gayest island in the Mediterranean, but a contender for the title of gayest isle of them all. Spend your days sprawled on Elia, Paradise or Super Paradise gay beaches — just three of 27 beaches on the island — and overnight at The Elysium or The Geranium.

WOOLS

Galveston, Texas This cruise homeport and spring-break destination — a barrier island three kilometres off the Texas coast — also has a grown-up side. It has a delightful collection of Victorian historic districts, 50 kilometres of beach and a charmingly liberal character. With an appealing scatter of gay bars, such as the lively Pink Dolphin, some stylish gay-popular accommodations and rumours that 50 percent of the population is gay, Galveston is for those ready to graduate from Key West and gravitate round the Gulf. Once known as “the Wall Street of Texas,” Galveston has an abundance of architectural gems, from Federal-style to Folk Victorian to Greek Revival to Gothic. Island attractions include the Victorian Seawall promenade, the 242-acre Moody Gardens and the manly Ocean Star Offshore Drilling Rig and Museum.

Fire Island, New York A barrier island south of Long Island, in summer Fire Island sees an influx of gay men taking the train and ferry from the city to hit the sands, streets and social venues of this car-free, carefree, 50-by-1-kilometre sliver of an Atlantic isle. It’s been a gay hotspot since the 1960s, and Cherry Grove and The Pines are the prime resort towns. Drink and dance at Sip N Twirl, watch ferries and their captivating cargo dock from Cherry’s, try “low tea” at the Blue Whale and dance at the Ice Palace or Pavilion.

Access this story on dailyxtratravel.com for web links to select featured businesses and attractions.

BERNARD GAGNON

MORE AT DAILYXTRA.COM

XTRA! APRIL 3–16, 2014 25


A world of gay adventure

Travel

Savannah, Georgia This ‘gently mannered city by the sea’ draws you under its spell AEFA MULHOLLAND

Savannah, the “gently mannered city by the sea . . . aloof from the coast” that Margaret Mitchell described in Gone with the Wind, is a city that draws you under its spell. It has all the charisma of America’s South — those eccentric characters, that slow drawling accent, that leisurely pace, the irresistible artery-attacking food — but Savannah seems to take Southern charm a few unlikely sidesteps further. There are some obligatory sights here in the US’s first planned city. Start with an easy day of strolling through the 24 lush, Spanish moss–draped squares for which Savannah is famed. Dotted with sculptures, fountains, obelisks and century-old shady oaks — fringed by stately Victorian and Renaissance Revival mansions — the precisely planned squares are perfect places to soak up the ambiance. The architect of this orderly scene was English-born state governor General James Oglethorpe, who established and planned Savannah in 1733. Be sure to stop in at the lavish Gryphon tea room, with its supply of ornate sweet treats and tables of even more ornate Savannah society ladies. Of course, the best known of the squares’ grand homes is the notorious Mercer Williams House, the real-life home of Jim Williams and setting of the gay crime of passion that inspired author John Berendt’s famed literary portrait of the city, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. It’s a good one to visit. Today, Savannah is a city of 136,000 people, tucked into the northeastern corner of Georgia where it meets South

ON THE WEB visitsavannah.com savannah.com facebook.com/tybeegaydays mercerhouse.com savannahriverboat.com thethunderbirdinn.com romanticinnsofsavannah.com clubone-online.com ladyandsons.com elizabethon37th.net thecrabshack.com sorrelweedhouse.com (ghost tours) 26 APRIL 3–16, 2014 XTRA!

Carolina, and it’s a compact, easily walkable historic quarter. Once you’ve had your fill of squares and pastries, amble along River Street’s waterfront, squeezing past hordes of tourists stocking up on pralines, plastic beakers of brightly coloured cocktails and “I Got River-Faced on Shit Street” T-shirts. There’s a flotilla of riverboats plying the Savannah River between Georgia and South Carolina, if you fancy getting off your feet for an hour, or for a less manicured take on the region’s watery wonders, go east. Just half an hour away you’ll find the Atlantic and some of the most stunning of Georgia’s coastal islands — tidal and barrier islands that stretch the length of the state. Tybee Island is the best known of Savannah’s seaside delights, and it’s the one locals flock to when they want to hit the beach. It’s an easy day trip from the Historic District. Tybee Rainbow Fest takes places each May. When night falls, there’s a selection of ghost tours on offer. The 1835 Sorrel Weed House is said to be the most haunted of the city’s spooky historic spots. The Ghost Hunters Walking Tour leaves the lugubrious address, famed for its shadowy former residents and disembodied voices, and visits the locations of murders, hangings and betrayals, including one square that’s home to a ghost bagpiper who fell at this spot during the Civil War. It’s said that he returns to the site regularly. Leave the haunted houses and graveyards behind and come back to the land of the living. Savannah has a slew of enticing restaurants, from Southern food palaces such as Olde Pink House and Elizabeth on 37th to Tybee Island’s low-key dive The Crab Shack. If you’re a fan, Paula Deen’s ventures, Lady and Sons and Uncle Bubba’s Oyster House, are also adjacent.

Bars At Club One, made famous in Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil as the stomping grounds of performer The Lady Chablis, the lady herself still makes regular appearances. Check the website for dates. Even on nights when The Lady C doesn’t manage to teeter onstage, the three-level venue is crammed

DANIEL MAYER

Above, the River Street waterfront is home to a number of popular eating and drinking venues and offers great views of the passing riverboats. Right, Savannah’s parks and squares are known for their stately oak trees covered in Spanish moss.

with good times, and the basement and ground floors fill with a mixed LGBT and straight crowd. It’s fun, upbeat and flirty, and there’s a lesbian burlesque show weekly. The upper floor is the drag venue; it packs to the rafters for shows at least twice a night. A polished cast of Georgian queens rule the room.

Accommodations The renovated retro Thunderbird Motel is within walking distance of the squares and bars. The lobby colour scheme of burgundy, turquoise and lime is a tad over-the-top, but the rooms are big, clean and have no shortage of character. Savannah has a wealth of historic mansions that now offer accommodation. The 12 properties of the gay-friendly Romantic Inns of Savannah offer a choice of luxurious, hospitable options with personal, friendly service.

AEFA MULHOLLAND

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Checking in with Jeremy: Week 12

NAME: TOBIAS JAMES AGE: 23 SIGN: PISCES

On dates, Tobias likes to “go to an opera or a play so that the guy knows my most boring passion first.” But things could change quickly, because on a night out he also likes to “meet new people, laugh, dance and have sex.” The wildest place he did the deed was “in the back storage room of a very popular club in Montreal.” Tobias speaks four languages, has performed in operas and admits, “I once sang onstage with Iron Maiden . . . without even knowing their song.”

By the time you read this, my birthday will have happened and I’ll be 30 years old. My hair will be gone, my back will be bent and brittle, and I’ll have a persistent wheeze that will terrify anyone who isn’t distracted by the heartbreaking look of loss in my old grey eyes. A loss that, if it were a sound, would be that of a howling wind blowing through the rotting timbers of the collapsed family home that was the setting for all your happy childhood moments. Those who have already hit 30 (my editors included) will damn me as they read this. Or, at best, think me ill-informed. Well, I don’t actually think 30 is the end of joy. A lot of people have told me that one’s 30s are some of the best years. I believe this, especially given I’ve laboured to ensure they will be. I dislike new year’s resolutions. I think if people crave change, they should get on with making changes rather than waiting for New Year’s. I suspect that if they wait for the new year to begin working toward something, they might just put things off until the following New Year’s, and on and on, procrastinating their way to old age. However, I do support deadlines.

Jeremy has renovated his life in a number of ways. EVOLUTION FITNESS

This may be a tad hyperbolic, but midway through my 20s I was utterly lost. I had a drinking problem, my philosophy degree wasn’t paying off (big surprise there), I hadn’t been in a relationship for years, and — I won’t run myself into the ground by listing any more faults, except to say I was dismally out of shape. So, I decided that I wanted to fix these things by my 30th birthday. I won’t pretend I’ve sorted out everything perfectly, but I’ve renovated my life in major ways. To those who want to change something about their lives, I suggest getting on with it. Give it a deadline, or don’t, but start now. Don’t wait for New Year’s. It’s a bit preachy, I know, but I sort of get to do that in these fitness articles. And if one of your goals is to change your shape, Evolution Fitness is a good way to go. Pardon the shameless plug. For more information about Evolution Fitness and its team of experts, visit personaltrainerstoronto.com.

RON HYDE

Twitter: @iamtobiasjames To comment on or become an Xtra Hot guy or gal, email Drasko at xtrahot@dailyxtra.com.

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Exploring: never stop Single Tablet Regimens (one pill, once a day) are a step forward in HIV treatment. Explore more at exploreHIV.ca

While they’re not a cure, these treatment options are designed to be effective and convenient. If you’ve been exploring different HIV treatments, talk to your doctor about Single Tablet Regimens too. It’s good to know what is out there.

Xtra Toronto #768  

April 3–16, 2014

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