Queer West - Serving West Toronto, Ontario



January to April 2009 - 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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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 Festival party.

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: gwbikeclub@gmail.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 alternavox.net

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’ music.

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 sickening.

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 some.

Dundas West Toronto - where a new queer neighbourhood is blooming

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 time.

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 his gallery.

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 Toronto, Ontario.

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 furniture.

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 Peesker cp24.com

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 boy.

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 (AMG).

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 reality.

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 as racism.

"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 spokesperson

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 info@thegrovecommunityschool.ca with questions.

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 March 4.

"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.

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