Queer West - Serving West Toronto, Ontario



November to December 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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Are Gay Neighbourhoods Worth Saving in Toronto?

Queer in the City – Urban Planning

On January 29, 2008 Java Knights Public Forum held a panel discussion at the Gladstone Hotel. From San Francisco’s Castro District to Provincetown to Toronto, the hard bodied and cool are displaced in favour of cold hard cash. Gentrification is having a dramatic impact on everything from the GLBT bar scene to politics. The question is, can the GLBT Community survive and thrive without the cocoon of the traditional gay ghetto?

As the ghetto becomes more exclusive, regular gay and lesbian Americans and Canadians are forced to search for new neighbourhoods that are inclusive. For gays who enjoyed living in the traditional gayborhood, moving dramatically changes their quality of life.

This was philosophical discussion on GLBTQ new homesteads in city. A Q & A discussion, had serious look at finding out why this is happening, and is it a good thing or bad thing?

Guest Panelists Jan 29, 2008: John Colautti, – Former coordinator of the Parkdale Village Business Improvement Area. Former president of the Parkdale Village Resident’s Association and one of the Founding members of the Parkdale Liberty Economic Development Corporation.

Michael F. Paré, – a gay community activist in Toronto, for 30 years.

Tanya White and Dawn Chomitsch:, Dawn studied at University of Western Ontario (queer women’s studies) Both are business owners of West Side Stories Video on Dundas St. W., (South Dupont, Ward 18).

Kevin Stolarick, PhD., MaRS Centre, Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto, former Pittsburgh resident now living in Toronto. Long-time research associate of Richard Florida (author of the Creative Class)

We will be holding the second in the series on Queer in the City - Urban Planning in 2010.

This first panel discussion generated a lot of public interest Toronto Star – Somewhere beyond the rainbow l Read Andrea Zanin’s full article From gaybourhood to queer diaspora sexgeek.wordpress.com/2008/02/04/from-gaybourhood-to-queer-diaspora/ Java Knights January 29, 2008

Event Location: Toronto Parkdale – It will a free event and Wheelchair Accessible. From 7 pm to 8.30 pm at the Masaryk-Cowan Community Centre, 220 Cowan Avenue

Are Gay Neigbourhoods worth Saving in Toronto? You definitely don’t want to miss it…Panelists and Date TBA

Prime Minister Harper chides Uganda on law that would jail homosexuals

Outexpressions: Monday November 30 2009 - Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper said he privately warned the Ugandan president on the sidelines of the Commonwealth summit this weekend against bringing in a law that would put homosexuals in jail for life.

"It was not discussed multilaterally; however I did raise it directly with the president of Uganda and indicated Canada's deep concern, strong opposition and the fact we deplore these kinds of measures," Harper told a news conference at the biennial Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago on Sunday.

"We find them inconsistent with frankly, I think any reasonable understanding of human rights and I was very clear on that with the president of Uganda," Harper said.

Now, the bill has reached parliament, and aside from the persecution of gay Ugandans in every day life as it is, the law would impose a minimum sentence of life imprisonment to anyone “convicted” of having gay sex. If the accused person is HIV-positive or a serial offender, or a “person of authority” over the other partner, or if the “victim” is under 18, a conviction will result in the death penalty

Also of profound importance is the clause that members of the public are obliged to report homosexual activity to police within 24 hours or risk up to three years in jail. This part of the bill is drawing considerable ire from Ugandan human rights workers, including Sexual Minorities of Uganda (SMUG), a coalition of local lesbian, gay, bi, intersex and trans groups that would all be banned under the law. They say this scenario of obligated reporting of homosexual activities will lead to a witch hunt.

“The bill is haunting us,” said Mugisha, 25, chairman of Sexual Minorities Uganda. “If this passes we will have to leave the country.”

Human rights groups within and outside Uganda have condemned the proposed legislation, which is designed to strengthen colonial-era laws that already criminalise gay sex. The issue threatened to overshadow the Commonwealth heads of government meeting that ended in Trinidad and Tobago today, with the UK and Canada both expressing strong concerns. Ahead of the meeting Stephen Lewis, a former UN envoy on Aids in Africa, said the law “makes a mockery of Commonwealth principles” and has “a taste of fascism” about it.

Sexual Minorities Uganda –SMUG, Demands more National Non-Discriminatory HIV/AIDS Approaches for Lesbians , Gays , Bisexuals , Transgender - LGBT people in Uganda.

World AIDS Day is observed on December 1 every year, dedicated to raising awareness of the AIDS pandemic caused by HIV infection.

Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG), calls for greater response to combat HIV/AIDS. And as part of the National AIDS Strategy urges for, a national strategy on HIV/AIDS that drives a more coordinated, non-discriminatory and effective response to the epidemic.

Legislations like the Anti-Homosexuality bill 2009, currently before the parliament of Uganda, targeting sexual minorities have been identified as obstacles to effectively addressing HIV in Uganda. A 2009 joint report by the Uganda AIDS Commission - UAC and UNAIDS specifically called for a review of legal impediments to the inclusion of most-at-risk-populations - including MSM - in the national AIDS response. But whereas UAC seems to be moving towards this progress, discriminatory legislations may hinder this achievement.

If HIV prevalence and infection prevalence rates and mean age are higher among women in Uganda, Women who have Sex with Women (WSW) must be part of Uganda’s HIV/AIDS interventions.

SMUG is a coalition of LGBT organizations that envisions a liberated LGBT community free from discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity/ expression.

The Ugandan government is committed to passing the controversial legislation before the end of 2009, according to James Nsaba Buturo, the minister of state for ethics and integrity.

For more information contact: Frank Mugisha fmugisha@sexualminoritiesuganda.org www.sexualminoritiesuganda.org

Death Penalty has not been dropped from bill as reported by Bloomberg

Update Dec 13, 2009. UK's Guardian Newspaper is reporting that Death Penalty Still in Antigay/HIV/AIDS Uganda Bill! The death penalty has not and will not be dropped from the proposed antigay Uganda bill despite a report to the contrary last week by Bloomberg News, Read full article here www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/dec/13/death-penalty-uganda-homosexuals

Death Knell sounds for Toronto gay village

Outexpressions: Monday November 23 2009 - Toronto writers and national newspaper editors are having a field day trying to figure out if the traditional gaybourhood in Church and Wellesley is dead, dying or just being abandoned, for other districts in the city. Gentrification is a flashpoint in any city, but in the Church-Wellesley village, the exodus of old inhabitants in recent years has political undertones. Historically, the neighbourhood has been a place of comfort for those whose sexuality once made them social outcasts, but in 2009, the very concept of a gay village is in transition. Rapidly rising housing prices mean Church-Wellesley is hardly the "ghetto" it was in the years before same-sex marriage and other such victories. (Toronto Star)

Church Street Villagers vainly try to fight back

More nails in the coffin

The 166 year old Toronto Globe and Mail national edition hammers it home with "Last month, a popular gay hangout called Zelda's packed up and moved to Yonge Street. Rents and housing prices are shooting up along Church Street. The young "post-gay" gays of today don't identify with the ghetto, as a place or as a concept. They're hanging out in non-explicitly-gay parts of town. The ghetto is now populated by aging pre-post-gay gays Church and Wellesley's greatest, gayest days may now be behind it. (The Globe Mail)

In November, two more gay bars in the Church St. village bite the dust. After months of speculation, rumors and wishful thinking on the part of loyal patrons, the popular Crews & Tango bar on Toronto’s Church Street is no more. No reasons were given, as to why the bar met its demise.

Crews & Tango shut down April 13 for undisclosed reasons and pulled its liquor license a month later. Despite assurances the bar was going through renovations and would be re-opened, month after month passed without any firm commitment. It is the latest in a string of nightclub closings in the gay village, over the past several years that has claimed the likes of 5ive, Lub Lounge and Club Alibi (owned by the same people behind Crews & Tango), Bar 501 Most recently, popular resto-bar Zelda’s was forced to move to a new location on Yonge Street.

"People don’t to go to Church much these days." Writes Matt Sims, November 19 in Xtra Newspaper- column Twatter (Sims is a gay Toronto DJ and event promoter). "Church St that is. Zelda’s, Il Fornello, Crews — all gone or moved in 2009. The old Five space is transforming into condominiums and now rumours of Zipperz (Church & Carlton) not renewing its lease are up in the air! Celebrities weren’t the only ones dying in 2009, Toronto’s gay village was apparently dropping off fast as well. Good gay jams are anywhere from Bathurst and Queen West to Ossington and Dundas (Queer West Village) and while Church St is slowly closing down, the rest of the city, is just getting its face on for nights upon nights, of future fun!"

Back in July 2004 Toronto gay activist, Michael Paré, an editorial for Toronto Digital Queeries Magazine. Spelling out the demise of the Church Street Village Why Toronto's old Gay Village is Dying?

Everyone knows the writing has been on the wall for over 10 years. Church St. villagers are just afraid to admit it or even welcome the new gaybourhoods.

Ontario MPP reintroduces transgender and transsexual rights bill

Outexpressions: Thursday, November 19, 2009. A day before Toronto's Trans Day of Remembrance, Cheri DiNovo Ontario Member of Provincial Parliament and Second Deputy Chair of the Committee of the Whole House, Critic, Citizenship and Immigration, Member, Standing Committee on Social Policy, Critic, Housing, Critic, Employment Standards and Critic on Women's Issues.

DiNovo reintroduced her private member's Bill 224 It received First Reading in the Legislature today. An Act to amend the Human Rights Code respecting gender identity An amendment to the Ontario Human Rights Code.

"I'm tabling this again, for a second time. I'm sorry in a sense that I have to, [and] that this is not law already," said DiNovo at a press conference on today. "This time we hope the government acts."

“Trans people routinely face violence and discrimination in the workplace, in health care and even in obtaining housing and identity documents,” said Bill Siksay, New Democrat Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transsexual and Transgender critic (Burnaby-Douglas). “I believe that explicit protection in the Canadian Human Rights Act (CHRA) and our Criminal Code will go a long way to counter this discrimination and move towards full acceptance and equality for transgender and transsexuals.”

“That is why I introduced Bill C-389, to add protection for transgender and transsexual Canadians to the CHRA by adding gender identity or expression to the list of prohibited grounds of discrimination. The bill also adds gender identity and expression to the hate and sentencing provisions in the Criminal Code,” stated Siksay. “That ensures that transphobic violence is identified as a hate crime, and sentences can be determined accordingly.”

Siksay’s Private Member’s Bill is likely to be debated in the House of Commons early in 2010.

Ontario Transgendered population want protection against discrimination spelled out for them more clearly in the provincial human rights code. Rosalyn Forrester of the Trans Health Lobby Group and Canadian Transsexuals Fight for Rights said in 2007 when the Bill was first introduced that members of the transgendered community are not adequately protected under the existing code.

Transgendered people, who include transsexuals, transvestites and other individuals whose identities don't conform to conventional notions of sex, face numerous difficulties trying to get jobs and housing, she said.

Forrester said some transsexuals lose their family doctors when they "transition" to the other sex because the physician claims they make other patients uncomfortable.

"Up until recently, police services would treat the transitioning person as the designated sex that they were born and not the sex that they were transitioning into," she said. "And therefore, (transsexual women were) strip-searched by male police officers, housed with male populations."

The Northwest Territories covers "gender identity" in its human rights code. The cities of Toronto and Ottawa also provide specific protection for the transgendered in their rights codes.

Martine Stonehouse of the Trans Health Lobby Group and CUPE said the Ontario Human Rights Code offers some protection to the transgendered by outlawing discrimination and harassment based on sex or disability, but it's not a perfect fit. "Gender identity" is defined as a person's inner sense of being a man, woman or other gender.

In 2007 Bill 186, Toby's Act (Right to be Free from Discrimination Because of Gender Identity), Had First Reading: March 21. The private member's Bill was, introduced during the 2nd Session of the 38th Parliament in 2007, by Cheri DiNovo, Member of the Provincial Parliament (Parkdale High Park) The proposed Bill would amend the Ontario Human Rights Code to add "gender identity" to the list of enumerated grounds which already includes race, colour, sex, handicap and age.It failed on second reading.

The Bill is sometimes referred to as "Toby's Law," in tribute to transgendered musician Toby Dancer, who died in Toronto in 2004. Dancer attended DiNovo's United Church on Roncesvalles, where she was the former minister. It isn't likely this private member bill will again get passed second reading.

Events are planned across Canada and cities across the world. See transgenderdor.org for a full list, including Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg and Halifax.

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