3 min

Lighten up yourself

Sometimes simple is good when it comes to Pride


Readers may or may not know that in addition to being Xtra’s arts editor, I’m also a DJ here in Toronto. I’ve been playing music — in wonderfully filthy dive bars all the way to an opening gig for Robyn at Echo Beach — for almost nine years. I like to dance while I spin and play everything from dancehall to disco, and I also like to be involved in making a party happen. That often means working with images and words and fonts to create a poster, then quietly plastering it around the gayer streets of Toronto. It’s always a fun process, usually done with friends, all looking forward to a night where everyone can come together for a good time.

Just the other week, I sat down with two friends to make a poster for an event we’re throwing during WorldPride. It’s a party we call Fit Primpin’ (the combination of two dance parties — Fit and Big Primpin’), and this year, along with a tight list of local DJs, our favourite drag queen and some go-go boys, we’re bringing in TS Madison.

If you’re not on the Vine social media app, then you probably have no clue who TS is. TS is the original Vine superstar, also known as the Big Dick Bitch. She’s a bodacious babe who identifies as a “heterosexual transsexual” and also happens to have an extra large penis. She’s wild and outspoken and isn’t afraid to speak her mind (through her various social media channels) about her sexuality and how she lives her life. She makes most of her money through porn — she knows exactly what she’s doing with that body — and she’s got the smarts to build a successful brand around it. She also has a great sense of humour and has put out several dance singles that have me shaking what my mama gave me on a regular basis.

After we finished the poster, all three of us stood back to look at our gorgeous creation. We clapped (I also jumped a bit and made some squealing noises), but one friend tilted his head and grunted. “What!?” I asked. He said he was worried some people might take offence at the tagline: “big dick bitch.” I couldn’t believe my ears, but after a few minutes, I understood what he meant. Would we offend the trans community? Gay men and women of colour? People with small penises? Eventually, we had to move ahead believing that we can’t please everyone and that TS is TS, and there’s nothing we can do about that. And that’s why we love her.

I don’t want to name names or battles within the gay community — that’s not the point I’m trying to make. What I am trying to say is that TS, like many artists visiting our city for WorldPride, is a kind, generous, business-minded person who wants to come and celebrate with all of us. Pride, for me, has always been about coming together and meeting new people on the streets and at parties, all in the name of unity and celebration. There is a party for everyone, and that’s what makes this Pride so great. Who cares if there’s a “men-only” bash or a “female-identified only” event? There are a dozen other parties for all other types of party people. Don’t waste time and energy getting angry — just get out there and live your life! It sounds cliché, but it couldn’t be more true at Pride.

Because of TS, I can’t help but think of the recent Rupaul “trannygate” (as it’s been dubbed) controversy. Photographer David LaChapelle had this to say on the topic: “I really think that gay people can call people whatever the fuck they want to. We’ve been called enough names by other people and attacking is bullshit. Haven’t we been attacked enough as a group? Gay, transgendered, bi, whatever. Do we really need to be throwing stones at each other, honestly? Let us call each other queers or faggots or shemales. That’s our business. Lighten up. There are bigger issues going on here.”

He sums things up nicely. To some, it may seem a simplistic view of the world, but to me, sometimes simple is good. Let’s lighten up and enjoy what everyone around has to offer. I’ll be spinning at three different parties in three different parts of the city, with three completely different musical genres and crowds, and I can’t wait. See you out there!