Queer West - Serving West Toronto, Ontario

OuteXpressions: Community News

2017 - occasional news briefs

queer west outexpressions official logo 2017, artwork by michel pare, toronto ontario

Outexpressions newspaper published since 1995, is owned by Gay West Community Network Inc. (Queer West) a not-for-profit organization. Queer West publishes event listings and provides some community resources as a courtesy to our Friends, who supported and/or sponsored GWCN's many Arts and Film Festivals we hosted and produced over the past 17 years. OUTexpressions News has now become one of Toronto's leading Gay and Lesbian media publications, with the hottest happenings in the coolest Places. We are not an exclusive gay publication. Queerwest.org is consistently ranked #1 (Page One) in Bing and Google, for most Search returns. (Masthead) Copyright 2017. All Rights Reserved. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook Thank you for your interest in QueerWest.org. SUBMIT AN EVENT

Why Toronto Police should be allow to March in the Pride Parade in full uniform.

The publisher of our news arm Outexpressions Michel F. Paré, wrote Toronto Police Services (TPS) LGBTQ Liaison Officer Constable Danielle Bottineau and asked, “How many out and proud Toronto Police officers are there in metro Toronto? She wrote back on May 23; we do not keep stats. I have no idea! He also wrote and called Pride Toronto's Ryan Connelly Manager, Communications and Community Relations and asked “How many police officers from Toronto and province signed up to march in the parade in 2016?” which they would know. No response.

If Outexpressions were the Toronto Star or one of the other major city papers, some sort of response would have happened in 15 minutes. Pride Toronto often ask us support them, with some sort of announcement and we do.

Our reason for writing both parties was for a show support by Gay West Community Network Inc.(Queer West) that TPS be allowed to march in the Pride Parade in 2017, since that is now out of the question, then in 2018. Perhaps with just a small registered contingent of Out and Proud Police officers only in full uniform and a police float of some sort.

Yes, Pride is still important. There are still myriad LGBTQ issues the community grapples with and it is a milestone for anyone who is just recently out of the closet to attend their first Pride. We offer that the event needs to be reinvented in some way so it can more effectively reflect our history and Toronto Police be allowed to march as they always have.

As some of you may know, Toronto Police have been invited to march in the New York Pride Parade happening same day as ours, June 25th. The invitation came from the Gay Officers Action League (GOAL) of New York, a civil rights organization dedicated to addressing the concerns of gay and lesbian law enforcement personnel. GOAL had to sue in the United States federal court in 1997 for the right to march in the NYPD uniforms in New York City Pride. If Toronto Police Services do not make any headway in 2018, they should consider suing too. Let us hope it does not come to that.

Pride Toronto continues to draw criticism after acquiescing to Black Lives Matter Toronto's aggressive request to ban police in uniform - gay or otherwise - from marching in this year's celebrations and from having any official booths at the event, which takes place June 25. Pride’s membership voted Tuesday January 17, 2017 at the AGM. Voting on the Black Lives Matter demands was not a planned part of the meeting's original agenda, but add during meeting by a show hands.

Police Chief Mark Saunders diplomatically announced his officers would only provide security for the event, which the taxpayers are on the hook for.

Pride will receive quite a chunk of public money to fund the festival. City Hall's gift is $260,000 Queen's Park's $270,000 and Ottawa's Heritage Fund $102,300 and TD Canada Trust pays for most of their stages, we are not bemoaning this fact; all large festival apply for government grants. Pride should get their fair share too.

Pride Toronto's Mission Statement; We welcome everyone and want everyone to be welcomed. We are accessible to everyone as we create a sense of belonging and shared purpose. We celebrate the uniqueness of all voices while bringing people together as one community. Pride showcases Toronto on the world stage with diversity, inclusion and vibrant creativity.

The Pride festival started out as a protest, but also a celebration. For a couple of hours every year, people from all walks of life can take to the streets of Toronto and collectively embrace the joyous experience of being their whole self. The purpose of the Pride festival now transcended politics. Inclusion means everyone.

Let us not acquiesce to BLM-Toronto demands that Toronto Police be excluded from the parade in uniform, with Jiggery-Pokery. Yes they can march, but with ball caps and T-shirts only. Yes BLM-Toronto has their own issues, we understand that, but let us not hold the once a year pride parade, hostage to meet those demands.

Toronto Mayor John Tory said yesterday, at the PFlag raising ceremony at City Hall. “He wishes Pride (http://www.pridetoronto.com/) had not said police uniforms, weapons and vehicles are unwelcome in the parade that caps the event-filled month, but he is “very confident” ongoing talks between police Chief Mark Saunders and Pride executive director Olivia Nuamah will find a compromise for next year's parade.

We hope Pride Toronto and BLM-Toronto come to a fair and equitable solution in 2018 and puts an end to the controversy that has divided the LGBTQ community this past year and half

Why the 2017 Queer West Film Festival was cancelled

Friday February 17, 2017 - The Toronto Queer Arts and Culture Festival began life as an alternative to pride week events in 2001 for those living west of the city. It was also commonly known as Queer West Fest and produced by queerwest.org With the support of local businesses and volunteers it had expanded to a three day event by 2006 and a full festival week by 2010. Evolving to meet the needs of the queer community it serves, the range of festival event never remained static. From family picnics, live music events, queer heritage talks, poetry and literary readings (Smash Words), and in 2008, a film festival was added. The Toronto Queer Arts and Culture Festival did strive to produce something a little bit different. We are indebted to our past volunteers, performers and event managers, all of whom contributed to queer academia and alternative queer culture in Toronto.

Arts and Culture Festival was put to sleep in 2014 when the last one ran from Tuesday August 5 to Sunday August 10 We decide to concentrate on making the Queer West Film Festival bigger and better and TD Bank begin to help sponsor it in 2015, when we moved from a one evening event to a three day event.

Gay West Community Network Inc. regrets to inform you that the ninth annual Queer West Film Queer West Film 2017 Oct 6-8 @ Revue Cinema, has been cancelled. We can tell you from experience that nothing is more frustrating than six trained volunteers this year, who decided on their own, to discard the plan which had work for eight years, voting for their own agenda, in hidden forum board on Facebook. Just because someone volunteers, does not give them the right to do whatever they want. Everyone should be pulling their weight, not pushing their weight around. The volunteers (Names upon request) were fired, throwing the festival into chaos on Feb 16, 2017.

We should have minimum of six operational volunteers over 30, with experience, to manage a festival of this size. There is simply not enough time to train new volunteers at this late date. This is the reason for cancellation; we will pay a few bills, and have returned the TD Bank funding on Monday February 20 and submission fees were refunded to all directors that submitted in 2017. The Board is putting the film festival to sleep for a couple of years.

Queer West Office: queerwestinfo@gmail.com
562 Dufferin St. 2nd Floor B1 Toronto ON M6K 2A9. Phone: 416-879-7954
Board of Directors 2017: Michel F. Paré, Richa Bhala Shrotriya and Lauren Tenn



© Copyright 2017 Gay West Community Network Inc.