Queer West - Serving West Toronto, Ontario



January to March 2010 - 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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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 Aug 15)
  • Queer Women's International Human Rights Conference.(Wednesday August 11 tentative)
  • Youth & Young Adult Fiction Book Slam. (Date TBA)
  • 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 Press today.

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 country.

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 side”.

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 months’ imprisonment.

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 year.

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 gaygermany.blogspot.com

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: perry.r@duesseldorf-tourismus.de.

Poetry Slam with a Queer Twist coming again in June 2010

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 pleasant surprise.

Next time we will expand the event to including musicians and more poets and spoken word artists. - Michel F. Paré, event organizer.

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