+ OUTeXpressions | January to March 2011 - News Archive
Queer West - Serving West Toronto, Ontario



January to March 2011 - 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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Toronto police baffled by death of gay man founded brutally slain in west end of city

Outexpressions: Saturday March 5, 2011. Allan Lanteigne was found slain in his west-end home at 934 Ossington Ave. police said it's believed he was killed a day earlier.

"We really don't know at this point what happened," Det.-Sgt. Dan Nielsen said What is known, he said, is that Lanteigne was last seen alive as he left his job as clerk in Ancillary and Capital Accounting at the University of Toronto around 5 p.m. Wednesday.

Police said that Allan Lanteigne 49 was discovered with obvious signs of trauma to his body last Thursday at about 3:20 p.m. Detective. Sgt. Dan Neilson could not yet release more details on his cause of death.

Lanteigne lived alone, he ended a same-sex relationship “quite some time ago” and his former partner is now living outside the country, Nielsen said, adding the former relationship doesn’t appear to be a factor.

According to Neilson, a friend of Lanteigne’s hadn’t heard from him in a day and got worried when he didn’t show up for work. The friend went over to Lanteigne’s house and then called police.

Neilson said that His death was initially declared suspicious and then upgraded to a homicide after a post-mortem examination Friday.

Police are looking for any witnesses who might have spoke with Lanteigne or seen him with another person last Wednesday.Investigators are anxious to speak to anyone who saw him walking home or arriving at his residence. N Anyone with information should call Nielsen at 416-808-7398, or Crime Stoppers at 416-222-TIPS (8477).

Toronto gay village hate crimes escalating?

Outexpressions: Sunday January 30, 2011. On January 27th. A confused new Ward 27 Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam told Xtra gay and lesbian Newspaper, there has been no escalation of reported hate crimes in the area. “Consensus was reached and everyone reported the same thing. There’s been no spike in reported activities,” she says. “It’s something that’s been really blown out of proportion.

Ryan Lester, 30, was kicked in the face and called “faggot” while getting a post-bar snack at Mehran Restaurant on Church St. early Saturday Jan. 22. His 24-year-old brother, Ben, suffered has deep bruises on his back and had to go to the dentist to repair a broken molar.

Toronto Police are calling a recent late-night assault in the Gay Village a hate crime, stoking concerns the neighbourhood is no longer safe.

The beating comes on the heels of allegations that local students have been hurling slushies, ice and homophobic slurs at residents in the Gay Village. Eoin McManus, 21, and Benjamin McCall, 21, both of Toronto, have each been charged with two counts of assault and one count of mischief after breaking the restaurant’s front window. Toronto Police Det. Chu Chang categorized the attack as a hate crime.

Your safer living in the queer west end of city where there hasn't a reported gay bashing or murder, since teacher Kenneth Zeller was kicked to death over 35 years ago in High Park.

Toronto Police recorded 174 hate crimes in 2009, the most recent year for which statistics are available. Twenty six of them were related to sexual orientation.

Jarivs Collegiate hooligans roaming in the Toronto Church St gay village

Outexpressions: Saturday January 22, 2011. A few bad apples apparently are from Jarvis Collegiate (495 Jarvis Street), are travelling in swarms at lunch hour and after school. They hurl slushies, snowballs and ice. And slurs, including “faggot”, which, to say the least, is vexatious in the Village. Toronto Police have beefed up patrols and will meet school officials this week about “how to put an end to this foolishness,” says Staff-Sgt. Rudy Pasini at 51 Division.

The “slushie facial” is a popular form of bullying on the musical TV series Glee. We need to remind the kids it may be funny on the TV show Glee, but in reality, it’s not funny at all.

Gay bashing is no stranger to the Church Street Village, of course. Even in the Age of Everybody Get Along, yahoos still drive through some summer nights, tossing drunken insults. Eggs were once the gay-bashing missile of choice. Tossing eggs at drag queens on Yonge Street in Toronto during Halloween in the early 70's in front of the former Charles Street Tavern

The fear is “slushing” will escalate to something more solid. Already, chunks of ice have been added to the arsenal.

The latest slushing happened at noon last Monday Jan 17. Local florist Paul Winsor, 49, was walking on Alexander St., headed to the gym. “How about him?” said a kid in a passing pack of about 15. And he let fly. Winsor took a full Coke slushie dead in the back of his winter coatt.

It appears they’re just randomly picking out people in the neighbourhood. Not all targets have been gay. These include a middle-aged woman and, repeatedly, the crossing guard at a Church St. public school, who also has filed a police complaint.

Police increased patrols in the area after a crossing guard was also targeted by students. School principal Elizabeth Addo said she’s working with police in their investigation. “Students who engage in gay-bashing or homophobic behaviour will have consequences,” she told The Toronto Sun. “It’s not in the spirit of the school or the spirit of inclusivity.”

Village activist Enza Anderson, who works in a bank near the school crossing, has not been slushed, though she did dodge an old shoe tossed by some punk. “I’ve seen them harass people and one of them threw a snowball at some guy who was dressed very flamboyantly. “When I walk to work, they cross the street and say ‘faggot’ or ‘hello, sir.’”The 47-year-old transsexual has lived as a woman for more than a decade.

“I wonder if this is the next generation of gay bashing. And in our own neighbourhood. It sets the gay movement back 30 years.” But the slushings sure have the Village’s attention. Other incidents are being reported on Facebook. Enza has called a February 9th meeting to discuss the “Jarvis teens of terror.” as she calls them. Enza's action title seems to brand them all as teens of terror. It may be helpful to address it as a few bad apples in a school of mostly decent, respectful people. http://www.facebook.com/pages/Jarvis-Collegiate-Institute

The dust up will likely be settled by Toronto Police and Jarvis Collegiate fairly long before tourism season goes into full swing in the spring and summer.

The Battle for Queer Culture in Toronto

Wednesday January 5, 2011 Toronto ON. Written by Siobhan McGuirk (UK) Research and collaboration by Michel François Paré (Toronto)

10 years was a landmark for the Toronto Queer West Arts Festival in August 2010. The first Pride event in Toronto took place 30 years ago. It shows how much the visibility and public acceptance of LGBTQ has grown, and how quickly, that Pride Toronto and to a lesser degree Queer West Arts Festival are each as popular as they are now.

Of course, there was always a gay scene in Toronto long before then, with bars and cafes situated between drag shows, fetish clubs, alternative nights and cabarets – the type of event now more likely termed queer than synonymous with ‘gay culture’. These still attract audiences year-round, but have shifted further out of the spotlight. They have become niche. The scene, it seems, has been sanitised.

It follows a common trend in which liberation rallies commemorating the Stonewall Riots have become Pride parades with organisers able to erect fences and charge entry fees. Pride movements have emerged to bite back, with radical politics and declarations of inclusivity. For its part, Queer West Arts Festival proudly proclaims that only 50% of its audience is defined as lesbian or gay. It is a celebration of diversity.

Queer West Arts Festival celebrates and supports artists who create work on their own terms; in their own way… here they can make the work they’re burning to make. They can risk and they can play.

Of course, queer movements in general have faced backlash: some see the term “Queer” as offensive rather than reclaimed. Others assert that their sexuality should not be presumed to dictate their politics.

Yet queer arts festivals such as Queer West Arts Festival, Edmonton’s Exposure Arts Festival and Montreal’s Divers/Cité among others, at the very least, make space for important questions to be raised. They also offer a platform to unpopular or extraordinary responses. They demonstrate that to be L,G,B, T and/or Q is still seen subversive, even if you don’t want it to be. No matter how “pink” mainstream political parties have become, or acceptable gay marriage or civil partnerships are, society still insists on its norms.

The arts can explore the boundaries of equality debates and reveal the tension within them, highlighting the prejudices that persist, both on and off “the scene”: sexism, transphobia, body fascism, ageism, and racism only scratch the surface. When a polyamorous, asexual, mixed race, gender queer artist announces that they will vote Conservative because they, too, believe in “family values”, the audience laughs, recognising that the joke is on us

Many are self-defining queers who feel “the scene” does not cater to their needs or outlooks and see Queer West Arts Festival as an annual highlight. Paradoxically, another chunk of friends have no idea the festival even exists.

Pride Toronto, too, splits opinion. Overly commercial and frustratingly political for many, it is the high point of the year for some. There are overlaps between the two camps, of course, but there is still a discernable divide between the “gay” and “queer” scenes, and the gulf between them seems to be widening.

It will be interesting to see the results, and by the close of the festival, how far the gay / queer divide has been addressed and whether new ideas will emerge over what it is to be L, G, B, T, I, Q in Toronto 2011.

Siobhan McGuirk, is a Freelance Filmmaker / Journalist with lesbilicious.co.uk Email siobhan@redpepper.org.uk Michel F. Paré is President of the Toronto Queer West Arts & Culture Centre and Publisher of OuteXpressions Newspaper. outexpressions@gmail.com

Why a queer arts festival in Toronto when the city has Pride?

Queer West's Philosophy

Why should there be only one ten day gay festival (Pride) in the City of Toronto? We believe there is room for us too. Queer West has been here ten years, quietly working away with little or no money and an organization unknown to many.

Our founding organization, Gay West Community Network starting holding its own Pride Toronto West Festival, as one day event from 2001 to 2004. We changed the name in 2005 to Parkdale Pride Party (it became 3 day event) and in 2006 (7 day event), and dropped the word Pride.

We incorporated the Network as not-for-profit charity in 2008. The Queer West Arts & Culture Festival (Queer West Fest.) was also incorporated as special event of the Art Centre. Our mandate is to produce performing arts festivals for the purposes of educating and advancing the public’s understanding and appreciation of performing arts and to educate artists through participation in such festivals and related workshops.

We believe we hosted the best alterna-queer ten day festival to Pride, the City of Toronto has seen in 2010. To us its not about being the largest or making the city economy grow. Its about you and making sure you enjoy our festival. If your not completely satisfied, we're not happy. We care about creating a quality festival. We won't settle for anything less than excellence.

We just happen to believe we are holding exceptional and fun queer art festivals, every year for the past ten years. We're constantly focusing on being innovative, we added a film festival in 2008 that is starting to grow, from a backyard to a 244 seat theatre in 3 years. Throughout the year we hold other quality queer cultural events, everything from youth art workshops to young adult UnConferences to nights of poetry and spoken word.

Our arts festival use to precede Toronto Pride Week, in June. The Queer West Board of Directors and Arts Collective thought Toronto's LGBTQ fabulousness shouldn't all be jam packed into that month. The annual arts festival has now moved to AUGUST and become A WHOLE DIFFERENT FESTIVAL, ON ITS OWN, to showcase queer culture in a better light. We believe there are tourists in the city all summer long, especially in August; they will be looking for something different than, PRIDE

We believe we are making a significant change, how people view gay and lesbian festivals.

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