UBC Publications

UBC Publications

UBC Publications

The Ubyssey Feb 4, 2000

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Array 15BC Archive Serial
a ubyssey special issue
friday, february 4,2000
volume 81 issue 33
gay bisexual transgendered queer i$ february 4, 2000* a ubyssey special issue-
hr (Mar 22-26). TESOL teacher certification course (or by correspondence).
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Positions available for talented, energetic,
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For more information and to apply:
MAH-KEE-NAC www.campmkn.com
(Boys): 1-800-753-9118
DANABEE www.danbee.com (Girls):
Interviewer will be on campus Tuesday,
March 7th, 10am to 4pm in the Student
Union Building, rooms 214/216.
MUSICIANS WANTED Grace Vancouver Church needs musically diverse artists
for Sun. evening service. $35 per night,
call 871-4331.
asked the question a thousand times
"How did you get this amazing job?!''
The answers are in, A Canadian Guide
to Jobs Down South' Visit us at:
usmess upponunmes
STUDENT LOANS. Internet, Webster,
home-based business in one opportunity.
All you need is access to a computer, a
three ring binder, a telephone, persistence and coachability. Team support
provided to help you get started. 24-hour
messages @ 1-800-987-1157.
caaemic services
WRITING TUTOR - having trouble
with essay writing? Learn to communicate
your ideas. Essay structure, grammar,
check/review. 739-5843
are available in the UBC single student
residences for qualified women and men
applicants. Single and shared rooms in
both "room only" and "room and board"
residences are available. Vacancies can be
rented for immediate occupancy in the
Walter H. Gage, Fairview Crescent,
Totem Park, Place Vainer, Ritsumeikan-
UBC House and Thunderbird Residences (avaiiabiiity is limited for some
residence areas and room types).
Applicants who take occupancy of a residence room are now entitled to
reapplication (returning student) privileges for a "guaranteed" housing
assignment for the 2000/2001 Winter
Please contact the UBC Housing Office
in Brock Hall for information. The
Housing Office is open from 8:30am -
4:00pm weekdays, or call 822-2811
during office hours.
SAT FEB, 26 @ SUB. Reg. fee $10 if
before Feb. 15. Morning workshops will
focus on Globalization and rhe issues
arising from it. Afternoon sessions will be
on Issues of Social Justice. For more info
call 822-9098 or email
you are interested in joining the executive for the upcoming school year please
contact us ASAP.  Next years executive
will be determined at end of Feb. If
interested please send email to
expressing reasons for interest in field
and for joining our executive.
GRIZZLES VS. BULLS. Feb. 4. Section
323, 2 rickets for $50 obo. Call 730-
$448(r/t + taxes), (Travel May-October)
Hawaii $129 (o/w), Call: 415-834-9192
travel, com.
ROADTRIP. Incl. NY and Boston. 6
weeks in a self-contained RV shared cooking, driving and costs. One spot left!
Approx. $1000 + spending $. Email me!
www.homyforte.com/Ienserver/ Contact
jschong@interchange.ubc.ca for student
discount. Up to 25% off!!
To place an
or a
please call
a free service for the ubc communits
Vancouver rape
Vancouver Rape Relief is an
organisation that has been
actively fighting violence
against women for more
than 25 years.
They offer training sessions
every Tuesday for women
interested in volunteering:
• on the 24-hour rape crisis
• in the Transition House for
Women and their Children
for more info call 872-8212
Learn to release negative
energy, ground body and
essence, and enhance creativity by attuning to your
own rhythm. Classes every
Tuesday 3:30-5:30 pm.
Presented by the UBC
Women's Centre
to register call 822-2163
school mentors
Need some practical experience working with kids? Male
and female volunteers are
needed as in-school mentors.
Meet one-to-one with a child
in elementary school for one
hour a week to play games or
sports, work on the computer, or just sit and talk. If you
are 19 years or older, call
Susan Musleh at Big Brothers
of Greater Vancouver.
for more info call 876-2447
ext 225
program 2000
Learn and develop applied
skills and strategies of leadership for a better global
community. The
Leadership Program open
to UBC students includes:
speech anxiety, public
speaking, managing your
stress, teamwork, and
much more.
to register contact:
Women's Student's Office at
Room 203, Brock HaD or
tone 822-4117
BETHEN 9:30AM W 12:30
Grizzlies vs Chicago • Friday, Feb. 4
Canucks vs Calgary •  Wednesday, Feb. 9
V   GIVEAWAY -a ubyssey special issue • friday, february
ikins, Am
Volunteers are needed to help with the organization of the event ■™mrm "~" ™«-
Out on campus for twenty years
This is it, folks—this is the big one. The year
2000, or the new millennium as it's sometimes called, marks the 20th anniversary of
Outweek at UBC.
Over the years, we've seen many changes
take place in Pride: the group has transformed from a predominantly gay white male
organisation to a rainbow of diversity; our
name has evolved from "Gay People of UBC"
to the current, and more inclusive, "Pride
UBC." "Gay Week" has grown from just a
couple of events to "Outweek," which this
year is an extravaganza of discussions, info
fairs, and major films, topped off with sex
columnist extraordinaire Dan Savage to chat
about all things in and out of the closet.
Overall, Pride has emerged as an organisation that not only accepts diversity, but
also embraces  it.  In  doing so,  people's
sense of identity is strengthened and Pride
has become a valuable and visible community resource.
Looking at how far Pride has come was one
of our main motivations for putting together
this year's Pride Issue. We've included some
stuff from the past, and many new articles
about queer life in the new century. Stories
about coming out and coming to terms with
one's sexuality show the struggle that queers
remain faced with even today. One of the most
important things that queers have achieved
over the past 20 years is the sense that each
of us is not alone and that there is a community that we can turn to. The articles that
appear here reflect this sentiment and demonstrate the strength of the queer community.
It's important that despite our celebrations, we also remember those we have lost
and that we still have much to work towards.
There is still hate crime, gay bashing and
systemic harassment. Furthermore, queers
still lack the basic privileges of marriage and
protection against discrimination that heterosexuals can afford to take for granted.
The battle's not over, but realising how lucky
we are to have as much support as we do
certainly makes it easier. We've come a long
way from the days of relying solely on donations to carry out events, and have definitely gained a greater sense of autonomy. With
the array of resources we have available
now, it's no wonder the queer community is
standing so proud. We have every right to
This week coming up is our time to shine,
so take advantage of ali Outweek has to
Pride UBC
Vashti Singh and David Banks
Bruce Arthur
Nicholas Bradley and Daliah Merzaban
Duncan M. McHugh and Jaime Tong
Naomi Kim
Tom Peacock
Cynthia Lee
Tara Westover
Todd Silver
WEB Flora Graham
letters/opinion  Lisa Denton
RESEARCH Daniel Sherman/Graeme Worthy
The Ubyssey is the official student newspaper
of the University of British Columbia. It is published every Tuesday and Friday by The
Ubyssey Publications Society.
We are an autonomous, democratically run
student organisation, and all 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 firmly
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 well 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 will be
done by phone.
"Perspectives" are opinion pieces over 300
words but under 750 words and are run
according to space.
"Freestyles" are opinion pieces written by Ubyssey
staff members. Priority will be given to letters 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 shall not be responsible for slight changes or
typographical errors that do not lessen the value
or the impact of the ad.
Room 241K, Student Union Building,
6138 Student Union Boulevard,
Vancouver, BC. V6T 1Z1
tel: (604) 822-2301 fax: (604) 822-9279
email: feedback@ubyssey.bcca
Room 245, Student Union Building
advertising: (604) 822-1654
business office: (604) 822-6681
Femie Pereira
Jennifer Riley
Shalene Takara
Recipe for Uoyssqr cake: add equal amounts of Amit Taneja, Mart*
McDonald, Wayne Van Der Meide, and T.R. Stevenson. Mx in some
Tristan Winch, Nicholas Bradley, Tom Peacock, and Duncai McHugh.
Let srL In another bowl, mix Naomi Kim, Vashti Singh, David Banks, and
Julius Oefante. Then add a dash each at Fiona Steele. Wah fee Tirtg.
Brian MacLean. and Tanya Bateju, along with a pinch of Stephane
FWISps and Laura Bracken. Finally. rm_ alt ingredients together, ailing
Caroline Kreebom. Kevin Gurr, Neil Femyhough, Brian Un, Jonathan
AbourbBi. and Aaron Yip to taste. Garnish with Dalah Merzaban, Jaime
Tong. Cynthia Lee, Broce Arthur, and Todd Silver .
Canada Pott Publications Sain Agreement Number 0732141 february 4, 2000 • a ubyssey special issue -
Phone: (604) 224-2322
4320 West 10th Avenue Vancouver, B.C. V6R 2H7
1 Denotes Optometric Corp. Email: info@westlOthoptonletiy.bc.ca
Celebrate Year of the Dragon at
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Fri.      Chicken Leg with Special Chef Sauce
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OPEN 10am-10pm 7 DAYS A WEEK- Enjoy a FREE cup of coffee while you browse!
ay is
by Brian MacLean
Mow       did       St.
Valentine's Day
St. Valentine's Day
began as a pagan festi-
swalpin ancient Rome.
February 14 was a day
to honour Juno, the god-
■M of women and marriage. This day was also
the eve of the Feast of
fcupercalia, a festival
honouring     the     god
Lubercus. Luperc^lia
was celebrated to
ensure Lubercus protected Roman sheep
from wolves. During the
festival, boys and girls
picked names from an
urn and became partners. Sometimes the
pairings lasted through
the year; some resulted
in marriage.
But       who       was
During the reign of
Claudius II (Claudius the
Cruel), Rome waged
many wars. Claudius
had difficulty recruiting
soldiers for his endeavours. He reasoned that
men were reluctant to
serve the empire
because they were
attached to their fami-
by Tanw Boteju
in air
breathing is riot an option
options are thin
(like the air)
feet dangling
hanging by hands
hotding me up
and choking me too
like half-a-person
so small in your hands
Claiming largeness
Feigning Strength
when really
I am only
by hands that won't let go
because they can't
because i can't
because I won't
let them
let me go
forcing out (bringing out)
slicking them
fingers   spread
like greased
I can breathe
choosing that
slipping too
falling small
slowly failing
a reach
but hopeful
and both ways
and both ways
arms encircle my waist
we are face to face
half grown in your fingers
grown to fuit in your arms
balanced in air
thick with us
in air
not tight
but easy
not gripped
but   suspended
by more
than this
lies. Therefore, Claudius decreed that all engagements and
marriages in the empire were cancelled. However, a priest
named Valentine considered the Emperor's edict to be unfair
and continued to marry couples in secret. Claudius was
enraged by Valentine's defiance and had him imprisoned
around 269 AD.
One legend says that Valentine fell in love with his jailer's
blind daughter. He wrote her messages of love using ink
squeezed from violets and signed them "From Your Valentine."
Some say his words of love cured the woman of her blindness,
further enraging the Emperor, and causing him to order
Valentine's execution on February 14. His jailer, unimpressed
with Valentine's love for his daughter, clubbed him to death
and beheaded him. Valentine's friends retrieyed his body and
buried him in a churchyard in Rome.
In 496 AD, Pope Gelasius declared February 14 a day to
honour St. Valentine. It became a day for lovers to exchange
messages and tokens, and St. Valentine becamejttijBte.natron
' hose holiday is it anyway?
Valentine's is a beautiful holiday wfeh a fascinating Jaistory.
However, I would like you to read the\xcerpt below/rom trie
Detroit Free Press, February 13, 1998
Even on Feb. 14, Some Lovers Stay Hidden"
Tomorrow is Valentine's Day and I'm in love. Having been
single for several years, I can say without hesitation that it
feels wonderful. Tonight my sweetheart and I will go out for a
quiet, candlelit dinner for two. Then...we'II probably go for a
walk in some lovely, out-of-the-way place, and kiss in the moonlight.
And we'll be taking our lives in our hands.
As a gay couple, we face the constant threat of harassment
and violence, simply for being ourselves....
Nearly a year ago I saw an assault taking place aboard a
city streetcar, committed by an assailant shouting anti-gay epithets. He seemed to think the young man he was beating was
too "obvious."
The vast majority of gays and lesbians want to live our lives
in peace... Valentine's Day is one day of the year when that is
particularly difficult.
nyBETBon't believe me, try this simple experiment: Find a
friend or coworker of the same sex and walk a full block down
a busy street or the whole length of a crowded shopping center holding hands. When you get to the end, stop, say goodbye,
and give each other a parting kiss on the lips. If the thought
fills you with terror, you've just experienced a tiny fraction of
what I live with every day.
Happy Valentine's Day.
Lvery year, Pride UBC hos:
gay and lesbian community
Valentine's Day, not becausj
holiday, but because we wai
fellow students that romifjfce ||
Outweek begins February Wanll
events are open to ejp|y|#e. Af
will be showing tw^ fraSwIviesj
and Tuesday fea 8. Alsi
do a show gn Thursday,
room. Please see our p<
about these and other fun
Valentine'! Day
lutweek, a, celebration of the
IC. We pun the week before
want tojfl n anyone else's
lare in m W e want to remind
a pip |: our lives, too.
■uns Mtil Rpbruary 11. Our
long many jpther events, we
.LIB oh Monday Feb. 7,
Inging in Dan Savage to
:30pm in the SUB ball-
this paper for details
And%vish you all a Happy a ubyssey special issue • friday, february 4fm
matt*, NM«rntar»: tftt
by Julius Elefante
The anonymous letter (shown here), sent to the Ubyssey
20 years ago provoked members of the Gay People of UBC
(since   renamed   GLB-UBC,   and]
recently, Pride UBC). What was then
perceived as inflammatory is easily
seen   as   humorous  today.   Even  j
more hilarious still is the annoyingly 1
asinine manner in which the letter j
and the ensuing responses were j
presented. j
queer then and now
Ttt£   U8YS&«Yi
iri 1
February 7-11
Monday, February 7th
Info Fair
South SUB Concourse
10am - 2pm
Movie "Trick"
The Norm Theatre @ the SUB
Free,   accepting   donations   for   AIDS
Tuesday, February 8th
Info Fair
South SUB Concourse
10am - 2pm
Panel Discussion
"Queer Writers"
SUB Room 205
12:30 - 2pm
Hear   readings   from   poet   Michael   V.
Smith, fiction writer Karen X. Tulchinsky
and columnist Colin Thomas
Movie "Fire"
The Norm Theatre @ the SUB
Free,   accepting   donations   for   The
Thursday, February 10th
Speaker Dan Savage
"Dan Savage Talks About Sex"
SUB Ballroom
12:30 - 2pm
Come early for good seats to hear the
author of "Savage Love" talk about all
things sexual
Friday, February 11th
Cupid's Dance
SUB Party Room
8pm - 12am
DJ all night
Drag show at 10pm
Tickets   $6  -   available   at   Subcetera
(UBC) or Little Sisters (downtown)
Don't be sorry, buy early!
Alumni Wine and Cheese
SUB Party Room
5 - 7:30pm
Open to Alumni and Students
Pride UBC is an AMS resource group
for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and
trangendered campus community
SUB Room 125N, 822-4638
^ftWpoimof view* First of alt.
Me must have an undaretaa&ij of
^^*o} ftpa% ,h|afoseS&i,,
■ floe*" n^A^^M^^^^^f^d
fs^0~-0&^^^^^^i. &
ftmna«tt*ttsl s6b4 ^p$*Ser«tRR*i&
Kk'saS pt*fa$lrm*wiimi*sr.af *.
§§*& into ptt$qmssi, «fiwmr »\
StittiOtttiup« » not a Wat^B8»Slptl
Viewed through today's
time lens, the letter in
question actually possesses a healthy dose of queer
camp. In fact, it would
have had a more elevated
level of camp, really, if it
did not cop out in the end
and try to explain itself to
those who may have
missed the point.
If any chastisement is
necessary, it is for the stylistic transgression of
hutching up—making itself
apparent to the straightforward, mundane, heterosexual reasoning. Hold up,
Blanche, I see a mauve
streak of recognition: this
is exactly what that letter
Nqj$« urtinls
» *-ij*M
f tocialfcaer*      The *%tinwisBI$$
i^i'ljIiWsffttfr. of
•i&?Wj6^il*^'of fife p? &**il!
e£. '■*%.■
: va*«aiSe-t©j;8se «s* to help tfcgfgt
: tis^^^:M-iH^ildr#l^r|.>^M|l«
recognize their ifnwasce, let alone
to try *o improve tfasaadtae* wri-
homosexuals we not «B demerits*,'
of aJentd.tapac%. I fepi ^'.shosiw
I be .::th»      ><*ith jreti&^,'$s$. fear
''father thea t^«^toi«;S^|;r^ii^»te4p.;
u.-■.;'... same wtthlteJii m^iti^msm^i.
Friday, November 30, 1979
Gays crap on letter .
Gay People of UBC wishes 10 disassociate itself completely from the
ludicrous opinions expressed by ihe
unknown author of Bow lo your superiors, straights Thursday Nov
29, 1979. We suspect thai whoever
ihe author was, he only intended to
arou.se negative and anti-gay sentiment on campus. We therefore
doubt that the author was, in fact,
even gay.
It's easy to spot a wolf in sheep's
clothing. Anyone who followed the
strategy ol" Richard Nixon and. his
"dirty trickseampaign" will be familial with the tactic of discrediting
a particular group's viewpoint by
grossly distorting it.
Wc hope that boll, gay and
straight people at UBC" will see the
and crap again
Wc of the gay/lesbian law
association condemn the statements
made by the author of Bow to your
superiors, straights in the Nov.
29, 1979 Ubyssey. The author obviously intended to disrupt and
polari/c gays and straights at UBC.
We will gladly listen to reasoned
arguments in the future, but lor the.
pcrseni we cannot stomach this
distorted outlook, authentic or
The letters section of The
t.lnssey is intended lor the honest
expression of opinion not inflammatory diatribe.
Murk McDonald
»f ihe %a\ /lesbian law
association of ubc
letter, for what ii truly
calculated disruption of
exchange of opinion. The anonymous author of that letter does not
express the views of gay students at
UBC or anywhere else. Gay People
of UBC espouses equality lor all.
T. R. Stevenson
<ia> People of UBC
and thc executive or (ta> people
»l UBC
this "we've
here] are not amused
Then again,  before
was  arguing,  our height- come so far" trip reaches unbear-
ened reasoning! Celebrate able levels of self righteousness, it
the victory of Homo homo must be conceded such catfights
sapiens over the   Homo still persist today, most prominently
sapiens majority! on The Jerry Springer Show. And
So, in writing this apolo- they have a far wider audience base
gia, the mea culpas are for than  the Ubyssey—but hey, was
the snotty over-reactivity of Springer a heterosexual or queer
Mr.   Stevenson   and   Mr. conception? Now, there's a topic of
McDonald and their "We of discussion that could truly be multi-
[insert   collective   name layered.
♦ februaty 4, 2O00 • a ubyssey special issue •
a new sense
by Caroline Kirsebom
This past September, I moved
from Oslo, the capital of Norway,
to Vancouver. I came with a lot of
different hopes and worries for
the three years ahead of me at
UBC. I didn't know what to
expect, didn't know anyone, and
had never been to Canada
I want to tell you about my
experience of coming to UBC and
Vancouver, and discovering the large gay and lesbian (GL) community here, I want to do this to give you a perspective on what
a great resource you have here, seen from a background of a
city far away, with similar standards of living but a very different
popular culture.
I realised that I was attracted to women four years ago at
the age of 19, when I feB madly in love with another girl
for the first time. It all felt too wonderful for me to hide
it, so after only a month or so, I came out to most of my
friends. It just seemed natural and necessary for me; I
couldn't keep that new exciting part of my life a secret.
I was lucky enough not to go through the stages of confusion and denial and closeted behaviour that so many
other gays and lesbians unfortunately do. All my friends
were very accepting and supportive all along; I have
never been treated badly in any way because of my
sexual preference.
My problem, rather, has been meeting others like
me. The population of Oslo is overall very tolerant and
accepting, and the different forms of harassment are
probably less common there than here in Vancouver.
There is, however, still no gay and lesbian community to speak of. What exists is small, intimate and hard
to break into. In the suburb I'm from, the GL community is virtually non-existent. I have sadly never seen
any signs of it at all.
One of the biggest differences I see between
young people here and in Oslo'is that a lot more of
the Norwegian social interactions revolve around partying and spending time with your closest group of
friends. Young peoples' lives are not as organised as
here where you seem to socialise more through
sports, clubs and organisations of various sorts.
This is typically reflected in the GL community, making the difference more apparent because Oslo's
small GL community is almost exclusively visible only
at night. It is not easy to make lesbian friends, or to
get to know a potential partner, when the only meeting place is a in a crowd of more or less alcohol-influenced women during the late nights of the weekend.
Before moving to Vancouver, I never really understood what a GL community could be like. I was hop
ing in the backof my head that it would be more visible than at home, and I did know that Vancouver is
known as a city of diversity and high tolerance. I
thought before moving here that since Vancouver is
three times bigger than Oslo (population 60Q.000),
there would be more gays and lesbians, and therefore more bars to go to meet them all. Not knowing
any better, this sounded good enough for me! -
My ideas turned out to be a little off. Instead of
the more extensive variety of bars I was looking for,
I found gay sports teams, choirs.'outdoor groups,
restaurants, bookstores and otter kinds p£;sp$al
groups. And they're for all age groups tpo^l-^ras
amazed. Then there are the resource group*!. All
the people working to make information^organi-
sations and events visible and available fbtj^tll of
us. They organise, lobby, coordinate the r^rnriHi-
nity, and create social networks in so many diffec-
tions within the GL population. So many peojple
are voluntef$hg and working to make a'oraad
and resot(r|eful community. I must say thatfam
happily surprised and thankful to all of them.
The feejjng of being a part of | big comrrpgiiy,
one that is sober, diverse, and available, isfrtew
and exhilarating.
ip I have all of this available! What now?
Mating good friends in resource\groups likeu
|||le UBC is still not that easy. Rbpple there
ill as welcoming, helpful and nicely theyCan
Ijb, but it is stilt quite challenging^ cafhing
fom another cMltuje. I do realise thi|rm the
Ine who >jas to adjust. It is frusjp|hg at
•times trying my best to fit in, arwbl: open-
minded, polite, and smiling. And still it happens—I somehow step into it with both feet, and push people away
from me, when my intentions were to get closer to them.
It takes time to gain people's trust here.
Acquaintances are easy to make because most everyone
is very friendly and helpful, even on a first encounter. To
earn people's trust is harder. There is certainly some
amount of scepticism and caution in most people I meet
when it comes to building closer friendships and relationships. More so than I'm used to.
Moreover, I have never had any gay friends before. It's
almost scary, but at the same time very exciting, to try to
build lesbian friendships for the first time. I don't know
how! How do I make a friend in a way that cannot be misunderstood? Some women look at me like I'm crazy, or
run away scared because they think I'm making a pass,
when most of the time I'm not. I'm just acting like I do
with my friends at home. Straightforward, intimate and
honest from day one. I never mean to offend anyone, but
there ARE differences, ones I never expected. Words or
actions of mine that you might find rude are, for me, not
rude at all, and vice versa. I am trying to learn and adjust,
but you have to give me some time!
It seems like there are politics, almost new sets of
rules on how to behave among lesbians, to make it clear
how you stand in relationship to each other. Rne lines
that cannot be broken. A friendship between lesbians can
in many cases be similar to a lesbian partnership, and
some tension is bound to appear when the relationship is
not clearly defined, or if the future intentions are not the
same for both women. I am slowly learning all this, thanks
to my new and very helpful gay and lesbian friends here
at UBC. I encourage any gay or lesbian that reads this—
if you don't know who to talk to, or how to go about to take
part in the GL community, stop by the UBC Pride office for
a chat. If you want to join, or have any questions about
other possibilities within the GL community that interests
you, that is an easy and anonymous way to go.
Overall, I love the gay and lesbian community in
Vancouver. It serves the population here well, and
includes the types of activities desired. It certainly reflects
the rest of the society here, with all its groups and subgroups so tailored to everyone's specific needs, so there
are available options for each individual desire. A few
more nightclubs for women would make me personally
happy, because I do like to party and the variety of places
to go out here is about as large as in Oslo. But I'm trying
to see it from your perspective, aiming for what's best for
the GL community here. The way it is now probably serves
its purpose best.
I have never belonged to a community like this before.
I'm envious on behalf of the GL population in Oslo, and
hoping that we some day will see the same tendencies
there. I have always been proud of myself, but my total
openness was an exception to the rule in my society.
Here, I look around me and I see so many gays and lesbians, with their heads held high, waving rainbow flags
and working together to create and maintain a good community for everyone that wishes to join. Everyone from the
ones on the Vancouver Pride Society's executive board to
the ones merely attending a gay discussion group, or playing on a gay soccer team. It is all about standing together! Everyone contributes and participates, however much
he/she has time, energy^ and ability to. This is not about
us (gays and lesbians) against them (straights). This is
ju§t ajjjoutrfiakingsurewe have an environment in which
to soe}ia(}se wpieacn othejftiat we have the opportunity
!tq meet pdtep%at:parmers*^nd.ttends, others that have
been through the same, otheJs.that.we have a lot in common with. '**?% •»■ »„
This community has giveo.naS i3%)ple new sense of
Pride. I am no longer just proud to be me, I am proud to
be one of so many great gays and lesbians working for
each other p
by Fiona Ste
Your life as a queer kid is most e
ily forgotten. It's painful to reme
ber what life was like every mornii
every day, and every night, trudgi
around with a suffocating seer
Back then it was impossible
escape the worry, confusion, a
loneliness. There was no one to t<
You thought you were the only que
kid in town. You knew your parer
wouldn't think you being queer w
fabulous news. And it would kill y
to have them tell you so. Instee
you spent high school as an ase:
al. The other kids thought you we
straightedge, a nerd. You hung c
with nerdy kids and you bored ea
other every lunch hour chatti
about biology class.
Your grandparents thought y
were the ideal good granddaught
But you didn't go completely unr
ticed. Your ten-year-old brother saj
"Hey, you're gay" one day afl
you've just given him an extensi
list of all the celebrities rumored
be queer. But you lie and tell him i
anyway. Meanwhile you devo
every piece of queer media to I
had at the public library. Their o
lection is predictably lacking and
high school graduation you've re<
every Jane Rule novel at least twic
At 13, you tell your mom that;
time they forget about boys is at G
es and dates. At 16, you fall in lo<
speak to you again. By 17, you de
they haven't figured it out alreadj
comes and goes. You'll tell them b
but next week and the week after e
sible as defying gravity.
You graduate from high school
your hometown, to university whei
up. Your mom is the one who final
been wanting to tell me?" That's tl
Now, five years after you were free
not only queer kids grow up with s
the home economics teacher, one
like you, had alcohol abuse in thei
Now you try your hardest to rer
pass a dozen or so kids who are li
without secrets is much, much bri| -a ubyssey special issue*friday, february •
as a
by Amit Taneja
and proud in resi-
r dence
nost eas-
) remem-
, trudging
I secret,
jsible to
;ion, and
ne to tell,
nly queer
r parents
ueer was
d kill you
in asexu-
you were
hung out
red each
jght you
3ly unno-
lay after
nored to
ill him no
ia to be
Fheir col-
g and by
I've read
ist twice.
i that your friends have gone boy crazy and that you think they're weird. The only
is at Girl Guide camp. At 15, you're jealous of their freedom to gossip about crush-
ill in love with your friend Emma and you're afraid that if she finds out she'll never
you decide you can't go on any longer like this, it's time your parents knew (as if
already, you think). You'll tell them tomorrow after dinner. Tomorrow after dinner
:hem by the end of the week. The week passes. Okay, so you'll tell them next week,
after and the one after that pass by. Suddenly saying "I'm gay" becomes as impos-
jchool and spend the summer fantasising about what it will be like to move out of
ty where there must be other queer kids. After five years your prison sentence is
10 finally grants your bail by asking a simple question: "Is there something you've
hat's the first day you started to forget what it was like to be a queer kid in secret,
sre freed, you can see the humor in your secret queer kid life and you realise that
with secrets. Kids you grew up with had their own secrets—one was in love with
?r, one was adopted, one had an abortion, one had a giant scar up her leg, three,
in their families, and four had eating disorders.
t to remember all those feelings of isolation because you know that everyday you
3 are living the life you used to live. You hope that soon they too will know that life
jch brighter.*
Coming out publicly as gay is quite an experience in itself. Try
doing it in residence, and it's much more than that.
I became consciously aware of my sexual orientation when I
was 13 or so, but didn't accept that fact until the week before I
moved into Totem Park as a first-year student. I was very overwhelmed by the huge campus and change of lifestyle. The last
thing I wanted to do was come out to 30 strangers in the first
week. I decided to take my time.
Unfortunately, I did not account for the fact that others would
assume that I was heterosexual. After about two months of that,
I decided it was time to come out. And that is exactly what I did—
by writing an article in the residence newsletter with my name on
Soon the news spread like wildfire—there was some "fag" in
residence telling everyone to be considerate and gay-positive. I
was scared shitless for about three days. I could not tell what the
reaction was. I could see people pointing in my direction and
speaking in whispers, but no one said anything to me.
Then it happenerJ—a sea of overwhelming support from the
residence community (for the most part, anyway). There were
floormates who stopped by to say that they admired my courage.
The residence life team members (advisors) were probably my
biggest support network. I had taken a step forward alone by
determining to live my life the way I was. I would take no flak. I
would not let any insult go by. In my head, the battle was mine to
fight. And now I had this army of support backing me up all the
About a year and a half later, I decided to run for president of
the Totem Park Residence Association (TPRA). I ran a very creative campaign, and I was feeling very confident about my
chances to win. But in the middle of campaign week, I found one
of my posters had been vandalised—it now read "No one is going
to elect a queer to represent us non-perverts."
I got worried. Was that all I was? I thought I was the guy running in the election who was going to bring laser light shows to the
dances. Now I was being told that I was just the gay guy running
for a lost cause.
I did not give up, though. I held my head up high because I
knew that I had the support of many people behind me. I won by
more than just a comfortable margin. The end result—most people don't care whether you are gay or straight. I only thought they
Being the TPRA president meant that I was in the public eye
quite a bit. Come September when res opened up again for the
new school year, news soon spread that I was "actually gay!"
There were soon many closeted gay, lesbian, and bisexual students who confided in me their "secret." Most of them, howevers
chose not to come out publicly.
Honestly, that bothered me. It reminded me of the time when
I was too scared to come out to what I assumed to be hostile
neighbours. It made me seriously question the situation of homo
sexual students in residence—is residence a place where people could feel
And then it hit me—of course it is. I
had to look no further than my own situation. I was gay, out, and proud in residence. Maybe not everyone liked me, but
a vast majority of the students did. Not
only that, they respected me for who I
was. I was no longer a name attached to
a label. The realisation was very exhilarating.
After speaking with many gay students
who decided not to come out in residence, I was able to recognise that the
res life system, for the most part, is well
set up. People, however, need to come
out when the time is right for them. And
many of them did decide to do so farther
down the road.
This article is therefore dedicated to
two groups of people. First, to those who
came out in residence. Second, to all
those wonderful people who helped me
(and many others) come so far in the
exciting journey of coming out.
To all those residents who are still in
the closet—I urge you to think about your
situation. Your worries are valid. There is
seemingly a lot to lose by coming out.
But you have to remember that you
have a full department backing up your
right to live in a harassment-free environment. The advisors are there for you
should you need them. They have extensive training regarding homophobia in residence, and they really do care about your
If you feel that the time is right, take a
step out of your residence room (or
should I call it a closet?). It's a pretty
world out here.*
used t
by Kevin Gurr
T     ^atieangelfish
You disagree—but I have my reasons. You say that I'm young or that my standards are too high, that I think
too much, or spend too much time on my own. You say that I neglect a part of myself. We argue into the wee
hours of the morning, consuming too many glasses of beer, slipping now and then into French. You like when
I speak French. It's sensual. I'm younger than you are, but what's ten years entre des copains comme nous.
I tell you about a fairy-tale taking over my insides, the adventure of a golden boy who has small red wings
like the fins of a Japanese carp. He is the single thought that remains of an exploded universe. He is all things,
unknowingly. His consciousness, his perception, his growing knowledge gives birth to a new worid. All the creatures of this worid fear the boy because he carries ajdeadly poison in his belly: love.
You're smiling at me. I'm drunk now. I'm thinking without thinking. This is when I'm most
charming. It doesn't last long, though. Soon my eyelids will weigh on me, and I'll begin to
sing along to your Gloria Gaynor. You're touching me more than I'd like but we're both lonely; that's the poison of love. No harm done. I want to talk about God but you say that's too
private for you to discuss just now. I flex my brows and wonder why then was it okay for you
to follow me to the urinals. Salaud! You think you know me. You're a good judge of character; most bartenders are. You tell me it's not right that I'm lonely at my age. I don't understand how a 30yearold has that right over me. You see in my eyes that I'm shut off from
the worid. My confidence is rewritten, conceited.
I can smell your breath. Chimay and Camembert and Van Nellie tobacco. I've told you
about the boy I met on New Year's Eve, that I felt something so real, and how when we
hugged goodbye, I could see this boy and me growing old together like typical gay professionals, sharing an apartment with wooden floors and high ceilings, a Great Dane, a Citroen
and a Saab, falling asleep in each other's arms night after night. I've told you that God condemned gays when he denied us his love. We have ambition and good looks. We have kick-
ass drugs and the world's best discotheques. We're confident, we're charming, we're lonely. You pull me back from my fairytale. I'm crying. You tell me a joke, a gay joke, a dirty one
about Peter and Luc. I'm howling. You're a good guy, but I still won't sleep with you. I'm in
love with my fairytale.
I will survive...
I will eat you up and spit you out like the shark you have made me.»> pi february 4, 2000 • a ubyssey special issue-
, tues-
days @ 12:30
information is a dangerous thing...
and all
TUt      t fi  4  f3  M i>      U I  V b  f      P H   *-^
February 6th marks what would have been the 55th birthday of
one of music's most influential and inspirational singer/songwriters.
In honour of this event, weh giving you the chance to win:
The definitive retrospective. A 4CD boxset featuring Bob Marley classics
& rarities.
. Featuring Bob Marley duets with Lauryn Hill, Busta Rhymes, Steven     4*
*o||j Tyler 4 Joe Perry (from Aerosmith) and more..
Come to Tee Ubtssey Bushiss Office (SUB Room 246) to wn!
Name one of Morphine's past albums
Be one of the first to answer this correctly at
the Ubyssey Business Office (Room 245) to win!
If you would like to win breakfast with President Martha Piper on
Friday, February 25th, 2000 from 7:30-9:00 a.m.
please contact The Ceremonies Office preferably by email (crivet@exchange.ubc.ca)
or phone (822-9200) and leave your first and last name, faculty,
program of study, year, student number, address, phone number and email.
The first 28 students to respond will twin breakfast with the President!
Deadline for entries is Tuesday, February 8th at 4:30pm.
m thev
do to US
by Wayne Van Der Meide
For much of that day, those hours were a blur. A manic rush to fulfill all of those fantasies. Put on the nylons, the dress, the pumps,
and of course, make-up—just as she did every day of her life. All
of this must be done before she returns home and discovers my
deceit, my covetousness.
In retrospect, I realise that a small part of that boy longed for
her—my mother, the only she in my small world—to come home
and see that I also could be beautiful. I could be pretty, attractive
and confident like her—not the shy, awkward, pudgy-faced, pockmarked, prepubescent boy that looked back at me from the mirror most of the time.
There you have it! I did drag when I was 14. For me, it was a
childish and empty imitation of my mother, but drag was the only
way that society permitted me to be seen as a man who loved
I can just hear so many of you lovely heterosexuals. "See,
all sissy boys are gay and they grow up to be effeminate gay
men." And I can also hear a lot of you lovely gay men either
make some biting quip about another "queen-in-the-making"
or scoff, "I was on the varsity rugby team and never wore a
dress in my life." (Goody for you, oh envied butch fag.)
Surprise! I'm not going to fall into either of your traps.
Not now when I'm just climbing out of your obsession with
some "macho litmus paper test"—pink for gay and dull
brown for "all man." I will not try to justify my existence by
convincing you that I am "normal." Nor will I bore you with
tiresome rainbow-inspired anecdotes about facile paradigms: effervescent florists and surly construction workers—equally homosexual (or as many of the latter category
will insist, "bisexual" or "unlabelled").
I will not pander to all of you gay boys who continue to
abuse yourselves and me with empty imitation and unexamined pursuit of archetypes—equally as perverse as
those in the heterosexual world, but infinitely more damaging in our new refuge.
Face it, we all know who's butch and who isn't.
Sometimes, we can even "just tell" who's gay and who's
not. Who cares! What I do care about is how all this pressure to be either 'this' or 'that'—but never 'those'—can
affect one little brown gay man.
Sissv bovs are weird
•/ s*
I am 13. I am with my parents at their friend's house.
They have two daughters my age and we have developed
a tenuous friendship based, as most are, on the mutual
satisfaction of needs. But fragile things, especially relationships, tend to break.
For years, I offer myself up as a sacrifice. I penitently endure, on behalf of all my "brethren," punishment
for their—sorry, our—evil ways. They tease, pinch, cuff
and generally ridicule me just because I am a boy. I, in
return, simply enjoy their company. I not only embrace
their catharsis, I share in it for I also hate boys and all
they do to "us."
The girls are at the beach, but I decide to stay the
night. I've done it before. I wait anxiously for their
arrival. They come home. We decide to go for a drive;
it sounds like fun. We pile into their father's car and
take off. We drive right up to my door. Their father
gets out and I instinctively follow*—it is my house,
continued on page 9
UBC Film Society
SUB Theatre
All Shows $3.00
February 4-6
7:00     The Bone Collector:
9:30 Dogma
February 9 & 10
7:00       Pink Flamingos
FilpHeUine: 822-3697 t\ -tn. a        - -™ ft ■ • ir<
w^-ams-ubcca/ciubs/sociaviiimsoc 9:30 American Movie/Coven • a ubyssey special issue • friday, february •
after all. He twists his face in pain, 'The girls don't think you should come
over for 'slumber parties' anymore." After that, I know the rules. I must feign
indifference, and God help me, act shy and slightly curious as though I don't
understand these "strange creatures."
I am 17 and will move to Toronto in two weeks. I escort one of them—not
the one I really like, but the pretty one—to my school prom. It's all a farce. I
may as well look the part. She does it as a favour, I know. My mother takes
many pictures and smiles happily, although I swear her smile has a hint of
■melancholy. I don't really enjoy being with this girl anymore. All I can think
about is that night when my childish illusions of maintaining an alternative—
a safe world away from boys—escaped me like the damp of breath hitting
cold air, appearing and then immediately dissolving silently and almost
A new world?
My sophomore year. My mother still cries once in a while and my father, well,
we still don't speak of anything other than work and the weather. But they
know I'm gay and damn the rest. I join the Bisexual, Lesbian and Gay
Alliance. I grimace when, one after the other, friends who I have carefully concealed myself from casually retort when I finally come out. "I know, I'm glad
you've finally decided to tell me." That pisses me off.
We tentatively explore who we are as gay men together. Learning slowly
to walk on our legs when we have been taught all our lives to walk on our
hands. We begin to sit closely with one another at meetings as we have wanted to for years, holding each others' eyes and often hands (such a rebellion!).
The gay varsity football players don't come to meetings, but they can
always be found in the basement toilets through "glory holes" that reveal
nothing but a blood swelled organ. No face or name—like most dicks. This
is how they answer the equations: football = manly man = girlfriends = emptiness + anonymous sex with men = coping.
I spent my life avoiding the sissy boys who looked like they would break
my cover and the straight boys who looked like they would break my face.
Now, I suddenly must learn who among the gay boys I'm supposed to kiss
"hello" and who I'm just supposed to discreetly shake hands with. Just like
before, there isn't much room for error. You learn fast not to kiss the "straight-
acting, straight-looking."
Proud gay man visits home
After five years in Canada, this is the first and the last time I go back to
Trinidad. I am scared and often feel lonely despite the warmth of my family's
welcome to their nephew and cousin who is "gay." "Boy, wha yuh mean, what
is dis gay business. Yuh mean yuh doh like girls at all? Boy, yuh know yuh's a
good-looking fellow. Yuh doh have to be scared."
The news of my "condition" arrives in Trinidad well before I step
off the plane via a complex network of telecommunication satellites. Nevertheless, this nasty high-tech gossip proves advantageous (much to the dismay of Auntie Savi, the informant). "Boy,
we thought how yuh did wear dresses an makeup an how yuh was
jus like a girl. But yuh is just deh same as when yuh leave. Doh
matter, if yuh like dem boys, dat is yuh business. But I still can't
make out what a man could do wid a man." They're so sweet.
Awitie Lilo makes a plan
She has a seamstress, but he should be a tailor. Quite basic
math for her and me. But Stevie, the seamstress, is not so
impressed with the wonderful simplicity. "Who tell Auntie Lilo I is
gay? Oh meg Gad. Look how deese people done get me into trouble." It takes an hour to calm him down, but after the trauma, I
go over to his house, replete with lonely draperies and about eight
gay boys. An hour before we leave for a fete for "us" people—
both secret and roving—I watch as half of the party leave to primp
their hair, put on makeup and skin-tight pants. This crew left
behind are surprisingly "butch." Staring at me in their football
shirts and shorts. No shiny red patent-leather shoes for these
men—only Adidas and Nike for fine sportsmen. I suspect they
want me and suddenly realise that the games are afoot and I've
been stamped: I'm a femme to their butch...yin and yang and all
that crap. How dare they label me! Apparently I've sent out a beacon—dare I say it, a "flaming" signal, "Won't some strong Trini
brute take me?" I rebel viciously against this heterosexist construct.
As soon as the "girls" return, I launch a vulgar assault on the
cutest sissy boy of the bunch. I'm going to turn us into a lesbian
couple even if I have to smudge his makeup (alright, mine too!).
I bathe in his malodorous perfume and my eyes seem brighter
when compared to his racoon eyes. His flamboyant caricature of
"woman" becomes a foil to my more subtle androgyny. I appear
more masculine as he clings gently to my arm. I later discover
that there was a severe shortage of "butch fags" in Trinidad
(most of them being older, married men who were strictly nocturnal, reserving their wives and children for day trips only).
Blind euphoria
I don't date caricatures of manhood. I date a respectable
lawyer who wears nice suits and just happens to be gay. He
blends into mainstream—maybe gay—society, but who knows
for sure. So he dressed well. Unlike his last "friend" who, like
him, was white and "straight-acting and looking," I am certainly not white and not really the other thing either. We stand
out together—can't safely pass as "buddies"—so I can only
meet half his friends. Oh well.
Fading fast
I am a 25-year-old man living in Toronto. This bitterness crept over me slowly like a rash leaving me
raw and ugly. Don't ask me how I became like this.
The best I can do is to recall this and that...
The ocean of conformity
With open sores and a broken spirit, I hunt for love
and fulfillment, for the one that will apply the balm,
which I have only had to this point in my secret fantasies. A child prodigy I was, creating images of
same-sex love for a vacuum. Now I know exactly
what gay men "are" and what I "should be."
jtnchaeTajjgelo '.<
s David'
Go to the gym everyday. Smooth chest, milky complexion, thick thighs, shapely calves, beautiful triceps, biceps, pectorals, deltoids and ornamental
tendons. (Who'd have thought that I would go
through life in blissful ignorance, only to learn the
scientific name of every major muscle in the male
body on the very gay dance floor of Club Colby's?)
Not only are we still men, we are hyper-male—hear
us roar (or whimper as the case may be). Far cry
from the limp wrists and swishy gait many imagine.
B: "Calvin Klein
Young, nubile, skinny, cute and white.
Option C: 'JXhere,
ami none. Soitv.
The triumph of image...
...and my defeat. I want love but
don't feel myself worthy of anything
but sex. I walk into bedrooms looking
for love with a beautiful face but
instead find the stale smell of sex
from the tissue-filled bin. I learn to
practise the art of casual gay sex like
a master. I become erudite at avoiding
attachment, needing no emotion—just
a good piece of ass. All too soon I forget what it was that I was once looking
for. I lose myself in a gay male culture
of desire that I did not choose or create, but for which I am entirely responsible. I dived down into a lake of cool
blue looking for the warm water currents, but instead my body adusted to
the water's chill. Suddenly, I am not a
bright-eyed,  bushy-tailed  17 year-old
dreaming of a white picket fence and a
long-time companion. I am 24 and wake
up next to a stranger with my head about
to explode from the pressure of rum and
cigarettes and wonder whether I will get
so much as a cup of tea before being
shipped off. Still better than having to
nurse him out of my bed and to the taxi
stand. I guess everything they said (and
didn't say) about gay men when I was
growing up was true.
Ignorant,   but   not
l*G&llV \
I am not hard nor am I smooth-bodied. I am short
and hairy and my body is a contradiction of bare
bone in some places and soft fleshy parts in others—like a skinny Buddha. At least I can have my
hair cropped short like a sailor and wear tight t-
shirts to reveal my sinewy body—oh shit, I don't
have a sinewy body.
Signorile argued that the current cult of "body
facism," epitomised by the advertisement of the
David Barton Manhattan Gym ("No pecs, no sex"),
is worse in the gay world than the straight world, in
part because of the already existing inferiority gays
inherit for being gay. As a compensation for this
inner worthlessness, a man becomes a "great
beauty" or finds himself attracted only to Adonises.
Not everyone was down on "body facism."
Scott O'Hara found the parties that excluded
men on the basis of looking boring—"they all had a
homogenous quality"—but he refused to lambaste
them. "The word discrimination has gotten a bad
rap. It used to mean you had taste."
Whenever one of my straight friends used
to lean over, get all serious, and say, "Why
are gay men so promiscuous?", I used to
retort, "Honey, why do you think? They're
men who don't have to deal with women.
Don't you think straight men would be fucking like rabbits if they didn't have to negotiate with women? It has nothing do with
sexuality, that's why gay men have sex and
lesbians get married." I am no longer flippant about the ways in which we men are
disabled by social constructions of masculinity—both straight and gay.
Margaret Atwood wrote in her novel
Alias Grace, "Mary said I might be very
young, and as ignorant as an egg, but I was
bright as a new penny, and the difference
between stupid and ignorant was that ignorant could learn."
Here's hoping I'm ignorant and not stupid...and that there is a smooth-bodied,
sinewy, nubile stud out there who will one
day fall in love with me. Okay, so I have
some work to do.»> ay, february 4, 2000• a ubyssey special issue-
27While Jesus was stiii
Ionian frf0>90V^ s&
von^h^^i^^^qf birtj
lurs^jMou is blessed!"
2HJesus replied, "That's trie, b
by Neil Fernyhough
For those who attend church regularly, making announcements
about events that interest the
community is a routine part of the
service. At Christ Church Anglican
Cathedral on January 17, 1999,
the priest acknowledged the 25th
anniversary of a couple in the congregation. To applause, the two
individuals stood up, and gave
each other a kiss. Pretty standard
stuff—except this time both
members of the couple were men.
The timing of this otherwise
innocuous event is significant.
The Cathedral is the "flagship"
congregation of the Anglican
Church in the Lower Mainland. It
is the official parish of Bishop
Michael Ingham, whose jurisdiction—the Diocese of New
Westminster—extends north to
the Sunshine Coast and east to
Just a day earlier, Bishop
Ingham had announced the start
of a process of dialogue between
t h e
which many believe and hope vyiii1-
lead tputhe blessing of" same-sex.
unions in this part of Canada.
Some months earlier,
Anglicans from around the Lower
Mainland met and narrowly
approved a motion urging Ingham
t§ ^authorise such a move, if
approved, this could lead to the
ordination of out, non-celibate
gays and lesbians as Anglican
In addition, this would likely
lead to similar moves being made
in other Anglican dioceses irf!
Canc.da. and perhaps by the
national church as a whole. The
Anglican Church of Canada has
already passed motions "celebrating" the ministry of gays arid
lesbians within the Church, as
well as approving partner benefits
to gay and lesbian employee
But the Anglican Church is nofl
the first Christian body in Canada
to move towards the inclusionpof
queer people.
This year will mark the 11th
anniversary of the approval of the
ordination of non-celibate gays
and lesbians—including NDP MLA
Tim  Stevenson—by the  United
Church of Canada. It has also
developed a blessing ceremony
for same-sex unions.
In Vancouver, there are a number of Anglican and United churches that openly welcome gays and
lesbians as a part of their communities.    In   addition,   there
are   other   congregations—the
Renaissance      Church,      the
Rainbow Community Church, and
the    Metropolitan    Community
Church—which are largely directed towards the queer community.
Despite ail this, the popular
lierception by gays and lesbians
remains that they cannot find a
home in the Christian community.
Many queers have bad memories
fof being rejected by a conservative and judgmental church. Often
their  knowledge  of Christianity
(pomes from popular media focus-
11% on those elements of the
Christian community that take an
often violently aversive and prejudiced siance on homosexuality.
Chuiches and other places of
worship aie unique markers on
the contemporary North American
landscape   In a society tncreas-
lingly marked by cynical rational
ism, cold materialism and isolating individualism, worshipping communities stand as centres that take experience, spirituality and community
seriously. They may be one of the last places where one can freely
engage in a community of radically diverse people—did. ajd young, rich
and poor, gay and straight.
Bruce Bawer, author of Stealing Jesus: How Fundamentalism Betrays
Christianity mote that there are two kinds of Christian faith. One is based
on the radical love proclaimed by Jesus while the other is based on harsh,);;
judging legalism found in more isolated sections of the Bibles
Certainly, all faith traditions have their progressive
and fundamentalist strains, which help keep e|lhj
other accountable. But progressive Christianity has
recognised and accepted the faith's ei
in the culture. It is open to integrating what society
has learned and has been a consistent prophetic
voice for including the excluded.
For those inured to the message of most queer and mainstream
media that Christianity is about hate and rejection, rather than love and
indusion, it takes patieribe tqjjscerrfthe b%ad range of options. Indeed,
t||p is*! temptation to discard all organised religion as a barrietstoJaith
rattier than a sustainer of it.
Iplliut queer people may want to invest the effort in educating themselves and maintaining an open mind. Many women and men are finding
I f§jf just how fulfilling and transforming tapping into the spiritual dimension of their lives can be. The next step is realising the power of this spirituality through the nurturin|§f|pvided by a faith community, regardless of
wiiich faith one believes in^
ighten up
Gay men have finally been
given back their libidos on network television.
But wait—one of them is
In the September 30
episode of Action!, the recently-cancelled comedy depicting
the behind-the-scenes goings-
on in Hollywood's movie business, gay action star Cole
Riccardi (Richard Burgi) performs oral sex on his producer, Peter Dragon (Jay Mohr).
Peter is straight but pretends
to be gay so he can bond with,
and thereby convince, the
actor not to come out before a
multimillion-dollar action film
begins shooting.
I mmediately after the show
aired, the ten o'clock news on
Fox's Seattle affiliate, KCPQ,
repeated the infamous "fellatio scene." The scene barely
suggests Cole Riccardi leaning forward before immediately cutting to the producer
puckering between the eyes.
An arching eyebrow and
unimaginative grunts conclude the scene. For all we
know, the actor could have
been tying his shoes, and the
producer had dropped a coin.
The news feature discussed whether Action! had
pus hed the envelope too far.
They interviewed parents who
had cancelled their cable sub-
scri ptions in order to protect
their children from sex and
violence  on  TV.  They  also
reported that Fox, the netwofKo
that produced the show-arjd
advertised it as b||ng television's bleeding edge, had
censored a second's worth;of
footage from the corrilbver|ial
scene. „;
Lighten up% folks! ||s nq|
as if we hadri| seen, heard
and read abd|t President
Clinton and his "lervice'ri^arv
ager," Monica Lewinsky,- at
least twice a day for the last
24 months. The Smithsonian
is even considering exhibiting
the infamous stained blue
dress in the United States
National Archive. Daily news
has done far more than-*insin-
uate—they've flat out shown
more footage of sex and violence than most of us would
care to see, everything from
bloody bodies on the street to
gory details of sex scandals.
And now they're asking if
primetime television is going
too far?
Come on. I mean, really. If
anything could have prepared
us for this "private display of
affection," the news hour has
already done a superb job.
Homosexuals have been
watching heterosexuals in
action for ages. Talk about
unfit role models. It's about
time we saw some action
among gay men and women
on screen.
Ever since the sexless and
ever-so-righteous Matt on
Melrose Place, it has become
; fashionable to throw in a few
gay characters in primetime
television. There's Ross, the.
violin teacher who adopts a
baby girl in Party of Five;
Carter, the mayor's special
assistant for minority affairs
in Spin City, and Will and Jack
in Will and Grace, the first and
only primetime TV show featuring gay men as cjjjfjtra}'
Now, the latest tenant on
Tinky        Winky S.tre^t,
Tinseltown: Ford from the new
ABC sitcom Oh Grow U||w||| \
is (gasp!) a gay man who
divorced his wife to come out,
only to move in with his fliF
straight college roommates
who live, oddly, like a disgruntled old couple.
And who could forget the
first national coming out of
Ellen DeGeneres, and her onscreen object of desire, Laura
Dern? The lesbian kiss had
gay and heterosexual audiences waiting season after
season for that final but anti-
climactic admission that the
quirky bookstore owner who
could never seem to get on
the right side of Cupid was in
fact looking for love (and sex)
on the wrong side of the
Without a doubt, they are
EVERYWHERE! Soon, they'll
take over Hollywood entirely.
That is, if they haven't already.
But there is one problem. Gay
men and women on TV are
neutered. They are either the
bv Brian Lin
lead actress' best friend;
!|,at guy with AIDS, opthe.
hiir dresser slash-decora-*'
tor hired to add color loor-
dination to the call's
wardrobe and, of course1,
create controversy.
In a world where controversy equals ratings and
ratings equal 'dollars,
homosexual    charactej%,
■ are used merely for publicity, indeed we are seeing
more members of the
community on TV even if
90 per cent of the time
they are screaming their
wigs off on cheesy talk
shows. Seeing that invisibility is the ultimate discrimination (like it or not),
such exposure still contributes little by little to the
gradual acceptance of
queers in our society. On
the other hand, reaffirming
stereotypical ideas of gay
men and women while
avoiding any context of
their sexual behavior is a
sure sign of cowardice in
confronting the real issue:
the general public's fear of
anything different and
Sure, when Ellen
DeGeneres came out on
national television, millions of people tuned in to
Fiee the standup comedi-
"an-turned-actress stumble
all over herself trying to
explain to her parents her
"affiliation" with her "special friend." And perhaps if
Rosie O'Donnell comes
out on her talk show, millions will tune in for the
* confession. But once the
shock value subsides, the
insatiable audience will
undoubtedly turn to something even more stimulating. Then, homosexual
characters will be relegated to yesterday's news,
just like the first time a
married couple sat on the
same bed on TV, or the
first time a black man
tongue-kissed a white
woman in front of a national audience.
What offends me
most about gay characters
on TV is not so much that
they never have sex, but
that their sexuality is the
sole definition of their existence. Homosexuality has
become more of an occupation than a sexual preference. People may find it
hard to believe (and guess
whose fault that is), but
most homosexual men
and women have a life out
side of their bedrooms—or
whatever exotic places
they have sex. As much as
the public would like to
think that gays have fantastic and kinky sex every
day and night of the year,
most members of the gay
community hold boring
jobs, make uninteresting
friends, pay their phone
bills and have bad hair
days just like the rest of
the population. Heck, half
of my gay friends don't
even know what color coordination means.
So when a sitcom purportedly sets out to
"expose the absurdity of
Hollywood's cutthroat
movie business," and
shows a manipulative producer taking advantage of
his actor's trust and getting "rewarded" for it,
instead of over-reacting
and declaring that the
world's morality is coming
to an end, here's a little
news flash: it's showbiz,
people! None of it is true.
And the little bit that
they are showing on TV
can't even begin to demonstrate what really goes on
in this big, wild world of
ours.<» -a ubyssey special issue • friday, february 4, 2(3
As I reflect on my past working as an escort, I wish there was someone to guide me, support me, and teach me the tricks of the trade along the way.
Because the trade is undercover, no written resources exist to guide escorts. This interview aims to reach out to fellow escorts and to break down stereotypes and stigmas associated with the job. We can also achieve this by talking openly about the work that escorts
do and educating the public about issues that are relevant to people working in the trade.
What do you mean when you say you're a lesbian feminist?
By lesbian, I mean that I identify as a womyn
who loves womyn. Actually, I identify more as a
femme lesbian. As a feminist, I believe in
womyn's rights—that womyn should have the
same rights as men. I also believe in prostitution rights—that prostitution rights are womyn's
But If you are a feminist, how can you be an
I believe that escorting can be a very feminist
action. It's saying, "I'm in charge of my body,
and I'm not going to fit into other people's
image of who I should be." That also ties in with
being a lesbian—it's the same thing. I'm not
going to fit into somebody else's mould. I know
many feminists would argue that escorting
might promote rape and violence against
womyn. To be honest, I have no idea whether or
not that is true. I haven't done any research on
Why escorting?
I think for a lot of womyn, they do it because
they don't have the same earning power as men. Although they may have a regular job, they
need to supplement their income, particularly if they have dependents. You earn a lot of
money escorting. I don't see it as any different than when a womyn sucks up to get something from a boyfriend. Escorting is a lot less manipulative—it's a business transaction. The
cards are on the table.
Do you see being a lesbian and being an escort as contradictory?
No, I don't find it contradictory at all. Because lesbians and escorts are both on the fringes
of society, we share a lot more freedom than straight
womyn and people who don't work in the sex trade. We
don't face a lot of the expectations that are common in
the straight world.
But don't you conform to the expectations of your
I've come to a point in my life as an escort where I think,
"Fuck this." I don't have to rely on my looks and my
beauty to please men. I have personality, charm, and
intelligence that absolutely enthralls them. They think,
"How can you—attractive and intelligent—possibly be
an escort?" Actually, it's my lesbian friends who have
taught me to place less value on my appearance.
Through my job, I've learned that beauty is very subjective. One man might say I'm drop-dead gorgeous, while
another might say I'm ugly as hell. In the end, it comes
down to what I think of myself. I don't see myself as a
whore. I see myself as an intelligent person with a lot of
different interests and a lot of potential. Sleeping with a
person is independent of what's in your heart. I sleep
with men because that's where the market is.
So you think people might Judge you because of what
you do?
Yes, I know people will judge me. There is a lot of stigma associated with this profession. Unfortunately, I
think society as a whole sees sex as something shameful. Sex is taboo. So can you imagine what they must
think of escorting? Society's values are deeply rooted in
religion, which also condemns homosexuality. You can
see the similarities between being an escort and being
queer. People often see me as only an escort. It's just
like when I tell people that I'm a lesbian—all they see is
my sexual identity. This job has really taught me not to
judge other people.*
The cycle of invisibility: gay and Greek don't always mix
by Jonathan Abourbih
You probably wonder whether the words "queer" and "frat"
belong together at all. For most people, the word "fraternity"
likely conjures images of big parties, football games, road
trips, and lots of women. Those of us who are Greek likely
imagine the sense of brotherhood or sisterhood, bonding with
our pledge brothers or sisters, and late-night conversations
about everything from sports to school to relationships. But
It stands to reason that if ten percent of the population at
large has some degree of same-sex attraction, then, naturally,
the same statistic could apply to the men and women of UBC's
Greek system. So, why is it that according to a UCLA study,
more than 60 per cent of gay or lesbian Greeks don't reveal
their sexual orientations to even one brother or sister during
their college careers? Is it the fear of being ostracised by their
closest and dearest friends?
The fear of ostracism is one that all gays and lesbians have
to face. But in an environment where fag jokes can be the
norm, coming out to your brothers or sisters can be daunting.
It's especially so when you consider the reason why most people go Greek in the first place: the promise of brotherhood or
sisterhood, friends "no matter what," and a sense of belonging
to a group with common values. If the people whom you regard
as your closest friends shun you, who's left? This is what
thrusts most gay and lesbian Greeks into "the cycle of invisibility." Cass Johnson, a writer for UCLA's gay and lesbian student newspaper, Ten Percent, coined the term in a 1979 article about homophobia in UCLA's Greek system.
Incidents like the one surrounding an October 1998 Pi Kappa
Alpha/Alpha Chi Omega co-sponsored homecoming float at
Colorado State University are extremely visible reminders to gay
Greeks of their situation. The float, consistent with the parade's
Wizard of Oz theme, depicted a scarecrow with the words "I'm
gay" painted on the face and "Up my ass" on the back. The float
referred to the recent attack on University of Wyoming student
Matthew Shepard, who then lay dying in a Fort Collins, Colorado
hospital. Shepard's killers were motivated in part by his sexual
orientation when they pistol-whipped him until they had crushed
his skull, and then hung him like a scarecrow from a nearby
fence. Immediately after the float incident, the CSU chapters of
Pi Kappa Alpha and Alpha Chi Omega had their charters revoked,
but the horror of this spectacle still echoes among gay Greeks
everywhere, and serves as a grim reminder that they are not welcome members of the community. The cycle continues.
This incident involves just two chapters at one school, and
(according to the fraternity and sorority involved) is only due to
the actions of a few members. But less public incidents of intolerance occur every day. They occur when brothers toss around
phrases like "fucking faggot," or "that's so gay" in casual conversation. These things occur often in fraternities and sororities
across North America, and UBC is not immune to these feelings of intolerance. It is this more subtle form of discrimination
that keeps brothers and sisters in the closet, perpetuating the
cycle of invisibility. '■■*">
Unfortunately, few fraternities and sororities are doing anything to break the cycle at an international level. Although all
fraternities and sororities have comprehensive member education programs that cover such public issues as alcohol, drug
abuse and hazing, few address the issue of sexual orientation.
Of the fraternities represented at UBC, only Beta Theta Pi's
Men of Principle program recommends that chapters address
sexual orientation issues, and only Sigma Chi recognises sexual orientation in its "Human Dignity Statement."
Sigma Chi's policy is a step in the right direction, but still
a far cry from the actions taken by one non-UBC fraternity,
Sigma Phi Epsilon. Recently, Sig Ep amended its membership
eligibility bylaws to prohibit discrimination based on sexual
orientation. In addition, it provides training on gay issues for
its travelling leadership consultants and member education
materials to present to its chapters. The rest of the Greek
system could learn a lesson from Sig Ep. That only two out of
the 15 Greek societies at UBC provide even minimal support
at an international level for gay members is disheartening.
Given that all fraternities and sororities claim to be progressive organisations, they should be willing to substantiate this
claim from the top down.
Despite the inaction of the international fraternities and
sororities, other groups have made several strides towards
ending this type of discrimination in the Greek system. Both the
Association of Fraternity Advisors and the Western Regional
Greek Conference have adopted resolutions encouraging fraternities and sororities to create member education programs
on homophobia. Additionally, in 1995, Shane Windmeyer, a Phi
Delta Theta alumnus from Emporia State University in Kansas,
founded the Lambda 10 Project (www.lambdalO.org) in an
effort to combat the homophobic attitudes prevalent in today's
Greek system. Since then, he has co-edited two anthologies on
belrig'gay and Greek—one directed at men and the other directed at women. Pride UBC has a copy of the first book, Out on
Fraternity Row, and the second, Secret Sisters, is due to be
published in Spring 2001.
Our Greek system at UBC is no more homophobic than any
other Greek system at any other North American university. In
fact, UBC is lucky to have a Greek system that is as culturally
diverse, accepting, and responsible as ours. There is still, however, much work that can be done both locally and on an international level to help fraternities and sororities break the cycle
of invisibility. Only by recognising the problem and working hard
to break the cycle can our fraternities and sororities help their
members to grow as people.♦
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If the gender of your sexual partner is not the same as
your own, then you should be aware that you are different from a significant portion of the population.
Have you thought about why you are attracted to a different gender? Are you comfortable with your sexuality? Perhaps completing this questionnaire will help you
think about these things.
Please answer all questions as honestly as possible.
1. When and how did you first decide that you were a
2. What do you think caused your heterosexuality?
3. Is it possible that your heterosexuality stems from a
neurotic fear of the same sex? P.f
4. If you've never slept with a person of the same sex,
is it possible that all you need is a good gay lov6r?
5. To whom have you disclosed your heterosexual tendencies? How did they respond?
6. Why do heterosexuals insist on flaunting their help
erosexuality? Can't you just be who you are and keep
it quiet?
7. Why do heterosexuals feel compelled to seduce others into their lifestyle?
8. Would you want your children to be heterosexual
knowing the problems they would face in society?
9. A disproportionate majority of child molesters are
heterosexuals. Do you consider it safe to expose your
children to heterosexual teachers?
10. Even with all the societal support that heterosexual marriage receives, the divorce rate is spiraling, with
over half of all marriages failing. Why are so few heterosexual relationships stable?
11. Why do heterosexuals place so much emphasis on
sex? p
f.'lji.' Considering the menace of overpopulation, how
: could the human race survive if everyone were heterosexual like you?
13. Could you trust a heterosexual therapist to be
14. How can you be a full person if you limit yourself to
compulsive and exclusive heterosexuality and fail to
develop your natural, healthy homosexual potential?
15. There seem to be very few happy heterosexuals.
Techniques have been developed which enable you to
change if you really want to. Have you considered aversion therapy?
16. How do you feel about the term "straight?" Do you
feel that it adequately defines who you are?
17. Do you see your sexuality as being centra} to your
sense of identity?
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