Posts tagged ‘Toronto’

January 21, 2012

The Incredibly Awesome Masterbeat 2012 Countown.

Masterbeat’s mixdown/mashup in music and video of the best songs and major entertainment,  pop culture, political and LGBT events of 2011.I was waiting forever for them to upload this year’s video and notice that I must have missed when they uploaded it two weeks ago.

As it stirs memories expect to feel  elation, sadness, and everything in between. Enjoy!

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December 21, 2011

In other developments….

Those of you who follow my serial postings might have noticed a wee gap for the last couple of days. This dry spell was occasioned by me being in the air en route to Toronto, sleep deprivation, my birthday and a few more martinis than might have been deemed absolutely necessary.  I am also working feverishly on Fodor’s  travel  chapters for my usual islands in a mad effort to finish them before Xmas. Those few things, however, pale in comparison to another development that has occurred recently – the folks at ACTUP.org have agreed to have me as part of their team which is dedicated to activism on a global scale in a variety of languages. I consider my inclusion to be a tremendous honor.

For those who don’t know the history of ACT UP (AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power) , it was founded in the 1980s in the midst of the AIDS crisis and became an hugely  influential force in moving the fight for LGBT rights forward .   Wikipedia has an extensive entry about the colorful history of ACT UP:

ACT UP was effectively formed in March 1987 at the Lesbian and Gay Community Services Center in New YorkLarry Kramer was asked to speak as part of a rotating speaker series, and his well-attended speech focused on action to fight AIDS. Kramer spoke out against the Gay Men’s Health Crisis (GMHC), which he perceived as politically impotent. Kramer had co-founded the GMHC but had resigned from its board of directors in 1983. According to Douglas Crimp, Kramer posed a question to the audience: “Do we want to start a new organization devoted to political action?” The answer was “a resounding yes.” Approximately 300 people met two days later to form ACT UP.[2]

ACT UP was effectively formed in March 1987 at the Lesbian and Gay Community Services Center in New YorkLarry Kramer was asked to speak as part of a rotating speaker series, and his well-attended speech focused on action to fight AIDS. Kramer spoke out against the Gay Men’s Health Crisis (GMHC), which he perceived as politically impotent. Kramer had co-founded the GMHC but had resigned from its board of directors in 1983. According to Douglas Crimp, Kramer posed a question to the audience: “Do we want to start a new organization devoted to political action?” The answer was “a resounding yes.” Approximately 300 people met two days later to form ACT UP.[2]

Read the entry here.

This blog will, of course, continue with its heady mix of subjects but there will undoubtedly be an increased cross-posting of  links to articles and news on ACTUP.org.

Looking forward even more to 2012 now.

 

September 10, 2011

Remembering 9/11 through the eyes of Reuters cameramen.

In memory of those who died. I remember the morning – I was living in Toronto and sleeping and my police officer brother called me and told me Armageddon was in progress.  The strangest thing that night was the silence over TO with no planes flying.

March 26, 2011

Parkdale, Toronto residents stand up for the mentally ill.

Parkdale is a neighborhood right next to my home base in Toronto ( Bloor West Village)  and I went to school there as a kid. It isn’t the most upscale of areas but it is something of a melting pot and is full of colorful characters. Recently a mentally ill man George Wass was attacked and died two days later. One of the residents, Paisley Rae was inspired to make a video. According to the Toronto Sun her decision was inspired by the always excellent Constable Scott Mills ( @TorontoPolice on Twitter) .

February 27, 2011

The Toronto Star: HIV/AIDS and accelerated aging.

Toronto Star, February 27, 2011

A really interesting and thought provoking article in the Toronto Star by Susan Pigg looking at the  phenomenon of accelerated aging in people with HIV/AIDS and on medication. Never even heard about it before.

“Toronto’s HIV/AIDS experts and activists are growing increasingly alarmed by “a hidden epidemic” — infected people who have lived decades longer than anyone imagined and are being hit with a host of aging illnesses in their 30s, 40s and 50s. They include dementia, cardiovascular and liver disease, cancers, diabetes, osteoporosis, emphysema and kidney problems.

Researchers are still puzzling over the reasons — whether it’s the disease itself, the long-term effects of the medications, or it’s that compromised immune systems are simply breaking down.

“HIV is no longer a death sentence, it’s a chronic disease,” says Dr. Ann Stewart, medical director at Canada’s first free-standing HIV/AIDS hospice, Casey House. Doctors used to urge patients to get their affairs in order. Now they talk about the likelihood of living to retirement.

“That’s a message of hope,” says Stewart. “But what exactly that means is also a big experiment.”

Read the rest in the Toronto Star here.

February 2, 2011

Good Advice

Ironic though it may be, my nephew, who is like my own son is being bullied  at school. Good advice from some good people.

And as I said on Facebook – I had nobody to protect me when I was being bullied but he does – namely me. It has to stop.  The world has to put up a unified face against bullying for whatever reason.  Because a kid is weaker or perceived to be LGBT. Whatever the reason – no kid deserves to be threatened. If you are a parent you are failing in your responsibilities if your kid is involved in bullying.

Let’s just put a stop to this.

December 25, 2010

Happy Holidays to All!

I have used this pic before but I don’t have that many double rainbow pics in my  collection.

I am in Toronto, Canada now ( home to me) spending time with my family but I will post a full entry tomorrow. To all who have been following this blog in its previous and current incarnation I wish you all the best this season and much peace, acceptance and understanding.

If I might ask you all one thing this holiday season it is that you remember all the bright sparks that we lost such as little Seth Walsh. Think of his family and all the families that have lost kids to the relentless pressure of hatred and bullying and try to make a difference. Every voice against injustice counts.

More tomorrow – and thanks for following!

December 8, 2010

Tongue in Cheek with the Toronto South Asian Community

Thanks to Sambhav K. Sharma on Facebook for the link. Very clever on the street interviews in the Jane & Finch area of Toronto.

October 7, 2010

Life out loud…

My brother , who is a Police Officer in Toronto,  sent me a text earlier to say “There’s a march going on through my division right now in relation to suicide by gay kids.” Knowing him he would have been right there protecting them. Mind you, it isn’t usually an issue in TO but I pity any bully he happens to run across.

This evening I saw Anderson Cooper interview Chris Armstrong , the university student who is student assembly president at the University of Michigan and is being cyber-bullied by the peculiar  ( can you say issues boys and girls?) Michigan Asst. Atty General. He said he didn’t want to be speaking out about a personal matter but the spate of suicides such as Seth, Asher and Tyler made him think he should speak out. So in many ways the tragic loss of these young and potentially beautiful lives has not been in vain. It has encouraged activism and thanks to the media ( of which I am part and now happier than ever to be part of)  significant and unrelenting coverage of the long standing issue is getting attention.

Today it also came to my attention ,via Facebook and my dear friend Alvin, that some strange US based “His Way Out”  Ex-Gay group is coming here soon. They plan to run around spreading hate to the few who will listen  and even have a meeting planned with the new Port of Spain Mayor whose party isn’t exactly known for its spirited stance on diversity. Great timing fools!  If the US has a problem with suicide and they are a lot more  advanced – how do you think that will affect kids here where they feel even more isolated? Oh right – they don’t give a damn. Any young blood spilled will just be collateral damage in their quest to change human nature. I will not even dignify them by linking to their god awful site.  Apparently, though, there is a protest planned so that will be a first for T&T.  I hope they realize they are probably going to hell too for eating shrimp – it is an abomination – from the same Leviticus they love to quote.

As a result of this development my pal Alvin posted his views and people commented – resulting in this exchange:

Naturally, I responded with this:

I know I shouldn’t be so brash …oh wait…I should.

On a lighter note I missed Margaret Cho on DWTS . This is not surprising as I don’t watch the programme – but I love her humour. It seems dear Margaret decided to go all out in her last venture :

Way to live loud Margaret!

Don’t forget on October 20, 2010 – wear purple in honour ( honor for my American friends)  of those countless kids who have died as a result of bullying and to celebrate Spirit Day. I will be wearing it on camera.

October 3, 2010

Good for you.

To everybody who has asked me why I am so upset about bullying and serial blogging about it – including one of my best friends. I am glad you were never beaten up as a kid in school. I was. I am glad you weren’t. I want to use the F word but I will refrain. Interestingly, it was in #Toronto where you would least expect it .

And yes, I did try to kill myself at least twice. But I survived the name calling and punching and I am stronger for it. To those who called me names and hit me many times I say :  Fuck you!  I hope your lives are miserable – which they probably are. And to those who ask why I am blogging about something so personal. Well, if it stops just one random gay or straight  kid  who happens to seem different from killing himself or herself  and ending a proud and amazing life it will be worth it.

And another reason for me to be angry.