Ricky Martin Gives a Damn

 

The Give a Damn Campaign has released a new message, which premiered Monday night on CNN’s Larry King Live during an episode featuring the topic of anti-gay bullying.

In this clip, Ricky Martin joins Elton John, Idina Menzel, Rachael Harris and Wanda Sykes — all speaking out to end these senseless acts of violence and intimidation.

My personal feelings towards M. Martin is that he should have given a damn many moons ago, when his presence was oh so much bigger. Ricky could have and WOULD have made a much more lasting impression using his star influence on this campaign to end bullying.

Davenport Community Harvest Fest

After months of extremely hard work, for the most part done by one, perhaps two other people, today finally arrived and the first Davenport Community Harvest Fest debuted.

Things are a bit behind schedule, due to the usual lack of volunteers or no shows, and the weather did decide to dump a wee shower on folks heads, but otherwise, things are looking fairly good.

I can hear DJ Fever even from up here on the 21st floor, belting out tunes, which of course has led to some complaints from the seniors. I just can’t understand why they don’t shut off their hearing aids if they don’t like it.

FoodShare, who has partnered up with with us for this event, has their market up and running, and are making sales

JoJo, one of the donors, has a table showcasing some of her fabulous looking handmade jewelry.

City of Toronto Councillor Adam Vaughan once again failed to grace our community with his august presence, despite his office having confirmed that he would be there for the opening of the festival. However, Federal M.P. Olivia Chow is rushing around, helping out where she can, despite her simply being a guest.

The soups, harvest crunch, and other edibles are being received with their usual gusto. Nothing says love quite like free delicious food.

My only hope is that despite all the setbacks, we don’t look upon this day as a failure, because it most certainly was NOT!!

It was an inspiration, proving that despite our living in subsidized housing that we are just as much a valued part of our community as anybody else.

Concerns

Guess I should learn to keep my big mouth shut, even when it comes to helping others out.
Had a meeting today with Leslie Booth, our Toronto Community Housing CHU manager, and Curtis Palmer, who works for the Fred Victor Organization, the agency that’s overlooking services for the residents here.

That letter of complaint, the one I had arrogantly addressed to Mary way back when, was partially the reason. Leslie was also under the mistaken belief that I had missed more than one CHU Rep Meetings. Plus there’s Crazy Jane, the woman down in Apartment 113, who accused me earlier this season of peeing on the walls (?). She had interfered with someone’s right to vote that I was helping out, didn’t like it when I told her to “bugger off” and reported me. Meh, she’s had it on for me since I caught her using her dog as a kite.
Informed Leslie that Jane had interfered with someone’s right to vote, a Federal crime, and that she could sent that as my response to Jane.

Any hoot, let’s get back to the initial complaint, the one from Pamela and Mary, wondering where I got off?

And you know what? I agree with them. I over-stepped myself when I wrote the email and sent it to Pamela, although I did so with the best of intentions at the time, and perhaps I may have changed slightly stepping into the position of Tenant Representative. But so did the way people, my friends, treated me as well.

It hurt, and I reacted like I usually do these days, with outrage. I’m not really good when it comes to handling things like that.

The end result is that I have promised to bring future complaints to Curtis or Linda (CHU 25 – Health Promotional Officer) and let them deal with it, or advise me as to what might be the best way to handle the concern.

With Mary and Pamela, I’m just going to try to go back to the way things were in the beginning, and hope that they’ll forgive me eventually. It was a lot more fun back when, and I miss it.

Happy Pride

tpride

David Miller and the City of Toronto kicked off Pride week here by raising the rainbow flag up in Nathan Phillips Square yesterday.

I often hear people tell me how much they hate Pride, because it’s too crowded, commercialized, stereotypical, “insert excuse here”.

I only came out to myself around the age of 28. I’m 35 now. I think I had been aware for a few years prior that I was at the very least, bi…. but hadn’t really been able to focus my thoughts and actually give it a name. I just knew it to be wrong.

Growing up in the 70-80’s and being beaten, humiliated, ostracised, my personal property as well as my parents vandalized, led me to deeply bury whatever notions I may have had about myself.

It was only when I moved away from Montreal, and started over here in Toronto, that I began exploring and to discover who I really was. It’s seven years later, and I’m still coming to terms with some stuff.

Intimacy/sex is a major one. I wasn’t sexually active as a youth, and the few relationships I had, with girls, never progressed beyond the best buddies stage (duh, you think I would have clued in there). So I was never really prepared for how much sex is linked to, at least, the gay part of the LGBTQ community, but let’s not get into that.

What I did learn was to like myself for who I was, to stop hiding, and just accept. It’s easy here in Toronto, and now when I go back to Montreal, I don’t live in fear either, of what people may think. But what about the smaller communities, that may not have well established LGBTQ communities, and no outlet for people to be themselves? Are these individuals doomed to download gay porn or surf gay chat lines so that they can link up quietly with other individuals? To pretend to be something they’re not so that they can just get through the days?

Canada has now celebrated it’s 3rd anniversary of gay marriage. On June 10th, 2003 Ontario made marriage available to anyone, no matter their sexual preference. The rest of Canada’s provinces have since followed in those steps, but that doesn’t mean that the fight for acceptance isn’t over.

There are a lot of places where being LGBTQ just isn’t talked about yet, outside the major metropolises. For these people, Pride isn’t about the big Unity-type parties, or getting laid. It’s about being allowed to celebrate themselves, even if it’s only for one day.

In London, Ontario, which does have a Pride parade, the onlookers are separated from the parade by a fence that’s been put up along the side walk, just in case some rowdies decide to storm the floats of people just having a good time.

In Russia, the first EVER Moscow Pride parade, which went on despite Mayor Yuri Luzhkov’s banning the event, was overwhelmed in violence by ant-gay demonstrators. 75% of the attendants were hurt.

In China, a number of gay websites have been shut down. There are an estimated 48 million LGBTQ people there, and regretfully little is being done to help them in stopping their isolation and coming out. China is also woefully behind the time when it comes to addressing the prevention of HIV.

Approximately 35% of gay teens attempt suicide before coming out in North America.

Pope Benedict and the Roman Catholic church, are still spewing their filth that allowing us marriage or the right to adopt is a sin. Because of Rome’s proximity to Italy, it’s recently elected leftist government may decide to backtrack on their electoral promise of bringing to the table the right for LGBTQ marriage.

Here in North Am, there are portents indicating that there may be a theological war, as many Catholics and Clergy disagree with Rome’s stance. The end results may wind up being similar as to what’s going on with the Episcopalians and Anglican church.

In New York City, Kevin Aviance, a popular drag queen, was beaten horribly by four individuals, one of them 16 years old.

in 2002, Gwen Araujo, a transgendered teen, was beaten to death by some “friends” when it was discovered she was previously male.

There are a million other tragic stories, and more, occurring daily.

This is why we should celebrate Pride. It is defiance of those that want to push us back into the closet, or into an early grave, and to give hope to those who have yet to come to love themselves just for being who they are.

Forget about the commercialism and crowds. If that bothers you, grab your car or bus and go and celebrate Pride in one of the smaller rural communities instead. Stop being such cynics and remember that if it weren’t for Stonewall and a bunch of drag queens, you wouldn’t have the guts to even have that cynicism.

Me, I going to celebrate this year by being in the Pride Parade Sunday, on the TCHC float. Seven years ago, I couldn’t walk around without wondering what people were thinking of me. Now, I’m going to be in front of close to a million.

Happy Pride!!!!

Celebr-Asian

As a tenant rep, I represent a wide  range of people in my building. One of these groups is the Asian community. Last month was Asian Heritage Month. I decided to volunteer and help out Community Housing put on our own celebration commemorating the valuable contributions all Asians have made to our society and world.

I truly never realized just how big Asia was until I saw it on a map. For example, I didn’t know that Afghanistan was part of it, and forgotten completely about Russia.

index.htm_txt_map-of-asia

Anyhow, we (C.H.U.25 & C.H.U.10) focused on 6 countries as part of our event, and for the past month we have been getting everything arranged. We titled it Celebr-Asian: A Taste of Asia, and we had a sampling of foods from the selected countries. There were SO many types, and I wish I could remember them all. We had dancers from the Philippines, a Chinese choir, and I had made arrangements to have Vincent Ng from the Chinese Cultural Centre of Toronto. We had expected a turn-out of maybe 50-60 people to be there. We could not have been more wrong

Heck, there were 50 before we opened the doors, by the time we started to serve the food, there must have been almost 200. We couldn’t serve them fast enough, all the while trying to cut the finger sized servings we had ordered into smaller portions, so that everyone could try a piece.

The event was an overall success. I had a lot of fun, got to meet a wide variety of people, including the Ambassador of Taipei. I felt useful again. This more than anything else is why I became a tenant rep. What a great feeling.

Sometimes, the best laid plans of mice and men are for the birds

Tom O’Neil passed away, as you might recall my mentioning, sometimes late last weekend. His family came and have cleaned house, and his dog Patsy will be going to a farm out in the Ottawa Valley somewhere, to spend the rest of her days in comfort.

We, the friends and residents of 250 Davenport were not invited to the funeral services. We’re still not quite certain if there were any (I’ve checked all the major online dailies and there’s no record of his death). Tom had allegedly been a Jesuit at one point, but had not attended a service in years, and no longer embraced religion, and had not wanted one, if you go by what some of his friends were saying.

Still, it was decided that we the residents and friends had to pay some form of recognition to a man who, no matter what people may have thought about him, had left an indelible mark here. Supposedly this was being done with the blessing of Tom’s family. They were even going to provide the flowers and priest.

So when Pamela called me to ask for help organizing a memorial service, I was quick to leap to her aid. Mary, who had been the originator of this idea, regretfully had to return to Guelph to attend to her daughter Brenda, who had just be released from the hospital for the umpteenth time, for varying reasons which will be left out of this article this time round.

The Memorial Luncheon was to be this coming Thursday, March 30th at 13h00. Pamela, has been working extremely hard on this since then, with my offering whatever aid I can. Although I have become one of the new Tenant Reps of my building, I’m still a relatively new resident and don’t have the connections she has. Suffice to say though, I’m really impressed at what was accomplished in such a short time.

We’ve got the cheeses, crackers, veggies, dips, coffee… I even threw in a 6.7 kg turkey, since donations were a tad thin. Pamela has told me that I will be reimbursed, but I’m not really interested in the money any longer.

The trouble started however when we got back from the grocer. Pamela’s mom, Tilly, was the first to mention that no one had any clear idea as to who had been responsible for this idea. I should have seen the writing on the wall then, so it wasn’t really a surprise when Pamela told me an hour later that no one had booked the rec room for the event, and that Justin, the building’s social worker was using it for a meeting.

Well, as tenant rep I figured we could work around this somehow, even if it meant using the library instead if things didn’t work out, but I wasn’t prepared when Pamela called me shortly thereafter to let me know that Tom’s family had bowed out completely, with no apologies, taking the priest, the flowers, and sandwiches with them. Seems they want to leave sooner, and our preparations and time be damned.

I can understand on one hand. No one likes stretching a death out, and some of these people have to get back to work, but why could they not let us know their intentions long before we had undertaken this project?

So, Pamela and I are going to muddle through this somehow. We have no idea now what kind of service we should have, since we don’t have a priest coming (although we do have a 3rd level wiccan high priestess), heck… we don’t even have a picture of the deceased, but neither one of us is going to let Tom’s death go unremarked.

Neither one of us however is going to get roped into something like this again either in the future. Let someone else handle it. We both already have far too much on our platters.