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Queer West Fest - Sunday June 14 - Toronto Pride Ride 2009
Queer West Arts Festival - Sunday June 14 - Toronto Pride Ride 2009
Sunday June 14, 2009. The 5th Annual Queer West Fest Pride Ride, put on
by the Gay
West Bicycle Club Now in it its sixth year. A little different route this
year. We meet 12:30 pm at ZOOTS CAFE, 1438
Dundas St. W. one business west of Gladstone north side of street at noon.
Cycle up Gladstone Avenue to College St. W., along to Ossington and North, to
Harbord St.. Then East on Harbord through Queen's Park to Wellesley St. W. and
over to Church St. Village.
Where we may stop for liquid libations and snacks. Leaving the gay village
on Church St.. We will travel South, to Queen St. W., cycling leisurely westward
to end our ride on the back patio of the CADILLAC LOUNGE, 1300
Queen St W., in Parkdale, the heart of the Queer West Village for jugs of
libations, pizza, gossip and ruminations from 3 pm to 5 pm for a Queer West
Gay West Bicycle Club This Bicycle
Club has been here providing enjoyable rides for the last six years. The club
intends to be here, for as long as you continue to enjoy, cycling with us Call
Michael, at Homo Bike Central: 416-879-7954 or write: email@example.com
There were were close to 40 LGBTQ cyclists all ages, who joined us, on the Pride
Ride in 2008. Membership is free. Helmets are recommended for all rides. Mandatory
for those under 18. Out of town visitors, welcome to cycle in this event.
Riot grrrls interrupted
Wednesday April 15, 2009. By Forest Lightbody Originally published at
As a child with much older siblings, I remember liking very few of the musical
song choices of my sister and brothers. The list of few consisted of Heart,
Patti Smith, the Pretenders and Kate Bush.It was not until the mid 80s that
I “discovered” music, the girls on the radio with the crazy that I began to
like. Acts like Cyndi Lauper, the Go Go’s, Pat Benetar and Nina Hagen.
Once the 90s had begun, I began sneaking into gay bars underage to try and
find out what I thought I was missing. Watching the gay boys dance to bad dance
music, I realized that there were only a few songs that I actually liked. I
wasn’t sure what it was that I thought I was missing but it didn’t amount to
much, as I once again started losing interest in the current state of music.
It was around that time that I started hanging around in the dyke non-bar scene.
There were some girls like myself that had tattoos and dyed hair and in my opinion
had more of a radical take on the world. It was in this peer group that I could
relate to more than the boy scene. I started listening to more ‘alternative’
My passion for music hit me all at once with the explosion of the ‘riot grrrl’
movement. I would have to say that that is when music became an obsession. Going
to concerts with my friends and seeing unapologetic women playing guitars, screaming
and swearing. It all made me lose control in the mosh pit. I remember losing
my nose piercing from a kick in the face from a steel toed crowd surfer at a
Hole concert, bruised ribs at an L7 show and a broken bone at 7 Year Bitch.
I had never felt so alive and thought it was all worth it. I thought I would
love music forever.
Nothing lasts forever is what they always say, and unfortunately they were
right. It all fell apart too quickly. In fact, in my opinion what happened was
With all the music that is out now, there is a definite lack of strong women.
If you don’t believe me just listen to any radio station. Most playlists consist
of 90% male vocalists, and the selected few females that make it on the radio
are singing about love found or love lost.
Recently, I have been going back in music history as far as the 20s to find
the ones I have missed. My obsession with music has once again faded and I wait
not so patiently for women in music to get off their asses and start kicking
Dundas West Toronto - where a new queer neighbourhood
Outexpressions: January 1, 2009. There once was a
point where homosexuals needed a place like Church and Wellesley to be
free and open with their sexual preferences.
Today there are still issues, but the LGBT community is expanding into neighbourhoods
that suit them financially. Things are moving rapidly in Queer West Toronto.
The Queen Street West stretch between Dovercourt and Dufferin is
filling up with expensive bars and condos, in 5 years will just be another Yorkville.
Too costly and too commercial for first time small business owners to open up
a small alternative pub or gallery .
So where are they going?.
Dundas Street West, between Gladstone and Lansdowne, where it's cheap
in the western end of Little Portugal (Rua Acores). Places that queers
love so much. José Ortega opened Lula
Lounge, 1585 Dundas Street West, a nightclub specializing in world music
and jazz, on Dundas West in 2002, the street was a low-rent zone of bakeries,
car garages, sheet metal and plumbing suppliers and a rash of Portuguese sports
bars. "Seven years ago, the area had this ugly-duckling vibe," Ortega
said. "But ... it felt more authentic, more real, a working-class neighbourhood
where artists and bakers and construction workers and store owners come and
do their work."
Mr. Ortega has created brightly coloured street banners for Dundas Street West,
which feature a pair of open hands cradling a neighbourhood growing beneath
a golden sun. "That's what I think of the neighbourhood," Mr. Ortega
says from his art studio on Dundas West. "It is vibrant, on the cusp of
change, but still friendly and unpretentious.
Last fall Alison Smith Gallery opened at Dundas West and Gladstone,
it was the latest sign of the once-homely neighbourhood's transformation. West
Side Stories, an LGBT video store at 1499 Dundas St. W. at Dufferin, all
opened within the year. Grain, Curd & Bean, 1414 Dundas Street, a
high-end cheese shop, specializes in three things: bread, cheese and coffee.
More specialty store than cafe, this new spot does have some stools by the front
window, but, generally, it's more of a take out spot than somewhere to meet-up,
surf WiFi or otherwise pass the time.
She Takes the Cake - Hipster Cafe-Sandwich-Bakery Shop (Street
Map) 1600 Dundas St. W. 416-538-2253. Owners Adrienne and Peter Weinberg
are very gay positive, how could they be anything but, as Adrienne puts it "our
bake shop is in the Lesbian capital of Canada." The Dulce De Leche Cheesecake
is to die for, as well as the chocolate bouchon which is a combo of brownie/chocolate
cake. Decadent indeed. They also sell fresh Gryfe's bagels. Fair Trade coffee,
expressos, hot chocolate and amazing variety of teas.
The place is a few away doors from Central Spa Bathhouse 1610 Dundas
Street W. at Brock.Ave. Zoots Cafe, 1438 Dundas Street West one business
west of Gladstone north side of street in a former shoe store, is full of character
and as much as I would love to keep this wonderful finding all to myself, I
have to recommend that you check it out next time you're in the neighbourhood.
Bonus: An amazing treasure trove/vintage store in the back for those who get
too overcaffeinated and get an urge to get up and shop.
The owners Shawn and Melanie are so easy going and welcoming that the
feeling is that you are visiting friends The friendly lesbian Suzette,
who works part-time as counter help. Told me, she use to work at Cock and Tail
bar on Queen West. But this place is more fun and laid back. Zoots is drawing
in a huge lesbian, gay men and queer friendly straight crowd, who mostly sip
lattes, type in their Mac's and gossip with friends, maybe because of Suzette.
Nice assortment of munchies from cakes, bagels to expresso, to while away the
Smith's gallery is the third to open on the strip - after Wil Kusey's LE
Gallery to the east and Jessica Bradley Art + Projects to the west.
Ms. Bradley, a former curator of contemporary art at the Art Gallery of Ontario,
was drawn to the Dundas and Dufferin area three years ago for similar reasons.
"I could see what was going on, down on Queen Street, where the rents were
doubling and tripling, driving the galleries out. ... When I saw this space,
I just thought it was in the right zone."
NACO’S Gallery 647-347-6499 at 1665
Dundas Street West, opened across from St. Anne's Portuguese Catholic Church
Naco gallery aim is to promote culture and enrich community. One way this will
be accomplished is through the promotion of local emerging and established visual
artists, showcasing video and new media, hosting book readings and other cultural
events. As a gallery, their aim will be to promote low rates of a professional
gallery wall space. With a progressive and collaborative outlook, they hope
to invite artists who are interested in showcasing their work to contact them
NACO Gallery Café serves Mexican inspired Cuisine with an emphasis on
healthy, tasty food. They are offering imported food and coffee from Mexico.
Both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages is served during special events and
regular hours. Naco
Gallery on FaceBook
The owner of Naco Gallery, Julian Calleros told me. "The word Naco
in old Mexican Spanish used to mean a low-class, no-class or low educated
person. Today, the meaning has changed and everybody, regardless of skin colour,
economic, age social and cultural background can be Naco. Nowadays, some people
are proud to be Naco and in some cases it is becoming a part of the self identity
in various social and economic spheres. It is common to hear someone saying
“I am naco, but rich”, or “I am proudly naco” or “I am cool and naco”.
Julian who arrived in Canada when he was 17, nine years ago is an out
and proud gay Mexican, very supportive of queer artists, being one himself.
He plans many shows for queer Latin artists living in the Queer West Village.
Many Mexicans live, work and play a little further north up around Dufferin
and Bloor St. W., and Calleras hopes many of them, will start coming down to
The Hen House opened late fall 2008, 1532
Dundas St W. 416-534-5939 on north side. Did attract lesbian/ gay crowd
when first opened, now mostly a straight crowd. Not a great place to go if you
single. You won't find any community information or brochures on other queer
neighborhood events in area. No DJ or live music. Domestic beer is cheap, $4
a bottle and only Creemore Cream Ale on tap at $5.00 a pint. Open 6 PM to 3
AM, best to go Friday or Saturday night, when the 1950 juke box is jumping.
Cash only. $$ Affordable Little Portugal (Rua Acores) neighbourhood. Queer West
According to Sylvia Fernandez, head of the two-year-old Dundas Street West
business Improvement Area (BIA), 13 new and innovative businesses have opened
over the past year, driving down the vacancy rate for commercial properties
to 13 per cent from last September's 19 per cent. (The Parkdale Village BIA
vacancy rate is 9 per cent, while that of the Junction Gardens BIA is about
6 per cent.)
To attract more galleries and specialty businesses, the BIA has established
a $400,000 capital budget "to dress up the neighbourhood," as Ms.
Fernandez puts it. Improvements include decorative paving, wall murals and street
Thankfully there are no Timothy's, Starbucks or Second Cups cafés in this wonderful
neighbourhood. Originality, not franchising is what makes the area unique.
For more on the neighbourhood, see this recent news story: Wednesday
June 17, 2009 - CTV News Channel - Toronto's other gaybourhood shows its stripes
with Queer West Fest: Saira
Rachel Epstein - Recipient of the the LGBT Community
One Steinert & Ferreiro Award
Outexpressions, March 5, 2009- The Community One Foundation since 1980
has been creating a strong, vibrant and diverse community by supporting individuals
and groups that enhance the development of the LGBTTIQQ2S communities in the
Greater Toronto Area including Durham, Halton, Peel and York Regions. http://communityone.ca
The Community One Foundation with sponsor RBC are please to announce Rachel
Epstein as the 2008 Steinert & Ferreiro Award Recipient.
Rachel Epstein has been conducting research, engaging in writing, education
and community organizing related to LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer)
parenting for 17 years. Since 2001 she has coordinated the LGBTQ Parenting Network
(Sherbourne Health Centre). The LGBTQ Parenting Network provides resources,
information and support to LGBTQ parents, prospective parents and their families
and training for health care, legal, social work and education professionals.
Rachel developed and facilitates a course called Dykes Planning Tykes for lesbian/bi/queer
women considering parenthood, which has spawned a similar course for gay/bi/queer
men (Daddies & Papas 2B) and one for trans men (Trans Fathers 2B.) Rachel
has also conducted research and written both popular and academic pieces on
many aspects of LGBTQ parenting. Most recently she conducted a research project
on the impact of the same-sex marriage debate on young people with LGBTQ parents
with a particular focus on school experiences. She is leader of the Gay/Bi/Queer
Fathers Cluster of the Father Involvement Research Alliance and is co-investigator
on a project relating to LGBTQ adoption in Ontario and another exploring the
experiences of African/Caribbean LGBTQ parents. She is also editing an anthology
on LGBTQ parenting, to be published by Sumach Press in Spring, 2009.
She also is a roster mediator for the Ontario Mandatory Mediation Program and
works as a mediator with LGBTQ parents and prospective parents. She is co-parent
to a fabulous 16-year-old girl and step-parent to an equally fabulous 23-year-old
Launched through a bequest from the Estates of Jonathan R. Steinert and Fernando
Gumercindo Ferreiro in 2005, the award is Canada’s biggest recognition of leadership
in the LGBTQ community. Community contribution and leadership are at the heart
of the LGBTQ community with leaders often working quietly to achieve growth,
understanding and change. The Steinert & Ferreiro Award celebrates these
unsung heroes of our community. communityone.ca/steinert_&_ferreiro_award-22
Uganda: The U.S. Religious Right Exporting Homophobia to Africa
Outexpressions March 5, 2009- The International Gay and Lesbian Human
Rights Commission (IGLHRC) www.iglhrc.org
and Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG, website not online today? www.sexualminoritiesuganda.org)
condemned a seminar designed to attack lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender
(LGBT) Ugandans under the cloak of religion. The 3-day seminar in Kampala, which
opens Thursday, March 5, features an array of U.S. speakers known for their
efforts to dehumanize LGBT people and for their belief that homosexuality can
be "cured." The speakers include Scott Lively, Don Schmierer, and
Caleb Lee Brundidge—leading voices in the crusade by religious extremists to
roll back basic human rights for LGBT people in the United States. Brundidge
is affiliated with Extreme Prophetic Ministry in Phoenix, Arizona. Schmierer
is on the board of the so-called "ex-gay" organization Exodus International.
Lively is well known for his belief that the Nazi Holocaust never happened.
"The American religious right is finally showing its hand and revealing
the depth of its support for homophobia in Africa," said IGLHRC's Executive
Director Cary Alan Johnson. "This seminar will increase violence and other
human rights abuses against LGBT people, women and anyone who doesn't conform
to gender norms. This newest form of colonialism is deplorable and must be stopped."
The seminar is hosted by the by Family Life Network (FLN), a Ugandan non-governmental
organization founded in 2002 that claims to be committed to the "restoration
of Ugandan family values and morals." The FLN opposes access to safe, legal
abortions. It also opposes the use of condoms and promotes abstinence-only programming
as its approach to HIV prevention. The FLN makes the sensationalized claim that
homosexuality is "spreading like wildfire in schools." The event organizers
have invited parents, teachers, government workers, politicians, counselors
and faith leaders. The seminar costs 25,000 Ugandan Shillings a day (approximately
$12.60) to attend. Books and materials are extra.
"This seminar is just another way of encouraging hatred and abuse,"
said a spokesperson from SMUG." We condemn their discriminatory words and
actions that only lead to violence. Suffering is all that they are bringing
to Uganda—all in the name of God."
"There is a lot of misunderstanding about human sexuality," said
Ugandan Bishop Dr. Christopher Ssenyonjo, who was expelled from the Anglican
Church for supporting gay people. “This workshop is going to bring more conflict,
greater hostility, increased intimidation. We need love ... in the long run,
love will overcome."
The U.S. religious right has a history of exporting homophobia to Africa. With
support from anti-gay organizations and faith leaders such as Family Watch International
and Pastor Rick Warren of Saddleback Church, Pastor Martin Ssempa from Makerere
Community Church has attacked not only gay men and lesbians, but also women's
rights and HIV activism. Pastor Ssempa has stated, "there should be no
rights granted to homosexuals in this country." In 2007, he organized a
multi-denominational rally against LGBT rights in Kampala, where one cleric
called for the "starving to death of homosexuals."
In response to this ongoing pattern of violence and abuse, SMUG launched its
Let Us Live in Peace campaign, aimed at decreasing violence against LGBT Ugandans.
The campaign was launched shortly after human rights defenders Victor Mukasa
and Oyo Yvonne filed a lawsuit against the Attorney General related to an illegal
raid on Mukasa's home. The plaintiffs won their case in December 2008—a landmark
victory by organizers in a country that still punishes homosexuality by life
in prison and has repeatedly made efforts to silence human rights leaders. FLN
organizers cite this victory in the promotional materials for the seminar, saying
that it shows that a "well organized homosexual machinery" is taking
over Uganda, "wreaking havoc in individuals, families and the society."
The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) is a leading
human rights organization solely devoted to improving the rights of people around
the world who are targeted for imprisonment, abuse or death because of their
sexuality, gender identity or HIV/AIDS status. IGLHRC addresses human rights
violations by partnering with and supporting activists in countries around the
world, monitoring and documenting human rights abuses, engaging offending governments,
and educating international human rights officials. A non-profit, non-governmental
organization, IGLHRC is based in New York, with offices in Cape Town and Buenos
Aires. Visit for more information www.iglhrc.org
Queer friendly JK-grade school opening soon in west Toronto
Outexpressions, Saturday, February 21, 2009 The Toronto District School
Board has given the green light to Canada's first public elementary school oriented
to future activists. The Grove Community School, an alternative school focused
on social justice, environmentalism and community activism, will be opening
in September, 2009 inside an existing public school, Alexander Muir/Gladstone
The public school, which is open to anybody in Toronto, will offer JK-grade
3 in the first year, adding a grade each year until grade 6. There will also
be a strong focus on arts infusion. An organizing committee of progressive west-end
parents have been working together for almost two years to make the school a
The school will be having an open house on Wednesday Feb. 25 from 7-9 PM at
AMG (108 Gladstone Ave.), for parents who wish to enroll their children in September
or who would like to learn more.
Queer-friendly means that kids will be taught about queer and anti-homophobia
issues as part of a larger anti-oppression and social justice curriculum. Harassment
and bullying will not be tolerated That's one of the reasons why parents choose
to send their kids to alternative schools where these issues are taken more
seriously and, more importantly, where homophobia is treated just as seriously
"Will this eliminate homophobia in our students completely? Of course
not. Too many societal influences to compete with. As for the Triangle Program,
one of the biggest differences is that our school is not actually geared towards
queer students. It is an elementary school where children enter at the age of
four. The school is queer-friendly and a number of its founders are queer, but
it is not specifically queer-oriented." Said Max Wallace, Grove School
The Grove Community School is a welcoming and supportive place for queer families,
Aboriginal families, families of colour, working class and low-income families.
Diversity is valued and reflected in the curriculum.
For more info about the school and its mission or to read the application
to the TDSB, go to www.thegrovecommunityschool.ca
Or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Buddies in Bad Times Theatre
cancels March show as cash flow hits
Outexpressions, February 5, 2009 -- The Toronto Star reports that it,
looks like the first Toronto theatre to really feel the recession's bite is
Buddies in Bad Times.The city's self-proclaimed home to "queer theatre"
has been doing a lot of innovative program and receiving many strong reviews.
However, declining audiences have meant box office revenue this season has been
disastrously under budget and the theatre recently lost a crucial $20,000 grant
meant for funding their youth programs. While none of this will impact the Rhubarb
Festival, starting Feb 5th.,, the cash woes have brought the cancellation of
Buddies' next scheduled major production, Gay for Pay, which was to open on
"This was not a happy decision to make," said Buddies artistic director
David Oiye told the Star. "But it will see us through the cash crunch."
Oiye is planning a series of fundraising events throughout the month of March,
most notably an "unplugged" presentation by Daniel MacIvor of his
hit Cul-de-Sac on March 21. "Our Buddies family has indeed rallied around
us to support us through these bad times," Oiye said.