Toronto
3 min

Bursting with pride

‘Tis no secret I’m a Pride guy. I love it more than my birthday, more than Jesus’s birthday, more than my mother (only don’t tell mother).

Here’s my secret for taking your Pride higher, and no I’m not sharing my dealer’s number. Pride gets better if you actually stop and consider what exactly it is you feel proud about. I’ve already started my Pride 2009 list, a work in progress as we approach the Big Day.

I’m proud of trannies everywhere. People I call friends, like female-to-male pornstar Buck Angel, who have caused a complete paradigm shift for me about gender to reveal a beautiful spectrum. Others like Nina Arsenault light up my life whenever and however they enter it with the sheer force they exude from being their true selves.

I’m proud of those young queer boys who have the beautiful audacity to strut Church St with their legs for days covered only by silver lamé short shorts, a ripped Jennifer-Beals-circa-Flashdance-type tee draping their bony upper bodies, hair dyed some awful blond. I bet you kids fuck like bobcats and I wish I had your nerve when I was exactly like you once upon a time.

I’m proud of this publication. That there has existed for a quarter of a century a paper that holds up a mirror for us all to examine ourselves — warts and all, even for those out there who despise looking in the mirror — is a powerful service and speaks to how far ahead of the world curve we’ve always been here as queers in Toronto and in Canada.

While I’m at it, I’m proud to be part of Proud FM. When you get an email from a oppressed queer in a part of the world where they’d sooner cut your head off than let you be who you are, telling you in cobbled-together English that your voice quietly coming through their computer sharing stories of an existence that is possible and real and happening in another part of the world and that this is a small peace of hope, it is a very humbling thing.  It ain’t just about spinning records, baby.

I’m proud of the HIV-positive people who aren’t taking the newest stigmatic issue of HIV and the law — a loathsome concept riddled with room for all kinds of peril ( lying down. People are talking. I know of at least one guy who wants to draft up a legal contract before he shags anyone again saying they know his HIV-positive status. On Jun 10 a demonstration took place on Parliament Hill calling for an end to the criminalization of HIV-positive people. If only it were law that we’re all each responsible for our own sexual health, the idiotic situations making headlines these days wouldn’t be an issue.

I’m proud of my queer brothers and sisters who pursue sobriety and stick to that at this oh-so-high time of year. I’ve already called my dealer, so I salute you for keeping your hands off the phone, no matter how much that makes you shake.

I’m proud to know this Daddy I’ve been shagging on and off for almost 20 years, a leather top sex mentor who has taught me more about sex and being a man than any other person, book or video ever has. I’m a lucky guy.

I’m proud every time I see my older pal who had the balls to be true to himself a few years back, leave his wife, tell his kids he’s gay and pursue a life of authenticity. The result shows as he practically floats down the street with a big shit-eating grin on his face. That’s big balls to be proud of, folks.

I’m proud of all the queers I know who are getting spiritual, and I’m not talking about rolling a fattie. It seems almost daily more and more queers I know are reaching for something bigger, knowing intrinsically it’s a spiritual thing, a body thing, a soul thing — and it’s amazing to watch the most incredible evolutions going on.

I’m proud when I see last year’s Pride international grand marshal Gareth Henry walking down the streets of his new home city, looking happy as ever. That the horror of being queer in his homeland of Jamaica continues is another convo for another day.

And, on that note, I’m proud of the fags I know who have told me they are taking a pass the for-profit Pride parties being held at Charles Khabouth’s complexes (like Guvernment, Kool Haus and Ultra), still smarting over the blatant disrespect and jackass handling of Jamaican dancehall artists coming in and singing for our deaths in a space we’ve supported for years. Following that up by opening the doors of that same space to take more queer money has left many stunned and pissed. Who said Pride isn’t as political as it once was?

At this most amazing time of year I wish you peace and love and, of course, Happy Pride.