For many of us, the holidays can be a lonely time of year.
All the pressure to spend the season with families of origin, to savour going “home for the holidays,” to bend our complex lives to Hallmark platitudes, can leave us feeling hurt and isolated. Though more and more Canadian families of origin are accepting and even embracing their queer offspring, society’s collective thaw is by no means complete.
That’s why connecting with our own community can be so comforting and reaffirming, especially at this time of year. The friendly faces in the photographs below will all be working over the holidays in our queer spaces, ready to welcome us and remind us that there are places where we belong year round.
Happy homo holidays.
(For the full photo essay, please pick up the print edition of Xtra West, issue 348.)
DON WE NOW OUR GAY APPAREL: DJs Betti Forde (left), Jules (centre) and revoked (right) turn their musical talents towards a little old-fashioned Christmas carolling. Forde (Maren Hancock) will be spinning at Lick’s Orphan’s Xmas party on Dec 23 and 24, revoked (Ethan Wilson) will join her on Christmas Eve, and Jules (Jules Leclerc) will spend his holidays dropping the needle at the Odyssey.
TO FRIENDLY FACES AND SPACES: Bartenders Ryan Hoy (left), Ronnie Ekkert (centre) and Avel Juatco (right) toast each other for a change. Hoy and Ekkert will be tending bar at the Odyssey over the holidays, while Juatco will be serving right nearby at Celebrities.
THE FEAST: Kip Tastic, Kylé Nishimura, Morgan Chu, Mandy Randhawa, Keegan Macintosh, Wayne Wallington, Steve Carty and Vince Kanasoot come together from queer spaces across the city to forge new friendships and share a special holiday meal. Randhawa will be working behind the scenes at Flygirl’s Hershe Bar dances Dec 26 and Jan 1, Nishimura will be bartending at Numbers throughout the holidays, Wallington will be cooking at Sugar Daddy’s and working as a go-go dancer at the Odyssey, Chu and Kanasoot will be serving at Celebrities, and Tastic, Carty and Macintosh will be serving, bouncing and bussing at the Odyssey.
THE PEACEKEEPERS: In the spirit of peace and love, Mel Thomas gives Michael Pickett a noogie he won’t soon forget, while he playfully bites her bicep. Pickett works as a bouncer at the Odyssey on weekends, while Thomas is a regular at the Fountainhead and can be seen tending its door on its busiest nights.
CAUGHT UNDER THE MISTLETOE: Derek White, Neil Fowler, and Lloyd Norquay pause for a little smooching and snuggling under the mistletoe. White is the general manager of the Fountainhead, Fowler runs the pub’s kitchen, and Norquay is the general manager of the gay bathhouses F212 and M2M.