2010 Contributors' picks: LGBT
Best reasons for gay men to fall in love with HIM
Although sexual health is often emphasized within the gay community, Health Initiative for Men takes a holistic approach by addressing everything from physical to emotional and social health. This past summer, HIM offered a three-tiered program of outdoor boot-camp fitness classes that were volunteer-run and, believe it or not, all free. In addition to a free condom-distribution program, HIM also provides a yoga class (by donation), free professional counselling, ESL conversation nights, and a gay men’s talking circle based on Native traditions. What’s not to love about HIM?
Best way to relive Olympic pride
After the Olympics, we had World Cup fever to satiate our need to get together and watch sports on a TV screen. The cauldron got lit on Canada Day, and our desire for nonstop partying culminated with English Bay fireworks and Pride. But coming to our city next year (July 25 to 31, 2011) are the North America Outgames, which will see LGBTQ athletes from across the continent converging on our fair city to compete in sports (ranging from hockey and soccer to dragon boating and 10-pin bowling), take part in a human-rights conference, march in the Pride Parade, and, most importantly, have a good time.
Best investment in reducing future gay bashings
A hearty thank you to the folks at Out in Schools, who brave titters and text messaging to bring film presentations about sexuality and bullying to high-school classrooms. After talking to almost 6,000 students, Out in Schools has already helped change the future for queer-identified youth (who still face a disproportionate risk of being bullied and are more likely than their straight peers to attempt suicide). As an offshoot of the Out on Screen Film and Video Society, Out in Schools has access to an enviable pool of films, some of which are made by youth. And hooray to the fact that it has even infiltrated Surrey—whose school board has fought to ban books portraying gay parents from schools—with its “controversial” message
of no hate.
Best revenge on homophobic landlords
In a ruling dated January 8, 2010, a B.C. Human Rights Tribunal ordered an award of $15,000 each to gay friends Edmund Bro and Keith Scott, who complained that they were discriminated against by their West Vancouver landlord because of their sexual orientation, physical disability, and source of income. The decision noted that on several occasions the two were described by their landlord as “faggots”, “infected with AIDS”, and living on “welfare”. The ruling also noted that at one time, the landlord’s son called them “butt-fuckers”. Hmm, well, you know what they say about homophobes and hypocrisy”¦
Best queer bashes beyond the West End
All colours of the rainbow are welcome in East Van, with the rise of dance parties like SPIT and Queer Bash, held monthly at the ANZA Club and the Cobalt, respectively. What’s different about these events is their eclectic mix of queers, straights, and everything in between. You can fall on the floor with a gay boy, stare at your bisexual coworker’s breasts before and after pasties, and sip drinks with a fag hag. Attire is key, with people arriving in outrageous getups for SPIT and donning costumes for Queer Bash’s tickle trunk of “versus” dress-up themes (i.e., Dollywood vs. Bollywood, Frat House vs. Fashion House, Baywatch Babes vs. Disco Divas). With some queer spaces shutting their doors (goodbye, Odyssey!), it’s nice to see that other venues and party promoters are helping to paint the town pink.