Pride Villager April

Villager LONDON

Gilbert Baker’s flag scheme has mutilayered meaning: RED for Life

Orange for Healing

Yellow for Sunlight

Green for Nature

Blue for Harmony

Issue #2 Spring 2019

Purple for Spirit

Pride Day on the Hill

GilbertBaker(June2, 1951–March31, 2017) was an American artist, gay rights activist, and designer of the rainbow flag (1978). Baker's flag became widely associated with LGBT rights causes, a symbol of gay pride that has become ubiquitous in the decades since its debut. California state senator Scott Wiener said Baker “helped define the modern LGBT movement”.

On Thursday, February 7th, Pride organizers from across the country descended on Ottawa for Pride on the Hill in advance of the 2019 Fierté Canada Pride Conference & AGM. Over the day, meetings were setup with 34 Members of Parliament to talk about ways the federal government could increase support for Prides and LGBT2Q+ communities nationally. The main focus of the meetings was to discuss the creation of dedicated national Pride fund, within the Department of Canadian Heritage, that could help support the over 125 Prides that happen in every province and territory in Canada. Currently, federal funding for Pride festivals is hard to access, especially for those organizations outside Canada’s largest cities. Fierté Canada Pride estimates that in 2018, 6.5 million Canadians participated in various Pride events throughout the year. In addition to the national Pride fund, there were also requests made to create a national project fund to support the development of LGBTQ2+ community and resource centres either within the Department of Women & Gender Equality or Employment & Social Development Canada. Also, there were requests to strengthen the role of the LGBTQ2 Secretariat and its ability to engage with Canadians overall.

Andrew Rosser - President, Pride London Festival; Heather Hay - President, Fierté Canada Pride; Karen Vecchio - MP, Elgin- Middlesex-London; Joe Wickenhauser - Secretary, Fierté Canada Pride

Pride London Festival President Andrew Rosser, along with representatives from Fierté Canada Pride, met with MP Kate Young (London West), MP Peter Fragiskatos (London North Centre) and MP Karen Vecchio (Elgin-Middlesex-London). Pride Day on the Hill was followed by the largest national Pride conference ever held, with over 200 delegates from across Canada attending. The conference concluded with the first ever “WinterPride” march on Parliament Hill.

Delegation at the 2019 Fierté Canada Pride Conference & AGM in Ottawa, ON. WinterPride Photos: Courtesy of Fierté Canada Pride

PRIDE Villager

Page 2 Issue 2 • Spring 2019

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InternationalWomen’s Day 2019 International Women’s Day is celebrated on March 8th every year and this year multiple events were held around London, including: International Women’s Day Rally, March & Fair Hosted by the Women’s Events Committee at Victoria Park Photos courtesy of: Kevin Jones Women’s Day Round Dance “Increasing the Level of Consciousness for Our Granddaughters”. Co-Hosted by Chippewas of the Thames First Nation - Justice Department and Atlohsa Family Healing Services at Aeolian Hall

WE TAKE CARE 12 MONTHS A YEAR! Pristine weekly lawn & garden care, fertilizing, aerating, weed control, seasonal cleanups, window cleaning, pressure washing & snow removal COMPLETE LANDSCAPE DESIGN, BUILD & INSTALLATION


519-204-2657 • •

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Theatre Æzir presents The Laramie Project, the tragic story of Matthew Shepard In October 1998, 21-year-old Matthew Shepard was tied to a fence post in the middle of the prairie outside Laramie, Wyoming. Matthew, a student at the University of Wyoming, was severely beaten, robbed, tortured and left alone, to die. His body – battered, bloody, barely clinging to life – was discovered eighteen hours later. He was rushed to the hospital and put on life support. He died five days later. The reason for this brutal crime? Matthew Shepard was gay. This hate crime attracted vast attention worldwide, bringing sexual discrimination and violence to the forefront of public discourse. Sadly, the subject matter is as topical today as it was 20 years ago. With this in mind, Theatre Æzir is proud and humbled to present The Laramie Project, written by Moisés Kaufman and the Members of Tectonic Theatre Project, from over 200 interviews they conducted with the townspeople of Laramie, Wyoming in the aftermath of the crime. TAP Centre for Creativity, 203 Dundas Street Thursday, April 4 to Saturday, April 13. Evening performances at 7:30 pm; Matinees at 1:30 pm. 226-663-4114 Theatre Æzir is a London, Ontario-based independent theatre company founded in early 2017. Its mission is to create theatre that challenges the intellect, excites the emotion, and confronts the present.

Dine at a participating restaurant on May1 and 25% of sales will be donated to your local HIV/AIDS organization. Dîner dans un restaurant participant le 1 mai et 25% des ventes sera données à votre organisation localeVIH/SIDA.

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

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Page 4 Issue 2 • Spring 2019

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2019 Pride London Festival Ambassador Search On Saturday, February 23rd, Pride London Festival held the third annual Pride Ambassador Search at Lavish Night Club. Each year, a contest is held to find amember of London’s LGBT2Q+ communities who is passionate about helping to raise awareness about diversity and inclusion through performance, art, public speaking, or any other medium. This year four contestants ran for the title, showing off their talent and speaking about their passion for using the title to improve inclusion within the community.

Performance Name: Lita Von Sleaze Name: Leighland Weldrick Age: 31 Hometown: Montreal, QC

After being born in Montreal and living in Edmonton and then Sarnia, Lita has called London home for the past eleven years. In the last four years, Lita has developed a large fan base and has worked around the city hosting events &

OPEN CLOSET A group for 2SLGBTQIA+ youth ages 14-18 “She’s loud, honest, emotional, and just an all-around amazing human being. She’s an advocate for the LGBT2Q community, has two kids and still manages to tour while recording an album.” Along with representing Pride London Festival at various events before, during, and after the Pride season, Lita also won a trip for two to Toronto Pride. Congratulations Lita Von Sleaze & best of luck on your reign as 2019 Pride London Festival Ambassador! fundraisers for numerous non-profit & charitable groups. She is the founder of the Haus of Sleaze and works with several younger queens to help them develop their own drag. She hosts shows regularly at Fitzrays Retaurant & Lounge and Bull & Barrell, and performs monthly with London’s Haus of Drag at Lavish Night Club. When it comes to a role model in her life, Lita has looked up to singer/songwriter P!nk for as long as she can remember.

Regional HIV/AIDS Connection Open Closet is an award-winning group for 2SLGBTQIA+ youth offered at Regional HIV/AIDS Connection. Rowan Inglis shares his Open Closet experience as both a member and facilitator. Open Closet is a program that has made an impact on a diverse range of 2SLGBTQIA+ youth. I am proud to have a position as an Open Closet facilitator and the reason I can personally attest to the value and impact of the program is because I was a youth who accessed their services. Open Closet for me was a safe space to explore pieces of my own 2SLGBTQIA+ identity, and connect with other youth who were dealing with similar issues like: coming out, navigating personal and romantic relationships and finding community. I was not only able to find community, I thrived within a community that I felt truly understood the many intersections of my identity. What made the program so powerful was that it was youth-driven. We had a voice and were advocates for our own lives and learning, and we chose topics that reflected the struggles in our everyday experiences. I am still connected with both program participants and facilitators now as an adult because of the culture of learning and support that is deeply rooted within the program. I am now a secondary school teacher in a position to help the next generation of 2SLGBTQIA+ youth learn to navigate the challenges of life with pride and authenticity. I feel like I would not be close to the same person I am today without having been a part of the Open Closet community. “Winning Pride Ambassador means the world to me. It means I have the opportunity to represent London’s queer community to my absolute fullest ability and allows me to empower queer youth using yet another platform.” – Lita Von Sleaze, after winning 2019 Pride Ambassador. After the final scores were tallied, Lita Von Sleaze was crowned the 2019 Pride London Festival Ambassador!

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

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place the saucepan over medium heat. By the time the edges start to simmer, the liquid should be completely clear, not cloudy. Immediately remove it from the heat source. After everything was prepared, we went to the patio to enjoy, catching up, enjoying each other’s company and the fruits of the Chef’s labour. Staff and the owner made a point of coming over to the try the salsa. It was a huge hit. It is wonderful to see how the teenager I once knew, grew into an accomplished Chef. These recipes are perfect for a party on your patio this summer. Watermelon Salsa 1 round Watermelon 2 cups Fresh Pineapple - diced 1/3 cup Jalapeno – Seeded & finely chopped 2/3 cup Green Onions – chopped 1/4 cup Cilantro – chopped 3/4 cup Salsa - tomato 1/2 cup Olive Oil Pinch Course kosher salt • Pinch Crushed black pepper 6 shakes Hot sauce • Cut the watermelon in half then cut a small amount of the bottom of one of the halves so it sits flat • Ball the entire watermelon – ball a layer then scoop out the residue and reserve, repeat until done • Set everything aside • Peel and core the pineapple • Dice the pineapple into small pieces that can be scooped with tortilla scoops • Seed and very finely dice the green jalapeno • Finely chop the green onions and the cilantro • Now it is time to put it all together • Mix watermelon, pineapple, jalapeno, green onions and cilantro in a large bowl • Add olive oil, tomato salsa, salt, pepper, hot sauce and mix • Take the watermelon half that sits fat and add the watermelon salsa, serve with Tortilla Scoops Watermelon Smash 4 oz Vodka • 3 oz Melon Liquor 2.5 cups Watermelon Juice & Pineapple Juice 1 cup Simple Syrup • 5 cups Ice • Pinch Salt • Hand-full Cilantro • Take the remainder of the watermelon, pineapple and puree • Strain and reserve the juices • Juice the lime and add to the watermelon and pineapple juices • Make the simple syrup • Pour vodka, melon liquor and simple syrup to a 2 litre/2 quart pitcher • Put 5 cups of ice in a blender, add watermelon/pineapple juice and create a slushie • Add to the mixture in the pitcher • Pour into the glasses of choice, garnish with a piece of pineapple and cucumber • Take a handful of cilantro, with the palm of your hand and hit the cilantro twice to release the flavour • Put on top of the drink and serve with a straw Tip: I couldn’t find melon liqueur so I substituted melon vodka which worked perfectly.

What a small world! When I arranged with Wink’s owners Dennis and Adam Wickler to work with their Chef, I had no idea. It turns out that I knew the Chef. When I still had my food store and eatery in Wortley Village, he worked at a friend’s restaurant called Manga Mania. That was the mid 1990s when he was still in high school. Chef Mike Clark has worked in kitchens ever since, opening Winks with the owners 12 years ago. It was very nice to walk into Winks to a friendly smile and warm greeting from Chef Mike. We would be making Watermelon Salsa and a Watermelon Smash. What is a Smash you ask? It’s is a family of cocktails that generally include spirit, sweetener, herb, seasonal fruit, ice and water. Don’t freak out about what appears to be a load of ingredients, because smash drinks are easy to make, even for a beginner. It’s like a Mint Julep with seasonal fruit. Chef Mike very methodically walked me through all the steps. Giving tips and sharing along the way: 1: Use the smallest melon baller you can find. Chef Mike used a pinch spoon which is about 1/16th of a teaspoon. 2: After “balling” a layer of the melon scoop out the access and reserve. He shared how to make a simple syrup: Pour equal parts water and sugar in a saucepan. Remember, the sugar dissolves into the water, so 1 cup of sugar and 1 cup of water will not equal 2 cups of simple syrup. It’s more like 1 ½ cups simple syrup once dissolved. Heat the ingredients until dissolved. Stir the simple syrup and An afternoon at Wink’s – with Watermelon by Martin Withenshaw

PRIDE Villager

Page 6 Issue 2 • Spring 2019

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Singing Out. Changing Hearts.

Since their debut in 2016, Pride Men’s Chorus London has presented experiences through choral music that promote community, diversity, inclusivity and excellence. Pride Men’s Chorus London is part of a larger movement of LGBT2Q choirs in the world. In 1978 San Francisco’s GayMen’s Chorus made an unexpected debut after the assassinations of Harvey Milk and George Moscone. Pride Men’s Chorus London made its unexpected debut at the Vigil for the Orlando Pulse Massacre Victims hosted at Aeolian Hall on June 14th 2016. In the global arena of eroding human rights and particularly the rights of the LGBT2Q+ communities, PMCL sing to enlighten and help those with closed minds and hearts open up to celebrate diversity and love. Your next chance to see Pride Men’s Chorus London is Saturday, April 27th at Aeolian Hall, when they present DIVAS! a concert featuring the music made famous by great female recording artists from the 1940s to the present! For more information, visit: Photos courtesy of Jason Plante, MC Spirit Studios

Coming out, a continual journey I thought coming out was a one-time thing – one moment, one conversation, one statement. Once, and then you’re done. I was wrong. For most LGBTQ+ folks, coming out happens almost on a daily basis; at work, at school, at the gym, at family reunions, on the internet etc. Coming out also happens in many forms, whether it’s the highly anticipated nerve racking conversation with a family member, or simplyholdinghandswithasame-sexpartner inpublic, or even introducing your pronouns at an event or gatherings. Unfortunately, not all places are safe for coming out and I can recall some times when I’ve had to make up some hetero stories to not give away my “gayness” in certain spaces. Coming out is continuous and I’m sure most of us have memorized our own “coming out script” with variations for different scenarios and levels of comfort. Because coming out is continuous, our conversations about coming out should be continuous too. If you’re a member of the LGBTQ+ community, here are some questions to reflect on. Has coming out gotten easier over the years? Do you feel it is still necessary to come

out in some spaces? Do you have someone to talk to about your experiences? Coming out can be fun, freeing, frightening or all of the above. Some experiences don’t go as well as we hoped and some go better than we expected. Just remember, no matter what the reaction you get from others, it’s all about you being proud of who you really are. So be You and come out with Pride!”

PRIDE Villager

Page 7 Issue 2 • Spring 2019

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PRIDE Villager

Page 8 Issue 2 • Spring 2019

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Overcoming Obstacles – Tony’s Story

My name is Kabwe (Tony) Chibesakunda. I’m 28 years old and was born and raised in Lusaka, Zambia. I grew up in a loving but broken family. My older sister and brother shared a father and I had my own. My mother and I did everything together. I was always the “good” kid, which made her proud of me. Our family had a Christian background, like most families in Zambia. We went to church occasionally and said our prayers before meals and bed. Around age ten I became aware that I was different from other boys. I was attracted to males. In my early teens, I came to understand that I am gay. I never liked or engaged in sports, all my friends were girls and I was mostly entertained by female pop culture. These were all things I was teased for. I was teased for being myself. My close friends, five girls and one guy, made high school so much better. They never questioned me about my sexuality but I’m confident they knew. When we graduated, I worked up the courage to tell them that I was gay, and they were supportive. This is not the kind of privilege that most people would have. Zambia prosecutes homosexuals with up to 30 years imprisonment. At seventeen I came to Canada to study at Niagara College and decided to live as openly as I could. I felt liberated. I made awesome friends who took me as I am. I felt free. After college I began to explore intimate relationships, sex, drugs and myself. I longed for acceptance and would do anything to get it. At nineteen I moved to Torontowhere there’s a large gay community.

I made a lot of bad decisions. I started experimenting with drugs which eventually led to many years of addiction. I made a refugee claim for permanent status in Canada because I feared going back to Zambia. I was tired of carrying on the way I was living and reached out to friends who had no idea what was going on. They told me about a one-year residential faith-based program. I was admitted three weeks later. In the program I learned I hadn’t fully accepted who I was. Being in rehab around 50 heterosexual males for a solid year brought my insecurities to the surface and made me deal with them head on. I felt inferior and like I had something to prove. Through guidance, I learned how to embrace myself no matter who I was around, and I restored my faith in God. This allowed me to truly experience freedom on a level I hadn’t experienced before. ManyintheChristiancommunityhavespokenagainsthomosexuals and a lot of homosexuals avoid Christianity because of it. It was because of my faith that I could accept who I was: a son of God that has fallen short of the grace of God, just like any human being. Though sexuality is a part of us, it is just a small part of who we are. Who we are is where we find our identity and I find my identity in Christ. The word of God teaches us that God did not come to condemn the world but to save it. So, every homosexual that has been taught that God hates them has being lied to. I’m proud to say that Canada accepted my claim and I now have permanent residency. I am very grateful for all that Canada has done for me and the freedom that it allows its people to experience.


I am proud to be your representative in Ottawa and want to stay informed of the issues that matter most to you. Please contact me if you have any questions or concerns. My office can also assist you with:

Living together? Make it legal! License your pet. All cats and dogs must be licensed by law. Licensing helps save animals’ lives. • Lost pets are returned home • Helps to fund animal services programs • Homeless pets get adopted Please do you part! Contact us to license your pet

• Employment Insurance • Citizenship and Immigration • Canada Student Loans • Passport and Travel Information • Veterans Affairs

• Canada Child Benefits • Canada Pension Plan • Old Age Security • Guaranteed Income Supplement • Income Taxes

London Animal Care Centre • 121 Pine Valley Blvd, London • 519-685-1330 •

200-390CommissionersRd.W. • LondonON N6J 1Y3 •

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Issue 2 • Spring 2019 Page 10

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The name Five/Fourteen is a dual nod to May 14, which is recognized as Children and Youth In Care Day, and also to May 14, 2019, which marks the 50th anniversary of the decriminalization of homosexual acts in Canada. It also happens to be Lucas’s birthday. He remembers being in the system and feeling a sense of doom on each birthday. For he and many others in the system, birthdays represent a countdown to when they will age-out of the system and be left to fend for themselves. Canada’s first and only foster care agency geared to LGBTQ youth. It currently operates in London and Windsor. The agency offers placement services in these two cities because of the medical programs available there for transgender youth. Five/Fourteen has licensing to offer 60 beds for LGBTQ foster youth from the Ontario Ministry of Children and Youth Services. Studies have shown LGBTQ foster youth are at greater risk for sexual abuse, physical and verbal assault and suicide. Revealing their sexual identity can lead to emotional upheaval in their foster home. Anyone interested in being a foster parent with Five/Fourteen or interested in learningmore can go to their website at .

Lucas Medina grew up in foster care provided through a Catholic- based children’s aid society in Toronto. His foster family forced him to get baptized at 10 even though he wasn’t Catholic. His foster mom would rent out his room to foreign exchange students for months at a time, leaving him to sleep on the floor. Never a warm, friendly environment, the worst came when he was 16 and they learned he was gay. His foster mom told him he was no longer part of the family and to stop calling her mom. A year later, he was out on his own. “I had to leave, I honestly didn’t feel safe there,” he said. “Every day I wondered if I would come home and find my stuff at the curb. It was pretty overwhelming. I had a lot of depression.”says Lucas. Medina says toomany LGBTQ youth experience similar emotional abuse when they come out to either parents or foster parents. Lucas Medina – Co-Founder and Executive Director and Chad Craig – Co-Founder and Operations Director are changing the lives of foster children who fall along what Medina calls the rainbow spectrum. Five/Fourteen— is a foster placement agency focused on providing a safe space for youth who identify under any part of the LGBTQ2A acronym.

“When we heard about Five Fourteen we were very impressed with goals of the agency especially as we learned of the risk factors faced by LGBTQ youth in the foster care system. We are fortunate to have a larger home and we felt we could provide a safe, supportive and comfortable home environment.” “We have had great support from Lucas and Chad from Five Fourteen. They are very invested in the success of youth involved it the program and supporting the parents.”

David Heaton and Pat Shanahan have been foster Dads through Five Four- teen since December 2017:

Juno Award Winner Jeremy Dutcher – Wolastoqiyik Lintuwakonawa

Nominated for Indigenous Music Album of the Year 2019 at this year’s Juno’s, Jeremy Dutcher is a performer, composer, activist and musicologist. These roles are all infused into Jeremy Dutcher’s art. His music, too, transcends boundaries: unapologetically playful in its incorporation of classical influences, full of reverence for the traditional songs of his home and teeming with the urgency of modern-day struggles of resistance. If you’re not traveling to Spain, France, New York or the U.K. where Jeremy has upcoming tour dates, maybe you can catch him at the Stan Rogers Folk Festival in Canso, Ontario in July, at Westben in Campbellford Ontario in August or the Woody Point Heritage Theatre in Bon Bay, Newfoundland in August or visit

PRIDE Villager

Page 11 Issue 2 • Spring 2019

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Crisis Directory Hate Helpline Support Services Open Closet (A Program of Regional HIV/AIDS Connection) Open Closet (OC) is an award-winning program of Regional HIV/AIDS Connection that was started in 2002. Open Closet is a drop-in, social support group for youth between 14 & 18 years of age who identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, trans*, two- spirit, queer & questioning, from the counties of Perth, Huron, Lambton, Elgin, Middlesex & Oxford. Open Closet offers a safe space for youth to discuss relevant issues (such as: coming out to parents & friends, queer identities, LGBTT2Q+ history, safer sex, & healthy relationships) & access referrals to community services/resources. In additio , OC provides an opportunity for youth to build supportive social networks in a respectful, fun, & accepting environment. Held on Friday evenings from 7:00 - 9:00pm. Contact the Hate Helpline 9am-5pm Monday to Friday to report the incident and/or access support, information and referrals. After hours you can leave a message and an operator will follow up with you. Hate and Bias activity may include: assault; hate propaganda; verbal slurs and threats; offensive graffiti; obscene and threatening phone calls; vandalism of religious or minority Canada's only toll-free, 24-hour, bilingual and anonymous phone counselling, web counselling and referral service for children and youth. The service is completely anonymous and confidential - they don't trace calls, they don't have call display. You don't even have to tell them your name if you don't want to. Ready to talk? Call today. 1.800.668.6868 • property. 519.951.1584 Kids Help Phone MORE INFO: HIVAID- | 519.434.1601 PFLAG Canada - London Chapter

London Mental Health Crisis Service When you or someone you know needs help or if you are unable to cope, are depressed or are facing a mental health crisis, London Mental Health Crisis Service can offer support. They offer services on an appointment basis. 862 Richmond Street. 519.433.2023 (Crisis Line) Reach Out Reach Out is a bilingual 24/7 information, support and crisis service for people with mental health or addiction concerns living in Elgin, Oxford, Middlesex or London. It is a free public service, run by trusted local organizations, that quickly connects you with the help that you need. Reach Out is available by phone or by webchat. 1.866.933.2023 TRY-U (The Rainbow Youth Umbrella) TRY-U is a s cial group for children from 6 years old to 14 years old who identify as LGBTQ+, this includes children who are questioning. The group m ets the first Thursday of each month at Innovation Works; 200 King Street, fr m 6:00 - PFLAG London is a chapter of the national charity organization PFLAG Canada. PFLAG London helps all persons within our reach who are struggling with issues of their sexual orientation, gender identity & gender expression. We also support, educate & provide resources to parents, families, friends, & colleagues with questions or concerns regarding these issues. PFLAG London offers monthly peer support me tings at the Middlesex London Health Unit (50 King Street) the third Monday of every month from 7:00 - 9:00pm. MORE INFO: | 1.888.530.6777 x300 (Toll Free) | London Chapter Director & Facilitator: Lori Ward - 519.686.7691 8:00pm. Doors are only o en from 6:00 - 6:15pm. MORE INFO: YOU Belong Support Group

Lesbian, Gay, Bi Trans Youth Line

A toll-free service provided by youth for youth. They're there to offer support, information & referrals specific to your concerns. No question is too silly, no problem too serious. They are sex positive & non-judgemental and there to help youth who are 26 and under and live

anywhere in Ontario. 1.800.268.9688 (call) 647.694.4275 (text)

Life Navigator A social-support group, run by Youth Opportunities Unlimited, for youth 16-24 years old who identify within the LGBTQQ2SA+ spectrum, as well as their allies. Group meets Wednesdays from 6:30 - 8:30pm at The Cornerstone Building, 332 Richmond Street. MORE INFO: | 226.777.0116 | 332 Richmond Street, The Cornerstone Building, London

PFLAG London Mission:PFLAG London helps all persons within our reach who are struggling with issues of their sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression. We also support, educate and provide resources to parents, families, friends, and colleagues with questions or concerns regarding these issues. Telephone support and information to anyone with questions or concerns about sexual orientation and/or gender identity/gender expression issues * gay, lesbian, bisexual, trans-identified, parents, youth, teachers, friends, employers and health care workers Peer Support Meetings - Third Mon of each month, 7pm-9pm (Middlesex London Health Unit, 50 King St, London)

A Taste For Life Make a reservation for April 25th, 2018 at a participating restaurant.

Ietje is in the Neighbourhood . . .

Ietje Kerkhoff Sales Representative Cell: 226.268.0501

To advertise here, please contact 25% of the evening’s sales will go directly to supporting the Regional HIV/AIDS Connection londonstratfordexeter.html

Issue 2 • Spring 2019 Page 12 for more information, visit: PRIDE Villager thursday, april 19, 2018 5:30pm - 7:30pm free event • all are welcome The Rosewood Room, JACK RICHARDSON MUSIC HALL OF FAME, 182 Dundas St. Watch the Sold signs go up !! Bus: 519.672.9880 Fax: 519.672.5145 240 Waterloo Street Unit# 103, London, ON, N6B 2N4


Love is saying “yes” to life! Seeing with eyes of undivided Love, we recognize beauty in all existence. We see the sacred that lies in the heart of all beings. True Love is undivided. It doesn’t see anything as separate from Itself. An intimate relationship can test one’s ability to see with undivided Love or otherwise known as unconditional Love. In the arms of one’s beloved, there comes a sense of safety. As a result, Self- discovery can occur on a deeper level than any other type of relationship. In the sanctity of marriage, the union becomes likened to a sacred science lab for Love’s healing. Through this intimacy we can come to know our true nature and we discover that Love is our very essence. For a helpful resource; I highly recommend the book, “Awakened Relating” ~ A Guide to Embodying Undivided Love in Intimate Relationships by Lynn Marie Lumiere. Another author that is known for writing on the topic of Love is Leo Buscaglia. In the book called, “Born for Love” ~ Reflections on Love” he shares this message: Life is always an adventure, Networking with Pride #PrideAfterFive gears up for its fourth installment this April, and for its founder Nikki Brew, the events are helping to fill a need for London’s LGBT2Q+ professionals. “After becoming a local organizer and host for a series of LGBT2Q+ women’s breakfasts, I noticed there was no existing space for our communities at large to network and connect with each other; particularly outside of Pride season,” said Nikki. In April 2017, Brew worked with Pride London Festival to create #PrideAfterFive, London’s only LGBT2Q+ networking event. The first event was held that month at The Rosewood Room in Downtown London. Other events have been held at 93&King and FitzRays Restaurant & Lounge. “I possessed a strong desire to bring together all members of our communities in an effort to get to know each other better and build an even larger, stronger sense of community within the communities,” says Brew. Modeled after other “After Five” networking events, the idea isn’t a new one, but for London’s LGBT2Q+ professionals, it offers a space to specifically connect with other professionals in the city. “I’ve enjoyed the opportunity to meet many familiar and new faces at the two #PrideAfterFive events that I’ve attended. I love networking and making new contacts. It’s different than being out in a club since this setting encourages easy conversation with those who drop by.” - Kathleen Holland, Financial Consultant, IG Wealth Management Whether it is directed by love or by fear. Fear is the confining of life… the “no”. Love is the liberating of life… the “yes”. Say “yes!”

If you’ve said “yes” to getting married and are now engaged – Congratulations! I am genuinely interested in hearing about your Love Story! As a wedding officiant, I would be deeply honoured to perform your wedding ceremony. Please contact me for a complimentary consultation at: or 519-854-8541 For more information; please visit: “I think it’s important to keep in touch with the LGBT2Q+ communities, to move ahead on issues of common concern to us all.” - Andrew Moffit, Financial Director, WhyWeMarch.LGBT The next #PrideAfterFive event is scheduled for Tuesday, April 2nd from 5:30pm – 7:30pm at Zen’Za Pizzeria, 71 King Street. For more information about future events, join #PrideAfterFive on Facebook.

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The Rainbow Optimist Club – Southwestern Ontario Dedicated to bettering the lives of rural LGBT2Q+ youth, their families and communities.

In partnership with the Rainbow Optimist Club and the “Queens” from the Haus of Drag, libraries will offer Drag Queen Story Time : Saturday, May 25 11:00am, Parkhill Library, Parkhill Saturday, June 8 11:00am, Dorchester Library, Dorchester Saturday, June 22 11:00am, Lucan Library, Lucan Tuesday, August 20 10:30am, Belmont Pubic Library, Belmont Saturday, June 1 11:00am, Strathroy Library, Strathroy Saturday, June 15 11:00am Glencoe Library, Glencoe Saturday, August 10 10:00am, St. Thomas Public Library, St. Thomas Also in the Fall, the libraries want to offer a speaker panel series which depict people in the community who LGBT2Q+ teens can relate to. Examples include but are not limited to, a transgender man, a transgender woman, the former Police Chief of Strathroy who was the first openly lesbian Police Chief in Canada and the first openly gay Chair for a School Board of Trustees. The program will be designed for LGBT2Q+ teens but will be available for all members of the community. The libraries want the teens to be able to bring their friends and families. The goals are to open doors, give support to rural LGBT2Q+ youth, educate the community, and to create opportunities for everyone to participate and be included in the community. Follow the Rainbow Optimist on Facebook: RainbowOptimist. It is estimated that 0.05% - 1.7% of the population is born with Intersex traits. That is similar to the number of people born with red hair. Along with hosting educational events like this one, Intersex London will be doing outreach at this year’s Pride London Festival and will look to raise the Intersex flag at London City Hall for the first time on Intersex Awareness Day (October 26). A step Kearney thinks will have a much larger effect. “I think raising the flag will bring visibility to the Intersex community locally, but also through social media, I think it will show that Canada is stepping up to finally talk about Intersex issues.” For more information about Intersex London and to see the entire Intersex 101 presentation, visit:

On the eve of Optimist International’s 100 Anniversary, The Rainbow Optimist Club – Southern Ontario was formed and received its charter on September 10, 2018. It is the first of its kind to join Optimist International family. Yes, that means the world. TheRainbowOptimists have beenworkingwith the libraries in Elgin County, Middlesex County and St. Thomas to create a safer space for rural LGBT2Q+ youth in the 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 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 libraries will be creating a space that is positive and safe, where the staff have been trained to understand LGBT2Q+ issues and needs, where the LGBT2Q+ youth can come and meet their friends and learn, and that understand the challenges and stigma faced by families.

Intersex 101

As we learn and develop a greater understanding of all the identities that fall under the Pride umbrella, locally Intersex London Founder & Activist Piper Kearney is working to provide education around an often-misunderstood topic. Intersex is an umbrella term used to describe a wide range of bodily variations, and Intersex people are born with sex characteristics (including genitals, gonads and chromosome patterns) that do not fit typical binary notions of male or female bodies. On Monday, March 18th, Kearney organized an information event called Intersex 101: Learn about the Intersex Community at Reimagine Co., in Downtown London. The event was designed to give some historical context around Intersex, to debunk myths and to provide information to the larger community about ways they can support Intersex people. “An event like this is important because there is a lack of visibility and people need to be educated about it and to see that this community is here.”says Kearney.

Piper Kearney – Founder, Intersex London; Jay Caldwell – Guest Speaker, Intersex 101; Faith Connor – Co-Organizer, Intersex 101

PRIDE Villager

Issue 2 • Spring 2019 Page 14 To advertise here, please contact

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 Festival London Endowment Fund Now Open! Accepting Applications February 1 – April 26, 2019, 2:00pm The Pride London Festival Endowment Fund supports activities that: build inclusion; and/or promote education; and/or develop awareness of issues around sexual and gender diversity within the LGBT2Q+ communities and/or broader population. Up to $1,000 total is available per year to distribute among one or more successful applicants. For more information go to

Thursday, May 16, 2019 7:00 – 10:00pm Fitzray’s Restaurant 110 Dundas Street, London

All proceeds go to the Rainbow Optimist Club

Pride Villager Issue #2 Spring 2019 Managing Editors: Barb Botten Andrew Rosser Publisher: Barb Botten

Villager Publications P.O. Box 134, Lambeth Station Ontario N6P 1P9

Graphic Artists: Cathy Wood • Andrew Rosser Photos, article suggestions, article submissions welcome. We look forward to hearing from you:

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