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Ex-Mormon masturbation Unravelling the shame of self-love E12 Editorial Breaking the global gay impasse By Natasha Barsotti E4 Feedback E4 Xcetera E5

Upfront BC Law Society considers Trinity Western application Debate will be open and thorough, president says E7 GSAs good for students’ health E8 Council amends West End zoning Councillor Tim Stevenson hails more housing options near gay hub E8 Alleged lesbian-basher in court Walko charged in connection with Hastings bus incident E9 Guest column New facility for Qmunity By Dara Parker E10 Cover story Escaping Uganda As President Yoweri Museveni reviews his country’s anti-gay bill, one man ďŹ nds freedom in Canada E14 MORE AT DAILYXTRA.COM


Out in the City The Bobbers come home Queer improv troupe returns to Village after two-year absence E17 Real Estate E21 Blitz & Shitz The Blitz roundup By Raziel Reid E22

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E Love Sense author

says we’re (mostly) like monogamous voles E Russia: New

bill proposed to broaden scope of gay propaganda law E Uganda: President

wants scientists to weigh in on sexual orientation before taking action on anti-gay bill

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E Azerbaijan: Gay

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Breaking the global gay impasse EDITORIAL NATASHA BARSOTTI

Two recent initiatives offer ways forward out of the global gay-rights impasse that often boils down to West-versus-The-Rest. The first was a visit to Uganda by a delegation from the Robert F Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights to meet with President Yoweri Museveni about the Dec 20 passage of a bill that further criminalizes homosexuality. Word from the delegation is that Museveni — who has called homosexuality “abnormal” and believes people are bribed or recruited into being gay — called the current draft of the bill “fascist” and planned to reject it. A potentially promising step forward or a meaningless, conciliatory bone meant to appease the global village? Time will eventually tell. The take-away from this diplomatic gander is that quiet, respectful conversation may achieve more concrete results in the long run. Compare that to the predictable umbrage taken by Uganda’s parliamentary speaker, Rebecca Kadaga, when, in 2012, Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird very publicly took her to task over her country’s gay-rights record. Kadaga stormed home to press for passage of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill.

So said, so done a year later, and all that now stands in the way of the bill’s full enactment is a stroke of Museveni’s pen. The reason pen has not yet been put to paper, is, in part, because of the collective efforts of governments, human rights groups and online campaigns that buttress diplomatic envoys with indicators of outrage to support their quiet calls to rethink legislated persecution. The deal is often best sealed behind closed doors, where leaders can save face and make concessions and better decisions away from the heated atmosphere of political grandstanding. The battle is an uphill one. Homosexuality is often seen as a Western construct, an extension of the colonialism and imperialism that African, Asian, Latin American and Caribbean societies have historically navigated. Homosexuality is just another front in the ongoing battle involving issues of sovereignty and self-determination, a push-back against being told what to do and how to be. Which brings me to the second initiative: an open letter that a former Mozambican president wrote to African leaders in the midst of mulling future development priorities. Joaquim Chissano identified the sexual and reproductive health and rights of the continent’s people as a critical issue. “This simply means granting every-

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.

one the freedom — and the means — to make informed decisions about very basic aspects of one’s life — one’s sexuality, health and if, when and with whom to have relationships, marry or have children — without any form of discrimination, coercion or violence,” he said. While we are somewhat aware of the work of gay and other human rights organizations on the ground in Africa, we are often jarred when we hear heads of state, sitting or former, weigh in positively on an issue that is ridiculed and rejected. Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe’s homophobic outbursts are far better publicized. We need to hear more often from the continent’s public figures, like Chissano and Zambia’s first lady, Christine Kaseba-Sata, who last year called for the silence around men who have sex with men to be broken and for discrimination against sexual minorities to be eliminated. “As an African who has been around a long time, I understand the resistance to these ideas,” Chissano says. “But I can also step back and see that the larger course of human history, especially of the past century or so, is one of expanding human rights and freedoms. African leaders should be at the helm of this and not hold back. Not at this critical moment.” We need to listen to these potential gay-rights game-changers, even as Western envoys quietly lend their support behind the scenes. Natasha Barsotti is the staff reporter at Xtra Vancouver.

FEEDBACK QQ questions ‘queer’ I know I’m old, but I remember the word queer used very hatefully by people, and it is still jarring to me [“Questioning the Use of Queer,” Xtra #532, Jan 16]. I understand the idea of reclaiming, but it never felt good to me. I hope that we can still consider ourselves a community, albeit a very diverse community. Diversity does not preclude inclusivity; it may be our defining characteristic! SHAWN LUCAS (FACEBOOK)

Twenty-five-year-old gay man here. I reached queer saturation in, like, first year of university. As soon as I hear about queer stuff now, my eyes glaze over and my brain shuts down. Going about with queer queer queer on your lips is a sign of membership in an ephemeral subculture that’s privileged and oblivious to the teeming masses of repressed homosexuals who aren’t even ready to call themselves by those filthy words (irony intended) “gay” or “lesbian,” let alone take an interest in intolerably narcissistic postmodern “queer” culture (wince). Besides, my generation doesn’t even remember a time when the go-to slurs were anything but gay gay gay faggot faggot faggot. It felt good to create a account just to let that out. MONTREALTIMMY (DAILYXTRA.COM)

In Toronto, queer leftists constantly claim to speak for the entire gay community. While they claim to be inclusive, these queer leftists have

“ideological enemies” whom they seek to exclude. They seek to replace all references to “gay” with “queer” and have been relabelling the organizations in the gay community which they control. They consider gay men who don’t support them to be “corporate sellouts” and “self-hating homosexuals.” They publicly and viciously attack their enemies with such insults and other venom. They are the bullies of the Toronto gay community. These queer leftists are just as mean and hateful as the bullies I encountered as an effeminate child and a young, closeted, gay teen. As a result, I associate the word “queer” with these hateful people. ENDOR (DAILYXTRA.COM)

Who remembers “smear the queer”? It usually happened after school, when we were beginning to wander off toward home. One of the dominant boys would point to someone, one of the weaker boys, and yell, “Smear the queer” and everybody would jump on him and grind him into the grass, yelling joyously, “Smear the queer! Smear the queer! Smear the queer!” Eventually, the dog pile would disperse and some poor schmuck would drag himself up, try to wipe off the dirt and grass stains while other people watched and laughed at him. Then he would slink off home feeling sad, weak and humiliated. So... what do I feel when I hear the word queer? Like I want to kill someone. DON HIX (DAILYXTRA.COM)

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GAY-LY ROUTINE Atlanta gay dads Kordale and Kaleb and their three kids have taken Instagram by storm with regular postings of their daily routine that’s a mix of hotness and cuteness, with a heavy helping of adorableness — whether it’s doing homework, getting ready for school or looking fine in family photos. How’s that for gay propaganda?


Public policy, written by a four-year-old After learning that her mom’s friends Lukas and Greg had married in New York because they couldn’t in Australia, Sabrina Franco, four, decided to pen Prime Minister Tony Abbott a policy proposal on same-sex marriage . . . and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, which is facing budget cuts. “Dear Tony Abbott,


Don’t get rid of the ABC because we love it. And let boys marry boys and girls marry girls if they love each other or they’ll be sad forever. Thank you, Sabrina.”



Political ploy or love connection? Discuss Texas Senator Dan Patrick: “I am not shocked that Mayor Parker decided to elope to California for a marriage that is unconstitutional in Texas. This is obviously part of a larger strategy of hers to turn Texas into California.” Houston Mayor Annise Parker on tying the knot with Kathy Hubbard: “You don’t commit 23 years of your life to someone to make a political statement.”


HIS & HIS TOILETS BBC correspondent Steve Rosenberg’s photo of side-by-side toilets in a men’s washroom at Sochi got tweeters all a-twitter, some wondering if the facility is up to Russia’s antigay-propaganda code. Da? Nyet?

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Regardless what I tell myself, every time I jack off it feels good while I’m doing it, but I feel shameful and guilty afterward. Ask the Expert E12

BC Law Society considers Trinity Western application Debate will be open and thorough, president says



The final decision on whether Trinity Western University (TWU) can operate a law school now rests with the society governing the province’s legal profession, which began debate on the issue Jan 24. To be admitted to TWU, students must sign a covenant agreeing to uphold Christian biblical teachings, including no premarital sex and no homosexuality. Failure to uphold these commitments, according to the student handbook, could result in discipline, dismissal or a refusal to readmit a student to the university. The issue boils down to balancing equality rights with freedom of religion, board member Sharon Matthews told the Law Society of BC meeting. President Jan Lindsay says the debate could take several months. What the society, and its counterparts across Canada, must evaluate is whether TWU graduates would meet requirements for admission to the legal profession in their province. Gavin Hume, a past president of the society, told the board that TWU’s application highlights several areas of concern, including teaching ethics and teaching public law, human rights and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Hume says there is “tension” between the teaching of those subjects and the covenant that TWU insists its students sign. “No sex outside of marriage except between a man and a woman,” he says. “There is no doubt that is the focus of the issue.” TWU’s application to open a law school was approved in December by BC’s Ministry of Advanced Education and by the Federation of Law Societies of Canada, an umbrella group for territorial and provincial regulators of the legal profession. Joe Arvay, a Law Society of BC board member who represented Little Sister’s bookstore in its fight against Canada Customs’ book seizures, says any decision the society makes has to be MORE AT DAILYXTRA.COM

Gavin Hume, past president of the Law Society of BC, says TWU’s application highlights several areas of concern, including teaching ethics and teaching public law, human rights and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. JEREMY HAINSWORTH

compatible not only with its own rules, but also with the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Lindsay says the BC Law Society needs to investigate the issue carefully. “Trinity Western is going to take up a lot more of our time than we anticipated, but we will do the job,” she says. Lindsay says that with the exception of privileged legal opinions, all submissions and information will be “made available.”

“Our meetings are open to the public,” she says. “We will be thorough. We will be fair. We will be thoughtful. We will be open.” Lindsay says the society will soon open its website ( to invite submissions on TWU. Read the full story on

More than a dozen organizations are calling on the Law Society of BC to implement a full and public process with respect to Trinity Western University’s (TWU) law school accreditation. “The Law Society has a mandate to protect the public interest and exercises a critical gatekeeper function in deciding who qualifies to become a lawyer in BC,” says Laura Track, legal director of the West Coast Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund, which sent a letter to Law Society president Jan Lindsay on Dec 21. “Its decision about whether to accredit a law school whose admissions policies are discriminatory must involve a transparent process that includes input from concerned members of the public and the profession,” Track says. Trinity Western president Bob Kuhn says highly qualified lawyers have already considered arguments in favour of and opposed to TWU’s law school proposal. “They also obtained a legal opinion from renowned constitutional law expert John Laskin, who concluded that the Supreme Court of Canada ruling in Trinity Western University v British Columbia College of Teachers would very likely be upheld were it to be relitigated,” Kuhn says. In 2001, the Supreme Court of Canada upheld TWU’s right to teach Christian values to would-be teachers. The high court found the university’s teacher program graduates are entitled to hold “sexist, racist or homophobic beliefs” as long as they don’t act on them in the public-school classrooms to which they might be assigned. UBC law professor Margot Young says accreditation with the Law Society is normally an expedited process with no public input. “This is unproblematic for law schools that don’t have these broad civil-liberties issues attached to them,” she says. “But that’s not the case, of course, with TWU, where there has been significant concern for a long time about the impact of the covenant.” —Nathaniel Christopher Read the full story on

XTRA! JAN 30–FEB 12, 2014 7

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Stevenson hails more housing options near gay hub GAY VILLAGE SHAUNA LEWIS

Vancouver city council approved amendments to West End zoning bylaws Jan 23 that will provide social housing, laneway housing and increased density in the lower Davie Village. The amendments were the final details in the city’s new West End Plan, passed in November. Councillor Tim Stevenson called the changes “significant” and said they will have a positive impact on the gay village by providing the community with additional housing options near the gay hub. Others expressed concern that the changes were made without sufficient public consultation. Randy Helten was one of approximately 20 speakers before council. He asked council to reject the amendments and send the proposal back for “proper consultation.” NPA councillor George Affleck opposed the motion. It stops spot rezoning, he acknowledged, but it also creates the impression that city hall is making decisions without any public discussion.

Randy Helten opposed the motion because, he says, the public was not sufficiently consulted. SHAUNA LEWIS

Brent Granby, former executive director of the West End Residents Association, said the bylaw changes are needed. “We need rental housing in the West End and we need affordability, and I think these bylaw changes will support that,” he said. Granby also supported laneway housing, calling it a “transformative type of housing in the West End.”




FEBRUARY 20 -22, 2014








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GSAs good for students’ health Having gay-straight alliances (GSAs) and explicit anti-homophobia policies in schools may reduce the chances of suicidal thoughts and attempts in both queer and straight students, says a study released Jan 20 by researchers at the University of British Columbia (UBC). “When policies and supportive programs like GSAs are in place long enough to change the environment of the school, it’s better for students’ mental health, no matter what their orientation,” says the study’s author, professor Elizabeth Saewyc. According to Statistics Canada, 458 young Canadians between the ages of 10 and 24 committed suicide in 2008. Studies have found suicide rates among gay youth are four times higher than among their non-queer peers. Saewyc studied data from BC’s Ado-

lescent Health Survey to test links between school policies and programs, discrimination because of perceived sexual orientation, and suicidal thoughts and attempts. She found that in schools with GSAs implemented three or more years ago, the odds of homophobic discrimination and suicidal thoughts were reduced by more than half among lesbian, gay, bisexual boys and girls compared to schools with no GSAs. In schools where anti-homophobia policies have been in place for more than three years, the odds of suicidal thoughts and attempts for gay and bisexual boys were more than 70 percent lower. —Jeremy Hainsworth For more on these stories, go to VANCOUVER’S GAY & LESBIAN NEWS

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Vancouver police released photos taken from TransLink surveillance footage of the man now charged in connection with an alleged assault on a lesbian couple exiting a Hastings Street bus in September 2013. VANCOUVER POLICE DEPARTMENT


Alleged lesbianbasher in court Walko charged in connection with Hastings bus incident GAYBASHING JEREMY HAINSWORTH

The man charged in connection with an alleged assault on two lesbians made his second court appearance in Vancouver Jan 17. Andrew Joseph Walko, 45, is charged with assault and assault causing bodily harm in connection with the Sept 18 incident. The Vancouver Police Department announced the charges Jan 14. Walko told Justice of the Peace T Hill that he had no lawyer and was applying for legal aid. Crown prosecutor Julie Robinson gave Walko a file of the particulars of his case for him to give to a lawyer or legal aid. Walko refused to speak to reporters outside court. Surveillance footage from TransLink shows a man boarding a westbound   #135 bus at Hastings and Kensington in Burnaby at about 5:15pm on the evening in question. The tape also shows Ali Matson and her girlfriend, Jacqueline Clarke, boarding the bus at 6pm at Hastings and Renfrew. The women allege the man followed them as they left the bus at ComMORE AT DAILYXTRA.COM

mercial Drive, where he allegedly attacked them. “He grabbed me by the shoulder, and he punched me in the face with all his body strength,” Matson claims. “My nose was bleeding everywhere, and he gave me two black eyes. He was not holding back at all.” Matson and Clarke believe they were attacked because of their sexual orientation after they exchanged a kiss and were flirting during the bus ride. “He just did not like to see two girls kissing,” Matson suggests. The alleged attacker was described as a Caucasian male, 35 to 40 years old, six feet tall and 220 pounds with short black-and-grey hair and facial stubble. He wore a black T-shirt, jeans and black shoes. The stocky, greying Walko wore a black jacket, burntorange T-shirt and black shoes when he appeared in court. Vancouver police Constable Randy Fincham said earlier in the case that police take the allegation that the crime was motivated by the women’s sexual orientation very seriously and that their hate-crimes unit has reviewed the file. Walko is due to return to court on Feb 7.


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New facility for Qmunity Information night planned after 20 years of effort results in $7 million GUEST COLUMN DARA PARKER

Since 1979, Qmunity has worked toward a world where all queer people are included and free from discrimination. We do this in three ways: delivering highquality community programs, providing education and training, and advocating for our communities. As the only queer umbrella organization in the province, we are a dynamic hub for the LGBTQ community across BC. For almost 20 years we have been actively looking for a new home. Located at 1170 Bute St since 1984, our geographical location has been ideal. Unfortunately, our facility falls short on almost every other front: it is not accessible; it is grossly undersized and overbooked; it lacks basic amenities; and its programming spaces do not meet the needs of the community. The search for a new facility dates

back almost 20 years. Old ďŹ les at Qmu- to fund a new location. City staff recnity reveal that there have been numer- ommended that the Burrard Gateway ous attempts over the years to secure a Project, a redevelopment proposal at new space, none of which ultimately Burrard and Howe streets, provide a came to fruition. Recently, we have $7 million cash contribution toward focused on the most viable option, a new facility. In December 2013, the working with the City of Vancouver to project went to public hearing and was leverage a community amenity contri- formally approved. bution to build a new facility. After almost 20 years, this was an For the last two years, Qmunity ac- incredible victory for our community. tively participated in the public West Our next step is to work closely with End Neighbourhood Planning process, the City of Vancouver to secure a site advocating for a new LGBTQ facil- location. We have budgeted $10 mility. After 18 months of robust public lion to build a new facility based on a consultation, the plan was adopted in 10,000-square-foot model taken from November 2013. As part the feasibility study of a comprehensive conducted in 2007. QMUNITY INFORMATION NIGHT public-beneďŹ t strategy In previous consulThurs, Feb 6, 6:30–7:30pm totalling $600 million, tations, Qmunity reGordon Neighbourhood House Qmunity was named ceived overwhelming 1019 Broughton St Wheelchair accessible as a priority to receive feedback that a new a new, purpose-built facility should remain facility in the West End. in or close eto the West End. We have This gave city staff official direction conďŹ rmed this with the city, but otherto prioritize working with developers wise, the site selection process is driven

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Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re thrilled at this historic opportunity, and we take the responsibility of shepherding the process very seriously. as June 2014. Upon securing a site, we will launch a comprehensive community consultation process led by an independent, armâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s-length third party. Waiting until a site is selected is necessary to help focus the consultation on the possibilities and limitations of a known space. It will also provide enough time to develop a broad and meaningful process and engage the right organiza-

tunity, and we take the responsibility of shepherding the process very seriously. This is why we look forward to having the diverse voices of our communities contribute to this process â&#x20AC;&#x201D; to build a new facility for our community, together. Dara Parker is the executive director of Qmunity, BCâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s queer resource centre.

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largely by real estate availability and other market factors. Ultimately, we plan to leverage another development to fund the additional $3 million needed to complete the project. We hope to secure a new site as early

tion to ensure that a range of feedback is collected in a transparent manner. We know the new space will be approximately 10,000 square feet; at a location in or close to the West End; accessible, with some street-level access; and will have a mix of flexible, multipurpose spaces designed to meet the diverse needs of the community. The new centre will serve as an anchor for all different types of queer organizations and services â&#x20AC;&#x201D; it will be a dynamic, inclusive hub for everyone in the queer community, including our allies and neighbourhood supporters. Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re thrilled at this historic oppor- VANCOUVERâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;S GAY & LESBIAN NEWS


Preventing HIV through technology and social media

Increased rates of HIV testing among gay men Studies have shown that more than half of gay men in Vancouver tested for HIV in the last year. Many of them were tested at the HIM Health Centres, where competent, understanding nurses have administered more than 17,000 tests since HIM opened its doors four years ago. Demand continues to grow at both the Davie Street and Commercial Drive locations.

HIM pilot program a success a negative result — were diagnosed by pooled NAAT. These 25 men were diagnosed sooner, reducing the risk of their passing on the virus. HIM is well known for its attentiongrabbing communications. The Vancouver-based gay men’s health organization uses current evidence when developing its social-marketing campaigns. Previous evaluations have shown that gay men recognize and trust the HIM brand. HIM’s Do the Math campaign was recognized by 48 percent of the morethan 900 men who responded to a 2011 survey. Of those who recalled that campaign, 82 percent thought about their own HIV risk, and 58 percent learned new HIV risk-reduction ideas. For more information on the Acute HIV Study, visit or check HIM out at







Accomplishments from the last four years at HIM



volunteer hours

participants in

condoms distributed!

1worry-free MILLION orgasms!



events providing volunteer outreach

1,129 group sessions



A local study published in the AIDS journal estimates that between 25 and 75 new HIV infections were avoided as a result of a pilot program aimed at gay and bisexual men. The program featured a collaboration combining new testing technologies used by the BC Centre for Disease Control with community-driven social marketing developed by the Health Initiative for Men (HIM). The campaigns — What Are You Waiting For? and Hottest at the Start — were promoted online, in print and at venues gay men frequent. The study concluded that the combination of pooled NAAT (a new testing technology) and social-marketing campaigns was found to be highly effective in almost doubling the rate of acute HIV detection in the six participating clinics. In total, 25 men with acute HIV — who would have otherwise received


health centre hours since 2009


HIV / STI tests performed


Was it good for you? HIM is now a recognized charity! Tell your sexy story and get a free towel: MORE AT DAILYXTRA.COM

To support HIM, go to XTRA! JAN 30–FEB 12, 2014 11

4HILS3LHN\L)HZLIHSS4LTVYPLZ WYLZLU[ Looking for stories, photos, memorabilia from players, coaches, spectators for publication in a planned book exploring the history of Mabel League Baseball. Please submit all contributions, questions or concerns to:

Ex-Mormon masturbation Unravelling the shame of self-love ASK THE EXPERT DR PEGA REN

Dear Dr Ren, Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m a 28-year-old gay man in a relationship for about a year and a half. Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m an ex-Mormon, and thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s causing a problem. Coming out was costly for me. I lost my family, my church, my home. After a lot of personal work, I now feel satisďŹ ed with who I am. I havenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t had such good luck with overcoming some of the churchâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s other messages. Regardless what I tell myself, every time I jack off it feels good while Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m doing it, but I feel shameful and guilty afterward. My boyfriend really enjoys doing this together. I havenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t told him how difficult it is for me. He didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t come up through the church and wouldnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t understand this deep-seated disgust for something he views as just part of foreplay. How do I get past years of programming that tells me masturbation is sinful? â&#x20AC;&#x201D;Stuck in Shadows

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Dear Stuck in Shadows, Ah, thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s always another closet door, isnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t there? Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s always confusing when leaving behind one belief system and replacing it with another that serves you better. Bravo for the work youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve already done to feel good about being queer. The process of dispelling selfloathing messages about sexual behav-

iour is similar to coming out, but with a further complicating layer. Orientation is felt inside. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s undeniable. Behaviour, however, is controllable, weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re told. When we fail at that control, we feel miserable, regardless of the spin we attach to it. When faith and evidence collide, somethingâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s gotta give. Oftentimes, the two cannot coexist. In these situations, assess what makes the most sense to you, regardless of the consequences. That may mean changing your mind, questioning your belief systems, even feeling foolish or grieving. But just as in coming out queer, coming out â&#x20AC;&#x153;clearâ&#x20AC;? eventually feels authentic, regardless of your choice of faith or evidence. Generally, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s the confusion between the two that makes us crazy. To make a good decision, you need more information. You know the Mormon message. What do you know about what science says about masturbation? The answer is: a whole lot! I suggest you get Dr Martha Cornogâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s The Big Book of Masturbation: From Angst to Zeal. Opinion-free, it is a compendium of scientiďŹ c material and commentary. Learn the facts and then reconsider masturbation. Better yet, read the Cornog book with your boyfriend, or introduce the topic after watching the thought-provoking movie Don Jon. Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll bet your lover knows youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re squidgy about wanking. Sharing your story with him will help him under-

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stand your struggles and prepare him to help you through them. There arenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t many folks who havenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t picked up some sort of negative messages about â&#x20AC;&#x153;self-abuseâ&#x20AC;? along the way, you know! Be prepared. You canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t have your knowledge and your innocence, too. When you learn that masturbation causes no physiological ill effects and, indeed, helps to maintain ongoing prostate health, you may experience strong emotions over such information being withheld from you. You may resent your lost years of selfloathing. You may grieve your lost sexual potential. But then youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll experience a lightening of spirit, a gratitude for the joy yet ahead. You may even ďŹ nd it easy to close one book and open another. Or you may choose to reject the claims of science and recommit to controlling your behaviour. Either way, the choice is yours! I encourage you only to make that choice an informed one. The anguish you feel now, and the â&#x20AC;&#x153;secretâ&#x20AC;? you think you are keeping from your lover, will erode your relationship. If you donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t resolve this issue now, you will struggle with it until you do. Suffering is optional. Relief is not without effort, but clarity will bring you happiness. Youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll ďŹ nd that clarity with comprehensive knowledge. Informed decisions are always the best kind. 604.871.0119

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XTRA! JAN 30â&#x20AC;&#x201C;FEB 12, 2014 13


ESCAPING UGANDA As President Yoweri Museveni reviews his country’s infamous anti-gay bill, one man gets a new lease on life in Canada BY NATASHA BARSOTTI

14 JAN 30–FEB 12, 2014 XTRA!



ichael Kivumbi (not his real name) didn’t get much sleep the night before his Jan 17 hearing at the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB). “I was really nervous; it’s really psychological. You are not guaranteed anything. You have to pour out your heart to someone who has never been in your shoes and who you wouldn’t want to be in your shoes,” the tall, slightly built, 23-year-old gay man from Uganda quietly recollects. (He has asked Xtra to use a pseudonym for fear of future repercussions.) Kivumbi’s hearing began around 8:45am. By 9:20, the IRB member had read and heard enough of his story to rule in his favour. “I’m glad to have someone to understand me, just like the communities that have received me here. What can I say... the 17th at my hearing, it was just the icing on the cake, because I really don’t like going back to what happened to me.”

This gay Ugandan man, who has now been granted asylum in Vancouver but still fears repercussions if his identity is revealed, says the new anti-gay bill is superfluous. In Uganda, people don’t need legal licence to be homophobic, he says. SHIMON KARMEL


Kivumbi arrived here from Uganda in August, about four months before his country’s lawmakers passed a widely condemned but long-anticipated bill to further criminalize homosexuality. Under pressure to reject the measure or give it his assent, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni says he intends to review the bill, which reportedly no longer includes the death penalty but still imposes a 14-year prison term for a first conviction and life imprisonment for the offence of “aggravated homosexuality.” It also criminalizes the “promotion” of homosexuality and promises to punish with prison time anyone who fails to report homosexual activities to police. Museveni has called the bill “fascist” and objected to its passage by parliament without quorum, but he hasn’t ruled out approving it. Kivumbi sees the bill as superfluous. In Uganda, people don’t need legal licence to be homophobic, he says. Just weeks after Kivumbi arrived in Canada to pursue his studies at Simon Fraser University last fall, police paid his mother a visit at her Kampala home, he says. They told her they were looking for him because he has sex with men. He was not yet out to his mother. Kivumbi, who was raised in a conservative Christian family, says he confessed to his mother when she called him. “My mom, she got so angry, she insulted me. She told me she wished she had produced a dog. She told me she didn’t want to have anything to do with me, and she was going to tell the whole family so they would disown me,” he

says. “Really, when I first heard that, I thought...” Kivumbi can’t finish his sentence. He’s at a loss to describe how he felt hearing those words uttered from thousands of miles away but loud and clear in his ear. Still, his mother’s reaction confirmed the fears he had had all along while he was still under her roof in Uganda. “Definitely, there was no way I was ever going to make my status known to them. You live a discreet lifestyle. Even in your own family, you aren’t going to open up to anyone. You aren’t going to ask anyone for advice or to guide you.” Aware of the anti-gay views of various pastors, he didn’t open up to anyone at church, either, in case he was ostracized. He has heard the fire-andbrimstone sermons from anti-gay pastors like Martin Ssempa. “It just makes you feel lonely; it just presents you like a total outcast,” he says. Kivumbi also kept his own counsel at the Christian and Islamic schools

were four; we were two. My boyfriend was a little bit stronger than me, and he tried to resist, but it went on and on, back and forth. “They had sticks and one had a bucket, and he kept hitting us with all these objects,” he says. “All I remember is I kept losing consciousness.” When it was all over, Kivumbi says, he tried to stand up but couldn’t put any weight on his right foot. He says his boyfriend, who sustained welts and bruises on his body from the attack, had to help him to a taxi. At the hospital, Kivumbi, who found out that he had a fractured tibia and now has plates in his leg, kept the story about the attack simple, leaving out the reason for the assault for fear of facing further discrimination. He didn’t bother reporting the attack to the police. “They don’t support gay people. What was I going to say happened?” Neither did he give his mother a full airing of how he was injured, tell-

THEY HAD STICKS AND ONE HAD A BUCKET, AND HE KEPT HITTING US WITH ALL THESE OBJECTS. ALL I REMEMBER IS I KEPT LOSING CONSCIOUSNESS. he attended, instinctively feeling that it would be too risky to reveal his sexuality. But, he says, his fondness for tight-fitting tank tops and fitted pants attracted his schoolmates’ ridicule. “The way I dressed caused me problems at times. They would make fun of me. They would say I look feminine and make those sorts of jokes, saying that I’m trying to attract boys. There was that category that always used to point fingers at me.” Even though fellow students were speculating about his sexual orientation, Kivumbi says, he was never physically harassed at school. His first encounter with violence occurred after he graduated in 2010. Seeking privacy, he and his boyfriend, who would usually meet at their respective homes, decided to go to a Kampala park, where they began making out. Kivumbi says they were interrupted by the sound of footsteps. He looked around and saw four young men, three of whom he recognized from school. “I heard them shouting derogatory terms. They were saying, ‘We should kill them. We should beat them and hand them to the police.’” He says the situation then turned violent. “They kept punching us. They

ing her only that he was jumped while walking in the street. While he doesn’t know for sure how police found out about his sexuality, he suspects that his attackers in the park may have spoken to authorities. He says the attack buttressed his resolve to leave Uganda to pursue higher education sooner rather than later. “I was so traumatized. It pushed me to apply more quickly.” With the police inquiries and his family’s rejection, he doesn’t see himself returning to Uganda.

“I’m trying to pick myself up now,” he says. Kivumbi is trying to build a community of support. He volunteers with the Health Initiative for Men (HIM) and is also involved with Qmunity. “I met good people, counsellors at Qmunity — people who understand me and showed me people whose stories are not exactly like mine, but people who have gone through the same kind of problem, where they had to leave their home country for such reasons.” Kivumbi also says that prayer has brought comfort. He has been attending St Andrew’s-Wesley Church, where

he met Reverend Dan Chambers, minister of congregational life. “He told me at the end of the day, a church should be welcoming, irrespective of someone’s sexual orientation,” Kivumbi says. The service format at St Andrew’sWesley is the same as that in Uganda, he notes, but it’s different because he feels welcome. Chambers says Kivumbi has been at services almost every Sunday since September. “I empathized with his family situation — recognizing the cultural differences — how incredibly difficult it would be to be ostracized from your family, from your society, from basically everything you have known,” Chambers says. “I’m glad that the church can be there for him, for people who are in his situation.” Being heterosexual, bisexual or homosexual is “just the way you come into the world,” Chambers says. “It’s not something to be fixed. It’s something to be lived, and hopefully lived with much love and joy.” While Kivumbi’s refugee hearing understandably filled him with uncertainty and despair, Chambers says, the asylum he’s now been granted is reason for optimism. “He does seem to be in a better, stronger place.”

“It was really fast; we were there for less than an hour,” says lawyer Kirk Olearnek, who represented Kivumbi at his refugee hearing. “When people are from countries with atrocious human-rights records, basically, it’s all about credibility,” Olearnek says. “There’s more scrutinizing of ‘Are you really gay?’ Once they get over that threshold, usually everything just falls into place.” Kivumbi did all the heavy lifting, says Olearnek, who had his submissions “ready to go” but was told by the IRB member early on that they weren’t needed — a sign that things would go Kivumbi’s way. “That often happens with gay clients, because the member can see the country evidence,” Olearnek says. He says the board member noted the Dec 20 passage of Uganda’s anti-gay bill as a development that threatens to exacerbate an already-serious situation. Kivumbi still can’t believe that his request for asylum was granted. “Even now I have not woken up from the dream; I haven’t yet faced the reality,” he says. For now, he doesn’t want to focus on the evolving saga of his home country’s anti-gay bill or on what Museveni will or will not do about it. He would rather focus on the new life that he gets to build here. “I’m looking at discovering myself... as a person who has rights, as a person who can live with dignity as a gay man.” XTRA! JAN 30–FEB 12, 2014 15

16 JAN 30–FEB 12, 2014 XTRA!


Out in the City

More than 450 people entered Backdoor (almost as many as entered mine!). Blitz & Shitz E22

The Bobbers come home Queer improv troupe returns to Village after two-year absence COMEDY STACY THOMAS

“By round of applause, who’s never seen queer-prov before?” A few meek hands, including my own, are raised in the air accompanied by a spattering of applause. “Who has seen queer-prov before?” The room erupts with noisy cheering, shouts and whistles as the majority of the people seated in Heaven’s Door show their love for the ragtag group of actors lined up onstage. It’s a telling moment for queer improvisation group The Bobbers, who, after two years away from their home in the Davie Village, are reclaiming their turf at the newly refurbished Bute Street restaurant that once housed J-Lounge and before that the Jupiter Café. It’s been a rough couple of years for the eight-year-old comedy troupe. For five years, they enjoyed local fame and a loyal fan base in the West End, performing their Tops & Bottoms show, a sort of improv training camp involving members of the audience. That ended abruptly in 2011, when J-Lounge went into sudden receivership and left The Bobbers homeless and scrambling for a venue. They spent the next two years drifting from venue to venue around the city, from Granville Island to Kitsilano; there was even some downtime when there wasn’t a show at all. The experience was challenging, but it wasn’t entirely a bad one. “Our troupe has grown,” says Dan Dumsha, improviser and current president of the Queer Arts Society, which runs the group. Their year at Granville Island’s Improv Centre, in particular, marked a valuable growing period for MORE AT DAILYXTRA.COM

The Bobbers — from left: Aamir Khan, Pearce Visser, Jamie Chrest, Dan Dumsha, Amy Wilding, Alan Pavlakovic and Sarah Dawn Pledge — prepare for their weekly Queer-Prov performance, Jan 20 at Heaven’s Door. TALLULAH

the group; they had access to a proper stage, props and lighting and had the chance to learn from other improv pros who perform there regularly. But they did lose much of their audience. “Our hardcore fans are in the West End,” explains Lee Ann Keple, The Bobbers’ “original woman.” “We really are excited this time. Everything’s kind of synched,” she says. “We’re in our neighbourhood, in the gay village, back at the place where we have so many good memories, and everything has come together for optimal performance.” Keple, who also performs standup with the Laff Riot Girls, should know. She’s been with the group since its first audition in 2006. “From starting from

this disparate bunch of improvisers, we’ve been able to accomplish a whole lot, working together,” she says. “At the beginning, it was so empowering to get together with a bunch of other queeridentified performers. I think we’d all, in our different ways, carried our closets with us to other comedy that we were doing, where it would almost be this small subversive victory, if you did 15 scenes, to have one where it was a same-sex couple. “So it was very empowering to be with a troupe where we were all queeridentified and it was okay if every single scene was reflecting aspects of our own lives.” When Bobbers’ founder David C Jones, who started Tops & Bottoms, retired from the group in December,

the remaining members decided to that, together with the players, forms change the format to pure improv. “We an intimate queer community close said, ‘Let’s do what we’re good at; let’s to home. “There are queers everywhere, of do improv,’” Dumsha says. Back onstage at Heaven’s Door, course, in Vancouver. When we were troupe member Amy Wilder has a task on Granville Island, people came out. for the crowd. “I want you to look to It’s great to have queer presence elseyour left and scream out where,” Dumsha says. that person’s name as if “But there’s something THE BOBBERS you just slept with them,” about being in Davie Mondays, 7–9pm Heaven’s Door she says, “and chances are, Village that’s especially 1216 Bute St with this queer group, you special and unique. And No cover probably did sleep with it feels really good to be them at some point.” in the heart of the Village The crowd laughs in what can only doing queer improv with a queer troupe. be described as a tone of agreement, It’s a really significant thing because reinforcing the significance of The Bob- there’s a community of people around bers’ homecoming. It’s the pleasure of this show that come out on Monday performing for an audience that gets it, night, and we’ve restarted it.” XTRA! JAN 30–FEB 12, 2014 17


Perfectfit Boutique clothing stores that will size you up and make you look sharp Dunn’s Tailors

Mr Mz Boutique 3341 W Broadway St, 604-558-2005 Search for Mr Mz Boutique on Facebook Ian Brown’s thoughtfully curated and reasonably priced selection of mostly Italian menswear is luxuriously textured and peppered with subtle idiosyncrasies — a unique button on the cuff, an unexpected pattern in the lining, a pop of colour in the stitching. He handpicks much of his collection on twice-yearly trips to small-run, family-owned manufacturers in and around Naples and the island of Capri. Inspired by the nearby runways of Milan, with an emphasis on detail and quality over mass production, the line at Mr Mz is signature-casual, put together without being overplanned. TIP TOP TAILORS

480 Granville St, 604-681-2836

302 W Cordova St, 604-568-6767 You know that ability to look fabulous without looking like you’re trying too hard — or trying at all? Italians do it so well they have a word for it, sprezzatura, which essentially refers to the art of making it look effortless. No surprise, then, that everything Grace Chumfong and George Martins curate for Alfie Italia is Italian. Most of it — including labels like Arsenal Uomo and Daniele Alessandrini — is handpicked on trips to Rome, Milan and Bologna. Tailored lines married to deconstructed texture with a casual undercurrent creates the perfect opportunity to say, “What, this? I just threw it on!” ANGELINA CANTADA


Alfie Italia



At Dunn’s, with their access to more than 2,000 fabrics and almost 80 years of tailoring experience, it’s all about custom tailoring — a practice regaining favour as we realize the value in purchasing Canadian-made, quality pieces that will outlast the disposable clothing we’ve, sadly, come to rely on. Intimidated by the idea of custom tailoring? Don’t be. “You don’t need to know what fits you; I need to know what fits you,” manager Jordan Smith says as he steers me away from that wheat-coloured blazer that makes my complexion resemble a blancmange.

Tip Top Tailors

Radical Rags Radical Rags presents a historical look at the fashion of social activism. From the suffragettes of the late 1800s (and the battle for a woman’s right to wear trousers, let alone vote) to the non-conformist beatniks, free-for-all hippies and proud gay activists, fashion historian Ivan Sayers offers a cortège of live models illustrating how the struggle for social change has been reflected in how we dress. And undress. Radical Rags is a fundraiser for Civil Rights Now, BC’s advocacy organization for people living with disabilities. Radical Rags is Sat, Feb 22, 2–4pm at St Andrew’s-Wesley United Church, 1012 Nelson St. Tickets are available at or 604-290-5737. 18 JAN 30–FEB 12, 2014 XTRA!

700 W Pender St and 701 W Georgia St 604-684-8021, Unrealistic expectations at the gym aren’t the only way to achieve your new year’s resolution to look and feel better about yourself. Try dressing better. Tip Top store manager Robert Reed has the perfect starting point: a versatile sport coat. It’s ideal for occasions that don’t require the fuss of a suit, it adds a layer for brisk early-spring days, and it offers a sharp compliment to spice up your jeans. “And on-site tailoring allows you to individualize your garment to get the custom look without the cost,” Reed says. VANCOUVER’S GAY & LESBIAN NEWS

485 Broughton St, 604-682-3788


This floating store in Coal Harbour is where Fassbinder-inspired French sailor fantasies come true. Dress your cabin boy in authentic blue-and-white Brittany stevedore stripes, or deck out your captain in nautical style with a truly hand-knit Irish fishing sweater and a 100-percent Canadian wool, reliably seaworthy pea jacket. In business since 1954, Wright Mariner Supply is not just a maritime hardware store; its expanding selection of smart-looking foul-weather wear is perfect for Wet Coast living, on land or at sea. Ask manager Steve Law about the sacrificial zinc shaft protectors just to get a giggle out of him.

332 Water St, 604-683-5650


1030 Denman St, 604-684-4861

State of Mind

Global Atomic 1144 Mainland St, 604-806-6223 Catering to everyone from club kids to doctors and lawyers outfitting themselves for a weekend of playtime, Global Atomic has withstood the test of time by staying just ahead of the trends and intuitively scoping out what’s coming next. “It’s heritage versus space right now. Space is going to win,” owner Warren W predicts. Enjoy a cup of Black Echo Coffee (the beans are roasted in butter and sugar) while you savour local designer Paloma Salgado’s tongue-in-cheek butch beads for men or Joseph Henry’s handmade wallets and cuffs. MORE AT DAILYXTRA.COM

As a stylist, Linda K makes a point of knowing her clients well and offering personalized service you won’t find anywhere else. “I have clients I’ve known since we first opened our doors. I love this part of my job,” Linda says. “As people evolve, their style evolves. It makes my day when a client comes into the store and I can help him find clothes that are contemporary, that suit his body and his lifestyle.” Appointments are highly recommended but not essential.


If you’ve dated a guy in Vancouver who’s made a good first impression with a pair of bold and eyecatching unmentionables, you probably have David King of Top Drawers to thank. Top Drawers has been wrapping our packages since 1992. It has also been the starting point for many Vancouver-based undie designers, such as Ginch Gonch, Saxx, Naked, Mckillop and Equmen. If you sign up for Top Drawers’ e-newsletter, I guarantee hours and hours of enjoyment! There are also rumours of expansion — always important when we’re talking briefs and boxers.

1100 Davie St, 604-682-7116 Search for State of Mind Boutique on Facebook




Wright Mariner Supply

“It’s the best place for men to shop,” boasts Leanore Sali, from the Gastown Business Improvement Society, of the neighbourhood she’s dedicated to enhancing. It’s hard to argue with her when you look at Gastown’s list of retailers: The Block, Roden Gray, Motherland, Inventory, Haven, Alfie Italia, Fluevog and Fortknight, to mention only a few. “It’s not just the number of shops,” Sali says. “It’s also the diversity and quality of what they’re selling.” Of course, as an area becomes increasingly trendy, the big chains take notice. Sali recognizes that their arrival could be a death knell to an exciting and creative community. “We’ve worked for years with key property owners to create and maintain the opportunities for small, independent retailers because the city needs an area like this. We need local businesses.” And if you need a shopping break, you can choose from a number of cafés, restaurants and pubs in the area or put your feet up for a shave and a haircut at Dominion Barbers, Bryan of London or JD’s Barbershop. For complete ease, Fortknight offers barbering right inside their store. “These people are very passionate about what they do and why they do it here. They’re creative, young and very talented entrepreneurs. They understand fashion. But they also understand community and they give back,” Sali says. When a nearby gym frequented by young people from the Downtown Eastside faced eviction, local bartenders organized Aprons for Gloves, a boxing-match fundraiser pitting servers against each other to raise money to help the gym find a new venue. There’s also the Gastown Bartenders Calendar, featuring 12 bartenders in various stages of undress, with all proceeds benefiting breast- and prostate-cancer research. “I love that calendar,” Sali gushes. “I put a copy up in the office, but someone’s hidden it on me!”

XTRA! JAN 30–FEB 12, 2014 19

Come watch the big game February 2nd at the pub Big specials, big prizes and big fun!

Monogamy’s crusader Love Sense author Sue Johnson says we’re like voles (mostly)

1025 DAVIE ST • (604) 687-2222


Vera's Top Ten Slogan List - The Countdown

#4 Big, Beefy & Beautiful

Check back each issue to find out! The grand reveal will be on April 24th!

Two great locations! 1030 Davie St. 604.893.8372 1181 Denman St. 604.681.5450 Follow us:

Locations throughout the Lower Mainland 20 JAN 30–FEB 12, 2014 XTRA!

From academics challenging treasured myths about supposedly monogamous animals to Dan Savage’s “monogamish” advice columns, monogamy has been taking a beating lately. Into this tide wades University of Ottawa clinical psychology professor Dr Sue Johnson, with her new book Love Sense: The Revolutionary New Science of Romantic Relationships. Johnson (not to be confused with sex educator Sue Johanson) maintains that humans are intrinsically, biologically monogamous; that monogamous marriage is the best, healthiest, most natural form of relationship; and that casual sex, pornography, nonmonogamy and even excessive kink are pathologies of weak or damaged relationships. Johnson is at the forefront of attachment theory, a branch of psychology that says romantic relationships are based on emotional bonds of attachment, replacing the loving care of a parent figure. Because of this, she says, couples should embrace emotional codependence, strengthen pair bonds and reject modern narratives of romantic and sexual independence. It would be easy to dismiss Johnson as a conservative moralist, but in many ways she is not. For one, she is unreservedly pro-gay. She argues vehemently for gay marriage on the basis that gay couples also deserve the benefits of socially recognized monogamy. When you start talking about gay men and monogamy, however, things get complicated. It is difficult to know how many coupled gay men have nonmonogamous arrangements, but the proportion is large. Even in the midst of gay-marriage victories, one study showed that half a recruited sample of San Francisco gay male couples were consensually non-monogamous. (Some argue that heterosexual couples are no different, just significantly less honest.) Johnson thinks gay non-monogamy will likely fade as society legitimizes

“The fact that we can occasionally get turned on by someone other than our partner does not mean that we are not suited for monogamy,” says author Sue Johnson. JÉRÔME SCULLINO

gay relationships. “My perception is The fact that we can occasionally get that in 20 years’ time, I’m not sure if turned on by someone other than our there’s going to be much difference partner does not mean that we are not between the gay and heterosexual suited for monogamy. We are much population,” she says. more complex than rodents.” That depends on whether humans When I push Johnson on why huare naturally monogamous. Johnson mans should be like voles in all ways is convinced we are and compares us but one, she returns to her clinical to prairie voles, mammals known for experience with couples. raising children and bonding as cou“The problem with people who ples. Just like the voles, make arguments about she writes, humans promonogamy not being duce the bonding hornatural is that they go mone oxytocin, care for on to draw conclusions our mates and raise our about relationships that young together. are — from my point of This is where Johnview — completely nuts,” son’s argument gets she says. “I do think it’s weird. Prairie voles, exceedingly difficult to genetic studies have have a secure supporting shown, are not actually bond when you’re trying sexually monogamous. to allow for open sex, beIn fact, almost no mamcause it’s a threat.” mals are — no matter the The core thesis of Love salutary effects of oxytoSense is not really about LOVE SENSE cin. Our closest cousins, monogamy, but rather The Revolutionary chimpanzees and bonothe human need for seNew Science of Romantic Relationships bos, certainly are not. cure, attached relationBy Sue Johnson Many mammals raise ships. It is hard to read Little, Brown & Company their young in couples, the book as anything but but that does not stop a retort to monogamythem from having promiscuous sex skeptical books such as Cacilda Jethá on the side. and Christopher Ryan’s best-selling Johnson freely admits this but Sex at Dawn. Johnson is no less than a writes that in this one respect, we social crusader of love — she says she should end our comparison with the hopes her book will help change the way voles. “Should we take this to mean the Western world views relationships that an occasional fling has a biological — but she does not care if you like men rationale — that it supports the old ‘it or women; she just hopes you choose didn’t mean anything’ argument? No! only one. VANCOUVER’S GAY & LESBIAN NEWS

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The Blitz roundup Partying, laughter and truth BLITZ & SHITZ RAZIEL REID There are two things you need to know about Matt Troy: first, he has a big penis. He showed me once on the stairwell of Oasis, but unfortunately, he didn’t let me touch it! The second thing you need to know about Matt is that he throws good parties. Backdoor is the latest from the boy who brought you Camera Whore and #7ibe. Chinatown smells like fish, but it’s not just from seafood anymore: it’s from all the people who set their pussies free at Vancouver’s hottest new event. In true East Van spirit, Backdoor is held at a venue where no one except a mollyinduced genius would think to throw a party. Tipofit is a fitness and medi-spa by day, rave house by night. Well, that’s one way to get people to the gym! Anyone who thinks Van City’s party scene leaves a lot to be desired has obviously never danced under a cable crossover to the music of DJs Kasey Riot, Jay Douglas, Blondtron, Bikes and Lisa

Delux while being wrapped in the glow of lighting design by Featherlite Productions. If you had, Toronto nightlife would be something you coveted about as much as Rob Ford’s seventh chin. More than 450 people entered Backdoor (almost as many as entered mine!), creating a mosh of gay and straight hipster twerkers werking out all night. I just wish I had won the door prize of an oxygen facial and microdermabrasion to restore me. The aerobics were so intense I’m still recovering! Do you want to work on your, uh, fitness? Find out about Backdoor’s next session at

Heavenly hysterics The Bobbers have reinvented their improv company and found the perfect venue from which to share it with Davie Village. The newly styled Queer-Prov (formerly Tops & Bottoms) takes over the newly styled Heaven’s Door (formerly J-Lounge) every Monday night. Show manager Amy Wilding invited

Raziel, centre, is tickled pink by The Bobbers’ Dan Dumsha and Amy Wilding and their Queer-Prov comedy fest at Heaven’s Door. TALLULAH

me to check out how much the troupe has evolved, and she was right: the chuckles come easier than ever before. Unlike the competition format of Tops & Bottoms, Queer-Prov is an allfor-one, one-for-all good time, with the troupe members sharing the laughs among themselves. The result is a fastpaced, no-pressure playtime delivered through an assortment of skits. The cast is solid, with all the members finding moments to make absolute asses of themselves/shine. It’s a manic Monday at Heaven’s Door,

WHAT'S ON @bypoststreet YouthCO benefit Support Vancouver’s group for youth with HIV and hepatitis C at @bypoststreet’s inventory clear-out sale and spring collection presale. YouthCO will receive 100 percent of coat check/bar sales and 10 percent of product sales. 7–9:30 pm. 568 Seymour St. No cover. Mabel League Baseball Memories Vancouver’s lesbian softball league is looking for stories, photos and memorabilia from players, coaches and spectators for publication in a book exploring the history of the Mabel League. Email

Thurs, Jan 30 The Odd Couple Mismatched roomies or something more? The Arts Club presents Felix Ungar and Oscar Madison. 8pm. Show runs until Sun, Feb 23. Stanley Industrial Alliance Theatre, 2750 Granville St. $29–65 at The Search for Vancouver’s Next Drag Superstar The four-week

22 JAN 30–FEB 12, 2014 XTRA!

competition begins tonight with a preliminary round. Door proceeds benefit the Dogwood Monarchist Society. 8:30pm. Celebrities, 1022 Davie St. $5. Advance tickets at Little Sister’s, 1238 Davie St and Chest Surgeries Qmunity offers a free peer- and service-providerfacilitated workshop on preparing for and recovering from chest surgeries for trans and gendervariant folks. Light refreshments provided. 6:30–8:30pm. Qmunity, 610-1033 Davie St. For more information or to register, contact

Fri, Jan 31 Naked Heaven The Pacific Canadian Association of Nudists hosts the Ski Bum edition of its Naked Heaven Party. Underwear is accepted, but nudity is preferred. 8pm–2am. Club 8x6, 1775 Haro St. $15, includes locker. Queer Women on the Drive Qmunity hosts a crafts-focused get-together for queer women the last Friday of every month.

Mondays, 7–9pm. 1216 Bute St. No cover.

Human Library It all started in Copenhagen with a youth group consisting of five people

check at Celebrities, 1022 Davie St.

Sun, Feb 2 Man Up Amateur Hour Man Up opens its doors to aspiring gender performers of all varieties: kings, queens, biomonarchs, queer musicians and more. 9pm. The Cobalt, 917 Main St. $5. Register at


Wed, Jan 29

so come for dinner or a snack and join the frenzy that is Alan Pavlakovic as an algae-eating fish, Jamie Chrest as a mentally handicapped songstress and Pearce Visser as Joan-E: “Hi, I’m your hostess for the night and all the proceeds are going to charity. Deal with it!”

Joan-Eleveneightyone Joan-E hosts an evening of drag fun with special guests, followed by DJ Mumbles. 10:30pm–3am. 1181, 1181 Davie St. No cover.

Jujubee — Oasis, Sat, Feb 8 DANNY GRAY FOX 7pm. Britannia Community Centre, Seniors’ Lounge, 1661 Napier St. For more information, contact Après Ski: Hanky Mingler The Health Initiative for Men presents an après-ski social for WinterPride. 3–6pm. Whistler Conference Centre, 4010 Whistler Way. No cover.

Sat, Feb 1 Party for Life Friends for Life presents an all-day fundraiser celebration in the Davie Village, with wristbands for VIP access to your favourite Village haunts, including Celebrities, The Junction, Oasis, PumpJack and the Fountainhead Pub. $10 wristbands at Little Sister’s, 1238 Davie St, and the coat

Tues, Feb 4 Men on Men A weekly discussion group for men who love or have sex with men. Every Tuesday, 6:30pm. Gordon Neighbourhood House, 1019 Broughton St.

Wed, Feb 5 Vancouver Men’s Chorus Open Rehearsals Join the chorus for an open rehearsal. 7:15pm. Vancouver Academy of Music, 1270 Chestnut St. Free.

Thurs, Feb 6 Gay and Bisexual Men’s Bereavement Support This support group for men grieving the loss of a same-sex partner meets the second and fourth Thursday of every month. 7–9:30pm. Qmunity, Room 610, 1033 Davie St. Free.

who came together after the brutal stabbing of a mutual friend. The group’s anti-violence message spread across the globe and eventually took the form of the Human Library, an initiative that exposes the root of all prejudice: ignorance. The event is brought to Vancouver for the second year by the PuSh Festival and Dave Deveau; you can check out a “book” at the Vancouver Public Library (VPL) for 20 minutes at a time and hear stories from the marginalized and misunderstood. There are more than 30 books to choose from, including Polyamorous, Interracial Couple, Bio Queen, Male Nanny and Born Again Christian. I got involved by sharing my story, Confessions of a Rent Boy. Come check me out — and I won’t even charge you! I was asked to participate in Human Library last year, but having put escorting behind me to roll around in the millions of dollars I’m paid as a writer for Xtra, I was afraid to open my little black book and expose my truth to strangers. But this year, I realized that I had been missing the point of the project — to face your fear and stop being enslaved by it. The result? Empowerment! Get empowered Fri, Jan 31–Sun, Feb 2 at the VPL main branch, noon–5pm.

Timberline Vancouver’s countrywestern dance group meets every Thursday. Dancers of all levels are welcome. 7pm. St Paul’s Anglican Church, 1140 Jervis St. $10 donation partially benefits A Loving Spoonful.

Fri, Feb 7 Gender Failure Storyteller Ivan Coyote and musician Rae Spoon present their multimedia take on gender. Tonight and Saturday, 8–10pm. Surrey Arts Centre, 13750 88th Ave, Surrey. $35, $30 seniors, $15 students at 604-501-5566 or AJ’s Café Join other HIV-positive gay men every Friday for this social gathering/support group sponsored by Positive Living BC. 3–6pm. The Junction Pub, 1138 Davie St. Free. Leather Den4Men Vancouver’s newest gay sex club reserves the first Friday of each month for a play party with the Vancouver Men in Leather. Dress code: leather. 8pm–2am. Club 8x6, 1775 Haro St. $10 members, $15 guests; includes locker.

Sat, Feb 8 Jujubee TFD presents Jujubee, from RuPaul’s Drag Race, with DJ Mr President. 10pm–3am. Oasis, 1240 Thurlow St. Tickets start at

$10 at Little Sister’s, 1238 Davie St.

Sun, Feb 9 United DJ/producer Cindel makes his Big Roger Events debut. Doors at 11pm. Gorg-O-Mish, 695 Smithe St. Tickets $30 at Bearracuda Vancouver’s popular bear party is back, with DJ Paul Goodyear in the main room and DJ Jay Douglas downstairs. 9pm. Club 560, 560 Seymour St. $12 advance at Little Sister’s, 1238 Davie St and Hershe Bar Hershe Bar hosts Club Skirts, with LA’s DJ Amara and ticket giveaways for the Dinah party. 10pm–2am. Red Room Ultra Bar, 398 Richards St. $15 advance at Little Sister’s, 1238 Davie St; Kokopelli Salon, 2052 Commercial Dr; or

Mon, Feb 10 GPS: Gay Poz Sex Positive Living BC presents a weekly sexual health program for gay and bisexual HIVpositive men, facilitated by gay, HIV-positive men. Every Monday, 6:30–8:30pm. Positive Living BC, 1107 Seymour St. Contact Michael or Jonathon at 604-240-7205 or gps@ for more info.

Submit your event listing to Deadline for the Feb 13–26 issue is Wed, Feb 5. VANCOUVER’S GAY & LESBIAN NEWS


Holistic rejuvenation Clinic prides itself on integrated approach In today’s tough competitive environment, 30 years for any small business is an accomplishment. For the newly renamed Integrative Naturopathic Medical Centre, that longevity can be attributed to its founders, Dr Eric Posen, Dr Lawrence Chan and Dr Hal Brown, who are still actively involved and who believe in a truly integrated approach to healthcare. “They are a fantastic team and complement each other really well,” says general manager Carmen Dueck. “They were one of the first in Canada to establish an alternative wellness centre with a bigger scope beyond just offering chiropractic care.” While the centre originally started out as a chiropractic clinic, it has grown over the years to include a diverse range of services. Today, its well-rounded and holistic naturopathic offerings set the Integrative

Naturopathic Medical Centre apart. “It gives our clients a real choice,” Dueck says. “When you come to our clinic, each of the doctors has a different scope and we can match you with the best practitioner that suits the need.” Included in the choices available are services like the Rejuveness Skin Treatment, a lymphatic drainage treatment exclusive to Integrative, used for both medical and cosmetic applications. “When you drain the lymphatic system everything tightens up because everything begins to move better,” Dueck says. “On the face, for example, the collagen gets some elasticity back as it lifts and tightens the skin.” Integrative is also on the cutting edge with its stem-cell treatment PRP (Platelet Rich Plasma Injection Therapy), which uses a patient’s own platelets for both medical and cosmetic applications.



“In our skin centre we use PRP instead of collagen and inject your own stem cells into the areas where you want a little more plumpness,” Dueck explains. Treatments aside, Dueck says that it really is the caring nature of everyone who works at Integrative that has kept many patients coming back since it opened 30 years ago. “It really is like a family. Heart first, everything else second.” Integrative Naturopathic Medical Centre, 730–1285 W Broadway

Integrative Naturopathic Medical Centre offers a range of treatment options, from Rejuveness Skin Treatment to Hot Stone Massage. INTEGRATIVE NATUROPATHIC MEDICAL CENTRE




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Health Care Services HIM - Health Initiative for Men Sound Hearing Clinic 604-687-1488 STOP HIV/AIDS Team 604-838-1331 Vancouver Coastal Health 604-736-2033

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Home & Garden Bedding

Dental Services

Mr. Mattress 604-255-2113

Aarm Dental Group 604-647-0006


Boat Cruises & Charters

Harbour Air 604-274-1277

Waterway Houseboats 1-877-WATERWAY

Daher Orthostyle – Dr Sam Daher 604-662-3290


Business & Professional Organizations

Orchard Recovery 604-947-0420

AIDS/HIV Resources AIDS Vancouver 604-893-2201 AIDS Vancouver Island 250-384-2366 1-800-665-2437 ANKORS 1-800-421-2437 Dr Peter AIDS Foundation 604-608-1874 HIM - Health Initiative for Men Positive Living 604-893-2200 Vancouver Coastal Health 604-736-2033 STOP HIV/AIDS Team 604-838-1331

Alternative Health Ignite Smoke Shop 778-786-0977 Medicinal Cannabis Dispensary 604-255-1844 My CannaMeds YoGuy Men’s Yoga 778-995-1970

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Archives Vivo Media Arts

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Bakeries Andy’s Bakery 604-251-5667

Beauty Enchante 604-669-9166

Dr Dean Wershler 604-688-4080 Dr Langston Raymond 604-687-1008

West End Business Improvement Association 604-696-0144

Redtree Dental 604-873-3337

Chiropractors 778-987-2571

Downtown Chiropractic 604-685-9444

Cleaning & Maid Services The Maids 604-987-5651

Clinics Travel Clinic 604-736-9244

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Education & Instruction Vancouver Elementary School Teachers’ Association 604-873-8378 Vivo Media Arts


Community Groups & Services

Ballet BC 604-732-5003

West End Seniors Network 604-669-5051

Museum of Vancouver 604-736-4431

Community Organizations

PlayLand Amusement Park 604-253-2311

Community Based Research Centre 604-568-7478 Vivo Media Arts


Amherst Funeral and Cremation Services Inc 604-831-3023 Valley View Funeral Home 604-596-8866

Home Improvement & Repairs Maison D’Etre Build Inc. 604-484-4030

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Pacific Coast Massage Therapy – Christopher Robins RMT 604-687-4078 Rick Girardeau, RMT

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Men’s Services BC Society for Male Survivors of Sexual Abuse (BCSMSSA) 604-682-6482

Motorcycles & Scooters Motorcycle World 604-582-9253

East Van Graphics Mail Box Plus 604-683-1433 Minuteman Press 604-572-8558


Poncho’s Restaurant 604-683-7236

Dr Joachim Sehrbrock, Registered Psychologist 604-366-3112


Psychotherapy Edward Sandberg, Counsellor/Therapist 604-728-6569

Freeway Mini Storage/U-Haul 604-251-2017


Studio Space

Pink Triangle Press 1-800-268-9872

Optical Services Abasa Optical 604-687-3937

Xtra (Ottawa) 613-986-8292

Scotiabank Dance Centre 604-604-6400


Richmond Funeral Home 604-273-3748

Rodrozen Designs 604-558-4443

Laundry Services

Valley View Memorial Gardens 604-596-7196

Bruce Eyewear 604-662-8300

Xtra (Toronto) 416-925-6665

Laundry Valet 604-568-2020

Pet Care

Real Estate Agents


Kitty Kare 604-813-4239

Darryl Persello 604-306-1340

Dahl & Connors 604-687-8752

Pet Stores & Supplies

Ian Eggleton, RE/MAX 604-773-1443

Barbara Findlay 604-251-4356

Dog Country 604-558-1995

North Shore Law LLP 604-980-8571


Happy Pups Quality Pup Clothing 604-770-365

Lyn Hart, Macdonald Realty Ltd 604-724-4278

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Pets First 604-590-7387

Renovations & Restorations


Tisol 14th & Main St: 604-873-4117 12th & Arbutus: 604-730-1768 Grandview Hwy: 604-436-3001 Gilley Ave, Burnaby: 604-434-2812

Maison D’Etre Build Inc. 604-484-4030

Gallery Cafe & Catering. 604-688-2233

2 Dears and a Queer 604-306-1340

Physiotherapy & Rehab

Joe’s Grill 1031 Davie St, Vancouver: 604-682-3683


Martin Brothers Funeral 778-330-7799

Furniture Instant Bedrooms 604-270-BEDS(2337)

Grocery Safeway Davie: 604-669-8313 Robson: 604-683-6155 Urban Fare (Bute Location) 604-975-7556

Hair Stylists & Barbers Enchante 604-669-9166

West End Liquor Store 604-689-3100

Marketing C&C Communications 604-664-8995


Farmer’s Markets

The Dance Centre 604-604-6400

Dr. Aaron VanGaver BSc ND 604-629-1120

Vancouver Farmers’ Markets 604-879-3276

Financial Services

Health - Men’s

DeVie Business Solutions 604-298-4148

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Andrea Martens, BScPT, CAFCI Urban Active Sport Therapy Clinic 604-669-8233

Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival

Susan Cameron 604-266-1364

Mr Build 604-732-8453

Restaurants & Cafes

Mail Box Plus 604-683-1433

Travel British Columbia Black Rock Oceanfront Resort 877-762-5011

Websites 604-688-6648


YoGuy Men’s Yoga 778-995-1970


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Joe Ramirez Integral Counselling 778-227-9423


Helijet International 800-665-4354

Tourism Harrison 604-796-5581

Iosono Counselling Services – Ron Paviglianiti, RPC 604-290-1445

Willow Tree Counselling 604-521-3404

Transportation Harbour Air 604-274-1277

Counselling BC

Tricia Antoniuk, MSW, RSW 778-378-2633 604-688-6648



Monique Silverman, MA, RCC, CCC 778-228-8456


C&C Communications 604-664-8995

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