Pride October 2019

London and Area


Issue #3 Fall 2019

Cover art by Jacqueline Demendeev

London Pride Parade – July 28th 2019 126 floats, over 10,000 marchers, 25,000 spectators ... And, for the first time – ZERO protesters!

blair’s repairs (handy man) renovations - repairs property maintenance 519-281-8704

PRIDE Villager

Page 2 Issue 3 • Fall 2019

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Intersex flag to be raised at London City Hall! On October 25 to the 27 for Intersex Awareness Day, Intersex London is having the intersex flag raised at City Hall London, Ontario. It is the first time in Canadian History that an intersex flag will be raised at a City Hall or any other governmental building. Intersex London is a grassroots organization. Their goals are to support individuals and families, educate the wider community and to build resources for those in need. Intersex people are born with sex characteristics (including anatomy, hormones and chromosomal patterns) that do not fit typical binary notions of male or female bodies, in a staggering estimated 2% of the population. In London Ontario alone, there is an estimate of 7000 individuals that are a part of the Intersex community. Many of these individuals feel very alone however, because of the stigma, lack of visibility and knowledge about the variations. Through a peer support group, Intersex London is bringing these individuals together to build connections and community for each member and their families. Intersex London hosted two educational events for the wider community in the past months. This October 24th, they will be doing another educational event at the London Brewing Co-op, to help spread awareness. For more information, please visit their Facebook page or email them at



PRIDE Villager

Issue 3 • Fall 2019 Page 3 To advertise here, please contact

Meet Hudson “I hated people telling me this (but) it does get better! It’s true, it does but patience is important.” The pressure to conform, confusion, shame and false starts – all hallmarks of a person who grew up feeling trapped in the wrong gender. Hudson Morin tells a story from childhood that explains how those feelings can manifest in a young child. “I was maybe three or four years old when I noticed that my sister and I would get different clothes. I didn’t understand why she got all the nice clothes and I got boy clothes. I remember being at my grandmother’s house one summer and all of us kids were playing outside having a water fight. After, I didn’t have any clean underwear or shorts, so my mom handed me some fresh clothes of my sister’s. “How come I can’t wear this all the time”, I asked.” As puberty arrived, Hudson found bits and pieces about transgender people. Hudson identified with a male TV character who took hormones to become more authentic as a Las Vegas showgirl. This began a hunt for estrogen. She stole and began taking her Mom’s estrogen, a dangerous practise of self- medicating that ended when her parents found out. “I started with one a day but by six months I was impatient and was taking 6-8 a day, not realizing it takes years and not months to work. About 7-8 months in, my parents found my stash of make-up and clothes and the forbidden hormones.” 

darkness coming, I do whatever I can to stay positive and be happy, so I never get that dark again.” Hudson has found a community among some of London’s support groups including Trans*London and PFLAG – Parents, Families, Friends and Allies of the LGBTQ2+ communities. There, she gets advice and camaraderie from people who fully accept her for who she is. “When I was growing up and there was a wish involved, I would always wish to wake up my genuine self.” Now Hudson is living her wish, with no expectations and the joy of being her authentic self.

Hudson revealed her true self to family and friends nearly two decades later. A steelworker, she enlisted the help of union members, friends and colleagues before coming out at work. She learned it’s best not to have expectations because you can’t always predict who will be supportive. “I had expected my sister, who was closer to me than anyone, to be the biggest and best support but I was wrong. She ended up being the complete opposite. And then there were those I expected to be totally horrible to me, but they ended up being some of my best supporters.” With time, some who distanced themselves at first have re- entered her life. “With educating them or them teaching themselves about this whole process, some started coming around which is really nice to see.” In the meantime, Hudson rode a roller-coaster of emotions. She experienced anxiety and deep depression, even thoughts of suicide. “I thought I was ready for surgery, but there is always something more to learn or do. I focused every day on accomplishing even just one task. Next day, maybe I could do two. If I feel that

“I did gain more than I lost. Its been just over five years being out, and just over 3 months post GRS (gender reassignment surgery). Something I found very helpful was to try and be around supportive people and always try to be positive. Focus on the things that you need to do for you. it will come, just be patient. That’s what I had to keep reminding myself.”

PRIDE Villager

Page 4 Issue 3 • Fall 2019

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Rusty Wrench Brewing Company

by Martin Withenshaw

When I arrived at the Rusty Wrench I was greeted by a Rainbow flag in the window. I instantly felt comfortable and welcome. Chris Traczuk, the owner, welcomed me and took to the kitchen tomeet Wendy Chrisjohn. While walking to the kitchen I noticed the washroom sign. It was a picture of a Mermaid and Centaur captioned “WHATEVER JUST WASH YOUR HANDS”. I learned the owner Chris had come up with the idea and had the sign painted by a staff member. Wendy and I sat down to have a chat. She has no formal training and is completely self-taught. A couple of years ago she was looking for a part-time job and took the assistant cook position at the Rusty Wrench. Working with the Chef she learned all the basics and more. When the Chef left, she informed Chris she was interested in taking on the position, which she did. Alongside her assistant, Wendy has been running the kitchen ever since. When in doubt, she heads to the internet for answers and is not afraid to ask others for help, even the chef at a neighbouring restaurant. The one thing she informed me that needs work is her food presentation, but she is not too proud to reach out and get help when she needs it. What a wonderful, sincere and humble woman! The menu at the Rusty Wrench is bar friendly. All the meat comes from a local butcher in Strathroy. They use local produce whenever possible and 50% of the hops used in their brewing process are grown in Strathroy- Caradoc. While I was there, I met a young couple from Mulberry Moon Farm who will be supplying the Rusty Wrench with organic salad greens and tomatoes next spring from their greenhouse 10 minutes outside of Strathroy. The Rusty Wrench believes in “Eat Fresh – Buy Local” which promotes and supports local business. The Rusty Wrench and Wendy are very proud of their signature burger. It’s made from 100% ground beef and spices, free of fillers or egg. I asked if I could have the recipe to share, Wendy smiled and said it’s made from ground beef and “special” spices. I never learned what the “special” spices were. We finally decided on a recipe that Wendy would share - the house Caesar Salad Dressing. Yes, I know everyone has a Caesar dressing, but you must try this one. It is superb! 2 Cloves of minced garlic 1 Whole egg 1-1⁄2 tsp Dijon Mustard 2 tbls Oil Pinch Salt 2 tbls Lemon juice 2 tbls Grated Parmesan Cheese 1 cup Canola Oil • Put first 5 the ingredients in a food processor and blend on low speed for about 5 minutes. • Add the lemon juice and parmesan cheese and blend • Leave the food processor on • Slowly add the oil into the mixture until thick and creamy and blend for about 5 minutes. • Best to refrigerate for 24 hours This will make about 2 cups of dressing which is enough dressing for 8 people. The dressing is good for up to 2 weeks if refrigerated. Caesar Salad Dressing

Wendy Chrisjohn

Wendy took the time to make me a Caesar salad. She used romaine lettuce and homemade croutons, mixing them in the dressing. The salad was topped with parmesan cheese and homemade bacon bits.

They smoke their own bacon, and again the meat comes from a local butcher. The Caesar salad can also be topped with grilled chicken, which of course is locally sourced. A new menu featuring heartier items for the upcoming fall and winter is being introduced in October. The Caesar salad is perfect accompaniment to any meal or can be served with grilled chicken as lunch or light dinner. Bon appetite!

9 Front Street W Strathroy, Ontario (226) 448-9081

To see our menu and events, check out our social media: Twitter: @rustywrenchbrewingco Facebook: @rustywrenchbrewingco Instagram: rustywrenchbeer Website:

Brewing Company STRATHROY, ON

PRIDE Villager

Issue 3 • Fall 2019 Page 5 To advertise here, please contact

MartinWithenshaw – 25th Pride Festival GrandMarshal It’s true, there’s still a lot of work to do when it comes to LGBTQ+ rights. But many barriers have been broken and progress made because of the efforts of people like Martin Withenshaw. Withenshaw has pushed through prejudice for more than four decades, in eras very different from today. His tenacity and leadership led to him being named Grand Marshall of this year’s Pride London Parade held in July. Said Withenshaw of the honour, “I stand tall on the shoulders of the people who came before me and will continue to promote diversity and inclusion for all in the years to come." Withenshaw’s activism was energized in the mid - 1970s. Then-Justice Minister Pierre Trudeau had already declared in 1967 that, “there is no place for the state in the bedrooms of the nation”. Homosexuality had been decriminalized in 1969. However, changing the law didn’t automatically change the attitudes of those with a bias. In fact, it usually works the other way around, as men who were fired and discriminated against for being gay fought back and forced the government to change its laws and definitions, especially with respect to human rights. In the 1980s, as AIDS terrorized the gay community and claimed many lives, Martin Withenshaw was already a member of Canada’s first gay-owned and operated not-for-profit: HALO – Homophile Association of London Ontario. He was active with HALO for many years and chaired the organization’s 20th anniversary celebrations in 1994. Withenshaw was involved with a myriad of groups that worked to gain equality for the LGBT2Q+ community. Improvements came along in baby steps, and giant steps, such as the legalization of same-sex marriage in 2005.

One of the Rainbow Optimist Club’s focuses is supporting rural youth who might not otherwise feel they have a welcoming place to go. A speaker’s series is slated to run as a pilot project with Strathroy Library this fall. The goal of the Rainbow Speakers Panel is to feature adults who the teens can relate to, understand what they are facing and explain how they got through it. It’s another step in his mission to empower and improve the lives of those in the LGBT2Q+ communities.

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In September of 2018, Withenshaw founded the world’s first LGBT2Q+ Optimist club. The Rainbow Optimist Club – Southwestern Ontario is the force behind the popular Drag Queen Storytime in Middlesex, St. Thomas and Elgin libraries. The readings are fun, but the club also has a more serious goal of inclusiveness for teens going to the libraries. Withenshaw wants them to be, “where people can find themselves represented and reflected, and where they understand that all people are treated with respect and dignity."

Watch the Sold signs go up !!

PRIDE Villager

Page 6 Issue 3 • Fall 2019

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Upcoming Drag Queen Storytimes Saturday, October 5, 1:00pm Performers: Lita Miss Shaneen Kincardine Public Library, 177 Queen St., Kincardine, ON Huron County Museum in Goderich, St. Mary’s Library, Kincardine Library and Forest Library have been added to the roster. Follow us on Facebook for the dates, times, locations and addresses. To date 680 children and their parents have been part of the Drag Queen Storytimes. The Rainbow Optimist Club delivered Drag Queen Storytimes at five Middlesex County libraries, two Oxford County libraries, one at Children’s Hospital, two at the London Public Library, one at Belmont Library and one at St. Thomas Public Library. There are more Storytimes scheduled. All are listed under the events section on: Just under $100.00 was received in donations at the Storytimes. At the Dorchester Library Drag Queen Storytime, TD Bank dropped in to present a $2500.00 cheque to the Rainbow Optimist Club for the Drag Queen Storytime series. With this money the Rainbow Optimist will be sponsoring other Storytimes in Southwestern Ontario. Drag Queen Storytimes are a big hit

Saturday, November 2, 1:00pm Performers: Lita Miss Shaneen Forest Library, 61 King St. W, Forest, ON

The Transgender Day of Remembrance was founded in 1999 by Transgender advocate Gwendolyn Ann Smith, as a vigil to honor the memory of Rita Hester, a transgender woman who was killed in 1998 in Allston, Massachusetts. The vigil commemorated all the transgender people lost to violence since Rita’s death, and began an important tradition that has become the annual Transgender Day of Remembrance. Transgender Day of Remembrance events have been held on November 20 each year, and as of 2010, was observed in over 185 cities throughout more than 20 countries. London honours Transgender Day of Remembrance each year with a candlelight vigil, hosted by TRANS* London and Pride London Festival. The event is held to remember and honour the memory of those whose lives were lost around the world in acts of anti-transgender violence. Transgender Day of Remembrance London 2019 Wednesday, November 20th The Aeolian, 795 Dundas Street East 7:00pm. Doors open at 6:30pm. Free event. All are welcome.

Gwendolyn Ann Smith

“The Transgender Day of Remembrance seeks to highlight the losses we face due to anti-transgender bigotry and violence. I am no stranger to the need to fight for our rights, and the right to simply exist is first and foremost. With so many seeking to erase transgender people — some- times in the most brutal ways possible — it is vitally important that those we lose are remembered, and that we continue to fight for justice.”

PRIDE Villager

Page 7 Issue 3 • Fall 2019

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The Rainbow Optimist Club – Celebrating Pride in Middlesex, Oxford and Elgin Counties Middlesex County The Rainbow Optimist Club worked with the Middlesex Pride Committee to have the Pride flag raised at the Strathroy-CaradocMunicipal Building on June 1, 2019 for the first time. The flag raising was in conjunction with the Rainbow Optimist Drag Queen Storytime being held next door at the Strathroy Library where over 35 kids and their parents congregated. Therewill beapilot programthis fall at theStrathroyLibrary sponsored by the Rainbow Optimist Club called the Rainbow Speakers Panel which will be geared towards LGBT2Q+ teens, their families and their communities. There are plans are in the works to expand the Pride celebrations in Middlesex County for 2020. Stay tuned! Oxford County

About the cover artist: Jacqueline Demendeev is an artist with the heart of a storyteller. Working primarily as a painter and cartoonist, she takes inspiration from storybook illustration, surrealist imagery, and her own cultural heritage. Jacqueline also has a body of performance and theatre work, and considers sharing stories through education an important part of her practice. She strives to create works that nourish imagination, curiosity and empathy in audiences of all ages. You can view more of her art at

The Rainbow Optimist sponsored two Storytimes with the Queens one in Woodstock and another in Ingersoll. Between these two Storytimes over 65 kids and their parents attended. On June 15, 2019 the Rainbow Optimist had a booth at Oxford Pride’s Family

Day at Museum Square in Woodstock. Fun was had by all. Oxford Pride have activities throughout the year. For details of upcoming events go to their website Elgin County West Elgin Community Health Centre in West

Lorne had a Pride flag raising celebration on July 22, 2019 where the RainbowOptimist had a booth. Both MP Karen Vecciho and MPP Jeff Yurek were in attendance along with the President and other members of the West Lorne Optimist Club.

The Rainbow Optimist had a booth at the St. Thomas Elgin Rainbow Alliance Family Wellness event on July 23, 2019. The Drag Queen Storytimes gained pop– ularity, over 85 kids and parents attended on August 10, 2019 in St. Thomas and over 70 kids and parents attended on August 20, 2019 in Belmont. 25th London Pride Parade The Rainbow Optimist were joined by the St. Thomas Elgin Rainbow Alliance, True Youth, Middlesex Pride, the Talbotville Optimist Club, Southwestern Ontario Optimist International, MP Karen Vecciho and MPP Jeff Yurek in the London Pride Parade on July 28th. An incredible experience was had by all. Like the Rainbow Optimist Club on @RainbowOptimistClub 226-663-9256

PRIDE Villager

Page 8 Issue 3 • Fall 2019

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Try-U – A safe place for youth Kids gravitate toward other kids who are having similar life experiences. But what if a youngster doesn’t know anyone like them, or how to start a conversation to find out? It’s an issue for children who identify as LGBT2Q+ and for the past year and a half they have had a place to go where they can share their concerns and receive support. Try-U is a social group for 6-14-year-olds, including those who are questioning their sexuality. Try-U stands for The Rainbow Youth Umbrella and it provides a safe space and a place to talk openly about worries, fears and to ask questions. Facilitator Christa Duvall says, “You can hang out with other kids who are having similar experiences, share stories and ideas. In 1991, research showed that the average age of coming out was 25. That has fallen steadily through the years. For millennials, the average age is now 18, and they have been sure about their sexuality for a few years before sharing it openly. Christa and fellow Try-U founder Megan Morris noticed a lack of resources for kids seeking answers and support regarding their sexuality. Some parents wanted to help their kids but found there was nowhere to send them for information. The women had no idea whether young people would respond to Try-U, but they have. Ten to 15 arrive to the monthly meetings at Pillar Non-Profit, sometimes with their parents, who are also finding a support system of their own. “This is a place where no one has to worry about being judged”, says Christa. And they do other regular kid-stuff together at Try-U. If they group decides they want to talk, they talk. But sometimes the children choose to paint, make crafts or have a game night. For Christa Duvall, who runs the group with Megan, seeing the kids transform is its own reward. But it’s also difficult when a child reveals that their family doesn’t support them or they’re getting bullied at school. Research shows the most common reason LGBT2Q+ individuals are apprehensive about coming out is a worry about how their family will react. Being isolated or estranged from family members is a genuine concern. Having someone to talk to about it, who reacts with love and support, is what Try-U is all about. Try-U meets the third Thursday of each month at Innovation Works, 201 King Street, from 6:00 - 8:00pm. Doors are only open from 6:00 - 6:15pm. For more information, email

Rainbow Optimist Club On September 10, 2019 the Rainbow Optimist Club celebrated it first anniversary. Over the course of last year they have worked with the libraries in Elgin County, Middlesex County, St. Thomas and recently reached out to Oxford County to create a safer space for the rural LGBT2Q+ youth in rural libraries. A safe space is “a place or environment in which a person can feel confident that they will not be exposed to discrimination, criticism, harassment, or any other emotional or physical harm.” The goal of creating “a safer space is to create a space where people can find themselves represented and reflected, and where they understand that all people are treated with respect and dignity.” The Club was busy delivering Drag Queen Storytimes within these libraries and this fall creating a pilot Rainbow Speakers Panel. This panel is being designed for LGBT2Q+ teens, their families and friends but will be available for all members of the community. The libraries want the teens to be able to bring families and friends as well as feeling safe and welcomed. The Rainbow Optimists are opening doors, giving support to rural LGBT2Q+ youth, educating the community, and creating opportunities for everyone to participate and be included in their community. Thinking you’d like to become a member of the Rainbow Optimist Club, join them at one of their meetings as a guest and check them out. For more information about the meetings email them at: Also, check out the Optimist Creed that all Optimist members strive to live by:

PRIDE Villager

Page 9 Issue 2 • Fall 2019

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LGBT2Q++ Glossary of Terms Terminology is fluid. What is considered helpful to reduce oppression evolves over time. Moreover, people within a group may prefer different terms and it is best to use terms by which individuals self-identify. Gay: A person whose primary attraction is to people of the same gender. The word can refer to men or women, although some women prefer “lesbian.” Used as an umbrella term for the LBGT community. Lesbian: A woman who is emotionally, physically, spiritually and/or sexually attracted to women. Bisexual: A person who is emotionally, physically, spiritually and/or sexually attracted to members of more than one gender, though not necessarily at the same time. Pangender: A person whose gender identity is comprised of all or many gender expressions. Ally: Typically any non-LGBTQ+ person who supports and stands up for the rights and dignity of LGBTQ+ people, though LGBTQ+ people can also be allies, such as a lesbian who is an ally to transgender folks. Trans*/Transgender: An umbrella term used for people whose gender identity is not in harmony with their birth assignment, either wholly or partially, or who experience their gender identity as radically different from what is expected of a “man” or a “woman”. There are many communities that live under this umbrella and there is no single or universal experience of what it means to be trans.

Cisgender: “Same As” Used to describe people whose gender identity is in harmony with the sex assigned to them at birth. Two-Spirit: A cultural and spiritual identity used by some First Nations peoples to describe having both masculine and feminine spirits. It can include people who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, trans or intersex. Intersex : A person born with biological and/or physical characteristics that are not easily categorized by medical practitioners as male or female. Intersex people are often assigned as either male or female at birth. Some intersex people identify with their assigned sex, while others do not. For a complete LGBT2Q glossary of terms visit:

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Supporting London’s LGBTQ2+ Community

Teresa Armstrong MPP London—Fanshawe 519-668-1104

Terence Kernaghan MPP London North Centre 519-432-7339

Peggy Sattler MPP London West 519-657-3120

PRIDE Villager

Issue 3 • Fall 2019 Page 10

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Being a Support System

How can I be supportive of transgender family members, friends, or significant others?

My Sisters’ Place (MSP) is a safe, welcoming and inclusive centre that supports women through drop-in and wrap-around services. Many experience multiple vulnerabilities including gender based violence, trauma, chronic mental illness, homelessness, addictions and poverty. Each month more than 100 women access basic needs items thanks to the generosity of our friends and supporters. My Sisters’ Place gratefully accepts in-kind donations of the following items. You can drop off donations during our open hours (Weekdays 10 am-3 pm and weekends 11-2 pm) at 566 Dundas St., London, Ontario. Wish List: Shampoo, Conditioner, Body Wash, Deodorant, Socks, Underwear (XS S M L), $10 grocery store gift cards, $5 Tim Hortons gift cards, Bus tickets For more information go to Educate yourself about transgender issues by reading books, attending conferences, and consulting with transgender experts. Be aware of your attitudes concerning people with gender-nonconforming appearance or behavior. Know that there is not one universal way to look or be transgender. Use names and pronouns that are appropriate to the person’s gender presentation and identity; if in doubt, ask. Don’t make assumptions about transgender people’s sexual orientation, desire for hormonal or medical treatment, or other aspects of their identity or transition plans. Don’t confuse gender nonconformity with being transgender. Not all people who appear androgynous or gender nonconforming identifyas transgender or desiregender affirmation treatment. Keep the lines of communication open with the transgender person in your life. Get support in processing your own reactions. It can take some time to adjust to seeing someone you know well transitioning. Having someone close to you transition will be an adjustment and can be challenging, especially for partners, parents, and children. Seek support in dealing with your feelings. You are not alone. Mental health professionals and support groups for family, friends, and significant others of transgender people can be useful resources. Advocate for transgender rights, including social and economic justice and appropriate psychological care. Familiarize yourself with the local and provincial laws that protect transgender people from discrimination. My Sisters’ Place

a place of safety • a community of support

PRIDE Villager

Page 11 Issue 3 • Fall 2019

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He says most people want to support someone they know who’s transitioning, but they simply don’t know how. It falls to the person who’s transitioning to lead the conversation. Hoping his union, United Steelworkers Local 2699, would become more inclusive, Mayson approached the executive about having a presence in the 2017 PRIDE parade. That year, fifteen USW members walked the parade route. Involvement grew in 2018, and the union gave $500 toward the effort. This year, more than 80 union members and a float took part. Mayson says this backing from his union is important and now he’s part of the support network. He’s been named this area’s first Trans Liaison for the United Steelworkers. “It’s an exciting position because I get to help people”, he says. He’s leading the development of a “Transitioning in the Workplace Manual” at USW. He’s also involved with Trans* London and the London Chapter of PFLAG. The reaction at work has been mostly, but not entirely, positive. When he was assigned his own bathroom stall, it was routinely vandalized by a couple of his colleagues. However, Mayson concentrates on the victories and says anyone who finds themselves unfairly treated needs to become their own advocate. Fighting for equality benefits us all. “Redirect that energy to something good. Ask yourself – what about the next person?”

"What I realized is for the most part, people are good, and they want to understand. They just need somebody to lead them and teach them.” Mayson Fulk has been a leader and a teacher about what it means to transition, to his union, his workplace and fellow employees. And now, to the community at large as the recipient of the PRIDE 2019 Ken Sadler Award for Individual Contribution. Mayson had to move from his home country to escape persecution for who he was. In case you think he fled a third world nation, he didn’t. It was the United States of America. “There are thirty states where you can be fired for being LGBTQ+”, Mayson explains. “It actually happened to me in Ohio and after I lost my job there, I moved to Virginia, and I was fired twice in Virginia when they found out I had a girlfriend. It was before my transition. So I moved to Canada.” As he wrote on Facebook, “Shouldn't my employability be judged on the content of my character rather than the contents of my underwear”? Four years ago, Mayson began transitioning to a man. Such a change has myriad challenges and explaining it to coworkers is rarely easy. A steel worker at a London automotive plant, Mayson told his supervisor and union rep, and let his coworkers know that he would be come back from a week’s vacation with his journey underway. A fact sheet and other materials were made available to them. When he returned to work, most of his colleagues were warm and welcoming. London man, Mayson Fulk – leading and teaching what it means to be transgender

Mayson is giving back with the kind of guidance he wishes he had growing up in a family that followed the Jehovah’s Witness faith. Mayson says he knew he was different from about the age of five. The conservative Christian denomination’s rules are thick with guilt and require anyone who isn’t straight to suppress their feelings

and stay celibate. Today, he has no relationship with his parents, sees his brother once a year and only recently connected with his older sister. He says it’s gratifying to assist other families through the process. “To be able to help somebody stay connected to their child, is an indescribable feeling really. It's a huge sense of pride."



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PRIDE Villager

Issue 2 • Fall 2019 Page 12

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What is Love? Is it just an emotion?

In Truth, Love is Powerful... Love is Divine... It rides on every breath we breathe. It is the Source of our very existence. Love directs our lives in noticeable and not so noticeable ways. Love is all encompassing. It is a law without an opposite. Love takes away fear, just as Light abolishes the darkness. Love makes our hearts sing and floods our nervous system with positive energy. Love unleashes the power of what we truly ARE, and when that power is unleashed, there is nothing we cannot do! Its wholeness is the power holding everything as one, the link between ALL… this Now moment right into Eternity. A wedding is indeed a beautiful reminder of this Powerful Love. It’s an extraordinary time to celebrate the beauty of Love. And it is because of your Love that brings family and friends together in celebration. So, thank you! TD Pride Block Party July 19, 2019

My name is Laurie Nevin and it is such a huge honour to personalize and officiate wedding ceremonies! Playing a part in couples’ significant memories is such a gift. For more information, please visit my website: OR contact me for a complimentary consultation by phone/text: 519-854-8541 or email: I look forward to hearing all about your “Love Story”!

Left: Piper Kearney and Martin Withenshaw Above: People, booths, games for the kids at the TD Block Party

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PRIDE Villager

Page 13 Issue 3 • Fall 2019 To advertise here, please contact

Two Decades of Drag and Still Making a Difference

For two decades, Katu Azzya has been using her talent, personality and quick whit to help countless charities and nonprofit organizations in London and area. Katu has been fundraising and performing under the name Mz. Affra-Tighty since early 2000. After performing and doing some fundraising at Club H20, Katu discovered that “charity work was a calling” and this was something he wanted to focus on. Drag Queens were not widely accepted at this time, and like others, Katu faced a lot of harassment on the way to and from events. This was not going to stop Katu and he recalls that even getting on the bus was nerve-wracking. “Getting aboard a city bus was a test of nerves for sure, but I was more than willing to give people what I thought they richly deserved, a night of me!” Katu got a job working at Club 181 in London as a hostess and worked in the coat check. Mz. Affra-Tighty quickly became a well- known face in London’s LGBT2Q+ communities and Katu used this to help further his fundraising efforts.

OPEN CLOSET A group for 2SLGBTQIA+ youth ages 14-18

Over theyears, Katuhas raised thousandsof dollars for organizations such as the Lupus Foundation, St. Leonard’s Society, Paper Kite Foundation, Forward House, John Gordon Home, BC People With AIDS, Pride London Festival and many more. In 2014, Katu was honoured with the Individual Contribution Award from Pride London Festival, and this year, was recognized by MP Irene Mathyssen, for his years of incredible work in London. Katu continues to be a prominent figure in city, hosting regular events at FitzRays, performing at Lavish Night Club and other venues, and participating in Drag Queen Storytimes. Katu now also spends a lot of time helping and teaching younger drag queens about how to get involved in fundraising and charitable work. Katu’s Grandmother used to say to him, “It’s a privilege to be in someone’s life, not a right.” If you are lucky enough to know Katu, you know that it is a true privilege. Make sure to check out Mz. Affra-Tighty on stage if you get the chance!

7-9 PM at #30-186 King St., London, ON @my_opencloset on Instagram

PRIDE Villager

Issue 3 • Fall 2019 Page 14

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Dedicated to bettering the lives of LGBT2Q+ rural youth, their families and their communities

Follow us on Facebook: RainbowOptimistClub Find us on Instagram: #rainbowoptimistclub Email:

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SATURDAY, OCTOBER 26 7:00 – 8:00pm RUSTY WRENCH 9 Front Street, Strathroy ON Follow us on Facebook for more details.




JEFF YUREK, MPP Elgin-Middlesex-London Here to help you with any of the following provincial matters Monday through Friday, 10:00 - 4:30: Ontario Disability Support Program OHIP Cards • Driver’s Licences Ontario Works • Birth Certificates P: 519-631-0666 • T: 1-800-265-7638 750 Talbot St, Unit 201 St. T h omas, ON N5P 1E2 Email:



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Pride Villager Issue #3 Fall 2019

Publisher: Barb Botten Villager Publications P.O. Box 134, Lambeth Station Ontario N6P 1P9

Managing Editors: Barb Botten, Martin Withensaw, Andrew Rosser Graphic Artist: Cathy Wood Photography: Robert Riehl Photography

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Page 15 Issue 3 • Fall 2019 To advertise here, please contact PRIDE Villager

Locally owned and operated Your neighbourhood pizza place since 1967 to view all our favourites!

ow Available: Debit On Delivery

Open daily at 11:00am

@ByronPizzaLondon @ByronPizza

Text BYRON to 333 22 to join our mobile club for additional deals sent straight to your phone!

2 Medium Pizzas 2 fresh toppings per pizza $22.49 LimitedTimeOffer - HSTNot Included ByronPizza1240CommissionersRd.W. Pleasemention this couponwhenordering -1 couponperorder - Notvalidwithanyother coupon -Summer2017 fr s t i r i $23.99 LimitedTimeOffer - HSTNot Included ByronPizza1240CommissionersRd.W. Pleasemention this couponwhenordering -1 couponperorder - Notvalidwithanyother coupon -Fall2019 2 Large Pizzas 2 fresh toppings per pi za $30.99 LimitedTimeOffer - HSTNot Included ByronPizza1240CommissionersRd.W. Pleasemention this couponwhenordering -1 couponperorder - Notvalidwithanyother coupon -Fall2019 2 Extra Large Pizzas 2 fresh toppings per pizza $36.99 LimitedTimeOffer - HSTNot Included ByronPizza1240CommissionersRd.W. Pleasemention this couponwhenordering -1 couponperorder - Notvalidwithanyother coupon -Fall2019 2 Large Pizzas 2 fresh toppings per pizza $28.49 LimitedTimeOffer - HSTNot Included ByronPizza1240CommissionersRd.W. Pleasemention this couponwhenordering -1 couponperorder - Notvalidwithanyother coupon -Summer2017 Monday Madness 1 Large Pizza with 3 fresh toppings $14.99 Early Week Specials Monday Madness 1 Large Pizza with 3 fresh toppings $15.99 LimitedTimeOffer - HSTNot Included ByronPizza1240CommissionersRd.W. Pleasemention this couponwhenordering -1 couponperorder - Notvalidwithanyother coupon -Fall2019 Sunday Deal Get a Dill Pickle Pizza or Garlic Strips in any size for half price! Minimum additional order over $20 required. Limit 1 per customer LimitedTimeOffer - HSTNot Included ByronPizza1240CommissionersRd.W. Pleasemention this couponwhenordering -1 couponperorder - Notvalidwithanyother coupon -Fall2019 4 9 LimitedTimeOffer - HSTNot Included ByronPizza1240CommissionersRd.W. Pleasemention this couponwhenordering -1 couponperorder - Notvalidwithanyother coupon -Fall2019 Wing Wednesday 10 Wings for only 8.99 or 20 wings for 17.99!! with additional purchase over $15 LimitedTimeOffer - HSTNot Included ByronPizza1240CommissionersRd.W. Pleasemention this couponwhenordering -1 couponperorder - Notvalidwithanyother coupon -Fall2019 Thrifty Thursday Order any two pizzas at regular menu price (medium, large or extra large) and Enjoy one of the following sides Large salad Caesar or Greek, Small Garlic strips with cheese, or 6 Cans of Pop LimitedTimeOffer - HSTNot Included ByronPizza1240CommissionersRd.W. Pleasemention this coupo whenordering -1 couponperorder - Notvalidwithanyother coupon -Fall2019 Wing Wednesday 10 Wings for only 6.99 or 20 wings for 13.99!! with additional purchase over $20 2 Extra Large Pizzas 2 fresh toppings per pizza $34.49 LimitedTimeOffer- HSTNot Included ByronPizza1240CommissionersRd.W. Pleasemention this couponwhenordering -1 couponperorder - Notvalidwithanyother coupon -Summer2017 Early Week Specials Twin Tuesday 2 Medium Pizzas with 3 fresh toppings per pizza $23.49 i i i i i i LimitedTimeOffer - HSTNot Included •Pleasemention this couponwhenordering ByronPizza1240CommissionersRd.W. Notvalidwithanyother coupon -Summer2017 LimitedTimeOffer - HSTNot Included •Pleasemention this couponwhenordering ByronPizza1240CommissionersRd.W. 1 couponperorder - Notvalidwithanyother coupon -Summer2017 LimitedTimeOffer - HSTNot Included •Pleasemention this couponwhenordering ByronPizza1240CommissionersRd.W. 1 couponperorder - Notvalidwithanyother coupon -Summer2017 LimitedTimeOffer- HSTNot Included •Pleasemention this couponwhenordering ByronPizza1240CommissionersRd.W. Notvalidwithanyother coupon -Summer2017 Thrifty Thursday 1 Large 3 topping pizza with 3 cans of pop $17.49 OR 2 Large 3 topping pizzas with 6 cans of pop $30.99 • 519-472-0310 • 1240 Commissioners Rd. W. (located in the Metro Plaza) 519-472- 310 1240 Commissioners Rd. W. (located in theMetroPlaza) Come visit us at to view all our favourites!

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