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The Annual Queer West Arts
Festival is rebranding its identity
Wednesday March 24, 2010 The annual Queer West Arts and Cultural Festival
will NO LONGER be held in June.
The Queer West Board of Directors and Arts Collectives feel Toronto's LGBTQ
fabulousness shouldn't be all jam packed into that month.
Queer West Fest Week has moved to August. Staged from
Friday August 6 to Sunday August 15, 2010.
We feel there are tourists in the city all summer long, especially
in August; they will be looking for something different. In August there is;
Caribana, Distillery Arts Festival, Buskerfest and Toronto Festival of Beer
and now Queer West Arts and Cultural Festival
Queer West Arts and Cultural Festival will then be able grow; faster, bigger,
better and more international, if the Toronto queer public and out of town
tourists, doesn't confused us, with Pride Toronto. We don't think there's really,
a shortage of sponsors to approach in August. Securing media coverage, sponsorship
and funding, is more a function of how successful we market our Festival. On
top of it all that, doing it later, gives us more time to plan.
Here are some of the new Arts Festival events we
are booking and organizing now:
- A Juried Youth & Young Adult Photo Exhibition. (Will
run entire festival week start date Aug 6 - ) in Collaboration with North
York Griffin Centre, LGBT Program.
- Spin Gallery Tour 6 art galleries and exhibitions organized by the Gay West
Bicycle Club 7pm to 9:30pm (Thur Aug 12)
- Wilde Chats Philosophical Discussion For Hip Cats (2-4
pm Sunday August 8, Naco Gallery)
- OUTeXpressions Newspaper Presents an Oral Erotica Poetry Slam. (Tuesday
August 10 tentative)
- 6th annual Gay West Bicycle Club's 54k Toronto Pride Ride. (Sun
- Queer Women's International Human Rights Conference.(Wednesday
August 11 tentative)
- Youth & Young Adult Fiction Book Slam. (Date
- A dance party with 6 djs (in 50,000 ft new Adobe Club) may include other
events. (Date TBA)
- A Womyn's music folk/blues/jazz night. (Date TBA)
- The 3rd annual Queer West Film Fest. (Saturday August
14 ) Program Director - Casey Reid
- Parkdale Queer Youth and Young Adult Festival hosted Queer West. An Outdoor
Park Picnic which includes Mix and Mingle Community Street Fair
(Masaryk-Cowan Community Centre & Parkette Sun Aug 15 tentative)
- One or two art shows (Will run entire festival week
start date Aug 6 - )
- A private industry night, in new Parkdale gallery for sponsors, media, politicians
and supporters, to announce our new corporate identity of festival and Queer
West. (Friday August 6 tentative)
How the festival actually turned - http://artsfestival.queerwest.org/past-events/arts-festival-2010/
For some gay males condom size does matter
Tuesday February 16, 2010 OUTeXpressions Newspaper A large minority
of male condom users complain that ill-fitting prophylactics are liable to split
and break during intercourse and be a sexual turnoff, researchers told Associated
US investigators analysed questionnaires completed by 436 men between the ages
of 18 and 67 who had been recruited via ads in newspapers and a blog on the
website of a condom sales company.The volunteers had used condoms for vaginal
intercourse in the previous three months. A remarkable 44.7 percent of the respondents
said they had experiences of condoms that were ill-fitting, the doctors found.
Poorly-fitting condoms more than doubled the risk of breakage, slippage, erection
loss and difficulty in reaching an orgasm, either by the user or his partner.
They were also five times likelier to cause irritation of the penis. Such problems
prompted many users to remove the condom before intercourse ended -- a worrying
phenomenon in the fight against unwanted pregnancies and sexually-transmitted
disease. The work is reported online by the journal Sexually Transmitted Infections,
published by the British Medical Association (BMA).
The researchers, led by Richard Crosby and Bill Yarber at the Kinsey Institute
for Research in Sex, Gender and Reproduction in Indiana, acknowledge that the
study may have been limited by self-reported data. Even so, the evidence highlights
some worrying problems about the use of condoms, especially as a barrier to
sexual pleasure, which made using it a real deterrent for some.
It also shows the need for "public health messages" to enjoin men
to get the right size of condom, they said. On this point, men -- and condom
manufacturers -- will have to deal with the delicate question of penis size,
say the authors.
For one thing, widespread pornography may have distorted the male self-image,
making it harder for some men to accept that they have a less than gigantic
member. Average penis length (flaccid/not erect): from 3.4 inches to 3.7 inches
(8.6 cm to 9.3 cm)Average penis length (erect): from 5.1 inches to 5.7 inches
(12.9 cm to 14.5 cm) Average penis girth (circumference when erect): from 3.5
inches to 3.9 inches (8.8 cm to 10 cm)
The packet usually gives measurements of the condoms inside. If your a gay
male want smaller rubbers look out for those called ‘trim’ or ‘snug fit’ or
these brands – Durex Closefit, Mates Conform, Pasante Trim. If you want wider
or longer rubbers look out for those called ‘XL’ or ‘Magnum’ or these brands
– Durex Comfort XL (longer and wider), Condomi XXL, Trojan Magnum XL (longer).
Gays and Lesbians Battle Discrimination in Syria
Friday February 12, 2010 This article is from the Institute for War
and Peace in the the UK - Law and society treat homosexuals as criminals, outcasts
or mentally ill. Alaa al-Sayed, 20, is waging a battle for acceptance not just
from Syrian society but from his own family since they discovered he is gay.
“It’s so difficult to feel that you are a stranger and an outcast even in your
own home,” he said. When his parents found out about him after he went out with
a man one night, they beat him and locked him in at home. Later, they decided
to marry him off, he said.
Alaa al-Sayed, 20, is waging a battle for acceptance not just from Syrian
society but from his own family since they discovered he is gay. “It’s so difficult
to feel that you are a stranger and an outcast even in your own home,” he said.
When his parents found out about him after he went out with a man one night,
they beat him and locked him in at home. Later, they decided to marry him off,
he said.“This is the solution in their opinion. The solution is doing an injustice
to a woman for whom I feel no emotional or sexual desire,” he added. Many gay
men and women like Sayed lead a life on the margins of Syrian society, which
generally sees them as perverts or mentally ill. They also suffer from discrimination
on the part of the state that considers homosexual acts as “moral offences”
punishable by up to three years in prison.
The Syrian penal code prohibits "carnal knowledge against the order of
nature", which is mostly used to criminalises sodomy, so lesbians are less
liable to be persecuted than gay men. In addition, unlike gay men, lesbians
are less likely to go cruising in parks and on the street where they could be
caught by the police.
While most gay people in Syria prefer to hide their sexual tendencies and submit
to social norms or lead a double life, more and more say that they are slowly
asserting their right to be different. Some say that they are not afraid to
display their sexuality in bars and nightclubs in the way they dress or behave.
For many of them, especially young gay men, the internet has helped them to
regroup, create a network of social support, and meet others in similar situations.
“The internet brought a real change to my life,” said Nouhad Ibrahim, a 21
year-old gay man from Damascus studying economics.
“I discovered gay communities from around the world and that made me feel I
was not alone in this world.” Online, Syrian homosexuals can find several dating
and chatting websites where they can exchange photos and telephone numbers and
sometimes fix dates to meet. But some gay men are also using the internet as
a platform to demand recognition and respect. A pan-Arab Facebook site aimed
at countering the negative stereotypes about homosexuality has more than 400
members including a large presence from Syrian gays.
Members of the group say that they are trying to muster support especially
from international organisations to show how gay men can contribute to the development
of society and do not have lower intellectual capabilities. A separate Facebook
group called Syrian Gays has 170 members and is used for chatting and meeting
partners rather than as a platform for discussions around homosexuality in the
But for most gay men, the topic of their homosexuality is still a taboo and
so they prefer not to divulge their tendencies in a society that values machismo.
Amir, a 24-year-old gay man who works in his father’s clothing shop in Damascus,
said that he had to pretend to be very manly in the way he talked and walked
during the day. Amir, who refused to give his last name, added that at night
among his gay friends he felt more relaxed and able to express his “feminine
Syrian gays today say that there are several cafes, bars and nightclubs where
they meet in Damascus. Cruising for sexual partners also takes place in certain
public squares or gardens during the night. Gay prostitution is also evident
at these sites but many say that the places are monitored by the morality police.
Individuals who are caught by the police engaging in homosexual acts are often
rounded up and sent to court where they generally receive a sentence of few
An official who spoke on condition of anonymity said that the authorities do
not recognise gay rights and homosexuality was rejected by Syrian society and
culture. “For gays and lesbians not to be subjected to mistreatment or harassment,
they must keep their sexuality concealed,” he said. Dr Jalal Nawfal, a Damascus-based
psychiatrist, said that the authorities were only responding to the social and
religious realities of Syria, where homosexuality is strongly rejected. He added,
however, that the government needed to raise awareness about homosexuality.
Although homosexuality is no longer regarded as a psychological disorder in
the West, many Syrian psychologists still see gays as mental patients. Some
even say that sexual harassment during childhood plays an important role in
determining sexual orientation during adulthood. Christian and Muslim clerics
who have a strong influence over social attitudes in Syria are more severe in
judging homosexuality. According to Mohamad Habash, the head of the Centre for
Islamic Studies in Damascus, some Muslim clerics overtly incite the killing
of homosexuals. Other less extreme opinions favour providing gays with social
support to help them “overcome their illness”, he added.
The media in Syria also consolidates the negative stereotyping of homosexuals
by publicising stories that link gays to criminal acts or sordid incidents.
Last year, for instance, a court sentenced three men to death for killing a
diplomatic employee after having sex with him. Media also reported that a young
man died after throwing himself from a balcony in the city of Aleppo to escape
two men who wanted to rape him. Many gays in Syria believe the spreading of
similar stories harms their cause.
July 19 is Pink Monday in Düsseldorf in 2010
A friendly takeover: The largest fair on the Rhine lasts nine days
and is for everyone, but on Monday gays and lesbians rule. 50,000 of them turn
the party up a notch.
OUTeXpressions Newspaper, February 8, 2010- The largest fair on the Rhine,
which has more daily visitors than Munich’s Oktoberfest, is the setting for
a rare example of a tradition: For 20 years now, the first Monday (2010 date:
July 19) of the 9-day fair belongs to the GLBT community, a wild affair that
turns the fairgrounds pink and gets more popular every year.
What does Pink Monday look like? Picture Oktoberfest with beer tents and treats,
a temporary amusement park with huge and modern rides that rival those at Six
Flags along with the families and regular people you’d find there, then add
50,000 homosexuals on a mission to have a good time. Loud and unruly? You bet,
and it’s a blast. An old tradition as much as a glimpse of the future: everyone
relaxes and just gets along.
There’s no resistance to the wave of gayness that rolls over the fairgrounds
come Monday: Vendors and visitors gladly surrender and come prepared: The tents
and booths, equipped for a week of family-friendly entertainment, are dressed
up with pink balloons and rainbow flags. Many visitors wear pink or show up
in drag, and the campy vibe mixes with modern-day tolerance and becomes just
pure fun. One of the beer tents turns into a performance space, and the glamour
and good energy spill out from there over the entire fair and on to the rest
of the city. It’s a party that extends to the local nightlife and continues
there into the wee hours. Many of the 50,000 gays and lesbians are from the
local Rhine-Ruhr region, and the number of international visitors grows every
More interesting facts about this event: The “Largest Fair on the Rhine” (yes,
that’s the official name, or “Rheinkirmes” in German) has been around for 500
years (that’s 300 more than Munich’s Oktoberfest) and takes place every third
week in July (2010 dates: July 17-25). The total number of visitors is more
than 4 million, and 45,000 visit Düsseldorf daily during regular fair days –
that’s 6,000 more than Oktoberfest. Many who come here take advantage of the
short distances to other destinations including the Rhine-Ruhr area, Cologne,
Belgium, the Netherlands, all in easy reach from Düsseldorf.
Düsseldorf is only minutes away from Cologne, the site of the 2010 Gay Games,
which begin later that month, July 31.
Düsseldorf International Airport, Germany’s third largest, offers several non-stop
flights from US & Canadian cities (Atlanta, Chicago, Ft. Myers, Los Angeles,
Miami, New York, Newark, Toronto, San Francisco, Vancouver), as well as convenient
connections to many European cities and beyond. Find fair week specials for
hotels and air fares at www.visitduesseldorf.de
and www.fly2dus.com or
For more information about Pink Monday, the Fair, and Düsseldorf
, please contact: Rainer Perry, 934 8th Avenue 2b, New York, NY 10019, phone:
212 957 6653, fax: 646 419 4070, email: email@example.com.
Poetry Slam with a Queer Twist coming again in June
OUTeXpressions Newspaper, Monday January 25. The Queer West Arts Collective
first night of bent poetry, an evening of queer expressions on Sunday January
24 night was a terrific success.
The Press Club a bar at 850 Dundas St. W. holds 50 and 50 came. The Patio
was closed, due to chilly rainy weather, it holds another 30. Some of best queer
artists in city were performing Phlip Arima, Parul Pandya, Nicki Ward, Philip
Cairns, Kirk DeMatas, Yehuda Fisher, Jay Stewart, David Bateman and Duncan Armstrong.
I never met any of the eight (Poets) before Sunday. They were all virtual Facebook
friends. Now they are not. Philip Cairns I do know, was the MC. All the door
money went to performers, enough for a few pints of beer. The artist sold few
chap books; some gave a copy away to fans and admirers. I went home with three
poetry books; one I paid $17.50 for, but it was worth it.
All the performers want to do Poetry Night again in a couple
of months, maybe in June. Most of the performers identify with Church St. gay
village. Being welcomed in new queer space in the west end of the city was a
Next time we will expand the event to including musicians and more poets and
spoken word artists. - Michel F. Paré, event organizer.