St. John’s LGBT Guide/Lifestyle Magazine
PORT THE ‘OUT’ happy ever after (Prince not included) Gay Travel
take a trip with us to peru
Russia: the land of oppression Tegan & Sara in St. John’s August/September Edition 2013
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LGBT Events- Provided by AUGUST August 16, 2013 Madonna Night: A Birthday Celebration Join Digital Dan on Friday August 16th at Velvet as we celebrate the material girl’s 55th birthday and a look back at her 3 decade career and all her biggest hits with music videos and all of your favorite songs! $7 Cover Doors open 11pm – 3am Velvet Club & Lounge 208 Water Street August 17, 2013 Velvet Club & Lounge
August 24, 2013 Velvet Club & Lounge Doors open 11pm – 3am Velvet Club & Lounge 208 Water Street
SEPTEMBER 7, 2013 Velvet Club & Lounge 245 beer & Highballs until 12:30 Doors open 11pm – 3am Velvet Club & Lounge 208 Water Street
August 30, 2013 Velvet Club & Lounge 245 beer & Highballs until 12:30 Doors open 11pm – 3am Velvet Club & Lounge 208 Water Street
SEPTEMBER 8, 2013 Velvet Club & Lounge Doors open 11pm – 3am Velvet Club & Lounge 208 Water Street
Doors open 11pm – 3am Velvet Club & Lounge 208 Water Street
August 23, 2013
That 70’s/80’s Night Join DJ Fabian and special guest Lesbian DJ Daisey M ( a fixture on the St. John’s gay scene in the 1980s) as they go back in time for one night only) $7 Cover Doors open 10pm – 3am Velvet Club & Lounge 208 Water Street
August 31, 2013 Velvet Club & Lounge Doors open 11pm – 3am Velvet Club & Lounge 208 Water Street
SEPTEMBER SEPTEMBER 14, 2013 Velvet Club & Lounge 245 beer & Highballs until 12:30 Doors open 11pm – 3am Velvet Club & Lounge 208 Water Street
End of Summer Bash Celebrate the end of the summer with The Womyn Station Advance tickets are $10 ($12 at the door) Doors open 11pm – 3am The Station 7 Hutchings Street
SEPTEMBER 15, 2013 Velvet Club & Lounge Doors open 11pm – 3am Velvet Club & Lounge 208 Water Street
Events are subject to change. Visit www.stjohnsscene.com to see the latest events
August August September September
|Around the World| Peru
By Andrea Dawson
With nearly 30 million people from diverse backgrounds calling themselves Peruvians, Peru has a reputation not only for having one of the Wonders of the World – Machu Picchu – but also for boasting exquisite and diverse cuisines.
However, Peru’s population is also very conservative and struggles to fully embrace the LGBT community, as shown in a recent dismissal by the Peruvian Congress of an important law that would protect crimes against LGBT individuals. Nevertheless, Peruvians are known for being creative and ingenious, and even though the LGBT community is somewhat out of the spotlight, it does not mean LGBT life lacks in entertainment.
the capital, cradles one of the most famous party houses: El Vale Todo Downtown, a name which translates to Everything Goes Downtown. El Vale is a must on the agenda, plus it is located on the heart of one of the most exclusive neighborhoods in Lima, Miraflores – a popular tourist destination. The nightclub is open from Monday to Sunday and shows no signs of slowing down. At the entrance, you are received by three big guys who firmly ask you for an ID, then a woman or a man (depending on your gender) scans you, as security is not taken lightly here.
Moving on, two gigantic floors await you; a lounge
and two separate areas give you the option to listen to electronic/pop or salsa/Latin pop; the hot zone gives you intimacy, staff are friendly and fast and when the famous Vale Drag Queens enlighten the crowd you know you are in the right place. Another famous hot spot is La Reina, The Queen, in Miraflores. Here, we are promised the most exclusive electronic DJs and Latin pop mixes, and if you want to meet the fashionable, gay Lima crowd, then this is the place for you. In this unique space they offer exotic drinks and a dance floor your body wonâ€™t forget. With one big zone, the DJs stand tall and proud, and on your right you will find a long L-shaped bar, where sexy dancers move their way into the night. This exclusive bar opens only on Saturdays, reason enough to have reservations - and on a typical, sold out night, having contacts in Lima will always help you with an easy entry. The gay hipster movement is found in Matadero, Slaughterhouse. The concept is new, fresh and young, with themed parties that attract massive crowds. It is important to mention that this party only takes place once a month in the bohemian area of Lima, Barranco. Here, San Francisco meets New York, wardrobe and hair styles are a visual orgy, freedom and carpe diem are the words of the day, and you are expected to dance to every song like it is the last one. This party has introduced new and exciting DJs to the Lima social scene, mixing Rihanna, Britney, Lana del Rey and Madonna, with all new hip hop, 80s jams and reggaeton.
While dance photographers search for the new
look of the month, hip hop dancers take the stage, and local stars animate the crowd. This frenetic movement takes place on two floors, with two bars on each. The decor usually follows the theme of the month, with giant TV screens showing classic movies. Tickets are typically bought online weeks ahead. Moving away from Lima towards Cuzco, which is well known for one of the Wonders of the World, you find a gay friendly environment, where the place to go is a restaurant/bar called Fallen Angel. This restaurant offers a captivating entrance with high-fusion Peruvian art on the walls that immediately calls your attention and blends naturally with the designs on the chairs and tables. Food is a big deal in Peru and you better have room for the full plates offered in this high cuisine space, plus there are exceptional drinks. Pisco Sour is a must! Relax on the high ceiling patio and, afterwards, Cuzco offers a non-stop party plus a cultural trip. Peru has a long way to go, but the new generation is slowly embracing the gay movement as a human rights movement, which makes the LGBT nightlife expand and become more vibrating than ever.
One thing is for sure: cafes, theatres, businesses and day to day events are approaching different options as a new way to make their businesses attract all sorts of crowds and to offer parties like no one.
|Hot Sp NIGHTLIFE
1. Velvet Club & Lounge 208 Water St.
2. Grapevine 206 Water St. 3. Liquid Nightclub 186 Water St. 4. Martini Bar George St. 5. Club V George St.
RESTAURANTS 6. AQUA Kitchen|Bar 310 Water St. 7. The Sprout 364 Duckworth St. 8.Happy Hummus Hut 208 Duckworth St.
COFFEE SHOPS 9.The Rocket Bakery 272 Water St. 10. Hava Java 258 Water St. 11. Coffee & Company 204 Water St. 12. Fixed Coffee & Baking 183 Duckworth St. 13. Coffee Matters 1 Millitary Rd.
Accomodations 14. Gower House 180 Gower St. 15. Abba Inn 36 Queen’s Rd 16. Balmoral House 25 Queen’s Rd. 17. The Ryan Mansion 21 Rennie’s Mill Rd. 18. Banberry House 116 Millitary Rd. 19. Winterholme 79 Rennie’s Mill Rd.
STORES 20. Our Pleasure Duckworth Street 21. Weare Junk 302 Water St.
Photos by Danny Coombs
Other than the Backstreet Boys (I couldn’t re- After roars from the crowd, the twins and their sist) and Serena Ryder, the only big acts I had really taken in were seasoned/older performers – Melissa Etheridge, Brian Adams and various rock acts. Now the time had finally come for me to see an act I was invested in, whose career I had followed for years, whose discography I could riddle off, and songs I could effortlessly sing along to. To say I was pumped was a gross understatement.
My friends and I arrived at the stadium with
plenty of time for us to explore, find the merch table and get to the floor area before Lights was due to hit the stage. I wasn’t overly familiar with her music, but had watched a couple of YouTube videos of her songs in the days leading up to the concert. It was okay, but unexciting. Nevertheless, I am a lover of live music and was still looking forward to seeing her live. I was blown away, not only by how excited Lights and her band were to be in St. John’s (it was also the first date of their leg of touring with Tegan and Sara, so I’m guessing that was also a huge factor), but by how talented Lights was. The Lights I listened to on YouTube and the Lights I listened to in the stadium were two different acts. I don’t know if it’s because her true singing ability isn’t properly showcased in her commercially successful music or what have you, but I was not expecting her to be as good as she was. When she left the stage, I was disappointed. Even with Tegan and Sara waiting in the wings, I wanted her to keep performing. I now consider myself a Lights fan.
After a brief intermission, Tegan and Sara fi-
Pop on the Rock
nally came on stage. Their set list juxtaposed their older indie tracks to the more pop-infused numbers from their new album, Heartthrob. They opened the concert with three songs from Heartthrob - “Drove Me Wild”, “I’m Not Your Hero” and “Goodbye, Goodbye”. They followed these tracks with “Back In Your Head” and “The Con” from The Con, “Walking With A Ghost” (So Jealous) and “Sentimental Tune” (Sainthood). a local LGBT youth who recently lost her battle with cancer.
As many, if not all, of you know, Canadian in- The die darlings Tegan and Sara played Mile One in St. John’s in July. The second tickets went on sale, I bought them for myself and all of my friends to go. I then spent the entirety of the summer leading up to the concert re-familiarizing myself with their albums, both old and new.
Having never had the privilege of seeing them
live, and only having the annual Salmon Fest and sporadic concerts at Mile One to reference, I wasn’t sure what to expect when the night of the concert finally arrived.
twins then played new material, “I Couldn’t Be Your Friend”, “I Was A Fool” and “Now I’m All Messed Up”, and followed it with older tunes “Where Does The Good Go” (So Jealous), “Alligator” (Sainthood), “Hop A Plane” (The Con) and “Arrow” (Sainthood). Tegan and Sara finished off their set with “Shock To Your System” (Heartthrob), “I Feel It In My Bones” (a collaboration with Tiesto from his album Kaleidoscope) and “Closer” (Heartthrob).
backing band returned to play “Call It Off ” (The Con), “Dark Come Soon” (The Con) and “Living Room” (If It Was You), which they dedicated to the memory of Beck Smith, a local LGBT youth who recently lost her battle with cancer.
Throughout the entire concert, the audience danced and sang along to every song – even the unlikeliest of people. There were young men there who one would think had been dragged to the concert by their girlfriends who were instead singing along to just about every song they played. There were four young men in front of me who looked like your typical Newfoundlanders. Dressed in jeans and baggy t-shirts, they looked like they should be hanging out in a shed somewhere tinkering with their ATVs; instead they were swaying and singing along to Tegan and Sara tunes. What I was expecting to by a gay and lesbian fest, in actuality had a sampling of people from all walks of life.
What surprised me was the twins’ anecdotes,
conversational manner with the audience and the vulnerability they showed onstage. I’m positive I fell in love with Sara Quin all over again during her performance of “Now I’m All Messed Up.” It was powerful and swoon-inducing. It was truly a pleasant surprise and they had the audience in a mesmerized silence whenever they spoke. One of my favourite moments was when they were talking about how they have have gone from playing small venues in and around Calgary to playing hockey stadiums and huge music festivals. Tegan shared a story about one of their first big concerts – when The Offspring played in Calgary when they were teenagers. Evidently the girls were huge fans of the band and Tegan even braided her hair like lead singer Dexter Holland sported during the 90s. The image of Tegan with long, beaded braids was funny enough, but to hear Sara recommend rave dancing as opposed to moshing (because moshing at Tegan and Sara concerts is “not appropriate”) complete with swirly hand movements was priceless. If any of you would like to watch the concert again in its entirety, I found one posted on YouTube by a huge Tegan and Sara fan Jamie Wojdowski (username “wojo4hits” - URL to ). The video quality is amazing and she captured their entire set list and accompanying audience banter. Feel free to let me know what you would like to read in future Pop on the Rock columns via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or Twitter @ReallyCJB. Wojo4hits - http://www.youtube.com/user/
The worsening situation of Russia’s LGBT community has been making headlines around the world recently, intensified by the media spotlight on the country ahead of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games.
Combined, these factors ensure many Russians view the country’s LGBT community as a blend of diseased sexual deviants and dangerous foreign-supported agents.
The coverage reached a fever pitch with the recent adoption of an anti-LGBT law in Russia. This federal law applies to all regions of the country and bans the distribution of “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations”, imposing heavy fines for using the media or internet to promote “non-traditional relations”.
A minority of Russians have even begun lashing out at the LGBT community physically. Illegal Gay Pride events in Russia are routinely and savagely attacked with the complicit support of the authorities. Gangs of Russian nationalists even prowl LGBT dating sites, arranging fake dates with LGBT youth who show up only to be harassed, tortured, or even killed.
In practice, this means any public expression of LGBT existence is illegal, even something as simple as a Pride flag bracelet.
The situation is desperate and, for the civilized world, intolerable.
While the vast majority of Russian citizens support the new law, many LGBT activists and their supporters are opposing it from within the country - especially in its largest, cosmopolitan cities such as Moscow and St. Petersburg. They believe this problem is much larger than the LGBT community, and that the law is simply a reflection of an intense social backlash against the disappointing (for most) results of capitalism. Because tolerance and acceptance of LGBT lifestyles is considered by Russians to be a trait of “western” societies, it too is a target of this increasing dissatisfaction. In addition, the Russian Orthodox Church - which many Russians see as a trusted anchor in this disorienting sea of s o c i a l change - has an unfavourable view of LGBT sexuality.
Open letters to world governments demanding strict consequences have been written by numerous celebrities, from George Takei t o Stephen Fry. Calls to boycot the Games and petitions to move them to another country have been gaining traction, as has a campaign to ban Russian vodka from gay and supportive bars (which, unfortunately, has also swept up innocent Lithuanian, Polish, and other vodka brands). Leading the charge is Iceland, which has taken among the most dramatic steps to express its displeasure with the Russian law.
The Land of Opression Jon Gnarr, mayor of the Icelandic capital Reykjavik and an outspoken supporter of LGBT rights (the heterosexual politician once famously particiated in his city’s gay pride parade in full drag), has severed all ties with Moscow. This decision is more significant than it at first sounds because the two cities had a surprisingly extensive relationship. A formal agreement between the two to cooperate on political and cultural issues - especially family issues - has been nullified. Meanwhile, Canada’s Conservative federal government hasn’t shown as much interest in the deepening LGBT crisis in Russia. Prime Minister Stephen Harper simply said Canadians expect him to stand up for human rights, while Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird expressed concern for Canadian athletes and competitors planning to attend the Sochi Games. He also said he was pleased that the International Olympic Committee has demanded Russia explain the law and how it will affect Olympic visitors to the country. If you believe Canada should take a stronger stance against this law to support Russia’s LGBT community, contact your Member of Parliament.
A local advise columnist in her late 20s , Doris Anita Douché was arrested in early August for disorderly conduct. The police were called in after neighbors heard Ms. Douché screaming sexually suggestive comments at construction workers at a new condo building under construction in the East end of the capital city.
Local Advise Columnist, Doris Anita Douché being arrested
When police arrived, Doris was in an uncontrollable rage, throwing objects and shouting profanities allegedly because the construction workers were not adhering to Ms. Douché ‘s requests.
One Neighbor, Edna Jones (75) tells us about what she saw that day. “It was terrifying” she said, visibly shaken, “This woman (I think) was screaming like a maniac, things that -God forgive me- I shall never repeat. Those poor young men were just trying to do their job when out of nowhere this raging drunk woman was asking them to ... do some very bad things to her” Mrs. Jones continues “There are childeren in this neighborhood! and when they refused... she went wild, I was very frightened .” The RNC proceeded to arrest the woman and a judge has sentenced her to one month of rehab for alcohol abuse and sex addiction. Doris will be back with her regular advice column in September.
Congrations to St. John’s Pride Inc. on a very successful Pride! We’re proud to live in a city where such a small, committed group of volunteers can put together a funfilled week with activities and events that can include the entire LGBT community.
This year’s parade was also a resounding success. Our trans community, which is still struggling to achieve the same rights and protections the rest of us now enjoy, was out in force. The parade also took on the tone of a grateful celebration, as opposed to a confrontational march - something that has already happened in most other North American cities. If you want to get The ‘Out’port attended many of this year’s events, in- involved and play a part in ensuring Pride continues cluding the wildly successful Pride Bonfire at Middle to thrive and grow, join the conversation on St. John’s Cove Beach, which welcomed hundreds of people to Pride Inc.’s Facebook page. enjoy dozens of fires. The Pride Carnival, which featured many of our city’s best-loved drag queens, was https://www.facebook.com/groups/stjohnspride/?also a resounding success. And, as usual, Velvet was fref=ts filled to capacity for the FRISK Fetish Night.
1. We Can’t Stop |Miley Cyrus| (Mike Rizzo & Original mixes)
|DJ Fabian’s Top 10|
2. Clarity |Zedd| (Various remixes)
7. Work |Iggy Azalea| (Original & Tom Stephan remix)
3. Blurred Lines |Robin Thicke| (Ranny & Komes mixes) 8. Woman’s World |Cher| (Various mixes) 4. Wake me Up |Avicii feat Aloe Blacc| (Original mix) 5. Get Lucky |Daft Punk| (Ranny remix)
9. I Love it |Icona Pop| 10. Best Song Ever |One Direction| (Various mixes)
6. Oh La La |Britney Spears| (Original & Almighty remix) |11|
Happy Ever After (Prince not Included)
Photography by Sandra Lee
Jennifer & Hollyâ€™s fairy tale wedding
ll weddings are joyous occasions, a chance for two people to publicly declare their love for each other and vow to spend the rest of their lives enjoying their time together. For same sex couples, the occasion is especially sweet. After having been denied the right to marry for centuries, these lovebirds get to experience the fairytale themselves. The ‘Out’port was thrilled to see a photo of a local same sex wedding making the rounds on Facebook, shared by hundreds of people as a show of support for the couple and everything their love representes. We reached out to the newlyweds to share their story in the hopes it gives members of our LGBT community something to look forward to, and our supporters something to celebrate. Jennifer Ivany-Ryan, who goes by Jen, and Holly Ivany-Ryan - from St. Mary’s and St. John’s respectively - met under hilariously unconventional circumstances.
“In 2009, the Zone hosted a Bachelorette night where contestants competed to win a date with some lucky lady,” Jen said. “I happened to be that lady and Holly won! It sounds tacky but we did go to dinner and a movie. We say one of the Ice Age movies, then sat in a coffee shop talking until morning.” The two continued to see each other, falling in love effortlessly. “Things happened very naturally,” Holly said. “It was as if, all of a sudden, out of nowhere, we were just where we wanted to be - without consciously deciding anything. We are very in sync with each other. We have matured and grown together and consider ourselves a family. Oh! And Jen learned to like cats, ha!” It wasn’t long before Jen knew she simply had to propose to Holly.
Although they had acknowledged their desire to get married, Jen still managed to keep the timing and circumstances of the proposal a secret from Holly. This despite the fact that, as a same sex couple, both women wanted engagement rings. “I’m really good at keeping secrets, so it was pretty easy for me,” she said. “Even after I bought the rings, I would still take her into stores to look so she wouldn’t suspect anything. We wanted to get the rings at the same time so, in order for me to keep it a complete surprise, I bought both rings and proposed. She was completely surprised when I asked.” Holly was absolutely delighted - and touched by the positive feedback and support from family and friends. “It was overwhelming, but in a good way,” she said. “I had butterflies for sure, and it all felt very romantic. I definitely wasn’t expecting it to happen when it did. I am still blown away by my wife’s ability to keep secrets, ha!”
First up was a joint stagette. “Our bridal party planned it,” Jen said. “It was pretty traditional: a house party with drinks and games that, of course, ended up downtown. Everyone planned to wear a different colour of the rainbow and there was an awesome photobooth. It was definitely something we will never forget.” The two were touched by how easy it was to find and hire all of the professionals they needed for their wedding, from caterers to photographers. “It was definitely easier to find what we wanted as a same sex couple,” Holly said. “People wanted to be part of something new and different and came to us asking to be a part of our wedding. Our photographer, Sandra-Lee Photography, is a great example of this. She was amazing to worth with.”
Here come the Brides The two lovebirds successfully tailored the traditional wedding ceremony to suit their relationship and personalities. When the time came to walk down the aisle, both women had their turn in the spotlight, each escorted by their fathers. As they walked, they looked around at a tastefully-decorated scene that served as a physical manifestation of their love and loved ones. “Our wedding, down to each decoration, had a special meaning for us because almost everything was handmade by us, our family, and friends.” For the most important part of the ceremony, their vows, the two opted for a hand-fasting ceremony. “A vow was said for each piece of ribbon that was laid across our hands,” Jen said. Holly added, “We tried to keep a mix of romance and humour.”
And now they’re enjoying wedded bliss. “Being married makes us feel a little older, ha!” Jen joked. “We hear a lot of, ‘I can’t believe you guys are married now!’. People tell us they look up to our relationship.” Both women hope their experience makes other members of the LGBT community more comfortable exercising their right to get married, if that’s what they want. “Do what makes you happy,” Holly said. “Getting married doesn’t necessarily mean having a wedding with all the bells and whistles. Surround yourself with the people who support you and, when you’re ready, do it your way.” Jen added that being part of the first generation of LGBT people who are able to marry is wonderful, adding, “It feels normal. And that’s what’s important.”
Happy Birthday Madonna! For three decades, Madonna has been the Queen of the world’s LGBT community, which certainly has no lack of divas and drag queens vying for the title. Now the woman who is often single-handedly credited with expanding North America’s sexual revolution beyond heterosexulity is turning 55 and, to celebrate, The ‘Out’port is looking back at some of the highlights of her time in the spotlight. Madonna Louise Veronica Ciccone was born on August 16, 1958, in Bay City, Michigan but moved to New York City in 1977 in the hopes of building a career in music. Despite some unsuccessful attempts (including a stint as a singer, drummer, and guitarist for the band Breakfast Club), things obviously worked out once Madonna released her first single: Everybody. It was the early 1980s and Madonna was already incorporating the latest technology and trends into her music. That debut single, and her second, Burning Up, became huge hits in clubs across the United States and Canada. But that was only the beginning. The two hit singles created enough buzz that Madonna was allowed to record an entire album. The first single from her self-tited debut album, Holiday, became an instant, worldwide hit. Madonna as we know her had finally arrived. It’s been three decades since Holiday first hit the airwaves and, throughout her 30 years in the public eye, Madonna has become known for her shocking actions as much as her music. Anything but a wallflower, Madonna refused to conform to society’s expectations of morality, especially as they applied to women at a time when just admitting women enjoyed sex too could get people’s panties in a knot. Her revealing outfits, highly sexualized live performances, and outspoken nature soon put her in conflict with society’s morality police - up to and including the Pope. But the gays sure loved her. The LGBT community’s love affair with Madonna was instant, and has only grown stronger over her decades of outspoken support for LGBT tolerance, acceptance, and equality. When she was a teenager, Madonna took ballet lessons from instructor Christopher Flynn. He was one of the first role models in her life who told she could be anything she wanted, and had tremendous value to bring to the world. He also happened to be a gay man. He introduced Madonna to Detroit’s underground LGBT scene and she loved going with him to gay bars and hanging out with members of the LGBT community. In fact, it was Flynn who convinced her to give up her scholarship and the academic path she was reluctantly pursuing in life to instead follow her real dreams to New York City. From the begining of her career, Madonna made sure LGBT people were visible to the mainstream audiences watching MTV and Much Music. The music video for her 1986 single Open Your Heart featured a gay couple as well as a drag queen. Then, in 1989, the music video for her hit single Cherish became as popular as the song itself and was brimming was subtle, homoerotic imagery.
When she was a teenager, Madonna took ballet lessons from instructor Christopher Flynn. He was one of the first role models in her life who told she could be anything she wanted, and had tremendous value to bring to the world. He also happened to be a gay man. He introduced Madonna to Detroit’s underground LGBT scene and she loved going with him to gay bars and hanging out with members of the LGBT community. In fact, it was Flynn who convinced her to give up her scholarship and the academic path she was reluctantly pursuing in life to instead follow her real dreams to New York City. From the begining of her career, Madonna made sure LGBT people were visible to the mainstream audiences watching MTV and Much Music. The music video for her 1986 single Open Your Heart featured a gay couple as well as a drag queen. Then, in 1989, the music video for her hit single Cherish became as popular as the song itself and was brimming was subtle, homoerotic imagery. She kicked the 90s off with a bang: a single that became a worldwide phenomenon, Vogue. The song was a tribute to the LGBT community’s happening underground club scene. Following it’s success, her music video for Justify My Love was banned from MTV because it was so overthe-top, featuring Madonna making out with another women and lots of men having fun together in S&M drag. At the same time, her tours also featured a lot of risque behavior - including Madonna in a top hat and tails spanking her cabaret girls. And it’s only gotten more explicit since. These days, her music videos regularly feature LGBT imagery, from women making out to men in heels - because, as she said herself, “It takes a real man to fill my shoes.” And those shoes have done a lot of walking in support of the LGBT community. Off-stage, Madonna can always be counted on to defend LGBT equality against those who see us diminished. Most recently, she took advantage of a visit to Russia to advocate for LGBT rights there. And, while presenting openly gay Anderson Cooper with the Vito Russo Award earlier this year, she summed up why she’s spent her life trying to make things a little easier for us: “Things like bigotry, homophobia, hate crimes, bullying and any form of discrimation always seem to be a manifestation of fear of the unknown,” she said. “If we just took the time to get to know one another, did our own investigation, looked beneath the surface of things, then we would find that we are not so different after all.”
|16| |16| August
August September September
By Ryan Crocker
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|On our Gaydar| Alan Turing
Alan Turing was a British comput-
er scientist widely recognized as the father of his field. A talented mathematician, he also fathered the field of artificial intelligence. During the Second World War, he was instrumental in breaking the German Enigma code and would have almost certainly become an international war hero if not for one thing: he was gay. In 1952, he was arrested and prosecuted under anti-LGBT laws which were, at that time, the norm in much of the developed world. He was found guilty and faced a terrifying choice: go to prison, or be chemically castrated. Turing reluctantly chose the latter, but never recovered from the betrayal. In 1954, just weeks before his 42nd birthday, he took his own life. Today, a bill is working its way through the British government to posthumously pardon Alan Turing. It may be too late for this great man, but itâ€™s not too late for the worldâ€™s LGBT youth, who need inspiring, accomplished, and respected role models such as Alan Turing.
ometimes we find ourselves estranged from family members for a myriad of reasons. It could be because of conflict, loss or, as is common in some of our cases, sexual orientation/identity. This past June I lost such a loved one; and when I found out about her unexpected passing I experienced shock and disbelief, indescribable sadness and regret. But my estrangement wasn’t because of any of the reasons I’ve listed; it was because of discomfort.
hen I was three, my parents divorced. My mother eventually remarried and we moved to the town where I would grow up and call home for my adolescent and early adult years. Through this marriage, I gained my Aunt Elsie and a host of other relatives. While we weren’t truly related, Aunt Elsie was, for all intents and purposes, a true aunt. Unlike my blood relatives, I saw Aunt Elsie almost every day, played in and around her yard and she babysat me and my sister on a regular basis. Aunt Elsie was a vibrant woman, had a lightning quick smile and a contagious laugh. She was and forever will be one of the greatest women I’ve ever known.
oday she died and I can’t remember our last conversation.
he summer before I started grade six, my mother and stepfather separated. My mother, sister, brother and I moved to a town no more than 15 minutes from my hometown, but far enough that we had to attend another school. The divorce wasn’t amicable, so we didn’t get to see our family that much. After that, I only saw who I once called cousins, aunt and uncles sporadically. We became distant through no fault of our own, we just didn’t see each other anymore,
ow that she’s gone, I have to face what could prevent me from finding closure: the guilt and regret associated with not having said what I should have said to her before she died. Most, if not all of us, will face these emotions at some point in our lives. My dilemma is that I didn’t make more of an effort to maintain contact with Aunt Elsie after my mother and stepfather divorced. To this day, she would find some means of wishing me happy birthday and send me well wishes on holidays. She would enquire as to how I was doing to anyone with a connection to me and was unbelievably proud when I started working in journalism and would hear me on the radio. All I’ve been hearing since speaking to relatives is how much she loved us and talked about us still, even though years would pass between when we would see each other.
hen I graduated from high school and went to university, Aunt Elsie (and Uncle Kevin) sent me a card and within that card was a wallet-sized plastic card with an inspirational quote telling me to follow my dreams. It wasn’t much, but it touched me. No matter how many times I have moved, no matter how many times I’ve purged my belongings, I kept that little card and I still have it to this day.
aybe you have a similar situation in your life, but the reasons behind it are different. It could be because of some conflict in your family, a friend or family member might not have reacted well to your coming out of the closet, or what have you. But if you take anything from this article, it is to not let these things come between you and the important people in your life. You may think that you don’t need them in your lives, but ask yourself this: how would you feel if that person died tomorrow? Are you okay with having whatever your parting words were be the last words you ever say to each other?
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know I sound preachy, but I don’t want any of you to feel what I am going through right now. I let awkwardness and distance come between me and this amazing woman. Someone who helped raise me and treated me like one of her own. Even if years would pass between our seeing each other, she would still greet me with the warmest of hugs and an infectious smile.
eople these days have become lazy. We put too much stock into seemingly meaningless relationships and fail to value the ones that truly matter. We chat with, “Like” and comment on the Facebook statuses of casual acquaintances on a daily basis, but many of us fail to maintain our most important relationships: the people who have been with us through thick and thin, who would drop everything in their lives to help you if you need it. What does that say about us as a society? A generation?
n closing, I will leave you with words I never got to say to her while she was alive: I know we rarely get to see each other, but I want you to know how much you meant and still mean to me. I’m sorry I didn’t visit and that I let my own life in the way. I can’t even articulate how it makes me feel to know that you were proud of me and the woman that I’ve become, even though it meant you were no longer a tangible part of my life. I will always remember and cherish the Christmases and Sunday dinners at your house, the times when you would babysit and let me and my sister stay up until just before Mom came home and just being in your presence. I love you and I will miss you always.
The words rules and gay should ideally never appear together in the same sentence. In a global community that is still conflicted about its attitude towards the LGBT, the roots of being gay expand from a very intimate, personal love to a political stand against an unjust society.
|This Gay Man’s Rules
As such, the act itself of coming out of the closet is an act of defiance against authority, of breaking preconceived norms, of blurring boundaries that have once upon a time been crystal.
for Dating Gay Men|
Yet, we are all still tied by social convention. For better or for worse, I do believe in rules, if only because I want to know them before I break them. One of the things that is a little bit tricky is the question of, outside the politics of the pride parade, how gay men should deal with each other. I hereby propose ten rules:
By Riley Palanca (1) Just because we’re both gay doesn’t mean I’m asking for it. You like guys. I like guys. We’re both guys. And we’re in a gay bar. Hooray. But my ‘no’ is just as strong as it would have been if a woman said it in a straight bar. My preference for men does not equate towards an attraction for you. Grabbing my ass, sneaking a peak at the washroom, or groping my crotch are not attractive. They are harassing.
(2) Just because we’re both gay doesn’t mean I’m easy.
No harm in trying, of course. If you want to meet the cute guy across the dance floor, you’d talk to him. That courage is admirable, but when the person says ‘no,’ shift your eyes to other men. Do not force yourself. Do not pester him further. Do not think he’s playing hard to get. Move on. There are literally a lot of gay men in the bar, statistically, at least one of whom is attracted to you; let the uninterested one go.
(3) Just because we’re both gay doesn’t mean I want it.
The Queer As Folk culture has been a universal phenomenon, that showed the gay life as a series of heavy partying and one-night stands. If you’re into that scene, more power to you. Exploring one’s sexuality is nothing to be ashamed of at all. But it’s not for everyone. We have already established that being gay doesn’t mean being a slut. As a matter of fact, sluttiness knows no gender. If I showed you the slightest attraction or hinted that I liked you, this does not mean I’m going to sleep with you after the first round of drinks. Be happy that you’re going out with someone, be excited to meet another person, be prepared if it does happen later on, but do not be disappointed when you try to make out with me, and I turn my cheek.
The running joke is that a lot of gay men are searching for love and not sex on dating sites such as PoF and Grindr, but when you start chatting, the first thing they’ll ask is the size of your penis. The second is if you’re a top or a bottom. The third is if you have a place. There is nothing wrong or immoral with sex. I love it. But having a profile on a gay dating site is not an invitation for countless “c2c @ skype?” or “d*ck pic” or “yuumm.” Please, gentlemen, I’m not a piece of meat. This also means I don’t talk to headless bodies. So you have the body of a Greek god, good for you, that does show dedication towards physical perfection. But that exterior fades, fleeting as the night, and twenty years from now, we’ll be fat and slouched on the sofa, arguing about the television, while I desperately wonder why I chose you.
(4) Just because we’re both gay doesn’t mean we use the bathroom together. This is one of the more contentious points. Bathrooms are personal sanctuaries, where we can take a break from being all poised and proper to just fart. When you’re on a date with someone and he wants to go the washroom, do not go with him. He needs space. They are also the ultimate gay friendzone. I feel very comfortable going to washrooms with my gay friends and we can spend practically hours there, just gossiping and hanging around. That’s because they are friends I am comfortable to let my guard down, not dates I play games with.
(5) Just because we’re both gay doesn’t mean I’m into “gay culture”. The most wonderful thing about the rainbow flag is how it celebrates diversity, a multitude of thoughts and personalities coexisting. However, what is considered mainstream queer culture can sometimes seem like a streamlined list of liking certain personalities and art forms while disliking others.
Lovers stay outside. Lovers hold it in. Lovers wait until their date comes back from the washroom if he also needs to “powder his nose.”
I’m gay and I don’t like Gaga. I don’t like the color pink. I don’t read fashion magazines. I love sports, minty alcoholic drinks, and hunting. It is through all these differences that our subculture actually thrives. So if you want to ask someone out, don’t invite them for a Glee marathon just because they’re gay. If they’re into choral singing, sure, but if they aren’t, you’re hitting the wrong note.
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(6) Just because we’re both gay doesn’t mean I’m politically liberal. (7) Just because we’re both gay doesn’t mean I’m an atheist.
For a culture that has been historically and currently maltreated, the LGBT community cannot be blamed for being generally anti-establishment and critical. The political profile of a lot of gay men is leaning towards liberalism and activism.
The church is the major ideological state apparatus that most LGBT communities abhor.
But politics is never a clear separation of left versus right, or radical versus conservative.
As they are the institutions that call our lifestyles, our choices, and our existences a sin, it is almost logical to raise arms against an age-old institution whose readings of the good text can range from the ironic to the inhuman.
Belonging to a political party is as passé as the word passé. We vote for beliefs and platforms, and not for labels. As such, even the most Marxist, communist, leftist person can have slight republican leanings on certain issues. And that has absolutely nothing to do with gender.
Yet spirituality is just as, if not even more so, important and personal than politics. Calm your hatred about the “catholic cult”; the guy you are with could be devoutly catholic, yet conflicted with his love for a higher being and his priest’s sermons. After all, religion and God are totally different concepts. And if you add in the multicultural heaven, you would have to deal with gay men who are Muslim, Buddhist, Taoist, etc, trying to be both faithful and free.
Just like with straight couples, gay men should not bring up the topic of politics to a first date. You may think your politics are open-minded, but his may be different, and he may think he is the open-minded one. Not to mention, if you’re radically Marxist and love spewing his ideologies on your first date, don’t count on him calling back.
(8) Just because we’re both gay doesn’t mean I like you. Yes, we are a community. If you’re crying, I will hand you a handkerchief. If you’re struggling, I will fight with you. But just because we’re both gay doesn’t make us friends. If only because I refuse to believe that I am friends with my friends because of their gender. We have fought that “gay” is not equal to “evil.” But it is also not equal to “good.” For every wonderful, caring, sensitive gay man, there is an obnoxious, abusive gay asshole you just want to punch. For every gay rights activist, there is a incessant gossip. And intolerance exists even within the community. Being gay is a neutral value, its goodness or lack thereof is not inherent. It is also not the be-all end-all of our existence. We are human first before
(10) Just because we’re both gay doesn’t mean I am correct. We set rules as standards, but like all standards, mine are not infallible. If you feel the need, break them. Break all of them. But there is a reason for these rules, a case for co-existence.
Religion will always be a red flag button, regardless of whether you are on a straight date or not. The church is gay public enemy number one, but do not punish the people who still choose to believe. To use the age-old mantra, love the sinner, hate the sin.
(9) Just because we’re both gay doesn’t mean I’m like you. Perhaps the main point I am trying to drive at with this article is that no gay man is exactly like another. We celebrate diversity yet sometimes we expect conformity. We fight for acceptance yet sometimes we are in our own ways intolerant. For every one aspect that we are the same, there are a thousand ways we are different. And that is what makes us awesome. We all fight the good fight, we all live, we all love. That is enough to bind us all together as a people. But just as how feminism fights that there is no singular woman, there is also no singular gay man. At the heart of it, we all just love men. But in every other way, when we pass each other at the street, when we nod at each other across tables, we are different.
The reason we have rules is that we know exactly how, when, and, more importantly, why to break them. I will admit now, personally, that I am guilty of breaking a lot of rules here. You can be abrasive and sexually forward, you can invite me to a Madonna concert, you can quote Bible verses, you can openly show support for capitalism, you can invite me to the washroom, you can ask me to c2c, or proposition at the end of the first date, but, you know what, if you’re hot, none of these rules apply.
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