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The Ubyssey Feb 14, 2003

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 When_you meet
queers: tips for the
1) Do not run screaming from the room.
This is rude.
2) If you must back away, do so slowly
and with discretion.
3) Do not assume they are attracted to
4) Do not assume they axe not attracted
to you.
5) Do not expect them to be as excited
about meeting a heterosexual as you
may be about meeting a queel person.
6) Do not immediately start talking
about your boyfriend/girlfriend or husband/wife in order to make it cleat1 that
you are straight.,
7) Do not ask them how they got that
way. Instead ask yourself how you got
the way you are.
8) Do not assume they are dying to talk
about being queer.
9) Do not expect them to refrain from
talking about being queer.
10) Do not trivialise their experience by
assuming it is a bedroom issue only.
They are queer 24 hours a day. *
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Vim* • ■. ;-
A Ubyssey Special Issue
Friday, February 14, 2003
Anal not banal since 1918
VERAGE, mGEfili 2
Friday, February 14, 2003
A Ubyssey Special Issue
Queer resources   Adirectoiy
UBC Campus:
Pride UBC 7
Student Union Building, room 245C
prideubc@interchange.ubc. ca
Positive Space
(604) 822-4859
positive.space ©ubc.ca
Equity Office
Brock Hall 2306
Outlaws ■*
Law school queer-positive group
The Vancouver Lesbian Centre j
876 Commercial Drive
Greater Vancouver Pride Line
(604) 684-6869 (Lower Mainland)
1-800-566-1170 (outside Lower Mainland)
Married/Single gay men's support group
(604) 688-0924 or (604) 462-9813
Trans Alliance Society
c/o 1170 Bute Street
(604) 684-XTRA ext 2044
ehair@transalliancesociety. org
BiNet BC
http://binetbc.bi org/index.html
(604) 523-9115 or  1-866-NOT-ALONE (toll
free number)
Little Sister's Book and Art Emporium
1238 Davie Street
(604) 669-1753 or 1-800-567-1662
http://www.littlesistersbookstore .com
Asian Society for the Intervention of AIDS
210-119 West Pender Street
Vancouver, BC, V6B 1S5
(604)f 669-5567
Women In Print Bookstore
'3566 West 4th Avenue
(604) 732-4128
PFLAG Vancouver
(604)684-9872, ext 2060
http://www.pfiagvancouver. com/
AIDS Vancouver
1107 Seymour Street
Vancouver, BC, Canada
V6B 5S8
AIDS Memorial Society of Vancouver
205-636 West Broadway Avenue
Trans-Gender Drop-in
Vancouver Native Health
449 East Hastings
Vancouver, BC
Vancouver Pride Society
#7-1260 Hornby Street
Centre for Sexuality, Gender Identity and
Reproductive Health
Vancouver Hospital and Health Sciences
855 West 12th Avenue
Canada V5Z'lM9
SFU:    V
Out on Campus
Simon Fraser Student Society
8888 University Drive, Burnaby
out-on-campus-info@sfu. ca
www.sfu.ca/out-on-cainpus #
Building positive spaces
Campaign works toward
creating a safe and
queer-friendly campus at UBC
by Shannon Burkinshaw
Coordinated by UBC's Equity Office, the
Positive Space Campaign (PSC) aims at building a queer-friendly campus environment for
students, faculty and staff. The program has
been running for one year and under the coordination of Anne-Marie Long, has been successful in raising awareness of issues faced by
queer people at UBC. Positive Space is an
extremely vital initiative, as it serves to
increase the visibility of the queer community.
At the same time it builds safe, supportive
spaces for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, two-spirited, intersexed and questioning people and their allies.
According to Anne-Marie Long, increasing
visibility, awareness and discussion are both
the primary objectives and the greatest successes of the PSC to date. Queer people are an
invisible minority. We cannot generally be
recognised by our appearance alone, which
means that unless we verbally declare our sexual orientation or gender identity, we are
invisible to others. Many people don't come
out for fear of the repercussions of doing so.
Furthermore, the ways we are oppressed
directly reinforce this pattern of invisibility
and silence, so our issues are also given less
priority. Positive Space is a forum for visibly
overcoming this invisibility by making queer-
friendly people and spaces known to all students, faculty and staff. It also works to identify and address the ways homophobia and heterosexism work on this campus, both inter-
personally and systemically. Through its workshops. Positive Space also serves to increase
the number of knowledgeable, supportive persons who are willing to speak out against
homophobia, heterosexism and transphobia
and to support their lesbian, gay, bisexual,
queer, transgendered and two-spirited colleagues, classmates and community members.
Any individual on campus can become a
Positive Space resource person. The first step •
of this process is going through a training
session that aims at strengthening their
understanding of issues related to homophobia, heterosexism, transphobia, queer culture
and local resources. Following the initial
workshop, those who desire may participate
in further specialised training. Once they
have completed the Positive Space workshop,
participants are given a poster or button to
display at the entrance of their work, study or
living space on pampus or to wear on their
backpack or the like. The poster/button signifies that this is a safe place to discuss issues
of sexual orientation and gender identity, and
that it is*; an area free of homophobia and
harassment. For reasons of physical and psychological, safety, queer people have learned
to assume reactions to their sexual orientation or gender identity will be negative unless
given strong indications to the contrary. On
campus, the Positive Space posters are that
strong indication.
Through .the simple act of displaying the
Positive Space poster these organisations and
individuals are telling queer persons that this
is a place where they can be comfortable.
Though.eveiy place on campus should be
queer-friendly, and though the university's
Polky ori Discrimination and Harassment prohibits discrimination and harassment on the
grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity, the reality is that queer students, faculty
and staff still face insults, assault, exclusion
and harassment based on their sexual orientation and gender identity. Further, they are
often faced with a feeling of isolation due to
lack of awareness of queer-friendly spaces. A
Positive Space poster or sticker informs queer
people that they are welcome and respected.
In these spaces, queer people are free to be
For more information or to become a
Resource Person, visit http://www.positive-
space.ubc.ca, call (604) 822-4859 or e-mail
positive. space@ubc.ca. #
UBC Outlaws: wanted!
To help maintain diversity
at Canada's most
, out law school
by Ramona Roberts and Cheryl Conibear
Did you know that the UBC Law School is
known, among other things, as the most 'out'
law school in Canada? We have the highest
proportion of out professors and staff of any
law school in Canada. Along with well-established and respected research programs
focusing on studies in First Nations legal
issues, Asian legal issues, feminist legal
issues and alternative dispute resolution, to
name only a few, the queer presence at UBC
Law School helps make it one of the most
diverse law faculties in Canada.
Of course there are many queer students
at UBC Law School. Outlaws is a student-created and student-run group for lesbian, bisexual, gay, transgendered, two-spirited, queer
and queer-positive law students. Outlaws has
several purposes, and changes each year to
meet the interests of the students who are
participating. Generally, Outlaws provides
educational and social events for queer and
queer-positive law students, sometimes
including faculty and staff. We work to raise
queer visibility in the law school and in the
legal community, and most importantly, we
provide support for each other.
Outlaws' activities so far this year have
included raising queer visibility at law
recruitment events, collaborating with other
queer UBC groups to bring the documentary
Little" Sister's vs. Big Brother to campus, bonding over potlucks and lunch meetings, and
showing our wholesome queer side, along
with, our creative flair, at our first-ever
Outlaws' Bake Sale. It was a smashing success, if we do say so ourselves.
Outlaws is excited to collaborate with
Pride UBC, Positive Space, and other queer
UBC groups to celebrate Pride Week on campus. We have been participating in as many
events as possible with other groups, and we
have hosted a few of our own, including the
Outlaws' Pride Week Bake Sale, the Outlaws'
Hi-Viz Day (a day of queer visibility), and
tonight our grand finale:
The Oudaws' Queer Up & Drag Show
Friday, February 14, 3:00-6:30 pm
UBC Law School, Candida's (NW end of building)
Cheap bqqrs! Hot drag kings! Glamorous drag
queens!   DJ!   Fabulous  prizes!  Fun!   Free
Admission! Come to the show, then go to the
Pride UBC Dance!
Need we say more?*
*WeO, yes, actually. In the event of a TA
strike on campus, the event may be held in
collaboration with the Pride UBC Dance, at an
off-campus venue. Please see the Pride UBC
Website, or e-mail Oudaws at the address
below for details.
If you are a law student thinking about
queers, or a queer student thinking about law,
we are here for youl E-mail us at ubcout-
laws@yahoo.com. # Vrlde
Friday, February 14, 2003
A Ubyssey Special Issue
Shannon Burkinshaw
John Temesi
Anna King
Kathleen Deering
Chris Shepherd
Michael Schwandt
Sarah Conchie
Duncan M. McHugh
Anna King
Nic Fensom
Hywel Tuscano
Jesse Marchand
Parminder Nizher
The Ubyssey is the official student newspaper of the University of
British Columbia It is pubfished every Tuesday and Friday by The,
Ubyssey Publications Society.
We are an autonomous, democratically run student organisation,
and alt students are encouraged to participate.
Editorials are chosen and written by the Ubyssey staff. They are the
expressed opinion of the staff, and do not necessarily reflect the
views of The Ubyssey Publications Society or the University of
British Columbia.
The Ubyssey is a founding member of Canadian University Press
(CUP) and adheres to CUP'S guiding principles-
All editorial content appearing in The Ubyssey is the property of The
Ubyssey Publications Society Stories, opinions, photographs and
artwork contained herein cannot be reproduced without the
expressed, written permission of The Ubyssey Publications Society.
Letters to the editor must be under 300 words. Please include your
phone number, student number and signature (not for publication)
as welt as your year and faculty with all submissions. ID will be
checked when submissions are dropped off at the editorial office of
The Ubyssey, otherwise verification wiB be done by phone.
"Perspectives" are opinion pieces over 300 words but under 750
words antj are run according to space.
"Freestyles" are opinion pieces written by Ubyssey staff members.
Priority wil be given to fetters and perspectives over freestyles
unless the latter is time sensitive. Opinion pieces will not be run
until the identity of the writer has been verified.
It is agreed by all persons placing display or classified advertising
that if the Ubyssey Publications Society fails to publish an advertisement or if an error in the ad occurs the liability of the UPS will
not be greater than the price paid for the ad. The UPS shad not be
responsible for slight changes or typographical errors that do not
lessen the value or the impact of the ai
Room 24, Student Union Building
6138 Student Union Boulevard
Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z1
tel: 604-822-2301
fax: 604-822-9279
web: www.ubyssey.bc.ca
e-mail: feedback@ubyssey.bc.ca
Room 23, Student Union Building
advertising: 604-822-1654
business office: 604-822-6681
fax: 604-822-1658
e-mail: advertising@ubyssey.bc.ca
Fernie Pereira
Karen Leung
Shalene Takara
Julien Towelt Aunika Stafford and Gavin Dhaliwal were thrown from the shop-
- ping cart into ■ fruit stand, resulting in several chipped nails. Me an white.
Shannon Burkinshaw, John Temesi and Sarah Conchie all tried to tightrope
over ■ crocodile enclosure. Jusl afterward. Anni King held ■ baby irocodlle
tachet awqy from Kathleen Deering'* left nipple. The little sucker (the croc) bit
down, hard, and it took lhe combined efforts of Mike Harris, Parminder Nizher
and Kiwi Noriega Lo make il \et go. leaving small bit* mark* behind Chris
Shepherd and Nic Fensom had planned lo defecate in a display toilet at a local
hardware store, but Hywel Tuscano puched (liem in the guts; they just couldn't
hold it it Jesse. Marchand made Jackie Hoffart and Jordana Greenblatt electrocute each other with I muscle stimulator, and tluy howled with a whole new
combination of laughter and pain, Justin Cheng convinced Simon Underwood.
Jessie Wright and Paul Sutton to go on a golf-cart rampage through a mini-golf
course owned by Uure Blue and her Anonymous business partner. Brett A
Taylor danced around, naked, in a Tolyo department store, stealing security
guard Caroline Kirsebom's hat when she confronted him. At 12:30am. Raman
Dhaliwal set off a load of firework* in the bedroom of Duncan U McHugh and
Michael Schwandt scaring them into renting a car and taking it to a demolition
dertgr, where drivers Alison B and Stephen Hui smashed the rental to bit*, tyler
> Hopson was not Impressed.
Canadian        Canada Port Sale* Agreement Number 0732141
iverse contributions, diverse community
by Shannon Burkinshaw
and John Temesi
The question of why the Ubysseyhas
a Pride issue arises on a yearly
basis. After all, Stonewall happened
over 30 years ago and gay rights are
constantly moving forward. At UBC
itself, we have an administration
that supports organisations such as
Pride UBC, Positive Space and
Outlaws—all of which are dedicated
to building a queer-friendly atmosphere at the university. Surely then,
there is no need for a Pride issue
unless the Ubyssey has a hidden
homosexual agenda.
Fourteen months ago Aaron
Webster was brutally murdered in
Stanley Park. Two days ago police
made their first arrest in what was a
tragic example ofthe continuing violence and hatred against the queer
community. Earlier this year, Pride
UBC received a threatening, homophobic letter. In Totem Park resi
dences, posters advertising queer
events are torn down within a matter of hours of being posted. Queer
couples showing public displays of
affection on campus are stared at
and occasionally harassed.
Sometimes as students we forget
that the struggle for queer rights is a
continuing process. As a university
community we often feel that we are
amongst open-minded, fair and reasonable peers who are aware of
their prejudices and work hard to
overcome them. Yet this is not
always the case, as the above examples demonstrate. Discrimination
based on race, religion, sex and sexual orientation continues to exist at
UBC, and until the university is free
of discrimination based on sexual
orientation, the Pride issue is not
only important but necessary. More
importantly, this discrimination can
hurt someone you care about your
brother, sister, aunt, uncle, son,
daughter or friend.
A Pride issue gives the queer
community an opportunity to be
front and centre. As queer people we
are not always an easily recognisable
group. Our differences are not necessarily apparent in our appearance,
meaning that unless we stand up
and identify ourselves both as individuals and as a community, we are
an invisible minority. All too often,
even within the queer community,
we are seen as a homogeneous
group, distorting the reality of our
differences of race, ethnicity, religion, gender and sexual orientation.
Yet perhaps even more significantly,
a Pride issue enables us to access
experiences across the spectrum of
the queer identity that we may not
otherwise see.
Herein are articles representing
many segments of the queer community, our community. We have
not constructed this issue io represent our beliefs, but to hopefully represent the diversity of experiences
and beliefs that are considered
queer. It is a testament to the changing attitudes of society that so many
individuals have chosen to discard
the curtain of anonymity and contribute to this issue. However, for
various reasons, some individuals
continue to be unwilling to expose
their identities. It is regrettable that
the author of the letter of complaint
below did not grant us permission
tp use her name. While we are
strong advocates of criticism, we
also believe that the integrity of such
criticism is compromised without
visible support
Without further ado, we encourage you to find yourself in this issue,
queer or not. Some things may
offend you while others will make
you laugh. Perhaps you will think
the author a nutcase, or an absolute
genius. We have' attempted to
include something for everyone.
Don't be shy jump in, have a read
and enjoy. #
Rants of a stressed editor
by John Temesi
Here it is, the Ubyssey Pride issue. It's hard to
imagine that almost 11 months ago I agreed to
co-edit this heap of newsprint Why did I do that?
It would have been easy to just ignore the Pride
issue and let others deal with all its associated
crap. After all, I frequently have issues with the
gay community and Pride UBC, and everyone
else seems to be washing their hands of things
that they would rather avoid. I guess it all started
with my big mouth after I read last year's Pride
issue. Basically three things leapt out at me
about last year's issue. First I did not see myself
in the issue. Sure, the word triathlon was mentioned once in a poem, but a single word just
doesn't cut it. No single word is sufficient to
describe any one individual, or the Pride issue
for that matter. Once I realised that I was not represented, I discovered that I could think of many
others who were not represented either. So who
exactly was being represented? Finally, those
who know me are all too aware that I like things
to have a touch of controversy, something to
debate, something that I can sink my teeth into.
An artsy-fartsy publication has its place, but this
was way too fluffy and pink for me to really gnaw
at. Is this year's Pride issue any better than last
year's? I don't know. That is for you to decide,
but I did the best job I could.
I guess an artsy rag is what some might
expect of the queer community, and it really
does not surprise me that that is what was produced. Stereotypes abound with images of figure-skating fags in frilly pink tutus, bisexuals
being complete and utter sluts as they sleep with
anything that moves, and construction worker
dykes oozing butchness. Okay, only a few people
hold such rigid stereotypes, but hopefully you get
the point While stereotypes have their place in
society and allow us to make sense of information, they suck. I loathe shopping, am ready to
kill when I hear most show tunes, and have no
intention of dressing in drag (and that has nothing to with the fact that I would look absolutely
hideous as a woman), yet by being a fag others
have, a pre-conceived image of me. Damn it I
would much rather watch my football on the
tube. Thankfully ESPN does a vaguely decent job
of showing US college bowl games in Hong Kong
in addition to tonnes of rugby and soccer. For
some reason it makes perfect sense for me to see
grown men inflicting pain on each other over a
hunk of pigskin or a reasonable facsimile thereof. Fuck the pink tutus, and use the bloody
prongs on the skates for something useful like
tenderising a huge slab of meat Perhaps this
twisted enjoyment of pain is why I have developed a passion for biathlons. After all, you must
be a masochist to train for Ironmans and then
subject yourself to 2 2 6km of what most persons
would regard as torture. No, contrary to what
some of you may think, my love of triathlon has
nothing to do with seeing hot guys in spandex.
That novelty wears off pretty damn quick. Trust
me, no amount of eye candy can keep anyone in
the sport, regardless of how desperate you are.
I hate girly men. Yes, that is correct; I said
that I hate girly men. They drive me crazy, and
not in a good way. Sure, they can be interesting
or even fun in extremely minute doses, but they
grate on my nerves damn quick. I recognise that
it takes all kinds of people to make the world
what it is and I love diversify, but that does not
mean that I must love the entire spectrum of this
diversity. Many faggy fags are nice and sweet,
but shoot me if I have to have a conversation
with most of them, I would rather jump off a
building. I realise that this is my problem and
not theirs and I am glad that they are who they
are; I just don't need to be a part of that. Give me
a lesbian any day of the week. Maybe I should
just become one. Or, perhaps not
So what is a lesbian? Are they all the same?
Do we all have to be the same? I hope not.
Should all people who have something in common be lumped together? Damn, no. Too often
queers are lumped into selected categories and
stereotypes, as are straight people and people
from countless other races, ethnicities, religious
groups, etc. That goes for the gay community,
too. Transgendered individuals and bisexuals
get shafted by the 'community' that is supposed
to be inclusive and welcoming. Does it really
matter who you fuck? It is no one's business
unless one of two conditions exist a) they want
to sleep with you, or b) you want to sleep with
them. It's just like asking if it matters what sex
you are, what gender you are, what church you
belong to, whether you belong to a religion, or
the colour of your skin. Do we have to like everyone else in the world, or the type of person that
they are or want us to be? I hope not or else I am
really screwed. One thing I do retain, however, is
the belief that we are all human, have a right to
be treated as such, and that humans are inherently good. It is hard to remember this at all
times (especially as all the girly fags in the world
are trying to bitch-slap me), but without this
apparently naive belief I think it would be impossible to face the world every single day. #
The 'Pride' issue
So here's this, this Pride issue of the Ubyssey. For
queers. Any queers. It's OUR issue (YAY1). Queer
people write in and can share their thoughts and
artwork, etc. 'Diversity' is the 'theme' of this year's
issue—and congrats for trying to spice it up, way to
go, etc. But I find it particularly offensive when
there are borders created for the newspaper issue
that's supposed to be for every queer-identifying
person at UBC. So we get one Pride issue every
year, and sure, we Voted the editors in so they are
our representatives. But this isn't what we asked
for, and I find it to be largely unnecessary for the
situation. I overheard one of the paper's editors
saying that last year's issue was horrible because
the only contributors were white, middle-class,
monogamous gays or lesbians, or something to
that effect I stood there counting his checklist on
my fingers, finding that each of these traits
belonged to me.
Editor, if you can't identify with the newspaper
that's supposed to represent your community,
then you have no one to blame but yourself. The
people who write in are the people who write ul
The editor said that they have a list of people who
they wanted to invite to write something for the
issue. Then he turned to me and said, "you're welcome to write, too, of course...' and he trailed off.
So is it that 'diverse' queer people are too shy
to write in? Do they think that the community at
large will not accept them? Does there really need.
to be a statement issued that diversity is welcome?
If this is the reality, then maybe the goal of this
year's paper should be issued to everyone, 'gay,
lesbian, bisexual, transgendered, two-spirited,
queer, from any and every background, etc., etc./
making sure to include everyone and not segregate different aspects of the community for what
is    supposed   to    be    an   umbrella-termed
'Pride'issue. I think it's extremely important for
UBCs queer community to make a comfortable
and welcoming environment for people who find
themselves to be in a 'diverse' sect of queerdom
who might otherwise feel unwelcome, but perhaps that means that we should just have more
things like the Pride issue that explore the minorities of the_ minorities. I know I would enjoy reading a newspaper centred around, for example, our
trans community. But the pride issue in itself is
supposed to be for all of us.
To create borders on the borderless subject of
Pride and to have a list of preferred traits for the
contributors is to discriminate. All that editor's
remark said to me was that I was a dime-a-dozen
(and maybe I am), and that my mediocre status in
the community could not possibly have the inspiration to create anything significant And maybe
those are his exact beliefs, but they're not mine.
And this is my issue, too. # 4
Friday, February 14, 2003
A Ubyssey Special Issue
Senator LaPierre
discusses bullying,
same-sex marriage
by Duncan M. McHugh
Senator Laurier LaPierre gave an
impassioned address to a few
dozen people this past Monday at
UBC's Robson Square campus. The
event, which was put on by Pride
UBC, kicked off Outweek at UBC.
LaPierre, 73, a well-known
broadcaster who became a senator
in 2001, began his speech by questioning the need for gay pride.
"I'm never quite sure why we
must have a gay pride week. I've
never heard of a straight pride
week...I like ga^ parades; I think
they're fun, although I have never
been to one," he said.
"I did not affirm that I was gay
until I was in my 50s—I never had
the need to do that I never heard
straight men saying, 'I'm straight."
For LaPierre, that attitude was
changed by HIV/AIDS, which
became a "denning moment of the
gay community."
LaPierre spoke tearfully of the
early years of coping with
HIV/AIDS, recalling having to find-
money to cover charges for friends'
burials and contending with parents who disowned children
because of the "gay disease."
The issue of same-sex marriage
was also addressed, for which
LaPierre criticised the federal government harshly.
"Same-sex marriage is a question of human rights...The three
people who run the Committee of
Justice in the House of Commons
have announced their opposition to
same-sex marriage," he said. "That
they continue to hold their position
is unacceptable."
LaPierre considers Canada's 3 7
per cent divorce rate, the fact that
30 per cent of children are born out
of wedlock, as well as the pervasiveness of adulteiy, as evidence of
the hypocrisy of criticising the legitimacy of same-sex relationships.
Further, he said that suggestions
that same-sex marriages could
result in bigamy, incest or promiscuity are "so irrational, so profoundly irrational, and unreal that
only homophobia is responsible for
the use of these arguments."
LaPierre also touched on the
issue of bullying and the alienation
that gay adolescents feel, citing the
statistic that 30 per cent of
teenagers who identify as being gay
plan to commit suicide.
"They have no hope, because we
have lived a life in secret for so
long...and because we have hidden
the great accomplishments of gay
people all over the planet," he said.
"We've come a long way, a long,
long, long, long way. It was not
easy," he said. "Many people of my
age have marks on their soul, their
body, their heart...And it will not
stop until we stand up with dignity
and in non-violence."
The senator was introduced by
renowned Vancouver architect
Arthur Ericksori, a long-time friend
of the senator's. Erickson praised
LaPierre for "stirring up" the
Senate. #
A high school perspective
by Raman Dhaliwal
I was inspired to write this article by the teacher
who had a male-to-female sex-change and was
told by the parents of students in her class to
move to another school. I strongly believe, like
the Vancouver School Board, that she should continue to teach at that school, because students
need to be more aware and open-minded about
different cultures within our diverse society and
the people associated with these cultures.
Being a straight person in a Surrey high school
has made me realise how intolerant and rude
people can be to people who deviate from the
'norm.' Something needs to be done about this,
and having a teacher who is transgendered will
allow her students to understand and truly
appreciate the person she is. I honestly believe
that the sooner young students are educated
about homosexuality and see firsthand people
who are a part of that culture, the sooner they will
be able to accept and respect them. I believe that
we should educate youth at an earlier age, when
they are just grasping and discovering their own
values, opinions, and identity. If we don't inform
them, or they don't witness differences in the
'real world,' then unfortunately their peers have a
strong influence on them, which can be detrimental to others.
It is nothing new to note that many teenagers
commit suicide because of homophobic taunting
and abuse. I go to a school where a boy committed suicide because he was called a "fag." It is
unfortunate that something so tragic had to happen before our school started recognising the
problem. I also think it is important for straight
people, such as me, to recognise homophobia,
acknowledge that it is being used and suppress it
Saying "that's gay'just isn't right Being a teenager is hard enough with the competition of university, marks, scholarships and jobs; I couldn't
imagine having to also worry about being who I
am and my identity! I can honestly say that being
a heterosexual, we take the expression of our sexuality for granted. It would suck not being able to
walk through high school holding your same-sex
partner's hand. I hope that things will change.
Everyone says they understand how difficult
high school is, but I don't think anyone can
understand how difficult high school is when you
have to fear for your identity because of society's
prejudiced views. I wish that teacher the best of
luck in her career and I just wish there were more
people like her in our educational institutions. #
Not Quite a West End story
by Simon Underwood
So let's set it all out on the table. I have never
lived in the West End. And I am not saying this
as a closet-case Totem resident or Vanier homo-
celebrity, incognito Xtrawest columnist or a
live-at-home subsidy-case. I say it as as an
Edmontonian cross-provincial transplant who
has, after a brief, uneventful half-term stint in
first-year residence, spent the last two-and-a-
half years carting tattered boxes around walk-
ups, 'character' homes and quaint little
Vancouver specials in East Vancouver.
Hold up. Are you murmuring 'Who fucking
cares? I've lived on Commercial!* Well, reader,
this probably makes you a lesbian. Which, ipso
facto, means you are living exactly where everyone expects. Lesbians, the geographical Zeitgeist dictates, should first settle in humble basement suites free of cigarettes but blessed with
potent marijuana just off the Drive, and learn
how to share food communally and sit the
squatting squirrel pose. Alternately, a gay man,
virgin to the misty streets running west from
Granville, should find a one-bedroom to share
with three others—and spend five-and-three-
quarter months sleeping behind a curtain, saving up a damage deposit and first month's rent
without blowing his Jugo Juice earnings on
creamsicle specials at the Odyssey. This is the
dream of many a prairie homo nursing delusions of grandeur while waiting for the block
heater to fire—to twirl on the corner of Davie
and Denman to the last verse of the Mary Tyler
Moore theme song, parka in the dustbin,
appointment to tan at 11! Boy, you might just
make it after all!
At least, so popular perception would suggest. I can remember some pointed advice
given by a gruff, well-meaning dyke waiting
behind me in line at a neighbourhood natural
food store who had overheard me telling the
clerk that I had just moved to Clark and 7th a
few weeks earlier. She dealt my package of cigarettes and chocolate milk with a raised eyebrow and proceeded to matter-of-factly inform
me that I may have moved to the wrong 'hood.
At the time, I thought this was a somewhat
presumptuous comment to make—it wasn't as if
I was dressed to hit a circuit party and had
pranced into the shop shaking my ass to Diana
Ross. But she was a dyke, and I am a fag, and
between my less-infamous but equally telling
uniform of ironic t-shirt and faded jeans and the
fact that I was flipping through a girls' magazine
with Jude Law on the cover, she knew enough to
presuppose. She was, of course, speaking in jest
and making cute conversation, but we were both
aware of the truism: gay men that move to
Vancouver are supposed to move to the West
End—anything less is considered akin to going
to Ibiza to camp out in your hotel room ordering
delivery chicken. Explaining that you live fur
ther than Yaletown to some gay men and it's as
if you're hostage in Surrey helping the school
board toss Asha's Mums on the bonfire.
These assumptions of habitat were duly
noted by Xtrawest prior to last year's municipal
election. The editors Included in their laundry
list of demands to the new council the well-
intentioned but ill-considered proposal of a
direct shuttle link between the two villages,
Davie and Commercial—sort of a ghetto express
intended to promote community solidarity. A
bit redundant, since the Skytrain arid #20 service this route within a few blocks, and concerns
about safety in light of the recent transit bashings would be better addressed by improving
Translink's policing than by creating a new
route entirely. Arid while the Commercial ridership could probably find reasons to make a pilgrimage downtown—sometimes the folks east
of Fraser forget there's an ocean in the vicinity—I can still remember the haughty RSVP a
perennial acquaintance offered in response to
my first stint hosting a dinner parry.
"Gay men," explained my friend, drawing
from his innate authority as an aspiring
model/slumming retail worker, 'don't cross
bridges." At this, I bit my tongue and stifled the
impulse to ask where he had bought his ING-
VAR™ assembly chairs and how he planned to
shoot the Club Z catalogue if he. couldn't get to
the airport And perhaps I wouldn't have been
quite so indignant if I hadn't.spent the afternoon
cleaning the underside of the toilet with a complimentary toothbrush from the dentist. But
despite my careful inclusion of a colour-coded
map with the invitation and a list of detailed bus
instructions, I received two other riffs on this
reply, coupled with conciliatory offers to meet
later, you guessed it, somewhere downtown.
From then on, a trip on the #3 Main had to
be sold to potential visitors as a sociological
experiment; a skytrain commute became a
mammoth feat of coercion and coordination.
Why is it so difficult to escape the Davie grind?
I suppose, in the, grand style of Carrie
Bradshaw, "If we've spent our whole lives wearing the wrong uniform, can we really blame
those who've found a comfortable place to take
it all off?" And it's not as if the West End is only
a magnet for gay men—it's at the epicentre of a
budding metropolis. It's not as if Sarah Jessica
Parker looks for love while kicking it at a Bronx
DQ each week.
Ghettos—the gay kind—are prominent neighbourhoods in most big cities, whether it's "Ihe
Village' in Montreal or NYC's Chelsea district.
They've always been areas of refuge, of safety, of
ease, and I hope anyone wanting to be comfortable in their own skin has the economic and
social mobility to get there if they want to.
However, to be comfortable in mine, there's still
something to be said for anonymity, of feeling
small in a big city—remaining a proverbial blank
slate—that hasn't yet lost its appeal. The ghetto
can induce a social claustrophobia ironically
akin to that of the small towns people fled there
from. Walk around the bar with a West End celeb
and you feel a bit like you're canvassing for
someone's re-election campaign. For men, the
district is a bit like a big gay Club Med, a hyper-
sexualised cruise ship that never docks, a clubhouse open 24 hours. I get tired of resorts, overt
sexuality is sort of numbing after a while, and
I've never liked clubs because I always ended up
the secretary (if I even passed the initiation).
Basically, the whole place tuckers me out after a
while. A healthy constitution between me and
Davie makes the whole thing manageable.
This shouldn't be read as a bitter treatise.
When I first moved out I didn't even know
enough to consider that the ghetto, and then
the homogenous upper-class uniformity that
begins to grate when you bus to Point Grey
each day made it necessary to seek an environment with a little more texture. After a while,
Davie became sort of like that boy you probably
could have dated but the timing was never
right, or he was taken when you were interested, or you kept putting his phone number
through the washing machine and figured it
was fate pushing the spin cycle. He looks like
he could be fun, but before you know it you're
dating that shaggy-haired kid with the plastic-
rimmed glasses and the shell-top adidas. And it
turns out there's just sornething about him.
You see, it's not that I don't like the West End-
just that I don't like it all of the time. And I
don't have a problem with the ghetto—just as
long you kids know that you can leave it once in
a while. You're safe there, but just remember
that you're probably safe for a visit over here
too. And due.
Someone with whom I once shared a dilapidated suite—lit through the night by the stark
pink light ofthe Biltmore hotel—couldn't wait to
disappear into the lush urban jungle, desperate
to replace Prince Edward, Fraser, and
Woodland with Cardero, Nelson, and
Broughton. He was from Edmonton too; having
spent his formative years closeted in a barren
industrial landscape, unsettled somewhere
within a suburban maze, he couldn't wait to fag
it up in San Fran north, no questions asked, no
expectations given. When we lived together,
there were some stretches where he wouldn't
come home for days at a time, opting instead to
camp out with hospitable friends downtown,
equipped with a colour-coordinated change of
clothes and an ample supply of hair wax.
Recently, I found out he made it after all and is
living in a cramped one-bedroom off Davie; for
him I am happy. There's nothing like getting
lost in a place that will let you lose yourself. But
I won't be moving onto the Lower Mainland's
peninsular crotch anytime soon. I figure some
things are always better on holiday. # Vrlde
Friday, February 14, 2003
A Ubyssey Special Issue
stand up;
by Alison B.
I come before you to write about the most-cursed state of queerness
there ever was: Bisexuality. I kid you not. It can suck! Permanent indecision. Irreconcilable. Neither here nor there.
Actually, it's not that bad. There are harder forms of queerness to
deal with. Being transgendered pops into my mind as something that
definitely'Would cause more.angst So I apologise to whomever my
tirade about the perils of bisexuality might offend. I can only speak
from my own experience. And in my experience, bisexuality is tough!
Though there are varying degrees of bisexuality (some lean toward
their own, some prefer the opposite sex more), it's often confusing to
figure out just where one fits.
You know—no matter who I'm with, I'll wonder if it's right If I'm
with a guy, I think, "I'm ignoring myself!" If I'm with a girL.well, I
think the same thing.
As my bi friend pointed out, "Living as a bisexual is really confusing...like really confusing."
Words of wisdom, but not very comforting. I can't tell you how
many nights I've stayed up wondering what the heck is going to happen to me. On top of all my "normal" indecision about school, nay
career and what colour shirt to buy, I can't even say who I want to
sleep with. Great
Really, I wouldn't wish this upon my worst enemies. Ok I'm exaggerating. But I owe it to all the bisexuals out there (who I by no means
claim to represent) to point out some ofthe advantages of bisexuality:
1. The meat market's twice as big! Over 6 billion bodies to lust
after. Yes, take that straights and gays!
2. Flirtatiousnessl It's heaven. I'm a Gemini. My best and worst
characteristics are my flirtaubusness. Being bi maximises my flirt
potential. Just ask my roommate, Ainsley. "Who is it this time, Alison?"
3. The best of both worlds: Twice the bars. Twice the events..Twice^
Superficial benefits aside, I canthink of some really good reasons
to be bi. Whoever I end up with in the end will need to be a tolerant
person. If I'm with a guy I know he won't be a homophobe. If I'm with
a girl she'll need to be equally accepting. Acceptance, loving people for
whom they are, is the foundation of any solid relationship. I also have
an appreciation for the many different flavours of queer people, and
for the straight people who have the courage to support them. We're
all the same, queer or straight We all deserve respect
Second, the whole queer thing is somehow easier for my mother to
shoulder if she knows I'm bi. Oddly enough it's comforting to her; she
only needs to remind herself that I still find XYs appealing when I tell
her of my latest homo escapade. I was kicked out of the house twice
because of my sexuality last year. Imagine how many times I would
have been turfed on the street if I were a full-fledged lesbian!
Bisexuality is tough, absolutely. At the end of the day, though I'm
happy I am who I am. I can look past gender and sex, and love someone for the person they are. I'm young right now. I have years to mull
over the possibilities, which are equally exciting in their own ways. My
sexuality is more a blessing than a curse. #
Perspectives of Bisexuality
Will the
p 1 ease
the bi myths
by Jessie Wright
I couldn't find the time to write an article that was clever, or coherent,
so I decided that I would simply address a few of my favourite stereotypes about 'us bis.' It's short, simple, not too fancy, and drives home
the realities of bisexuality.
Bi people get the best of both worlds
Sure, but we also get the worst of both worlds. We get experience
homophobia in the straight world, and biphobia in the queer world.
Not only that, but ignorant people (usually straight men thinking of bi
wdmen)r often assume that we are up for a threesome at any time.
My boyfriend fives in northern Alberta, and I only see him every
couple of months. The guys up there, know about my sexuality as I
worked on the same shift as therri in the summer (at a mine, no less).
They knew that I had been with women and thus assumed that I was a
"lesbo." Now they congratulate my boyfriend on "turning me back."
Also, he is often asked if he gets in on any "threesome action" when he
comes to visit He tells them that he didn't "turn" me, as I was always
bL and that no, there are no threesomes, as we are monogamous.
Then we get into queerspace...
Bi now, gay later
This is a phrase often heard in the queer community. It is used to
refer to someone who first comes out as bi, and then gradually (or rapidly) recognises that they are actually gay as time passes. This phrase
has come into use out of a certain amount of truth. Many people identify as bi as a sort of liminal phase. Unfortunately this causes some
problems for people who 'really' are bi. When we introduce ourselves
as bi, we can almost hear people thinking 'we'll see.' They are just waiting for us to realise that we really are gay, and it is frustrating for those
of us who really aren't.
Bi people get to pass in any situation—
they hide their identity
If I walk somewhere holding my boyfriend's hand, people assume
I'm straight If I am dating a woman and hold her hand, people assume
I'm gay. So I guess I am passing as each of those identities, but not by
choice. What am I supposed to do, say this is my boyfriend, but by the
way, I have fucked a few women in my day, too? Or maybe constantly
wearing a t-shirt that explains my precise sexual orientation would be
in order.
A good example of the assumptions people make can be found in a
conversation that occurred recently with my employer. I had mentioned my boyfriend durihg my interview, and a few weeks later I mentioned my involvement with Pride UBC. My employer then said, 'so
you were lying about your boyfriend, then." I calmly told her that no, I
wasn't, and that Pride is a resource group for gay, lesbian, BISEXUAL
and transgendered people. It's hard to always be clear about your sexuality, especially when it doesn't fit neatly into the binary that people
expect it to.
Bi people are indecisive
This implies that there is a decision to be made...It's like asking me
to decide whether apples or oranges will be the only fruit I eat. Seems
silly now, doesn't it?
Bi people sleep around
Well, some do, and so do some gay/lesbian people, and some
straight people. Some of us are also monogamous.
I could go on and on about these myths, but I won't There axe a lot
of things to put up with when you axe bi, but it is a hell of a lot better
than denying who you really are. Why put yourself into a box that other
people created for you? # J'-ji.  5-.1"
Tuesday, February 14, 2003
Tuesday, February 14, 2003
A Ubyssey Special Issue
by Kiwi Noriega
There she is again
Dancing slowly
The way her body moves
Just drives me crazy Y
The way her hips are swaying
The way her head is shaking "■ *
The way my heart just stopped"
As she turned to me
Her eyes just froze me on the spot
Taking all the strength I got
And all she had to do was smile
I've never been so swept away
By a face without a name
And all she had to do was smile
And so she asks me
Girl, where are you going?
And so I answer
Your way is fine
And then she laughs at me
As she moves closer
And oh am I looking forward to this ride
Her eyes, they froze me on the spot
Taking all the strength I got
And all she had to do was smile
I've never been this swept away
By a face without a name
And all she had to do was smile
And here she is against me
Dancing slowly.
Her fingers on my skin
Roaming softly
I had to shiver
She made me tremble
My knees felt weaker
Oh this girl...
This girl
Her eyes, they froze me on the spot
Taking all the strength I got
And all she had to do was smile
I've never been this swept away
By a face without a name   .
And all she had to do was smile #
Open for business
t by Paul Sutton
I'm open for business again.
I'm opening the door of the closet in which I
kgep my finest gowns. I'm taking out of mothballs
the pjnk-sequined Chanel that is my heart and
removing it from its hanger. With one last comfortable look at the musty damp of my walk-in closet, I
take hold of the fabric, and with a shroud of contempt bring it out into the light.
Yes, after a year and a half of being effectively
single, I'm scratching the paint off of the shingle
that has guarded my heart reading, 'Stay away. No
one goes there. Will not return alive," and re-painting it to say, "Open For Business."
And so, that's why, at this very moment, you can
find me at the Odyssey. Why the Odyssey, you ask?
In my rationality, I know that it is ludicrous to be
looking for anything more than the kind of liaison
for which you cannot respect yourself in the morning. But, as was once preached by a dramatised
relationship expert on Sex and the City, you have to
'put yourself out there."
And, believe me, I'm very good at putting myself
out there'. As a reformed serial dater I know how to
open myself to the possibility of meeting Mr Right
(or, at the veiy least. Mr Right Now). So skills
required to play the eye games and casual flirtations that are synonymous with a night at the 0 are
ones I acquired long ago, and like my heart, they
are talents that I'm pulling out of mothballs.
Over the course of the evening, I admit that I've
been playing eye games with this cute boy. He's
about my height with dirty blond hair, and is no
older than 18. However, these simplicities can be
obseryed by any casual passer-by. I, on the other
hand, pride myself on being able to tell the more
necessary details about a boy from a calculated yet
covert observation on my part (a nifty skill that I've
perfected over thte years). I can tell from the way he
talks to the girlfriends he has on either arm that
he's a conversationalist, and, perhaps he even has
ideas—the most precious commodity a boy can possess. Ideas are by far the sexiest part of a man. Plus,
I can tell that he's a bottom, and good in bed, and
that if we hit it off, he'll let me take him home at the
end of the night
As I am standing on the patio with cigarette in
hand, I see that he's sitting on a bench, by himself,
playing with his cell phone. I decide that now is as
good a time as any, and sit beside him.
"Hey," I say. "That's a cute phone."
What ensues is something that numbs my brain
like a shot of Novocain and makes me further wish
that I could use the syringe^ to obliterate my-
eardrums. In no more than 120 seconds, he tells
me how much he's had to drink tonight, his irritating exploits with the girlfriends that, thankfully
from the stories he tells me, he lost before I sat
down beside him, rants about the little town on the
Island in which he resides, recites a poem of his
own devising that is less than comparable to that
which pours put of the mouth of my three-year-old
niece, and puts his hand on my inner thigh.
Too much of a conversationalist Definitely no
I grab his watch and regard the time, The best
with which I am able to come up is: "Uh... it's 1,2:30,
I have, uh, an early day tomorrow... I gotta go."    Y;
I run for the coat check, don my scarf, admit that
my observing skills are shaky at best and am at the
bus stop in a shorter length of time than that
required for the boy with the cute cell phone and
not much else going for him to spout out his mindless drivel.
Defeated, I step onto the bus. Just as I am drowning in the regret of re-painting my shingle, I see a
familiar face. It is a friend of mine, JD, and he has
an empty seat beside him.
JD and I met on the first day of school in one of
my classes, and things went from there. We had
these intense conversations over coffee, challenging philosophies and giving meaning to experiences. We spent a night in the rain in the rose garden, just looking into the fog, and built something
out of the nothingness that was presented before
our eyes. The sex, although sporadic, was great, too.
Being in the company of JD made me reflect
upon other similar connections I'd made. Each connection proved to demand different parts of myself
to be given, but the reward was consistently refreshing and certainly palpable. As I had fallen from my
soapbox on which I had screamed, "Love! Love!
Love for sale! Get it while it's hotl" I saw a certain
legitimacy in the natural ties that had bound myself
to others in my midst
"Rough night?" JD asks.
"You could say that," I say.
"Wanna talk about it?'
I hesitate. I could spew everything that is going
in my mind from my mouth, and he would listen,
appreciate, and understand. But tonight, I know I
don't have to.
I rest my head on his shoulder, and close my
eyes. And as I'm drifting off to sleep, I take the shingle and remove it from the hook I drove into my
heart long ago. Open for business? My fabric has
been out there in the light all along. #
The right to identify
by Caroline Kirsebom
I am not a woman
—That doesn't make me a man
..  then what do the words mean?
Expectations Limitations
—on what my life can be
how I should behave and look
and how you'll relate to me
how and who I should love
—and what that makes me
My rational and emotional selves agree
I refuse limitations
Imposed by others, or in turn by me
You say "you don't look feminine
—why do you try to look like a man?"
Can't you see beyond two boxes?
I've escaped the box I was assigned—I don't want another one I
Fuck you and your assumptions!
My life is my own
My gender, what is it to you?
I define myself
Have the right to identify
-as ME. #
Grasping my
by Gavin Dhaliwal
So I was asked if I wanted to write an article and I had no
idea what to write about It was suggested that I write
something about being gay and how it pertains to me.
That really made me think. What part of me is really gay?
I mean, I know that my sexuality is gay, but being gay has
come to become more than just gender preference. Being
gay had encompassed all that I was; my friends, my style
of clothing, music preferences, the places I went, and the
way that I acted. I know this is all a bit confusing, but it
was not until I sat down with a friend who was coming
out that I saw how really scared he was of "being and acting gay," as opposed to the intimacy aspect of it
Growing up was pretty standard. I lived in a suburb of
Surrey and come from a very conservative Asian family.
Sports were a big part of my life; I was on the volleyball
team, was a lifeguard, and I graduated high school with
an interest in going into human kinetics. When I came
out of the closet I soon realised that being gay had more
tagged on to it than just liking boys. I started hanging out
with gay people in the arts (no offence), started listening
to dance music (as opposed to the rap that I was drowned
with in high school), started wearing tight clothes (shudder). Soon after, I gave up on all my sports and I was fully
enthralled in going to gay bars on both nights ofthe weekend to cruise and dance as a form of exercise.
Don't get me wrong—I loved it! I felt that I was finally able to be myselX to be gay and enjoy it! After a couple
of one-night stands, and a few pathetic 'I met him at the
bar' relationships, I realised that this so-called heing ga/
wasn't what I was. I felt that I had given up all the characteristics that made me unique and covered them with
the big word 'HOMO.' All I talked about was being gay,
boys, bars, and clothes; stereotypical, yes, but out of the
ordinary, no.
, It took me a couple of years, unfortunately, but I
realised that being gay was only one pf many things that
made me a whole person. I took the word arid let it conform me into what I thought was the way I should be and
act I realised that I needed to forge my own identity that
was unique to me, one that included my homosexuality,
but also my athletic and personal interests. Though it
may not be common (or at least not visibly so), I'm one of
the few gay lifeguards who is in the sciences and hates
going to the bars, and I'm proud of it.
It's veiy easy to fall into the hole of conforming to the
Queer as Folk lifestyle but it comes down to being yourself and letting your sexuality be only one small piece of
what makes you a whole. I know that this article is very
stereotypical, but that's what I personally find gay culture
to be. I'm not criticising it I just realised it wasn't me. So
now when people ask me when 1 realised I was gay, I just
say when I stopped trying to be someone I wasn't #
Letter to my left
by Mike Harris
So I was visiting my family this weekend. My
Uttle brother, the studious one of the three,
was preparing for a biology midterm. The
textbook was open at a diagram of the circulation system, and that's when I learned
about you: My Dear Left Ventricle. You are
the part that pumps the new blood out into
my body. Also,' you are the strongest chamber of my heart.
What with Valentine's Day and all, I
thought it only fitting that I write you a letter,
LV. You've done so much for me, and, I-
thought it time you were acknowledged.
Last Valentine's Day I was dancing
Cupid's dance and you, LV, you were dancing
along with me. When he fed me mangoes in
the park, you raced like a dervish. When he
and I wrestled laughing 1 love you's' out of
each other, then you were racing, too. You
were shaking like a googly eye. And you
made about as much sense.
Later in the year, when the boy and I were
broken up, I decided it was, time to gain
more notches on the headboard. You needed
'work, LV, I had tp do it I exercised you. I
enjoyed it, you enjoyed it. Here we go, you
would say, pumping faster and faster, flushing my skin'to crimson. This went on many
times. You were exercised. You grew
In the tawny glow of my bedroom I slept
with a handsome man. There was more than
just him and I in the bed though. There were
also a few of his words: "You should know,
I'm HIV positive." Those words hung in the
air. Those words slipped around our bodies,
like a third pair of arms. They dangled in my
ears. Arid they fucked me.
I couldn't get off. You slowed. You refused
to pump the blood I needed. So down came
the mast and home went the handsome
man. His cum on my belly shone.
It wasn't till the next morning that you
decided to get excited again. I woke to the
feel of you banging against my ribs.
You wouldn't listen to the sex ed talk I had
prepared for you. You wouldn't listen to my
reassurances. We were safe. We had done
' nothing dangerous. I knew this. You, my left
ventricle, did not You were, pumping so
r wildly that I couldn't help but listen.
I thought about the blood you were shuttling around my body. I thought about highways and httle red cells going madly down
their veins. I thought about AIDS and I
thought about chance.
You shocked me, my Uttle LV. You really
did. As I sponged the cum from my stomach
in the shower, I noticed that I was growing
\ calmer. I found that the heart is irrational in
more ways than one. The heart can mistake
love. And it can also mistake death. Funny:
the pumping felt the same.
Now it is another Valentine's Day. My
brother's biology textbook showed me a picture of the heart—a cross-section. I traced
with a finger the httle blue arrows (deoxy-
genated blood) as they floated through the
tiny gates, the valves ofthe heart: there is the
tricuspid and the pulmonary. The arrows
turned red (oxygenated blood) as they swam
out of the heart: mitral valve, aortic valve.
The complexity was astounding. #
A complex of realities
by Julien Powell
Far beneath the surface ofthe earth, beyond the sensors of the most advanced bio-detection satellites
tracing orbits in the sky above the Pacific Genocide
Zone, in a fiery place known only to one, a man
spoke. If it wasn't for the extensive shielding of his
subterranean base, even his most passionate
screams for salvation would not be heard because of
the highly pressurised howling of the gases storming
But he spoke inside a sphere of large proportions, a construct buttressed by four support
columns that gleamed high up the shaft in the cavern where rock was born. Throughout the base, fantastic channels of tubing wove intricately ajiout the"
creation, rising from underneath the surface of the
magma and looming far above the sphere. They
plunged downward again, into a pattern of focusing
rings and convex funnels that were oriented to
enter the sphere, yet no opening existed. It was an
exotic,' foreign machine. What it did, was known
only to two.
"Auren, online!" Five barked, his black scar tattoos carving his face, contorting to the intensify of
his command. His auburn hair twitched with electric
stimuli, as his neural implants acknowledged his
order. ,   2''/     ■■*.
"Online,* a soft voice echoed in the darkness, hesitant in hearing its own voice for the first time.
"I would very much rather speak to you face to
face, program," a bitter Five continued.
'As you wish. Five. Holography activated."
Constellations of white- colours cut out from the
black void an outline of a youth, whose tangibility
extended into the surreal, the phantasmic. His holographic iridescence gave him the palest, most delicate featureSiA sharp contrast to his creator. Auren's
eyes were Unusually wide, arid they sparkled with a
deep" navy blue.' It was as if his eyes possessed the
only depth his body could claim as the rest of him
was scarcely visible. His hair, silver, was long with
jagged anima points, yet it exhibited a certain free
dom that no real hair could; its bounce exaggerated.
Auren's nose was feminine, branding him with an
immediate androgyny th^t would send the ambiguous masses into ecstasy. Five had dope well. His left
cheek bore the marks of a derinal implant^ a subtle
map of data paths. It gently insinuated itself around
Auren's eye and upper jaw, highlighting his features.
Auren swayed, weightless. His naked chest tantalised the superficial valleys. of his skeleton and
plains of his rquscles into; an erotic dream. His gossamer shirt hung lizily about both wrisfe, drooping
uselessly. His trousers were of a frail cloth for desert
climates, with an ancient motif embroidered on the
waistline. His feet were bare.
Five suppressed a sigh. "Although you've been
executed for a mere half minute, I am equipping you
with the tools of complete, untainted knowledge. You
were created by ihe for a single purpose, Auren. I
shall reward you with further assignments if you
succeed, but if you fail, I will tear apart and extinguish each photon of code that you are. You would be
most wise to obey me."
"Je comprend. The politics of feajv utilised by US
President Rylie in the 23 rd century on the off-world
colony of—"       ^ , Y' Y
"Yes, yes! Be silent! I know my histories, and my
idols, thank yoU." A smirk appeared ton Five's face,
bearing the lines of a mysterious, cloaked history.
'Auren, receive your purpose.' He closed his eyes,
and beneath their lids, a small stirring occurred. The
optic nerve re-routing its imagery to several of the
"Yes, mon pere." Auren kneeled in mid-air.
In Auren's sight, he flagged the words: assassination, Skorp, one week, the lighthouse, mykasol. A distorted portrait of Skorp wafted past in the background, a sigh that Auren was still powering up from
techno-naissance. >.
"...your owiLson?* Auren thought #
This is the 'opening excerpt from A Complex of
Realities: 0.1. If you are interested in reading
more, please contact Julien via e-mail at
saturn_starchild@hotmail. com.
by Kiwi Noriega
And then she whispered, breath warm against my
palm, "I...I don't know, if I'm joking anymore."
I could hear her breathing get louder, her pulse
go faster. Her face was only inches away from mine
and I found myself entranced by our intimacy. I got
lost in it all, the intensity of my emotions. And I proceeded from her palm, to her wrist, then up to her
arm, my hps chasing the path my eyes had previously set. Yet in the midst of this all I suddenly
retreated in. the dark, cradling her smooth palm
against my cheek. Her soft grey eyes sought mine
and we were instantly rendered speechless. In
them. I saw uncertainty, I saw fear, and yet also I
saw wonder. I saw yearning, mirroring my own.
And my heart stopped. My mind froze; I felt
detached from the world that suddenly wouldn't
stop moving past me, wouldn't stop rushing
through me. I felt inconsistent with this world of
illusory consistency. Here are the lines, it said, now
walk them.
Then her eyes caught mine in the hushed darkness, shifting slightly from left to right, anxiously
anticipating my response.
I honestly didn't think she knew what to expect I
: didn't either until I suddenly found rnyself drawn
closer to herY. .you're getting too close. Caressing her
face with my fingers, it was impossible to stop
myself from doing so...too close. Going by instinct, I
leaned in to her neck, closing my eyes as I felt the
closeness of her, the warmth of her...it's not right I
breathed but softly, my right hand going to her hip,
as I inched closerYwhat will people say?. Pausing, I
licked my hps then languidly grazed her neck with
the tip of my tongue...consequences. I heard her
gasp softly at first contact something inside me urging me to go further...not accepted. I then followed
the line of her jaw, my tongue almost barely touching her skin as I hovered briefly at the corner of
her lips.
And in that second, a brief silence ensued, that
moment in between decisions, where there was still
time, still space to go back.
You shouldn't be doing this.
I could still pull back, there's still time.
I gazed at her for what seemed like forever, just
watching, captivated by her every feature. It was so
different being this close to her face, this near to her
mouth. I could feel her warm breath on my cheek as
I once again hovered ever so intimately over her
lips, ihy hand slowly rising to cradle her neck. We
" were so close.
So unbelievably, amazingly close. Her fingers
brushed my cheek.   '
And I shivered. In that moment, all my apprehensions just disappeared, and all that existed was
this beautiful worrian in front of me. The one per-
' son who had the ability to draw me out, tp take me
apart and. expose, even extract almost everything
I've spent my whole life concealing. She was right
here, in front of me, waiting. Her breath, her touch,
her soft, entrancing lips. I closed my eyes without
And I kissed her.
And I drank in the taste of her, the feel of her lips
on mine with a thirst I never knew existed, never
thought possible. It felt so intimate, so incredible.
You're not supposed to feel this way.
But her hps...her hps tasted so incredibly sweet
against mine.
You're not supposed to feel..
But her hand intertwined in mine felt real, her
hand in mine felt right.
You're not suppos-
And all she had to do was smile.
"I don't think I'm joking anymore either." #
Scary Dyke (—They say)
by Caroline Kirsebom
They say
"She's a big ol' dyke
—intimidating, scary, strong and independent!"
They say
"Don't mess with her!
She could beat you up, hold you down, tear you apart!"
They say
'She's so sure of herself
she can take on anything!"
They say
"Be careful trusting her        "'-   '
—she eats httle girls for breakfast..."
What do they know? '"'''-
I feel
Insecure and sensitive
I feel
Afraid and vulnerable
I feel
Dependent, helpless and shy
I couldn't hurt a flyl
I am just httle me inside
Don't be fooled by stereotypes, don't be scared!
It hurts me. #
Roll me over
by Aunika Stafford
Watch me shift
Warm and musky
Hold ma down "
This is my surrender
Your whispers
Pressing me tight
The familiar taste of you
Foreign and spongy on my tongue
I let it sink in   "
Sink deep
Determined searching
Watch me shift
Warm and musky
Permission granted
Dig into the soreness
Show me I hurt
Find that naked ache
My raw need
Turn it like a trophy in your hands
Roll me over
Slather me in balm
Warm and musky
Melting my ache # s Friday/February 14, 2003
care about
by Jordana Greenblatt
While the queer community is as
varied as any and there are pro-life
queers, queer people who profess
a pro-choice stance but refrain
from any form of activism are in
some ways a greater cause for concern.
Many gays, lesbians, transgendered and transsexual people
refrain from participating in the
fight for freedom of choice because
they view the whole issue of abortion rights as one that does not
directly affect their fives. Since—
the logic goes transfolk,
gay men, and lesbians cannot
reproduce without outside assis-
tance([emdash))and only do if they
actively want to have a
child((emdash))the issue of choice
does not have a major effect on
their fives. However, this point of
view ignores many important considerations on practical and theoretical levels.
On the practical level, this argument involves a very limited definition of the word queer. Since the
queer community encompasses
gay men, lesbians, transgendered
and transsexual people, as well as
bisexual men and women, the
issue of accidental pregnancy is
one that does exist within the community. Taking the stance that
freedom of choice has no effect on
our lives peremptorily excludes
bisexuals from the queer community, something that, as fighters for
universal tolerance, we should be
the last to do. Even without taking
A Ubyssey Special Issue
i this into consideration, practical
concerns still apply. As women, .
lesbians can'arid do get" raped,
often as a dehberate form of gay
bashing. By refusing to fight for
freedom of choice, something that
should be considered our basic
human right, we are taking an
unfortunately short sighted and
naively optimistic view of the
world and the way in which it
regards us.
The practical argument, however, pales beside the theoretical.
The core issue of abortion rights
has to do with our freedom over
our bodies, especially in our capacities as sexual and reproductive
beings. Issues of gender and ownership, and gender and reproduction are core to both the issues of
choice and sexuality. In attempting
to deny women the right to choose,
anti-choice activists are essentially
arguing that the primary purpose
of a woman is her reproductive
capacity, and that her first responsibility is to the propagation of the
species, not to herself. This point
of view is clearly linked to the
denial of marriage rights to queer
couples based on the argument
that the purpose of marriage (and
by extension, all sex,) is reproduction. This focus on sexuality and
women's bodies as reproductive as
opposed to autonomous has been
central to the oppression of queer
people throughout history, and
ignoring its emergence in another
arena is, once more, taking a
somewhat short-sighted view of
the world.
Similarly, the implications
about the status of women's bodies
that are inherent in arguments
against choice reinforce gendered
assumptions that tie in with the
oppression of queers. Anti-choice
arguments that the state should
regulate what women can do with
their bodies stem back to a time
when women were the legal property of their fathers and husbands.
Reinforcing the binary gender system based in ownership, anti-
choice activists are referring back
to the very system tha| did not
allow for any sort of gender fluidity or sexual variance, and punished any deviance from the sanctioned binary severely. Thus the
ideologies surrounding the fight
for choice are inextricably linked
with those surrounding our own
freedom of sexual and gender
Finally, it is worthwhile to note
that the people who fight against
freedom of choice are often the very
same people who seek to curtail the
rights of the members of the queer
communities. In turning our backs
while they do battle in this arena, we
are ignoring the larger implications
of any victory they might achieve.
Those who seek to oppress women
will not hesitate to oppress us. Even
disregarding the fact that as a community that contains women, anything that affects women affects us
too, our own rights and battles are
inherently tied to any battle over
issues of imposed 'morality' and the
yalue of sexual and reproductive
freedom. #
Personal essay: Queerness and religion
by Justin Cheng
The first time I ever met a lesbian was at an anti-violence and anti-racist conference when I
was in grade eight I was young and uneducated about lesbians and gays. Like many people
coming from a religious background, I was then of the opinion that homosexuals were
depraved sinners, condemned people who just needed a 'spiritual experience' to turn
straight On the last day, we had a lesbian presenter who argued that with justice issues such
as anti-violence and anti-racism, we must also stand against homophobia. Coming from a religious background, I raised my hand and asked her what she thought about religion.
Understandably, she seemed to view my question as something coming from a person who
grew up in a'Bible belt'home.
She answered that religion was probably one of the main forces she had to deal with in
fighting for gay rights. And so it is.
I don't feel it makes a difference if we impose hate crime legislation or hate speech laws;
religious organisations have almost become the last centres of acceptable homophobia. In
other institutions such as government, business and civil society, discrimination against
queers is at least officially condemned. However, religion seems to be a sacred cow in our
society; we can't really touch it without offending a lot of people.
For example, take the present Catholic church sex scandals in the \JS. Every credible
report demonstrates over and over again that there is no link between homosexuality and
pedophilia. And yet, conservatives in the Catholic church, which is sometimes praised for
being among the least homophobic of all Christian denominations, are demanding that homosexuals be barred from the priesthood. Banning homosexuals from the priesthood will not
solve the pedophilia problem. Second, the argument by some in the Vatican, that homosexuality causes pedophilia, is based on one of the long-standing prejudices against queers: that
queers are sexually deviant and prone to immoral behaviour. The problem is that sexual
immorality is also prevalent among heterosexuals: witness the divorce rate. To attack queers
as sexually immoral is offensive since there are many gay and lesbian couples who are
monogamous and more committed than many straight marriages.
While it would seem that Catholicism is not friendly to queers, many fundamentalist
Christian groups seem to be far worse. Take John Hagee, an American televangelist from deep
in the Bible belt, Texas. Hagee pulls no punches in his opinion of homosexuality. For him, like
for many fundamentalists, the modem nuclear family, with the male at the head and the wife
acting as a submissive helpmate, is the perfect formula. Homosexuality and homosexuals
challenge this assertion, and therefore challenge the romantic view of the patriarchal,, heterosexual family held by many conservatives. In his eternal rant, Hagee links homosexuality
to how America has moved away from goodness and degenerated into a moral abyss. What he
fails to mention is that our 'degeneration,' whether that is accepting gay rights or supporting
reproductive choice, has improved and enriched the fives of many people who have long beeri
marginalised or rejected in our society. Fundamentalists, who see the past as a wonderful era,
noticeably forget the racial lynchings, the homophobic biases and the illegal abortions that
place a stain on the 'golden' past.
With the dubious and implicit, or in some cases, explicit agendas of the Catholic church
and fundamentalists, many queers have turned to the mainline Protestant denominations for
acceptance and tolerance. As a baptised Anglican, I can attest that many in the mainline
denominations (the United Church of Canada and the Anglican church), have long histories of
openly affirming gay relationships. However, even in mainline denominations, queers are
not seen as equals all the time. In the Anglican diocese of New Westminster, there is an ugly
fight over the question of blessing same-sex relationships. While many on the gay-affirming
side are willing to compromise on some issues, for example, allowing priests who oppose
same-sex relationships to opt out of officiating a ceremony without reprimand, it seems that
many on the conservative side are unwilling to acknowledge even the possibility of the sacred-
ness of a same-sex relationship. Even in supposedly 'progressive' denominations, it seems
that there is a long way to go.
So why then remain a Christian? As a queer, many of my queer friends have asked me why
I bother with Christianity, and religion in general. Some of my queer friends are understandably hostile to religion, and I, in due conscience, cannot disagree with the premise that
much of homophobia is traced to religion and religious attitudes. There are enough outdated
and reactionary attitudes on the part of religious people to make many queers reject
religion altogether.
I'm not here to convert any queer to any religion. Frankly, with the inner battles of some
of my LGBT Christian friends, it might even be healthy for some to reject Christianity.
However, my queer experience is to some degree united with my spiritual experience. When
I came to the realisation that I was different in that I am a gay man, I also came to the realisation of an important principle behind all religions, and that is that humans were made in
the very image of God. Behind the hierarchies that were artificially constructed to preserve
the power of many religious people, and behind all of the dogma, lies the calm truth that God
loves all of his or her creations equally and that God made them the way they are.
Many of you out there will no doubt note my strong Christian background and worry that
I neglect the experiences of queer Jews, queer Muslims and queer pagans. Yet I do believe that
we all share similar traits despite our different religious backgrounds. We all need to tell each
other and remind each other that we are loved for who we are and that we were created for a
reason. We need to remind each other that organised religion must review and revise its artificial constructions regarding who is in the kingdom or not, and come to the realisation that
all of us are the children of God.
I am no idealist. I don't believe that a magic pill will end the entrenched and traditional
homophobia lurking in many religious and spiritual traditions. I also believe that we as
queers of faith do exist within our faith traditions, and that we should challenge our hierarchies and dominant leaders against whatever oppression they either implicitly or explicitly
support We must challenge misguided interpretations of ancient spiritual texts and question
whether a truly loving God would support such anti-religious rhetoric as 'God hates fags" or
"all gays are pedophiles." We must challenge the notion of the family that some religious people seem to adhere to, and argue that a true family is one composed of love; it's not simply a
matter of whether or not the partners in the family are heterosexual or homosexual. For our
transgendered brothers and sisters we also must challenge the notion that God is only masculine. Finally, we must challenge the gender distinctions and roles that exist within many
faith traditions.When I think of religion, yes, I do think of the religious right and its hateful
speech. However, I also think of many queers who in spite of the hateful speech and in spite
ofthe homophobia, persist in believing and embracing religious and spiritual experiences as
part of their fives.
Perhaps over time, the lesbian presenter at the conference I went to will not say that religion is one of the great barriers to justice for queers. That will not happen tomorrow, but in
time, I do believe faith and spirituality will become allies of the queer movement, not
adversaries. # Friday, February 14, 2003
A Ubyssey Special Issue
The stories of three
gay men of colour
by tyler Hopson
lhe Carillon
Regina (CUP)—With Valentine's Day approaching quickly,
thoughts of love and chocolate—and, if you're lucky, sex-are on
the minds of many. But, one might ask is Valentine's Day too
focused on heterosexual love?        -
A quick glance at the sappy cards available in the local drugstore and the Tiis and her' dinner specials in restaurants
around town seem to say "Yes.' Valentine's Day, it would seem,
is for heterosexuals only.
In an attempt to combat this oversight, here is a look at the
lives of several gay men. What makes these men stand out is
not just their sexuality, but also the colour of their skin. ~
A good deal of the advertising, art and products that are
directed toward gay men appear to have white, middle-class
gays in mind.
What of all the gay men that aren't white? In the glaring
sheen of shows like Queer as Folk and Will and Grace, whose
entire central casts are white, the stories of these men, who
some call 'double minorities,' are often marginalised,
ignored,or forgotten about. The following are just three of
those stories.
Blake's story—stuck in the
At first glance, it may seem that Blake is a typical 20-year-
old black man from the Southern US. But once he begins to
speak, there is evidence that things are otherwise.
Blake talks 'white,' something that is frowned upon by
many of the black people in the community of Thibodeaux,
Louisiana, a short distance from New Orleans. 'Around here,"
says Blake, "if you're black and speak correctly, people assume
you're being hushi,' meaning you're trying to be more than
you really are."
'I'm not ghetto enough for them,' he adds, with a tinge of
The relatively dark colour of Blake's skin belies his true
racial identity. Blake's mother is white. His father, who died of
a heart attack a few years ago, was black. The resulting mixture
is one that isn't well understood by the people around him.
"People always know I'm not totally black when I meet
them... They try to guess without asking me point-blank what I
am. I always laugh when they say 'You have Chinese in you,' or
'what the hell are you?"
But being caught between two worlds isn't always a laughing matter, especially when the colour of one's skin isn't the
only thing that sets one apart.
Blake is also gay. He has been aware of this fact since his
youth. "I always knew I was different from the other kids. I
never really had a moment of realisation [that I was gay]. I
always knew I liked boys," he says, echoing a thought that is
shared by many gay men.
Blake says that "if he had to pick,' being gay is more difficult for him than being biracial. There have been several times
in his life when people have harassed him because of his sexuality.
When Blake was 18, he went to a party at a friend's house.
"She lived next door to some guys knd they were having a party
together. When I walked into the house, some ofthe guys said
to the owner of the house, 'Wh/d you let that faggot in your
house? That queer better not touch me."
"Around here if you're black
and speak correctly, people
assume you re being 'bushi/
meaning you're trying to be
more than you really are."
This was the first time Blake had experienced such overt
hostility, but it has not been the last Just recently, Blake overheard a security guard at the shopping riiall in which he works
tell another man "That's that faggot right there,' as Blake
walked by.
Blake, who is muscular and over six feet tall, is no longer
afraid to challenge those that tiy to intimidate him.
"When I walked up to him and asked him what he said,'
Blake says, "he said I had misunderstood him, that he didn't
say that*
Blake also thinks life would be easier if he were white and
gay.'Being black, you are raised not to be a'sissy."
He feels that he has to hide his sexuality more than gay
white men. "When I go into a situation, especially at work [in a
well-known clothing store). I have to control the way I speak
around customers and coworkers.
"Being white, I presume, means you can be whatever you
want to be, be that flaming, butch or queen. But being black
and gay, people expect you to be very butch, very masculine."
Although many gay white men would disagree that they can
truly be whatever they want to be, Blake does seem to have a
point When a gay black man is portrayed on television or in
film, a fairly rare occurrence, he is almost always depicted as
being strong, macho and serious.
Blake also comments on the lack of role models for black
boys, especially outside the arena of sports. "[As a young, black
boyj you're raised wanting to be a football player or a basketball player; most black rhale children are not raised believing
that they could be doctors or lawyers, as that is not the norm.
And culturally, football and basketball players are not gay, so
why would you want to associate yourself with that lifestyle if
that's what you want to be when you grow up?"
When asked what Blake wanted to be as a child, he says 'a
lawyer or a hairstylist/fashion designer! told you I was always
a queerl*
Blake feels that his white relatives are more accepting of
who he is than is the black side of his family. 'Some [of my)
black uncles have stopped talking to me because I am gay. To
them, I am a disgrace."
Blake doesn't regret coming out of the closet although he
admits there are still difficulties in his life. As for advice for
other young men of colour who are struggling with their sexuality, Blake says being out "is totally not as bad as staying in the
closet Face the whole thing with laughter and know that God
loves you. And, if no one else does, love yourself."
Matt's story—far from home
and loving it
Twenty-two-year-old Matt has been in Canada for almost two
years. A native of China, Matt came to Regina to improve his
English and to get a university education, something that is
very difficult to do in China because of the competition its huge
population creates.
In almost every way, Matt loves his life in Canada. "I'm a
bad Chinese person,' Matt says, showing his disinterest when
the topic of China's changing economy is brought up between
us. "I don't care about that'
For most Chinese people, Canada offers a far greater
amount of freedom than does China. For Matt, Canada allows
him to be gay and happy about it
"If I tell someone I'm gay in China, that will be a problem.
They will probably stay away from me arid not talk to me.
Younger people might even hit or punch me. Older people will
just be so disappointed," says Matt of the gap between China
and Canada's acceptance and treatment of gay people.
Matt's parents don't know he is gay and he's not sure if he
will ever tell them. Soon after I met Matt he told me his parents would "kill him* if they knew. Later on, he changed his
mind slightly.
"I think my mom would probably be okay. But they would
be so surprised. My dad would be really disappointed."  -
Like many children in China, Matt is an only child. He is
also the only male child in his generation on his father's side.
"Maybe it's because Regina is
such a small city or because
everyone thinks Asian guys
have small dicks. I don't know."
"If I don't have children, my dad's family can't keep going."
Of course, not everything is perfect for Matt in Canada.
Because Matt is Asian, he thinks it is harder for him to find a
boyfriend here. "I think white guys can find a boyfriend so easily here. For Asian guys it's not that easy," he says. "Maybe it's
because Regina is such a small city or because everyone thinks
Asian guys have small dicks. I don't know.'
Matt beheves that gay white men have it easier, in general.
"If a gay white guy goes to an Asian country he will be so attractive [to people] and a lot of people will want to have sex with
him. It's also easier for gay white men even if they stay here."
Repressive attitudes toward sex in China are a part of what
makes it difficult to be gay, says Matt "In Canada and America,
people have sex at like age 15 or 16. If you do, that in China
and your parents find but, it'll be a huge mistake, your parents
will be so mad [at you]."
Perhaps as a result of these repressive attitudes, Matt says
he didn't realise he was gay until about age 14. "I just realised
that it was guys that turned me on and that girls couldn't do
that for me."
Fortunately, Matt has found friends in Canada that are supportive of him and his sexuality. With time, he hopes to
become a citizen of Canada. "I don't want to go back to China."
Tyce's story-—more tolerance
but more troubles, too
Tyce* loolcs upon himself as an adventurous guy 'who is
always trying to find new things to do and to try." The 22-year-old
from Winnipeg works as a hairstylist and nail technician ih a
salon and hopes to return to school someday, when he's ready.
As a member of Winnipeg's large Aboriginal population,
Tyce feels he is both privileged and disadvantaged at the same
In many Aboriginal cultures, being gay is tolerated to a
higher degree than in the dominant North American culture or
in other parts of the world. Some gay Aboriginals prefer the
term "two-spirited" instead of gay, as it relates to their belief
that gay people embody both male and female spirits within
Tyce says the "spirituality of native culture" makes it easier
to be gay within the Aboriginal community. He says he has
never felt he was being discriminated against because of his
sexuality. "It's the family that makes [being gay] hard or easy.
My family has always been totally cool with it*
Family troubles, Tyce says, have preoccupied him more in
his life than has being gay or aboriginal. "Tyce's parents never
married and he has been in five different foster homes since
the age of ten. "What was hard was being an individual in a
completely different environment," he says. Fortunately, Tyce
has been with the same family for more than ten years now.
Yet, Tyce admits it is still difficult to be Aboriginal in
Canada, and for gay Aboriginals, it is twice as hard. "Natives
are already discriminated against and gays are already discriminated against. [Being native and gay] makes it hard to
fight the double discrimination."
Although Tyce hasn't experienced a large degree of discrimination personally, he knows that the situation is worse
for many gay Aboriginal men.
It bothers him that gay Aboriginal men are almost never
depicted in the media. He would like to see gays added to the
conception of Aboriginals that people already have.
"People should see that side of Aboriginal culture and see
the way it bonds gay natives and straight natives together." *
*name has been changed for this. w
Tuesday,-February 14, 2003
A Ubyssey Special Issue
Our flag on campus
It all started last term. Pride UBC
received an e-mail from a group similar
to ours at an American university, who
told us of their success having the Pride
flag raised on their campus for their own
Outweek festivities. So we began to wonder: would it be possible to do this here at
There was some skepticism at Pride
UBC as to whether this was something we
could actually accomplish so we set out to
see what could be done. After a few
opportunities failed to materialise,
International House agreed to let us fly
the Pride flag from one of their flagpoles.
It was raised on the afternoon of Monday
February 10. Without the support of
International House, this wouldn't have
been possible.
Pride UBC would- like to thank
International House for their support We
would like to single out Winnie Cheung at
International House for all her help.
Finally we would also like to thank Ann&-
Marie Long (the coordinator of the
Positive Space program) at the UBC
Equity Office for her support on this
project. #
The 'L-word'
and the everlasting 'come-out'
by Jackie Hofiart
This January 18, 2003,1 celebrated my 'one-
year out' birthday. Although that day com-
memoi-ates only one of many of my 'coming
outs,'it was a very significant one, and one
which helped empower me to open up to my
wider group of friends at UBC, and then eventually my parents and family, and so on and so forth.
As I think back to that
night, where I sat in an
over-lit under-heated coffee shop on Granville with
one of my best friends, to
whom I was about to tell
my biggest secret, I
remember how incredibly
nervous I was. We're
talkin' palms-sweating,
sugared coffee, feeling 13-
feet-tall and lOmm-small
all-at-the-same-time nervous. We're talkin'all of my
brain and heart and soul
had been working up to
this one moment for as
long as I can remember,
the judges are on the sidelines, the spotlights are on
me, the crowd simmers
down, I'm ready for my close-up Mr Deville,
any second now, do it, do itf, you can do it...
"I'm gay!" (exhalel)
It did get easier, and, though I know this
unfortunately isn't the case for everybody, I've
yet to receive a response from anyone that
could be remotely characterised as negative
(and yes, my friend that night was fiber-happy
and supportive of me). I want to tell you about
two specific facets of the process of this coming out that I'm experiencing, the first being
coming to terms with the term lesbian' in
particular, arid also my personal realisation
that the 'closet' is much, much bigger than I
had ever expected it to be.
For me, coming
out was kind of
like winning a sort
of personal election, then I
realised that getting elected was
just the beginning,
and there's the
whole everyday
politics of the job
that doesn't do
Gay is a word that I have used in Canada to
identify myself. Obviously traditionally referring to men, it has been reclaimed as a sort of
umbrella term for many queer sexual identifications, and in my case, also an out (so to
speak) from using the 1-word.' Lesbian is what
I am, and finally admitting to myself that it
wasn't going to 'go away^ wasj one of the
biggest turning points in
my coming-out process.
Nonetheless, I used to hold
to the popular opinion that
this word is just plain ugly.
What is it about the way it
sounds that makes people,
sometimes even lesbians
themselves, shy away from
using it? What is it about
the way it slips out of the
mouth that makes it so
This is obviously a complicated question, to which
our society and culture of
acceptance/non-acceptance has a lot to answer
for. But without getting too
deep into theory here, I
decided that I needed to
start to reclaim this word
for myself. In a sense, I
decided I needed to try and
personally do for the word lesbian' what "The
Vagina Monologues" is doing for the word
A friend of mine recommended walking
around my apartment saying the word lesbian
over and over and over every day, until it normalised itself and until I got used to hearing
it come from my mouth. Another similarly
silly-but-helpful method is replacing the lyrics
of whatever song I was singing with continuous repetition of the word lesbian.
This was all good fun, but the true test for
me is normalising it in actual dialogue with
other people. This too was a big bridge for me
to cross, and one I still find myself standing
ori sometimes, peeking down queer river,
wishing there was an easier term floating
along that I could jump onto...
But as I'm learning, there's a lot about my
life and the world I live in that I didn't choose,
and to quote Ghandi, "You must be the change
you wish to see in the world."
I am currently in Berlin, Germany on
exchange, and tinlike in 'Canadian,' the translation for 'gay* really does just refer to men.
And yes, the stigma attached to the word lesbian (and being lesbian) exists here too. And
yes, although Germany (or Europe in general)
can be thought of as more liberal when it
comes to pluralist lifestyle acceptance, there is
certainly an undeniably heavy tradition of
oppression here too, both linguistically (in
that many European languages have
entrenched patriarchal gendered grammar)
but also culturally and historicallyY
After verbally outing myself to everyone I
wanted to specifically telL I think I thought it
would be easy enough to just he lesbian,' be
myself, and I would be free of the closet once
and for all. I am learning that this is not quite
as easy as it sounds. I've had to really think
about parts of my upbringing, my socialisation
and my place in Canadian culture, and how
they have contributed to how I feel about my
own sexuality. One analogy that helps me put
into focus just how everyday living one's sexuality should be, is that for me, coming out was
kind of like winning a sort of personal election.
Then I realised that getting elected was just the
beginning, and there's the whole everyday politics of the job that doesn't do itself.
The everyday appearance of the closet in
my life manifests itself in silences rather than
words. It's that moment when someone asks
me if I've met any interesting guys lately, and
I feel like I have to make a split decision
between, saying "No, not really," or, "I guess,
but I'm more into the ladies," neither of which
usually fits just right I am learning that these
situations are generally about the fear of unac-
ceptance that I project onto other people, and
that it will get easier. I think one ofthe biggest
lessons I've learned from this experience of
the everyday closet is that it's been a lot about
breaking down my ideas of dichotomies. The
closet manifests itself in the dichotomy of
being either 'screaming' or 'closeted,' and in
the idea that a lesbian is femme or butch, or
that pride only means loud and quiet only
means ashamed.
My journey this last year has been, above
all, freeing. Although these words here focus
mainly on the ways in which I still feel
enslaved, either to language or the socially constructed closet I want_to emphasise that coming out in whatever way, shape, or form, has
been an overwhelmingly positive and fulfilling
journey. In a way, I feel as though my coming-
out process has afforded me the opportunity to
acknowledge and dissect, and attempt to
understand, my place in the world, whether it
be where I see myself positioned, or how I
position myself. It is a road which, sadly, is not
often travelled by non-queer people, and one
which I would encourage you to explore,
whether you identify yourself as straight gay,
lesbian, transgendered, transsexual, bisexual
or anything else. Sexuality is, I believe, fundamental to our lives, our functioning in society
and, ultimately, our happiness. #
The closet manifests
itself in the dichotomy
of being either 'screaming' or 'closeted/ and
in the idea that a lesbian is femme or
butch, or that pride
only means loud and
quiet only means
ashamed. T^t     * /J^/t      '         — ——  Friday, February 14, 2003 i4
' I       l    I M l        A Ubyssey Special Issue ||
Mountain biking across the gender line
by Stephen Hui
The Peak
BURNABY (CUP)-When Michelle
Dumaresq crossed the finish line-
Winning; for the first time a race
as a professional downhill mountain biker—her competitors did not
all rush to congratulate her at once.
Instead, some of them circulated a
petition demanding the discarding
of the race results.
So what was all the fuss about?
Some racers thought the competition was unfair because Dumaresq,
a transgendered woman, once lived
-as a man.
Dumaresq, a 32-year old
Vancouverite, competes in a mountain biking event called downhill, in
which racers fly down steep slopes
at high speeds towards the finish
line. There are three categories in
the women's event: beginner,
expert and prOi Cornpetitors qualify
to move up a level by accumulating
points. Dumaresq has been mountain biking for 15 years and previously rode BMX for ten years. She
has never raced on a mountain bike
against men.
In the year 2001, Dumaresq
competed in three races. In the
beginning of June she won the first
competition she had entered.
"My very first race, I ended up
having the fastest time of the day
amongst the pro women,"
Dumaresq said. "I would have won
the pro women's category by two
seconds except that I was in the
beginner category. So everyone just
freaked out right away."
Racers filed complaints with
Cycling BC. Two weeks later,
Dumaresq won another race in the
beginner category.
"Again L would have won the pro
category had I raced pro>* she said.
Her third race took place in July.
"I won my category—I'd moved up
to expert by * this point
—but I would have lost the pro one,"
Dumaresq said. "I would have been
beat by half a second."
The next weekend, all three levels of the sport's governing bodies
were in Vancouver for a World Cup
competition happening on Grouse
Mountain, just north of the city.
Cycling BC, the Canadian Cycling
Association (CCA) and the
International Cycling Union decided to suspend Dumaresq, pending a
final decision on the issue, which
they referred to the Medical
Commission of the International
Olympic Committee.
.The Olympic Games began subjecting women athletes to "gender
verification testing" when Mexico
City hosted the event in 1968. Early
testing involved a gynaecological
exam but later a chromosomal test
was utilised. Chromosomal patterns, however, are not always easily divided into male or female and,
at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta,
one in 400 women athletes failed
the chromosomal test, even though
every one of them was eventually
confirmed to be biologically female.
The International Olympic
Committee finally abolished the
process before the Sydney Olympics
in 2000.
._ +»
"This essentially opened the
door to transgendered people to
compete," Dumaresq said. "The
problem is, at a local level, transgendered people still couldn't compete because in most cases transgendered people are barred from
competing [against the same sex]
biologically or genetically, up until
"This last winter, the governing
bodies debated my case arid what it
came down to. was the fact that my
birth certificate says female," she
continued. "I had my birth, certificate changed, which is possible in
The CCA then took the stance
that since Dumaresq was recognised by the government as being
female, she had a legal right to compete in women's sports. In April
2002, Cycling BC granted her a full,
unrestricted license to compete in
the pro category.
"They allowed me to compete in
the pro category, which of course
means there's 'money on the line,"
Dumaresq said. "And when you put
money on the line, people tend to
get a httle more involved with the
She placed third in her first race
in 2002. "Nobody- said anything,"
she said. "It was congratulations.
Everything was cool, because
third's okay."
"The next race I was in, I got
first," Dumaresq continued, "and
all hell broke loose." One of her
competitors filled out a protest
form, demanding the race results
be declared null and void because
of Dumaresq's participation. About
90 per cent of the women and men
pro racers present signed the petition. The race commissioner, however, rejected their request, upholding Dumaresq's legal right to race.
She would go on to win the
Canada Cup series, place third at
the National Mountain Biking
Championships in Kamloops, and
qualify for the national team.
Dumaresq is the first transgendered person in the world to make
it onto a national team.
"That's when the shit really hit
the fan, as far as the media's concerned,* she said.. "I had media
from Brazil, Italy, Australia, everyone calling me." In August, she represented Canada at the World
Championships, recording the
fastest Canadian time at the event
and placing 24th overall.
Dumaresq said she would like to
remove the term 'women' from
women's sports. She thinks the best
way to level the playing field is to
apply categories based on physical
ability rather than gender identity.
"People quite often say, 'Men are
stronger," Dumaresq said. "Men
have more access to sports since
they are young. So, when women
have the same access and develop
the same skills from an early age, I
think it's entirely possible that men
and women could compete against
each other."
One of the first steps in
, Dumaresq's gender transition period involved taking a drug that
flushed testosterone from her system. "Being that testosterone is a
performance enhancing drug, it's
not that much different than taking
any of the other steroids that people
are taking currently that are
banned," Dumaresq said.
"It's not that I want to exclude or
include or mix the genders in
sport," she added. "It's body typing-
physical characteristics and
, Named Michael at" birth,
Dumaresq has known that her gender identity was that of a women,
rather than a man, since she was
five years old. She came out when
she was 18 and started the process
of becoming socially and biologically female at 21.
"I went through a path of learning and denial and exploration,"
Dumaresq said, 'all through my
teenage years to a point when I was
18, admitting who I was and admitting it to a doctor."
The doctor referred her to
Burnaby Mental Health Services,
where she went through four different psychiatrists before finding one
who would hsten to her. The first
psychiatrist offered to 'cure' her.
Dumaresq, however, was not seeking a 'cure.'
'I wanted to know, 'Why? Why
me of all people?" Dumaresq said.
"I was happy, healthy, for all intensive purposes alpha-type male, very
popular, lots of friends, involved in
sport—and yet at the same time, I
was trans and wasn't really sure
why it was happening."
"At the time, I didn't even know
what a transsexual person was,'
Dumaresq continued. "I just knew
that I was born comfortable as a
woman and was starting to identify
as one around my friends.'
Finally, a psychiatrist steered
her towards the Gender Identity
Disorder Program at the Vancouver
Hospital and Health Sciences
Centre. There, she underwent several years of psychotherapy, group
therapy and the "real life'
test in preparation for sexual
reassignment surgery.
"To get'the surgery you have to
live for two full years in the
assigned role that you choose when
you're still biologically male, but
you're physically, outwardly
female,' she said. "That's 24-7.
That's work, friends, everything.'
Dumaresq ended up gender
transitioning in just less than five
years. -She said transitioning was
relatively easy for her because she
did not have many obvious 'masculine' characteristics.
"Even when I was still male I'd
get identified quite often as female
by other people because my hair
was long, my nails were long. I was
living quite androgynously,"
Dumaresq said. "That was quite
fine when I was 17 or 16. What I
didn't realise was there's a progression, that some people are capable
of staying as a cross dresser or as a
transvestite or as wherever they sit
on the gender spectrum."
Although she lost two of her
male friends, Dumaresq said her
family and friends were supportive.
"My dad was really cool," she said.
"He was like, 'Great, I've got another daughter."
Dumaresq is a welder by trade.
Her bosses at work, which she
called *a very masculine environment,' reacted favourably as well. "I
told my bosses and they went,
'Paint yourself pink if you want to.
As long as you can still do your job,
we don't care who you are or what
you look like or how you identify
yourself," Dumaresq said. "They
didn't treat me any differently afterwards. It took them a few years to
get the pronouns right'
"They were accepting and my coworkers were even more accepting
to the point of being supportive,"
she added. "}Ay anxieties] that I had
built up before I'd come out they
were that I'm going to Tose my job,
I'm going to lose my friends, there's
no support network that could catch
me, and I was wrong. There was
this amazing network of people to
catch me when I fell,"
The Gender Identity Disorder
Program, known as the Gender
Clinic, was located in the Vancouver
Hospital's Centre for Sexuality,
Gender Identity, and Reproductive
Health but provincial government
funding cuts resulted in its elimination last year.
"Now, transgendered people
have nowhere to go. There is no
support mechanism for them at all-
zero," Dumaresq said. "That was
the only avenue in Western
Canada. It was the only place you
could go to for focused, professional help where they had experience
dealing with transgendered people."
"Those doctors are still in existence but they are now in private
practice," she added. "So they're
only accessible to people who can
afford to pay their fees."
Dumaresq was fortunate, however, to have benefitted from the
program while it still existed. The
government paid for her surgery,
which she had at the age of 26. The
operation took place in Montreal,
which is the only place one can
receive sexual reassignment surgery in Canada. Dumaresq said the
care she received in Montreal
was amazing.
"Basically, you go into surgery
on a Monday or Tuesday. They do
four people at a time
—two on Monday, two on Tuesday.
So, you go through as a group.
You're in a private hospital—17
beds, it's small," she said. "You
leave the hospital on Friday and
they have a mansion in Montreal
on the outskirts of the city and you
go there. It's a hospice, they have
24-hour nursing care, and you stay
there for another 10 days. So,
there's this whole idea of structured care. They took care of everything.'
Dumaresq is not the first transgendered woman to find herself at
the centre of a controversy regarding a perceived transgression of a
'space' defined as gender-specific.
Transgendered women and their
place in women-only spaces have
sparked debate in many locations.
Even gender-segregated women's
and men's washrooms are spaces
that exclude people who fall outside
gender norms.
Tami Marie Starlight, a transgender and addictions counsellor
and activist who admires
Dumaresq's courage, said that
installing gender-neutral washrooms is one way to make a. space
more inclusive to transgendered
"It really helps people out who
have problems passing," she said.
"Trans people tend to be in the middle. It's pretty obvious that we need
a middle washroom because.you
can't go in one, you can't go in'the
other, and there's a lot of fear."
Dumaresq agreed that gender-
specific washrooms could pose
problems for transgendered persons, although she 'never had a
huge amount of problems using
"It was actually more confusing
before I identified as being female.
Like when I was a teenager, because
I had long hair, guys would come
into the washroom and from the
back I look like a girl, yet I'm standing at the urinal," she said. "There
was a time even later on where I
went to use a men's washroom
even though I was identifying as a
girl. Lots of girls use men's washrooms when there are massive lineups. But someone said, 'You can't
come in here. This is the men's
washroom.' The first thing I wanted
to say is, I'm still male.' But that's
not how I was identifying to
this person. They saw me as female
even though biologically I could
have pulled out a card and said,
'I'm still male."
Exploring her transgendered
identity has made Dumaresq
ambivalent about binary gender categories. "I identify as being transgendered because I don't really
know how else to identify myself,"
she said. "I identify as being female,
but where I fit in on the spectrum is
constantly changing."
Dumaresq thinks being able to
pin a specific name on her gender
identity is unimportant
"It's easier to have a label. It's
easier for other people for me to
have a label as well I'm, indifferent
to it. You can call me whatever you
want, as long as it's respectful," she
said. "I believe the way you identify
yourself is' how you should be
respected by other people. It doesn't matter what your physical
sex is." #
• •   -J  V*»^<>j
i At. 12
Friday, February 14, 2003
A Ubyssey Special Issue
Mediation talks stalled
On fifth day of strike,
TA Union and university
no closer to an agreement
* by Kathleen Deering
The last two days have been a series of ups
and downs for UBC over the teaching assistant (TA) strike action.
Although TAs and the university went into
mediation at 9:30am yesterday, they broke
off at noon with no progress made and no
further talks scheduled.
The last mediation talk between the TA
Union and the university was January1 17.
TAs have been asking the university for a six
per cent raise each year for three years, as
well as for UBC to discuss tuition waivers.
t Neither side budged during mediation,
| which was initiated by the university. "They
refused to discuss anything that even contained the word tuition," said Alex Grant, TA
Union president. "It's very frustrating."
Scott Macrae, director of UBC Public
Affairs, said the university considers tuition
and wages to be separate issues and will not
discuss tuition during mediation.
"We've given an offer to the TAs of seven
per cent over three years," said Macrae.
He said since part of tuition increases will
go toward financial aid, the university feels it
is best to treat all grad students the same
regarding tuition concerns.
Grant is concerned that the university's
offer doesn't ensure TA wages will be
increased, due to tuition hikes that might
overshadow pay increases. In May, tuition at
UBC will increase for the second time "this
academic year, and it is expected to increase
again next year.
"They refused to offer anything that can't
be clawed back in tuition hikes," said Grant
Picket lines went up at 6:30am Thursday,
with an estimated 500 TAs and supporters
braving the cold to show their solidarity. The
strike wad not campus-wide, as has been
expected for the last two days—only Gate 1
picket lines, at Wesbrook and University,
went up. Buses did not pass Blanca and 10th
Avenue, leaving a 30 minute walk, for students. , .
"It was pretty disruptive," said Macrae.
"People continued to come to classes. It was
obviously regrettable how many students and
staff and faculty who were inconvenienced by
the lack of bus service/
"We wanted to show the university, this is
what we can do and if we want to, we will* countered Grant "It was really big. We had a lot of
support from [CUPE] 116 and [CUPE] 2950/
The TA Union took picket lines down at
9:30am, as the union and the university
entered mediation talks.
Macrae added that the number of people
who show up at the picket lines is not something that's weighted in mediations.
TAs are members of CUPE local 2278.
About 1800 TAs have been prepared to strike
since Tuesday night over disputes with the
university regarding their contract.
Five thousand other workers at UBC prepared to strike in solidarity, including mem
bers of CUPE local 2950 and CUPE local 116.
116 recently passed a strike vote and is in
mediation with the university over a new
Collective Agreement
The TA Union was preparing to picket the
campus Wednesday morning, but ran into
legal snags with the Vancouver Coastal
Health Authority, which was concerned that
the picketing sites would affect the operation
of UBC Hospital,, and with the city of
Vancouver, which was concerned about
access to the fire hall near campus.
The disputes, over essential services,
were not settled by Wednesday morning and
the TA Union was forced to resolve it later in'
the day. Grant said the TA Union did not
intend to hinder the operation of the UBC
Hospital in any way, but decided to postpone
strike action for 24 hours to get it resolved
and not risk legal action against them-
The Labour Relations Board formally
ordered the TA Union to refrain from picketing sites that would clog UBC Hospital routes.
Grant would not say what strike actions
would be taken by TAs over the next few
days. #
AMS backtracks on TA solidarity motion
Council to offer $15,000
instead of SUB closure to
support TAs
by Chris Shepherd
The Alma Mater Society (AMS) Council cancelled a motion to
close the SUB for three days in the event of a campus-wide picket by teaching assistants (TA), at Wednesday evening's council
meeting. •
AMS President Kristen Harvey Would not provide reasons
for the council's decision because the discussion was held in-
camera, and was closed to everyone but members of Council.
"The AMS decided it would support the TAs in different
means," said Harvey.
Harvey added that the AMS executive would be meeting
with the TA Union to decide how the AMS would help.
AMS Vice-President Administration, and President-elect,
Oana Chirila—who oversees the operations of the SUB—feels
keeping the SUB open is a good idea in order to keep the AMS
financially stable.
"For us as! a society it'd probably a real huge [financial} loss
to have it closed for that number of days,' Chirila said.
Harvey said that one way the TAs could use the AMS's contribution would be to advertise their case (a full page ad in the
Globe and Mail was discussed later in council).
Chris Fennell, a Graduate Student Society representative on
Council, was veiy disappointed with the council's decision.
"My general feelings on it are that the AMS execs had a
chance to take an active stance to support students," Fennell
said. "Instead they chose to do their usual campaigning...They
dropped the ball here."
Fennell also believes that the decision to revoke the earlier
motion will alienate TAs and many of the graduate students he
Kate Woznow, Arts representative to the AMS, voted against
the motion.
"I'm very concerned about the consequences to the AMS
[because they rescinded] a strong statement of solidarity to the
TAs, and what I also thought was a strong statement to students, t'm concerned about the effects to our credibility," she
"I don't think it's a good, practice for Council to go about
rescinding decisions week to week, but I think also that it was
the right decision," said Mark Fraser, a Board of Governor's
representative to the AMS Council, who voted for rescinding
the motion.
The original motion was passed at an emergency Council
meeting February 5. It stated the AMS would also have paid
any part-time employees the full amount they would have
earned had the SUB stayed open. Instead, Council voted
Wednesday to pay any part-time AMS employee who chose not
to cross the picket line 60 per cent of their pay.
AMS Vice-President, Finance Nicholas Seddon made a pres-
entation to Council on the finances of the AMS while in-cam-
era. Seddon was not present at the Council meeting when the
original decision to close the SUB was made.
After an hour and a half of discussion, Council opened to
the public and voted whether to close the SUB for two days
instead of the original three.
That motion failed and Council closed again to further
debate the issue. Approximately an hour and a half later
Council again opened to the public and decided to cancel the
previous motions that would have closed the SUB.
Council then decided to use up to $15,000 from the
External Lobbying Fund to support the TA strike. This money is
to be controlled by the AMS executive along with the TA Union.
"We're still committed tci working with the AMS," was the
only comment made by Alex Grant, president of the" TA
Students had vaiying views about the AMS's decision.
"I think the SUB should stay open because the people in res
need the SUB to get food and get by. They live on campus and
they should get the services that the AMS promised to provide,"
said Neel Sisodraker, a first-year Science student
Jeremy Lee', a fourth-year Arts student agreed with keeping
the SUB open.
"They should have thought of that first," Lee said, "instead
of scaring everybody about shutting the SUB down. There are
so many essential services in the SUB, like Speakeasy*
The AMS did have plans to run Safewalk from Gage residence and Speakeasy from the Meekison Arts Students' Space
in the event of a SUB closure.
But rhrteny Sturgess, a second-year Science student felt that
closing me SUB would give a greater sense of support
"I think that closing the SUB would give more of a message
to the...university and the students because it would be [more
visible].' #    "*     "
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