Little Kiwi and Bauhaus

Little Kiwi and Bauhaus
A Boy and His Dog

Saturday, 28 June 2014

Stonewall - 45 Years Later

We're here today because they were there that day.
                                                                                  Go out and hug your brothers and sisters.
I am proud to be a part of this community and culture.  I am proud to be out and visible in a world that wants us to be invisible and silent.  I am proud to be a part of a culture and community whose very existence proves that "the way things are" will not mean "the way things are going to say".   More and more of us Come Out every day, all over the world, in every type of family unit and dynamic, in every culture, within every religious and socioeconomic circle, all over the world.  And we will continue, as we shall outlast every fight against us.

Go to pride events - enjoy the revelry and the celebrations.  And remember that the celebration of joy and community did not come without many a fight, and without work from many people who lost all they that had in order to ensure that future generations will not have to deal with the outright hatred and violence that marked their daily existence.  This is no mere party.

Bond with your brothers and sisters - the fight is in all of us, as is the strength to continue; it's in our blood.  From the groups meeting in living rooms to discuss "who are we? what are we? are there more of us? how can we help each other?", to pre-Stonewall riots at the Black Cat Tavern in California, sit ins, small protests,  the Mattachine Society, and the many nameless faceless men and women who stood up to be counted and changed the world by being honest and open - the movement continues and it's picking up speed.

The more you learn about LGBT history the more proud you will be to be a part of our diverse communities.  We have a wealth of vanguards and heroes to be inspired by.  To the misfits and outcasts and Queens and Queers who challenged the status quo and refused to be hassled and assaulted any longer - thank you, thank you, a thousand times Thank You.

Happy Pride.

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

"My Dad Says You're a Fag"

Well, a piece of mine has been published over at the incredible GoodMenProject site.

the link is here:
"My Dad Says You're a Fag"

Check it out. And Happy Pride to everyone.

Monday, 23 June 2014

Thank You, Mum and Dad

Many moons ago I had my first experience participating in the Toronto Pride Parade, to help promote "Sugar", a film my friend had produced.

 I thought I'd surprise my parents, who were planning on coming downtown to watch the parade with me, my sister, and our friends.  My sister was in on the scheme, and kept telling my parents "Raymond's nearby, he's almost here."  And then suddenly, there I was - on top a limo, in the parade.  I leapt off, rushed to the sidelines to hug them, and then shouted "THESE ARE MY PARENTS!"    
                                   *THUNDEROUS CHEERS FROM THE CROWD*
It was such a blast, and my mum later said that she wanted to be in the parade.  I informed her that she can't just "be in the parade", but that she has to actually be a part of something. "Well, maybe I'll be a PFLAG parent!"  Sure, you do that, I thought.  Well, she did.  And so did my dad.
The very next year there I was on the sidelines with my sister and our friends, watching as my parents marched by.  I shouted, got their attention, they ran over for hugs, and then continued on their way.  At that moment I looked around and saw that everyone around me was doing the exact same thing I was doing: crying our eyes out, with happiness.

What would follow the next year would be a new tradition - our marching together as a family.  Easily the most wonderful feeling in the world.  In an age where we're still dealing with LGBT kids being kicked out of their homes, mistreated by their parents and shunned by society it is still vitally important that we march. My dad holds high his "I LOVE MY GAY SON" sign, because too many fathers don't, and won't.  My mother speaks out because mother's in Russia and Uganda cannot speak out and express how proud they are of their LGBT children.

My parents went from being PFLAG volunteers, attending the monthly support meetings to give support to other families, to manning the 24 hour support line phones, to my father becoming the Treasurer and my mother becoming the President.  I remember that phone call from Dad while I was living in Brooklyn, "Oh, by the way, Mum is the President of TorontoPFLAG now."
Oh, ok.  How about that.
It makes perfect sense as long before I came out my mother and father were already stepping up to be A Mum and A Dad to many friends of my sister and I, whom for whatever reason didn't have parents in their lives in the capacity that they were needed.  A friend who moved to Toronto from another city, or province or country found a *Mum and Dad* in my parents.
Fittingly, they've devoted their retirement years to being a Mum and Dad to the LGBTQ communities of Toronto - and to anyone who needs a hug, a shoulder, a listening ear and a support.

In 2013 my Mum was even honoured as the Grand Marshall of the Toronto Pride Parade.  Yes. THE GRAND MARSHALL.  My Mum.  My wee Scottish Mum. Icon.

My mum has now, after many hard-working years, stepped down as President of TorontoPFLAG, and  as she was making this decision she said to me, "I hope you're not disappointed that I'm stepping down."  *As if* I could ever be disappointed in anything she or my father have done.   She and my father are going to continue to give support and be PFLAG-ers, but not in the roles they've been occupying for years.  Time to do that *retire* part of retirement.  They both deserve a rest, they've been doing tireless work for years.
This was my mum's final public speech for PFLAG, at city hall honouring the International Day Against Homophobia & Transphobia.

A fitting send-off.  Yet that's not all.  Just recently she was honoured by Toronto City Council for her work on behalf of the LGBTQ communities.  What an honour to see my wee Mum get a standing ovation from city counsellors.

She has become a local gay icon. She has become a Mum to all those who need one.  She has helped put families back together, and through speaking in schools across the city has helped children learn to love themselves, and support their peers.
Every year on Mother's Day her Facebook wall is FLOODED with messages of "thank you! i love you!" from so many people for whom she has become the best mother-figure they've ever known.  Every gay friend that first met my Mum said the same thing: "She's just like Debbie Novotny!" - Sharon Gless' PFLAG Mom character on Queer as Folk.
I will forever be grateful to have been born to my mother and father.  More than grateful.  I have a Unicorn Existence, being born gay to this family in this city in this country in this time in history.  They inspire me, they humble me, they empower me, and their love and strength is what drives me every day.

Thanks, Mum and Dad.  I love you more than words will ever be able to accurately express.  Happy Pride. Enjoy your retirement.  You've changed lives, you've saved lives, and you inspire us all.

Little Kiwi Loves Bauhaus

Little Kiwi Loves Bauhaus
Good Dog!