Ottawa Xtra

Out in Ottawa: July 1–15, 2017

1 July 2017 - 9:41am
Choice events in the city

I wore a snowmobile suit and winter boots for a sex-work client (Part 1)

30 June 2017 - 9:31am
I’m standing in a nondescript motel room on Montreal’s South Shore.

Out in Toronto: June 29–July 5, 2017

29 June 2017 - 3:23pm
Choice events in the city this week

Qmunity saw nearly $127,000 shortfall in 2016 but is still debt-free

29 June 2017 - 3:11am
Treasurer says BC’s queer resource centre is back on track for 2017

Out in Vancouver: June 29–July 4, 2017

28 June 2017 - 7:46pm
Choice events in the city this week

Stop using pseudoscience and sex shaming to argue against PrEP

28 June 2017 - 6:04pm
Maclean’s just published an anti-scientific article on PrEP

Pardons, concealed weapons and a trans gondolier

28 June 2017 - 12:19pm
Your Daily Package of newsy and naughty bits from around the world

After a year of controversy, the Toronto Pride parade marches on

27 June 2017 - 5:19pm
The road to this year’s Toronto Pride parade was a long one.

These LGBT students just won scholarships for their activism

27 June 2017 - 2:07pm
Some of the 2017 LOUD youth leaders open up about their motivations and their setbacks

This organization is bringing queer media to rural Alberta

27 June 2017 - 12:21pm
When you can’t find representation at home, OUTReels brings it to you

Black Lives Matter Vancouver draws large crowd to reclaim Pride with march through gay village

26 June 2017 - 1:09am
March on Pride centres voices of Vancouver’s queer and trans Black and people of colour communities

Black Lives Matter makes symbolic return to Toronto Pride

25 June 2017 - 9:56pm
‘This is our community,’ says BLM activist

Meet the people who will lead Vancouver’s 2017 Pride parade

23 June 2017 - 4:30pm
Vancouver Pride announces marshals and honours activists at 2017 StandOUT Awards

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to march in Toronto Pride for the second year

23 June 2017 - 1:05pm
Made history in 2016 when he became the first sitting Canadian PM to march in a Pride parade

Out in Toronto: June 22–28, 2017

22 June 2017 - 5:40pm
Choice events in the city this week

This student was called a racial slur then stuffed into a recycling bin

21 June 2017 - 9:26pm
Months of homophobic and racist bullying have pushed a young student in New Westminster, BC, to switch schools, after his mother alleges his school failed to sufficiently protect him. Victor, whose name Xtra agreed to change to protect his identity, is an 11-year-old student at Queensborough Middle School where he enjoys social studies, math and Exploratories (which includes cooking, drama, and sewing classes). He also loves basketball, watching Vine videos and video game recaps, and is a big fan of the new Beauty and the Beast film. He says school is fun, although things changed last fall when he became the target of an older classmate’s bullying. “So in the beginning of the school year he started calling me names. Like, the n-word. A faggot,” Victor says. “It was weird because I’d never felt like that in a long time. . .  I just hate it.” Victor’s mother, Jodie Ortega, says she was unaware of the harassment until an incident after school in February, when Victor’s classmate stole his wallet and used it to buy pizza for himself and his friends. It was only then she learned about the homophobic and racist slurs Victor was routinely subjected to. “The way [Victor] was explaining it to me that evening, he had normalized it so much that he said it so casually,” Ortega says. “I remember he took his headphones out and he was like, ‘Well, honestly Mom, I hear it all the time and it’s like I’m so used to it by now.’“ She also learned the bullying had gotten physical on at least one occasion when Victor was knocked to the ground, called a racial slur and then stuffed in a recycling bin. Ortega contacted Queensborough Middle School principal Lisa Nasato immediately with her concerns. What followed, she alleges, was a lacklustre response that included long wait times between meetings, a lack of transparency, and an insufficient apology that only came after months of pressure. Though the racist and homophobic bullying stopped in February and the bully was temporarily suspended then moved to a different class — with rules imposed that require him to keep his distance from Victor — Ortega feels the school has routinely failed to keep her updated on developments in her son’s case. Nasato says for privacy reasons she cannot discuss specific cases at her school. But, she says, when any situation involving bullying is brought to the attention of staff or administration they seek to address it right away. “We’re dealing with students, we’re in the business of education, and we deal with that on a case-to-case basis based on what has happened,” she says. “We of course work with the students involved and we make it an educational learning experience.” In a June 14, 2017, letter from Nasato to Ortega (provided to Xtra by Ortega), Nasato says she “deeply regret[s] that [Victor] has experienced discriminatory and hurtful behaviour at our school.” When the incidents were brought to her attention, Nasato writes, she “investigated them promptly and thoroughly,” adding that she takes “behaviours such as these seriously.” But Ortega says the apology is insufficient because it uses vague terms such as “discriminatory” and “hurtful behaviour,” rather than specifically acknowledging that Victor was targeted with homophobic and racist harassment. “Name the shame. Spell it out. That’s how we grow,” she says. Ortega also questions why the province’s School Act protects bullies under 16 from getting expelled, leaving kids like Victor to suffer or change schools. “How can you flourish in an environment where you’re supposed to learn and develop your social development when you’re around your perpetrator?” she asks. New Westminster’s superintendent of schools, Pat Duncan, says this is a natural response from a parent, but says expulsions are becoming less common even among students not shielded by the School Act. “Our job is to teach children what the appropriate behaviour is and help them understand that. Removing them from the scene is not necessarily going to help them,” he says. “But obviously we also have to protect the victim, so it’s a real balance. Sometimes you’ll see class changes. Sometimes it’s school changes. But that’s the difficulty — there’s no one-size-fits-all solution for any of these.” Because Victor’s bully will continue to attend Queensborough Middle School, causing her son much anxiety, Ortega says the family decided to move Victor to Fraserview Middle School, which is also part of the New Westminster school district. With its gay-straight alliance and gender-neutral washroom, Fraserview will hopefully provide a better overall environment for Victor, his mother says. “It’s all about embracing inclusiveness. . . It matches the dialogue and the values that Victor and I have at home,” Ortega says of the tour they recently took at the new school. “When he saw the gender-neutral washroom and his face lit up, I cried. He was getting it. The sense of belonging.” Ortega says Victor had previously expressed an interest in possibly wearing dresses, but being called a “faggot” likely halted any further exploration of his gender expression at Queensborough. No matter how Victor identifies, it doesn’t change the fact that the bullying he endured was homophobic in nature, Ortega notes, citing the case of Azmi Jubran, the North Vancouver high school student who was tormented for years with homophobic language and violence, even though he was straight. Jubran sued the North Vancouver school board and eventually won in 2005. Queensborough Middle School does not have a gay-straight alliance or a gender-neutral washroom. But superintendent Duncan says it will be getting a gender-neutral washroom and a GSA next year, and says the New Westminster school board’s Gender and Sexual Diversity Committee — soon to be renamed Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Committee — was among the first in the province. “This is for us very important and a point of pride,” he says. “What we’re really trying to do is make sure every student, regardless of orientation, race, or religion feels very welcome in our schools and is seen as part of the community.” Duncan says he cannot comment on specific cases like Victor’s, but says each case is unique, which makes it impossible for administrators to offer parents a set timeline in terms of when an issue will be resolved. He acknowledges that some situations take longer than others. “I can guarantee you that every time there is a complaint put forward, there is an action that goes with it. Nothing gets put off,” he says. He also says the process may seem opaque at times because schools must ensure they protect the privacy of all students involved. “The harasser or the bullier, that child has the same rights as the victim does as far as privacy,” Duncan says. “That frustrates some parents because they want to know everything they can. And unfortunately what we can only share is the little we’re allowed to.”

Out in Vancouver: June 22-28, 2017

21 June 2017 - 9:26pm
It’s June and time is ticking away on the Pride countdown, so if you haven’t sent me your Pride listings or Pride pictures, don’t wait another day longer. If you have anything associated with Pride — a party, AGM, march, dance, group, get together, anything at all — send it along to me at Don’t be one of those people who remembers the day after your event!   Thursday, June 22 StandOUT! Awards Formerly known as the Legacy Awards, the StandOUT! Awards is a night to acknowledge those who have contributed to the LGBTQ2+ community in Vancouver over the years. Presented by the Pride Society, there are six award categories this year to recognize those making changes within the community.  6–10pm. Roundhouse Community Centre, 181 Roundhouse Mews. Tickets $25 and info at   Mpowerment And Chill Pretty well the same as Netflix and chill, but things stop at the cuddling. This is a social event where young gay, bi and queer guys come together to watch and discuss queer-themed media. Tonight kick back and watch Paris Is Burning, a 1990 documentary about the ball culture of New York City and the African-American, Latino, gay, and transgender communities involved in it. Mpowerment events are planned by and for young men who are gay, bi, or queer, and their friends. 6:30–9pm. Mpowerment Headquarters, 205-568 Seymour St. No charge.   The Glitterbox Hell must have frozen over. No, Conni Smudge has not gotten laid, there is actually a new show in town. Kitty Nights’ new venture Glitterbox is an outrageous night of burlesque, boylesque, drag and cabaret acts featuring drag by Catfish, circus and gender-fluid burlesque by Vixen Von Flex, boylesque by Bruce Wang, burlesque by the dynamic Monday Blues, dancers from The School Of Tease, pre-show go-go dancers, wacky craziness, and a fabulous finale ritual. 8–10:30pm. The Odyssey, 686 West Hastings St. Tickets $6–$10 at and   Dust and Amy Sing the Hits Can you tell which drag queens are of the old regime and which are the new? One generation seems to increasingly have a beard, and I don’t mean a female cover-up for a date. Maybe it’s so that they don’t have to spend so much on makeup. Tonight check it out for yourself as Dust and Amy sing the hits of Ariana Grande, Poison, Drake, Queen, Lady Gaga, Enrique and everyone’s favourite, Counting Crows. 8:30pm. XYYVR, 1216 Bute St. Cover $5.   Sidekicks We all have sidekicks but call them different things: wingman, BFF, ball and chain, co-dependant, you get the idea. Tonight one of our dearest funny men, Ryan Steele, steps out on his main squeeze, Amy Goodmurphy, and teams up with someone new, Lauren McGibbon. Now we will see who carries the weight in that comedy duo. I’m guessing it’s the feminine one (sorry Amy). Tonight’s show is duos-only, where our favourite comedy heroes buddy up to write, rehearse and perform hilarious sketch comedy. 9pm. The China Cloud, 524 Main St. Cover $10.   Friday, June 23 Queer Prom I missed my prom, and if I went to one now I’m sure it would have to be as a chaperone. Come out for a magical night of dancing, friendship, food, unicorns and love as the Youth Space of South Surrey/White Rock takes you out of this world. You can be casual, fancy, just you or even an alien. For all LGBTQ+ youth ages 13-24. Allies welcome. 5:30–9:30pm. The Youth Space, Bakerview Park, 1845-154th St, Surrey. No cover.   Beefcake Art Show & Pop-Up Really, I can’t make this stuff up. Pork Pie brand is holding a beefcake art show and pop up, and after looking at the list of talented artists I’m sure you will be the one popping up. I only made it as far as Luc Latulippe and Sean Sikorski, but there is still Mark Pilon, Hobo Divine and Chadd Andre to gaze at as you peruse their paintings, T-shirts, tanks, limited edition prints, vinyl records and whiskey toothpaste. Friday 6–10pm, Saturday 12–9pm. Pop-Up Space, 434 Columbia St, Chinatown, Vancouver. No cover.   Brown Body Stories: Searching For Healing/Longing for Home Tonight is the launch of Jotika Chaudhary’s one-person show and zine-album — a handmade book that includes writing and art plus a CD of recorded song-poems. Brown Body Stories explores themes of home, heartbreak and healing, and a 20-something queer woman’s journey. Doors 6pm. Show 7–8:15pm. Kwantlen Polytech University, 8771 Lansdowne Rd, Richmond. Tickets by donation 0–$20, pay what you can at More info at   Hot Bitch Bingo Don’t let the hot Surrey bitches scare you. I’ve been told these bitches are hot, crazy and a blast as they bring you a free night of wild bingo. With prizes and a 50/50 draw for Surrey Pride, you can’t win if you don’t show up, so give it a shot. 7:45–10:45pm. Dell Lanes & Lounge, 10576 King George Blvd, Surrey. Free event.   Sissy Boy Friday night fever was never like this. Carlotta Gurl in bell bottoms: finally those ankles can fit in pants! Get ready to feel the fever as Carlotta Gurl and Mina Mercury become our favourite Disco Divas and put the funk back into Funky Town. It’s a night of bumping mixes from the 70s, 80s, and 90s with some sassy and sultry performances by the queens we know and love. 9pm–3am. The Odyssey, 686 W Hastings St. Cover $5.   Downtown Lesbian/Queer Party Things are looking up this summer. A new unique dance experience for Vancouver’s lesbian and queer scene comes to the heart of the Village. Featuring DJs Body Party, Bellaella with ManyBothans, and @djkristam, playing all your 90's hits and more as well as a performance by Karmella Barr. Get all your best moves out on that dance floor and shake it out to some Spice Girls, Aqua, TLC, Destiny's Child, Britney Spears, Tupac, Biggie and more. 10pm. XYYVR, 1216 Bute St. $10 at door.   Saturday, June 24 East Side Pride Always the best way to get your Pride tune-up before the onslaught of crowds of Vancouver Pride. This will be an inclusive, engaging, and family-friendly event featuring loads of local talent and friends from the community. Plus you can kick off the Pride season at the site of the historic Stonewall Festival. Live acts on the stage including Dia Nos, RedSoulBluez, Michelle Joly, Carousel Scene, Scizzor Fairy, drag performances and more. 12–6pm. Grandview Park. 1657 Charles St. No entrance fee.   Listen to the Music Out In Harmony, Vancouver's gay, bi, trans, lesbian and queer choir, presents Listen To the Music as the first of the city’s summer concerts. Tap your toes to “Singin’ in the Rain,” laugh at Monty Python’s “The Song that Goes Like This,” and groove along to Pentatonix’s “Sing.”  7:30–9:30pm. Unitarian Church, 949 W 49th Ave. Tickets $20 at the door.|listen-to-the-music-with-out-in-harmony|69774   Divine: Drag Disco Party Remember when WESA’s Art Gullet did Divine? No amount of vodka can remove that picture from my mind. This Divine, however, will transform the Saturday late night experience into a time warp of opulence, hedonism, and whimsy from the Studio 54 era of the 70s and 80s. Shanda Leer hosts alongside Jef Leppard and Trevor Risk, plus majestic drag hostesses Cinnamon Winters and Poison Apple. Get your furs and your skin tight pants ready because this is a truly transformative party. 10:30pm–2am. The Fox Cabaret, 2321 Main St. $12 at the door.   Sunday, June 25 Surrey Pride After a few bumps in the proverbial road, Surrey Pride March is on and the ingenious hardworking people there are putting it all on without their usual funding. Due to construction issues, the route has changed a little; the march will take place on the sidewalk so that cars are not a problem. Mz Adrien on a Vespa, though, may be a different issue. Groups and organizations, bring your banners, bring Pride flags and dress festively. 10–11am. City Hall Plaza, 10694 City Parkway, Surrey. No fee.   Rainbow Afternoon Beer Bash Whoever said you can’t teach an old dog new tricks was wrong. This old dog found that when he went out to New Westminster to a beer garden and met plenty of new tricks. The best part of it is that the bathhouse is right around the corner, and it’s in a different city so you don’t see the same old-same old faces. Ready to sneak away? Head two blocks to the skytrain and Bob’s your uncle, you’re home. 2–7pm. Judge Begbie’s Tavern, 609 Columbia St, New Westminster.   The March On Pride Join Black Lives Matter Vancouver and other queer, trans, two-spirit and intersex people of colour to march through the centre of Vancouver’s gaybourhood in a show of Pride that is re-politicized, inclusive, celebratory and divested from parades they say are unsafe and exclusive. This event will re-centre LGBTQ/2S Pride as political and reclaim it as a protest, organizers say. “This event is open to everyone except institutions that criminalize, brutalize and kill Black people and other marginalized groups. Transphobia, homophobia, biphobia, sexism, misogyny, racism, anti-blackness, Islamophobia, anti-Indigeneity or any other form of hate or discrimination will not be tolerated.” 1–4pm. Starts at Emery Barnes Park, 1199 Richards St. No fee.   Boys Gone Wild After many decades of birthdays, there have been many fun ones, many thoughtful ones and a few surprise ones, but never wet underwear ones until now. The Rhinestone Phoenix Foundation presents a wet underwear contest with $100 for the winner. Ms Gay Vancouver Casha Only and Mr Gay Vancouver Sir John A Taylor and special guests will be sure to entertain the crowd along with DJ Drew to set the mood. Now if we can only convince these boys to jump in the shower at PJ afterwards I will die a happy man. 10pm. The Junction, 1138 Davie St. $5 cover.   Monday, June 26 Friends Of Dorothy This is a new group I’ve just heard about. It’s not an event but a place youth need to know about. An inclusive and safe space for LGBTQ2+ youth ages 12-24 in Langley every Monday night. 5–7:30pm. Text 604-723-5173 or private message for address and entry.   Tuesday, June 27 Karaoke Ever want to be a big star? Here’s your chance. Don’t worry if you can’t sing, just turn up the bass. Euphonic Entertainment takes over XY every Tuesday and makes your dreams a reality. Bring a group for moral support or really loud backup singers and get your ABBA on. 9:30pm–2am. XYYVR, 1216 Bute St. No cover.   Wednesday, June 28 Bingo 4 Life It just won’t be the same without James Steck running around the bar like a bingo granny, but we still have Del Stamp as the DJ entertainment and rotating drag hostesses — makes them sound like those bobble heads on your dashboard that love throwing shade as much as possible. They also seem to fondle the balls a little too long (the ones in the spinner, not mine). Come down and try your luck; you may even win a nice beach ensemble to wear for Pride. 8–10pm. Celebrities, 1022 Davie St. $10 donation gets you in and bingo cards.

Ukraine’s LGBT community defies the haters and marches on

21 June 2017 - 9:26pm
About 300 anti-LGBT protesters banded into a line across the road a few hundred metres from where the city’s largest-ever Pride march — the second to take place in Kyiv’s city centre — was about to kick off. Most of them were men from the ultra-nationalist group Right Sector, some of whom burned a Pride flag in front of television cameras. One protester told Ukrainian news agency UNIAN that the marchers “are planning to introduce tolerance classes in schools! What does it mean?” “Say, if I’ll tell my son that this guy is a faggot, he’ll be like, ‘Dad, oops, you shouldn’t be saying such words.’” Their chants got louder and angrier as the march time approached. Some of them started huffing and locking arms, expecting a charge from the police and National Guard members pooled nearby. When the march down the road still hadn’t moved a few minutes past its scheduled start time, some of the protesters looked as if they were wondering if they’d won.  Then the march started to inch forward. Many of the protesters looked dumbfounded as police moved swiftly to box them in. Protected by a police cordon, the marchers took a left at the first intersection and went down a different street, avoiding the protesters altogether.  As the march took its own path, the protesters’ frowns and angry chants were replaced by whistles and cheers of “We’re different, we’re equal,” and “Ukraine for all.” There were colours, costumes and, for the first time at a KyivPride march, a crew of drag queens who’d come to the capital from all across Ukraine. If anyone here was afraid, it didn’t show. [[asset:image:310048 {"mode":"media_image_style_width_728px_","align":"center","field_asset_image_caption":["Kyiv\u2019s Pride march was protected by a police cordon."],"field_asset_image_credit":["Michael Colborne\/Daily Xtra"]}]] KyivPride organizers estimated up to 4,000 marchers attended this year, more than twice as many as 2016, though Kyiv police estimated there were only 2,500 participants in the march. The march was much more diverse this year, with different LGBT communities — including Russian LGBT activists there in solidarity — and straight allies and foreign ambassadors including Canada’s ambassador to Ukraine, Roman Waschuk, marching alongside each other. “This was what a real march of equality should look like,” KyivPride organizing committee member Anna Dovgopol told Ukraine’s Hromadske International. The march wouldn’t have been successful without the work of more than 5,000 police officers and National Guard members, who flanked participants along the entire route and directed them to a metro station where they could be safely shuttled out of the city centre and away from the protesters. For Ukrainian journalist and longtime LGBT activist Maxim Eristavi, this year’s Pride was “outstanding.” “To finally feel that cheerful, violence-free, party-like mood for the first time ever was liberating,” he tells Xtra. But Eristavi and other LGBT Ukrainians haven’t always felt this way. Surveys show that anti-LGBT attitudes are still strong in Ukraine. A 2016 survey showed that 60 percent of Ukrainians are generally negative towards LGBT people, and only four percent have positive attitude towards them. A recent Pew Research Center survey showed that 83 percent of Ukrainians think homosexual behaviour is “morally wrong” — among some of the highest in central and eastern Europe.  KyivPride board member Aleksandra Nazarova remembers how difficult it was to organize an LGBT march in the city five years ago. LGBT organizers were rebuffed by Kyiv city staff when they sought a permit to march. The community organized a small press conference instead, but two of the organizers were “teargassed and beaten” in front of journalists, she tells Xtra.  [[asset:image:310051 {"mode":"media_image_style_width_728px_","align":"center","field_asset_image_caption":["Far-right protesters band in a line, waiting for the Pride march to come their way."],"field_asset_image_credit":["Michael Colborne\/Daily Xtra"]}]] In 2013, 80 people marched along a stretch of suburban road barely longer than a football field, while 2014’s Pride march was cancelled by authorities. The first post-revolution March of Equality was held well outside the city centre in 2015, when far-right hooligans attacked hundreds of marchers. One of them threw a firecracker packed with nails that seriously injured a police officer, while other marchers were kicked and beaten as they tried to flee to the nearest metro station more than a kilometre away.  Ukraine’s LGBT activists still regularly deal with threats and violence. One human-rights activist noted before the march that Ukrainian authorities have failed to properly investigate a number of threats and attacks on LGBT activists nor been able — or willing — to bring the perpetrators to justice. It didn’t let up before this year’s Pride march; the day before, several Ukrainian LGBT activists were emailed a crude mock-up of LGBT people being lynched and decapitated with pitchforks. But Ukraine’s loud, violent far-right fringe wasn’t able to live up to its promise to disrupt the march. While 10 LGBT activists and participants were reportedly injured in attacks after the march — including an attack where protesters followed activists around town for several hours before allegedly pouncing on them at a metro station — it was far from the “bloodbath” that the far-right had suggested. Despite the threats and ongoing prejudice, Ukraine’s LGBT community may be gaining supporters.  “It was in the past year that I saw particularly clearly that the aggression against us actually benefits us as well,” KyivPride board member Zoryan Kis told UNIAN. “A lot of people came to the march precisely because there had been threats against us, so people came there to protest against this violence.”

This student was called a racial slur then stuffed into a recycling bin

21 June 2017 - 8:08pm
So why didn’t his school intervene sooner to protect him?