Queer West - Serving West Toronto, Ontario



October to December 2008 - News Archive

Queer West Community Network

OUTeXpressions enewspaper

OUTEXPRESSIONS newspaper is a not for profit publication of Gay West Community Network Inc. (Masthead) Copyright 2016. All Rights Reserved. We have been bringing news & event listings to readers since 1995. OUTexpressions, is one of Gay Toronto's leading media publications, with the hottest happenings in the coolest places. We are not an exclusive gay publication. Queerwest.org family of websites receives 40,000 hits a day, from within Canada and abroad. Queer West is consistently ranked #1 (Page One) in Bing and Google, for most search returns. Outexpressions on Twitter Thank you for your interest in QueerWest.org For Event Submissions, Email: outexpressions@gmail.com 416-879-7954

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Xtra gay & lesbian newspaper plays both sides of the fence

Outexpressions: December 7, 2008 --I was please to see this article in Xtra current issue today. Abstract from Xtra article by Fag and dyke companionship, John Caffery "I am a man who is attracted to men but that does not equate to denying the equality of the opposite sex. Recently, while bartending at Toronto's Woody's (the gay "Cheers"), I have asked men if they are feminists, and many reply with a "no." I had customers complain that there was a female bartender during the short period when there was one. Men would comment that they could not cruise if women are present, which I couldn't fathom (unless their boobs were so big that you couldn't possibly see past them)."

CATIE launches HIV campaign aimed at street people

Outexpressions: Toronto December 4, 2008 -- A new campaign is trying to get HIV-positive people living on the street to begin treatment. The campaign — created by the Toronto-based Canadian AIDS Treatment Information Exchange (CATIE) — will provide posters and postcards to AIDS service organizations (ASOs) and HIV clinics across the country.

The material seeks to dispel some of the myths around HIV treatment. More than 58,000 Canadians are living with HIV infection (including AIDS) and it is estimated that there are more than 2,300 new infections each year. Although HIV treatment options have improved, many people have questions and concerns about side effects and the difficulty of following complex medication regimes. Difficulty finding objective information in plain, easy-to-understand language can be a barrier to starting treatment, particularly for members of marginalized communities.

"People facing difficult treatment decisions need honest information about the improving medication options available and about the real challenges and risks that still remain. These new postcards and posters offer exactly that, with the goal of empowering individuals from all communities to make the treatment choices that will work best for them," says Laurie Edmiston, Executive Director of CATIE.

"Tragically, members of our communities, particularly our inner cities, continue to die from HIV/ AIDS without ever receiving treatment. New HIV treatment options are simpler, better tolerated and all persons living with HIV/ AIDS should be fully supported in finding one which works for them," says Dr. Chris Fraser of the Cool Aid Community Health Centre in Victoria, B.C.

At the Get the Facts launch celebration, guest speaker Dr. Brian Cornelson discussed the importance of engaging street-based populations in treatment, the challenges, and how materials like those produced for the CATIE Get the Facts Campaign can help people overcome barriers, make informed choices and improve their health. Dr. Cornelson is an HIV primary care physician at the Health Centre at 410 Sherbourne, Director of HIV Family Practice Clinics at St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto, and Assistant Professor of Family and Community Medicine with the University of Toronto.

Laurie Edmiston says the issue is not confined to street populations. Even educated people can believe that they're okay unless they actually develop AIDS.

"I know middle-class, educated people who are delaying going on treatment," she says. "HIV is harming your body in ways you can't see or feel. It really is just in the last few years that information on the toll that HIV takes on your body on its own has emerged."

Edmiston says the campaign materials will be available to ASOs and HIV clinics for free through CATIE's online order centre at Catie.ca. She says the campaign will also be trying to reach other venues.

"We'll be looking at community health clinics, youth centres, aboriginal drop-in centres," she says. "We'll be trying to catch people who aren't necessarily acknowledging they're HIV-positive."

CATIE is a national non-profit organization that, through knowledge exchange, works to reduce the transmission of HIV and to improve the quality of life of people living with HIV. As Canada's national knowledge exchange broker for HIV prevention, care, treatment, and support, CATIE offers a wide variety of free information services for people living with HIV and for the organizations that serve them. www.catie.ca

Gay men with low status likely to engage in risky sexual behavior, uToronto study says

Outexpressions Toronto News Brief :: November 27, 2008. Gay men who are not considered sexually desirable are more likely to engage in risky sexual behavior according to new research out of the University of Toronto, today.

They may also develop psychological problems as a consequence of feeling undesirable. Adam Isaiah Green, Assistant Professor of Sociology at U of T, interviewed dozens of gay men in Toronto to determine what qualities made some men more sexually desirable than others, and what the consequences of being undesirable might be on mental and physical health. .

I found that young, white, middle-class men are considered much more sexually desirable than men who are racial minorities, over 40 and poor,” says Green. “I also learned that for gay men, being considered sexually undesirable can have serious health consequences ranging from psychological issues to risky sexual behaviour.”

The study – among the first to examine the link between sex and mental health – found that undesirable gay men face stigmatization, avoidance and outright rejection, which can lead to depression, anxiety and alcohol abuse. It also highlighted cases whereby undesirable gay men will forego safe-sex discussion and, in some cases, condom use, in the context of sex with a more attractive partner.

“We tend to devalue sexual life as something that is extracurricular and frivolous, but this research shows a significant link between sexual desirability and health,” says Green. “Men with low levels of ‘erotic capital’ are systematically marginalized, which can take a real toll both physically and psychologically.”

Data consisting of in-depth interviews with 70 gay men coupled with three years of fieldwork demonstrate a sexual status order that privileges caucasian, middle-class men in their twenties and early thirties, and that disadvantages black and Asian men, men over 40 years of age, and poor men. Men with low sexual status faced significant stressors in the form of avoidance from others, stigmatization, and rejection. These stressors, in turn, taxed personal resources, including self-esteem, sense of social support, and sense of control, and they also negatively affected emotional states in the form of depression and anxiety. Finally, some low status men were unable to consistently negotiate condom use as a consequence of a history of field stressors and diminished personal resources. The results suggest that more work on sexual status structures and their connection to health is needed, both within gay enclaves and across a broader spectrum of sexual subcultures.

For more information on the study, published in the current edition of the Journal of Health and Social Behavior: Health and Sexual Status in an Urban Gay Enclave: An Application of the Stress Process Model (Volume 49, Number 4, December 2008) Abstract of Article

Adam Isaiah Green, Assistant Professor of Sociology: 416-978-8261 or AdamIsaiah.Green@utoronto.caor April Kemick, Media Relations Officer: 416-978-5949 or april.kemick@utoronto.ca

Thousands march in gay pride parade in Buenos Aires

Outexpressions News Briefs, November 22, 2008. Buenos Aires, the capital of Argentina, held its 17th annual Gay Pride Parade on Saturday, November 1. The theme was "Voten Nuestras Leyes," or "Vote for Our Laws," a reference to proposals for marriage and other rights currently being considered at national and regional levels in the South American nation.

The parade began at the Plaza de Mayo, in the shadows of Evita's famous balcony, traveled through Avenida de Mayo, passing buildings important to Argentine gay history such as Castelar Hotel where Spanish playwright Federico Garcia Lorca lived in the 1930s as well as the Teatro Avenida where his plays were performed. The parade ended in front of the National Congress with rallies and performances in a park that also holds the country's national AIDS Memorial.

According to César Cigliutti, the president of the Communidad Homosexual de Argentina, one of the groups behind the parade, more than 50,000 people participated, nearly twice the turnout of the year before. Different from other years, more people marched before darkness fell; in the past, many locals dared only join the parade after the sun had set. Posters of Madonna, who will be holding several concerts in Buenos Aires in December, adorned many of the floats.

Argentines living in New York who were in the parade included Gabriel Videla, the treasurer of Mateando, an organization for gay New Yorkers from Argentina and Uruguay. It was his first time at the parade, and he walked with his aunt and other relatives.

"I never thought it would be this way and that I am marching with my aunt," he said. "I felt like I am coming home."

Maria Belen Correa, a founder of Mateando, was also at the parade, performing as Evita on stage. A transgendered activist, Belen had left Argentina and come to the United States on asylum. She received special permission to perform at the event and visit Argentina for four days. Her return, she said, was "very emotional" and the crowd gave her mesmerizing performance a tearful and resounding applause.

The parade's date marks the founding of Nuevo Mundo, the first formal gay group in South America. More on the parade is at www.cha.org.ar

AIDS Cure: Keep Wishing

Outexpressions News Briefs, November 22, 2008. DA flurry of press reports, notably by veteran AIDS journalist Mark Schoofs of the Wall Street Journal, heralded a possible cure for AIDS by transplanting stem cells from someone with natural immunity to the virus. While the cure may have worked for an American patient in Berlin who was also suffering from leukemia and had reason to risk the operation, it was deemed almost totally impractical for even a small fraction of people with HIV

"Frankly, I'd rather take the medicine," veteran AIDS research Robert Gallo told the New York Times, given the risks of such transplants and the remote chances of finding a matching donor who has the gene mutation that provides resistance to HIV.

But researchers at UCLA are looking at artificially inducing the genetic mutation, called Delta 32, to inject into humans. They are finding some success using the treatment on monkeys, the newspaper said.

Obama Restates Support for LGBT Rights

Outexpressions News Briefs, November 22, 2008. It's not much more than a posting of the LGBT issues that he ran on, but the Obama-Biden transition team's website, www.Change.gov, has a section called "Support for the LGBT Community" that outlines the incoming administration's commitment to civil unions, expanding hate crimes statutes, fighting workplace discrimination, repealing the Defense of Marriage Act and Don't Ask, Don't Tell, expanding access to adoption, and promoting HIV prevention.

The only issue that includes a time commitment is "AIDS Prevention," which states that Obama will, in his first year as president, "develop and begin to implement a comprehensive national HIV/AIDS strategy."

The ever changing face of Queer Queen St. West Toronto

Ladies’ night BY Sarah Liss October 29, 2008 - originally published in

Ever since DJs and bartenders Sandy De Almeida and May Brand started their Hump Day Bump night a few years back at the Gladstone, Wednesday’s been a new Saturday for a certain sector of alternative T.O. queers. But as the neighbourhood evolved, the demographic did as well; by the time Hump Day Bump relocated to Wrongbar this past summer, the night had lost some of its community-minded atmosphere (though De Almeida and Brand weren’t to blame).

The loss of Hump Day left the Gladstone with a big hole on Wednesday nights. Gladstone owner and artist Christina Zeidler was wise enough not to go head to head with a straight-up DJ night. Rather, she had a number of specific goals in mind when she came up with Granny Boots, says Chelsey Lichtman, a local performance artist and co-founder of the Fat Femme Mafia, who’s now taken over Granny duties from Zeidler. In part, Zeidler was hoping to reach out to a less blithely youthful crowd by planning a weekly event that runs earlier in the evening.

“Another hope was to bring a radical queer politic back into the Gladstone,” Lichtman says. “It was there at one point, but it’s been gone recently.”

Lichtman hopes to achieve that aim, in part, by reaching out to T.O. cultural institutions that may have been overlooked or alienated by the surge of so-called alterna-queer culture that’s permeated the West Queen West area. She lists the Toronto Women’s Bookstore, the Asian Arts Freedom School and Shameless magazine as examples, and suggests that an absence of more marginalized voices (read: the dominance of privileged, white, able scenesters with normative bodies and genders) has contributed to the sublimation of more engaged queer politics.

“I think what’s been done at Granny Boots so far has been great,” she says, “but I have a particular vision. I want to provide space at a desirable location for people who might not have access to, or be able to afford, that space. And they’ll be paid for it! The Gladstone has been really generous with this night.”

Lichtman’s own bent tends toward reclaiming a more rigorous old-school lesbian-feminist ethos — a recent night of womyn’s music featured performances by singer-songwriters Emma McKenna and Jen Markowitz (Dance Yourself To Death); the Nov. 5 version is a tribute to Riot Grrrl, featuring local garage act Scandalnavia, Zeidler’s Tina Unt Ina act and others.

Is Granny Boots a sign that the West Queer West community is entering a more mature adult phase? Yes, no and maybe. It’s heartening to see a regular weekly event that’s geared toward engaging with politics and promoting live acts. The night is also a somewhat naïve throwback to grassroots lesbian community organizing, for sure. And while Zeidler may have originally intended Granny Boots to attract the older folks, the night seems to be attracting wide-eyed twentysomethings who aren’t into club culture.

What’s interesting about Lichtman’s approach to this night is how invested she seems to be in bridging the gaps between different generations of queers — or at least, dykes. It’s something close to her heart.

“I have a lot of older dykes in my life as mentors and friends,” she explains. “So much of my identity has to do with the way that I’m prompted and checked by the people around me. It’s appealing to me to live in this lesbian utopia. People just want to make connections — and myself, as a dyke, I’m desperate to make connections with older dykes. That’s something I really thrive on.”

What does Facebook have against Canadian gay retailers?

Saturday October 11, 2008 Outexpressions; The Canadian gay and lesbian newspaper Xtra reports that Facebook has removed two pages set up by the gay retailer Priape which sells a variety of clothing, sex toys and porn online and in its stores in Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver and Calgary. Priape says site left heterosexual pages alone -- Priape originally set up a Priape group on Facebook about eight months ago to promote the retailer’s clothing and fashion lines. [Michael Ain, Priape's director of marketing and sales] says the group had about 1,600 members when Facebook cancelled the page.

“Around late July they terminated the site without explanation,” he says. “Once they shut down the Priape group we started a fan page. Within a week and a half we had 4,000 members. We were very closely following the Facebook terms of use.

“About a month into it, it was flushed without explanation.” Priape’s marketing director, Michael Ain, says they were careful in following Facebook’s guideline and to not include any porn or adult images on their page. An email written by a certain Autumn from Facebook’s customer operations only had this to say:

“The content on the Page you created is prohibited… We do not currently allow content referencing, facilitating or promoting adult toys, videos or other adult products. Unfortunately we cannot reinstate this Page and ask that you do not recreate this page in the future.”

All these leads Ain to think that Facebook treats pages targeted at heterosexual pages differently.

“I’ve found sites for women in bondage, women in latex… Bondage, whips and chains training is on here. It’s all women. I have to wonder if it’s an antigay approach to the same stuff. I have to be curious as to what we’re doing in the gay community as opposed to what other groups are doing.” Ain said

To be fair, Facebook has a zillions of pages and groups targeted at gay and queer audiences so nobody can really accuse them of being homophobic. What we think has happened here is that one of Facebook’s internal censors has made a poor decision in removing the pages. One possibility is that offending images or messages were put up by members of the Priape Facebook group (and not Priape itself), and these came to the attention of the Facebook censor before they did Priape and the group was then duly removed by the censor. Still, couldn’t the censor have removed offending images instead? Deleting a group of 4,000 members does sound a bit harsh.

This would not be Facebook’s first gay gaffe. In mid 2007, it was reported that Facebook had blocked the word “Gay” in registering user names. We presume they did this because there was one too many “Gay Horny Boy”, “Gay Asian Men” and the like appearing on the site but what they didn’t realise was that hundreds of thousands of people around the world are surnamed “Gay”. Ever heard of PGA Tour champions Brian Gay?

Anyhow, it looks like the Priape has returned with yet another FaceBook Group, which now has only 55 members (Source: gay.com)

Visit: www.priape.com

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