Queer West - Serving West Toronto, Ontario



June to July 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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New gay marriage ruling appealed in California

Thursday August 5, 2010 (Associated Press) Supporters of California's same-sex marriage ban have filed an appeal after a U.S. Federal Court judge overturned the controversial law.

The appeal was filed late Wednesday to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Both sides had said they would appeal if they lost. The appeal was filed by Protect Marriage, a coalition of religious and conservative groups that sponsored Proposition 8.

"This ruling, if allowed to stand, threatens not only Prop 8 in California but the laws in 45 other states that define marriage as one man and one woman," said Brian Brown, president of the National Organization for Marriage, which helped fund the 2008 campaign that led to the ban's passage.

The outcome in the appeals court could force the U.S. Supreme Court to confront the question of whether gays have a constitutional right to wed.The appeal follows Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker's ruling Wednesday that the voter-approved ban was unconstitutional.

Proposition 8 outlawed gay marriages in California, five months after they were legalized by the state's Supreme Court. The proposition was approved by 52 per cent of California voters in a referendum and passed by the state legislature. Two gay couples who said the ban violated their civil rights were plaintiffs in the challenge.

Proposition 8 "fails to advance any rational basis for singling out gay men and women," Walker wrote in his ruling. "[This law] does nothing more than enshrine … that opposite-sex couples are superior." The ruling is significant in that it's the first such ruling in a federal court.

Despite the favourable ruling for same-sex couples, gay marriage will not immediately resume in California. The judge issued a temporary stay that stops his ruling from being implemented. He said he wants to decide whether to suspend his decision while it goes through the appeal process.Massachusetts, Iowa, Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire and Washington, D.C., all grant same-sex couples the right to wed.

Massive community pressure forces Pride Toronto to backdown on draconian censorship policy

OUTeXpressionsWednesday June 23, 2010. The public reaction PTs latest public statement issued at 5.30 pm today is slow. Pride Toronto has reversed its May board resolution banning the term "Israeli Apartheid" and will instead require all participants to sign and abide by the City of Toronto's non-discrimination policy.

The social group Queers Against Israeli Apartheid the target of the ban has declared a victory and congratulated the queer community for pushing Pride Toronto to reverse its censorship decision.

This is a victory for the Palestine solidarity movement, which has faced censorship and bullying tactics from the Israel lobby for far too long,” says Tim McCaskell, a member of Queers Against Israeli Apartheid. “The Israel lobby learned a tough lesson today about our community’s proud history of standing up to censorship and human rights abuses.”

During a meeting of the Coalition for Free Speech on June 17. One of the participants, who is a volunteer with Pride Toronto and is also a well know lesbian who handed back community award, remarked that PT wasn't going to censor the banned words (Israeli Apartheid ) on any signs. We wonder why Pride Toronto waited a week, before making this public announcement, if this was common knowledge.

It's unclear whether the planned alternative pride events, will go ahead. Another question remains whether the Toronto queer community will now give up its fight to overthrow Pride Toronto's current of Directors. If that isn't possibly make policy changes, that Board will have to live with, so this messy affair never happens again and finally can QuAIA now march as such with their signs and their name?

Pride Toronto - Press Release 23 June 2010 Pride Toronto to no longer restrict language in the Parade. Pride Toronto has announced that its recent resolution to restrict the use of certain language during the 2010 Parade has been replaced by the requirement that each participating group read, sign and agree to abide by the City of Toronto’s Declaration of a Non-Discrimination Policy, and that all groups that uphold this policy are welcome to participate in the 2010 Pride Parade.

During a meeting between members of the board of directors, the executive director and well respected LGBT community leaders Pastor Brent Hawkes of the Metropolitan Community Church, human rights lawyer and Pride Lifetime Achievement award winner Doug Elliott, and 519 Executive Director Maura Lawless, the board unanimously voted in favour of a proposal presented by the three.

The proposal is two-fold: The purpose in the short term is to resolve the impasse that the organization has found itself in since moving to disallow the term ‘Israeli Apartheid’ in the Parade, based on complaints from community members and the assertion by the City of Toronto that the phrase contravenes various City policies. The decision caused widespread dissatisfaction in the queer community and allegations of censorship.

The first motion places the responsibility for determining a violation of City policy back in the hands of the City, as our review process has not established that violation. The second motion establishes a representative advisory panel of community leaders that will lead a broad based community consultation process with diverse queer communities to recommend a set of strategic principles and a decision-making framework that will help shape future festivals.

“We are extremely grateful to the community leaders that took the time to work on this proposal and help us examine ways to resolve this impasse,” says Pride senior co-chair Genevieve D’Iorio. “The Board’s intention has always been to make the best decision possible to ensure the success of Pride and we believe that this proposal is a really constructive way forward.”

“There are a large number of people that are sad at the way the community is currently torn over this issue,” says Pastor Brent Hawkes. “Pride has found itself in the middle of a difficult situation and we felt it was time to step in and see how we could help.”

Doug Elliott agrees. Recently during a keynote address at the Law Society of Upper Canada’s Pride Event, Elliott spoke out about the history of Pride and the way it has changed over the years. “It’s not always possible to meet everyone’s demands,” he says, noting that some of the demands Pride has experienced are ‘unrealistic’. “This solution upholds City policy without unfairly requiring Pride to interpret that policy regarding a controversial legal question. Hopefully this will allow a harmonious Parade this year, while a consultative process unfolds to allow community members to have their say in a constructive way about the future rules for the Parade and the ongoing relationship between Pride Toronto and the broader LGBTTIQQ2SA communities.”

In a recent press release The 519 called for public consultation and offered its support and resources to help find a resolution. Lawless stated “This proposal reinforces how important it is that the diverse queer communities help shape the future of Pride and I think the Board has shown great courage and foresight in committing to consultation and planning for the future.”

The two motions comprising the proposal are as follows:

That the board of directors approve the following resolutions:

1. Be it resolved that the motion of May 21st regarding language restrictions of groups participating in the 2010 Pride parade be replaced by the requirement that each participating group read and sign and confirm to abide by the City of Toronto’s Declaration of a Non-Discrimination Policy and that all groups that uphold this policy are welcome to participate in the 2010 Pride Parade. Any groups that refuse to sign will not be permitted to participate.

2. Be it resolved that Pride Toronto appoint a panel of LGBTTIQQ2SA leaders and friends to recommend a policy to protect and advance the qualities of Pride and ensure it is true to its core values and principles. The mandate of the group would be to consult with the community to develop recommendations to ensure a Pride that values and promotes freedom of speech and individual expression, inclusiveness and respect, pluralism and diversity, equity and fairness, celebration, humour and fun, and to make recommendations regarding Pride Toronto’s ongoing working relationship with the broader LGBTTIQQ2SA communities.

Over the coming days, Parade participants will receive a copy of the City’s Anti-Discrimination Policy with a request to sign and return it ahead of the Parade. Meanwhile, the team at Pride Toronto will be working hard to finalize arrangements for the 30th anniversary festival and we look forward to the community coming together to celebrate what Pride means to each one as an individual.

* Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transsexual, Transgender, Intersex, Queer, Questioning, 2-Spirited and Allies

Syria cracks down on gays , at least 25 men arrested!

Toronto OUTeXpressions Newspaper Exclusive. Wednesday June 23, 2010. Syrian authorities have raided more than four different private gay parties over five weeks between March and April, arresting more than 25 men on their last raid. Indictments have been officially submitted against them; most of the arrested guys are charged with "having a homosexual act", others are charged with dealing and/or buying and consuming illegal drugs, a few are charged with organising illegal "obscene" parties, facilitating drug dealing and consuming, and encouraging homosexual acts. Many of the arrested men were in a gay party for the first time in their lives, while all of them are still under police custody because their families refused to bail them out or even visit them. The fact that the Syrian secret police has accused them of homosexuality is enough to put them in grave danger from their families and neighbours even if they are released without charges.

Private gay parties are not the Syrian authorities only target; they are also raiding cruising areas. Although no arrests have been made to GME’s knowledge, the presence of what is called in Syria "security agents", commonly known in other parts of the world as the "secret police", is frightening to gay men who are now avoiding these areas. Interestingly, police men do not approach all men in cruising areas claiming that they only try to investigate "suspicious men"; a term that refers to "gay men".

GME is following the case against the 25 men. A senior officer handling the police campaign against the gay men in Syria said "Syrian authorities' major interest is the safety of people, we targeted those parties only because of the increasing rate of drug use, while our presence in those parks and squares is because of the increasing rate of robberies." GME is very concerned about the welfare of the 25 men. We call on the Syrian government to free the 25 men and drop all charges against them and secure their safety, in line with the words of the officer, we believe that “the safety of people”, including gay ones, are paramount. We urge Syria to repeal the antiquated Article 520 of the penal code of 1949, and thus resolve the problem of a need for secret parties and having gays and lesbians safety compromised.

GME contacted the Syrian Embassy in London and Washington regarding this matter. However up to the hour of going to press with the news item we have not received any comment or response from either of the two embassies.

Guess who's coming for Lunch?

OUTeXpressions Newspaper Exclusive. Tuesday June 15, 2010. Eleven senior gay editors will meet one of the most colourful charismatic gay activists in the City of Toronto. Michel F. Paré President Queer West Arts & Culture Centre.

Tourism Toronto ask Paré to speak to 11 Senior editors from USA, Japan and Netherlands coming for a visit to Pride Toronto on Friday July 2, 2010.

Tourism Toronto told Paré they will be hosting the group and would Michel provide the group with a tour of Queer West Village? Paré said it was an absolutely fabulous idea, he would be only happy too, on Friday, July 2, 2010. Tourism Toronto invited the media to experience Toronto's LGBTQ they will here till July 4th as guests of Tourism Toronto.

Michel will meet them at Noon Friday July 2nd at the Exhibit - That's So Gay at Gladstone Hotel Michel will be PC with visitors. Explain to visitors why the westend is completely different than Church and Wellesley. We will just have to wait for the full story on July 3rd.

Here's who will be coming for lunch

1. Zero Tohmi – Tokyo Wrestling (Tokyo) - Tokyo Wrestling is a Tokyo-based webzine with information on lesbian and queer arts, music, and culture--rooted in a Japanese perspective. www.tokyowrestling.com

2. Yuki Keiser - Time Out Tokyo on-line (Tokyo) www.timeout.jp/ja/tokyo

3. Yvette Bax - Gay & Night Magazine is a monthly publication with a circulation of 20,000. (Amsterdam) www.gay-night.nl

4. Aaron Drake, Editor - Frontiers in L.A. Magazine (Los Angeles) Alternative lifestyle publication aimed at a Southern Californian, upscale gay audience. Contains local and national news and legislation, profiles and features on local gay subjects of interest, cultural commentary and a calendar of events including theatre, music, the arts and film. Circulation - 38,750

5. Sarah Blazucki, Editor Philadelphia Gay News. Contains news and features of general interest for gay and lesbian readership. Explores gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender issues. Circulation of 17,352. www.epgn.com

6. Gloria Casarez, Photographer - Philadelphia Gay News

7. Gary Barlow, Editor-in-Chief- Gay Chicago Magazine (Chicago) Published for Chicago's affluent gay and lesbian community. Covers the arts, entertainment and lifestyles. www.gaychicagomagazine.com

8. Robert Israel, Contributing Writer- EDGE Boston (Boston) EDGE Boston currently reaches more than 500,000 unique visitors a month, and is the largest online LGBT Lifestyle publication on the East Coast. www.edgeboston.com

9. TBD: Troy Petenbrink, Contributing Writer- MetroWeekly (Washington D.C.) Established in 1994 and written for gays and lesbians in the Washington, D.C. area. Contains interviews of local and national personalities, local and national news features, lifestyle features, opinion columns, humor, politics, arts reviews and nightlife coverage. Circulation 16, 500. www.metroweekly.com

10. Jimmy Im, Contributing Writer- Next Magazine (New York City) Published as a guide to New York City's gay cultural scene and written for members of the gay community. Strives to showcase the brightest up-and-coming personalities, restaurants, theater, nightlife and travel destinations in the New York City area. Circulation 50,953. www.nextmagazine.com

11. Dwayne Kinney, Fenuxe magazine - Atlanta High end fashion, luxury, travel, professional services and local guide/reference magazine for the LGBT community in Atlanta, GA.

Mr. Paré took the 14 journalist on tour of queer West Toronto and giving them the history of the area on Friday July 2. Queer West received a Nice thank you letter from Tourism Toronto..."Thanks so much for being apart of Tourism Toronto's Pride press trip and presenting another side of gay culture in Toronto (Tour of Queer West Toronto) Michel. I've referred all the writers to your website (queerwest.org) when they do their story write ups. Thanks again for being a valuable addition to our press trip"...... Michele L. Simpson, Manager Media Relations, Tourism Toronto

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