It’s a hard day for our community- it’s been one year since the Pulse nightclub attack. Through the devastation we came together, rallied world wide and pledged our commitment to building a stronger, more unified community in the face of hatred. That gut wrenching feeling after hearing the news that night hasn’t left me. It looms every time I pop into a gay bar, club or any queer gathering. But as we’ve demonstrated time and again, backing down is never an option.
Before voguing made it’s mainstream debut via Madonna in 1990 and the classic Jennie Livingston doc Paris is Burning in the same year, voguing was a dance pioneered by black drag queens in the 1960’s NYC Harlem ballroom era. The dance itself began as an admiration of the lifestyle of the rich and the famous, the fifth ave steppers and high fashion magazine models and their poses- hence the name. By the 80’s, as shown in Paris is Burning, the dance evolved into a form of shade and was used to distinguish who was legendary and who wasn’t. One such legend was Willi Ninja, the mother of the House of Ninja who not only mastered the dance form but aspired to take voguing from the ballroom to the real Paris and make the real Paris burn. And did he ever.
To do right in a world of wrong requires strength, compassion and sheer determination. All of which were pillars of the final presidential address delivered by Barrack Obama earlier this week. ‘Change only happens when ordinary people get engaged and come together to demand it’, he said. And this is true not only in the political sense but especially so in our growing society of indifference towards each other.
It’s the 28th anniversary of World AIDS Day. It’s an important day for the community- a day of remembrance for everyone we lost to the disease and a day when we should reach out to those affected and let them know we’re here for them and that we won’t stigmatize or pass judgement. This year’s campaign’s on point- has our knowledge and attitudes towards HIV changed with the times? Or is HIV Stigma on the increase? If you’ve used a gay dating app recently it’s pretty clear that stigma still exists and it’s right here in our own community.
So, it’s been a couple months since I posted anything new. My last post was the realest thing I’ve written and it felt great. What didn’t tho was all the negativity slung around by fellow gays about BLM TO and well, black folk in general. True colours were shown and it was nothing like the empowering colours of our rainbow.
From Orlando to now I’ve gone through feelings of sadness and appreciation, a joyful abundance of Pride in who we are and how far we’ve come to now absolute fucking despair. The aftermath of last Sunday’s Black Lives Matter-Toronto protest at the Pride
parade march shattered any false sense of community formed since Orlando. It’s sickening to read the multitudes of ridiculous anti-black comments and articles on social media from people who either have no right speaking on the topic i.e. straight people who felt inconvenienced by the 25 min delay and literally booed BLMTO marchers and the white privileged queens who can’t seem to understand or appreciate that non-white LBGT’s simply do not feel welcomed or valued in this community. If you’re already offended then this is especially for you.. Continue reading
Because I wasn’t around for the Stonewall riots,bathhouse raids or the Harvey Milk era I’ve always felt that my idea of Pride was lacking in actual substance. Like, there’s gotta be more to it than bitching over what to wear, what to do or who to kick it with. But things have changed since Orlando. Continue reading