Friday, June 10, 2011

Happy Pride Edmonton!

\It is pride week in Edmonton starting today.  It is one of my favourite times of year.  Pride is the first big summer festival here.  It is like the pot of coffee that wakes you up after a long sleep.   Winter this year was particularly brutal and that really put a damper on a lot of things so it will be a great chance to see and get back in touch with people I don't get to see very often.  Plus it is an excuse to wear short shorts and I will take that any chance I can get it!
If you are on tumblr you have probably seen or read some comments on an article about post gays or nugays.  You will read a lot of comments on what judgemental douchebags the guys interviewed come off as and how out of touch they are etc. I don't think the photos really helped with making them seem at all approachable.   Really my issue is not with them. They are all pretty young.  At that age I was an insufferable arrogant asshole (hell I probably still am now at almost 29).  Thats the arrogance of youth.  Thats part of the journey.  Thats the age range when we say stupid shit and do stupid things because we are still building a core identity for ourselves.  I would want nothing to do with 21 year old Aaron other than to tell him to smarten up and drink less.  Hopefully some of the guys featured will see how they come off and maybe take something positive from the experince.  Reaming them out all over the internet doesn't help them and it sure wont help the community.
My main issue with the article is that the basic hypothesis that it puts forth is false for 99% of the rest of the community (yes I think it is a community regardless of what some may say).
a new generation of twentysomething urban gays—my generation—has the freedom to live exactly the way we want. We have our university degrees, homes and careers. In Toronto, we’ve abandoned the Church Wellesley Village. We’re tattooed and pierced and at the helm of billion-dollar industries like fashion and television. We vacation with our boyfriends in fabulously rustic country homes that belong to our parents, who don’t mind us coming to stay as a couple. Hell, we even marry our boyfriends, if we choose to, on rooftops overlooking Queen West. Our sexual orientation is merely secondary to our place in society. 
This myopic worldview is fine when your young, well off and well educated.  Choose to see the world like that if you wish it is your right but doing so ignores the experinces  of the vast amount of people who's lives are affected by systemic societal inequality.
I was at Edmonton's Queer Prom on the weekend very briefly.  Queer Prom is a safe, supportive gathering for youth 16 to 25 who do not feel comfortable going to school events because of bullying or homophobia.  It has been growing every year attracting kids from as far away as Alaska.  This year attracted over 350 youth.  Many of these kids are at risk or living on the streets or couch surfing. Some are just regular kids from supportive families in the suburbs (these kids are the exception not the rule).
The BEEF Bear party that my buddy Daren and I organized managed to raise about 1300 bucks to go towards food for Queer Prom.  As many of these kids don't know where the next meal is coming from food is a big deal at an event like this.  We dropped by after being invited by the organizers to touch base with some of the volunteers and see how things were going.
Walking into that party was such a heartwarming experience.  Everyone was having a fantastic time smiling and dancing away.  Many of them you could tell were just taking first steps into realizing themselves and the power that accepting yourself can give you.  The tentative unbuttoning of shirts while dancing, the awkward glances they were shooting each other, the first kisses..
Life without any fear for the first time. Those moments were like a rebirth for me when I was young. It was all totally adorable.  I was so honoured to be a part of it and to be able to help out  in some small way.  I was a lucky kid.  I managed to stay closeted and finish two bachelors degrees and not kill myself while living with my parents.  I own my own home and have a wonderful partner whom I hope to marry some day and luckily we live in a place where we can.  We both also have very supportive and loving families.  As someone as lucky as I am I feel it is important to try and give back to help those who are not been as lucky as I am.

So when someone says that our sexual orientation is merely secondary to our place in society I think yes your allowed to have that opinion but please do not wash away the struggle that many are still undergoing daily to love and live as freely as you do. Not to mention it totally abandons all the sacrifice and hard work of the generations that fought for your current comfort level. I hope this "new gay" the writer is talking about isn't universally ignorant to the suffering around them.

So to this I say Happy Pride everyone! Go out and queer it up if thats your thing (or don't if you so choose) but at the very least try and do something good for someone else!

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Sometimes you need a little Jann

This flu bug has really knocked me on my ass.  I tried to go into work today but the combination of cold sweats and an unsettled stomach sent me home.  I managed to clear off some deadline specific stuff from underneath a quilt on the couch  here which is good.

I don't know why this song has been in my head for the whole day but I thought I would share it with you.  Jann Arden is one of my favourite vocalists ever.  She sings with a fire and timber of someone who knows pain.   Living under June her debut will always be in my music collection.  Its the perfect music for a dreary day or post break up tunes for a long highway ride at night. Jann has gotten me through some tough times.  I hope she can do the same for you :D

Thanks Jann.

Monday, June 06, 2011

The kinky shopping list mystery

For Christmas last year the fella got me a super awesome man-bag to carry my laptop around.  My old one was showing it's age and was a little too small for what I needed.  In the process of cleaning out my old bag (that I had had for about 3 years at that point).  I found this folded up piece of paper in it at the very bottom of a pocket I rarely use.

It was a shopping list for cockring's from 2005 in someone else's handwriting.  How it found it's way into my bag  and who wrote it I have never figured out.  Whoever it was was seriously researching this and clearly wanted stainless steel.
So if you are out there kinky mystery shopper and this is your list you should let me know how it got into my bag and how your shopping turned out!

Friday, June 03, 2011

Things I learned In Chicago

It has taken me some time to unpack my brain and bags from our vacation to Bear Pride and IML in chicago last weekend.  It was so refreshing to get to be in a totally new and different environment.  If the fella and I had not caught some sort of cold on the way home I am sure we would be both feeling rather rejuvenated by the whole experience.

So here is the list of things I learned from my first real visit to the United States and my first Bear Run.

  • I have some of the best friends in the whole world.
  • Transit is much scarier and yet much better than it is in Edmonton.
  • I live in a tiny town.
  • The buildings speak in chicago.  The gorgeous architecture tells a story drenched in history and drama.   We have none of that here.
  • Lanes in Chicago are suggestions only.  As are signalling and waiting for crosswalk signs.
  • The newer the cab the more terrifying the ride will be in it.
  • Cabs are easy to get. We never waited more than 5 min for one.  In Edmonton you could wait for hours at peak times.
  • Pot holes are big enough to eat a whole car.
  • Chicago Deep Dish is indeed the best fucking pizza I have ever had. Giordano's was amazing!
  • While a 4 dollar appetizer in Edmonton is enough for maybe one person.  A 4 dollar appetizer in Chicago can feed a family of 4 for 2 days.
  • Carson's ribs are fucking tasty.
  • Tourist traps like the museum and the silver bean can be fun if you go with the right people.
  • OMG booze is cheap.  Like stupidly cheap.
  • 3 AM free pizza in the hospitality suite is both the best and worst idea ever.
  • I need to learn how to turn people down who proposition me rather than get embarrassed and then turning mute and running away awkwardly.
  • The tubs in chicago are nicer than the bars here.
  • Always rent a room when you go to the tubs.
  • I am already fucking the hottest guy at the bathhouse.
  • Never take anything to the tubs that you don't want stolen. The fella had his sandals swiped and had to wear these hilarious slippers around boystown.
  • Freepour is the devil.  A delicious and dangerous devil that I want in my mouth.
  • RIch Morel and Bob Mould have got to be two of the best DJ's in the world.  I almost died when they played Zero by the smashing pumpkins at Blowoff.
  • Dancing for 4 hours straight is like walking 9 miles.
  • While my shoes look great they are not designed for walking or dancing 9 miles.
  • Guys that play rugby and are on tumblr are guaranteed to be cute and fucking awesome.
  • Short shorts are not a trend in Chicago and people will look at you funny if you wear them.
  • At IML it is ok to hop around in a body suit with your dick hanging out as long as it is not in the main lobby.
  • Girls can throw boys in slings too!
  • Never eat leftover Queso dip that has been stored out on your patio overnight.
  • Changing in the middle of a display booth while wearing only a jockstrap is the honestly the least interesting thing people will see at the leather market.  No one will even give you a second glance.
  • Mango vodka and starbucks passion tea lemonade make for a fucking delicious combination at 9 am when you are on the way to the airport.
  • Even though you may not know anyone in this town somehow word of your sensitive nipples will get around to random strangers.  
All in all it was a really wonderful experience.  I am looking forward to going back next year maybe.  I miss it already.