RIP social space of indie bookstores – Toronto’s Pages closes

photo by Matthew Kim

I just got back from Toronto. It was my first summer visit there since the summers when I came out there..at 19 and 20. It’s been a long time.  A lot has changed. There are lots of new museums and buildings and lofts but as I strolled down Queen Street West, where I used to hang out back when it was far grittier, I noticed that Pages bookstore is just about to close.

Pages was a beautiful indie bookstore with lots of large coffee table books in the window and a mix of academic, indie and arty stuff. There were more magazines than I’d ever seen and more gay, lesbian and generally sexy material than I’d ever seen outside of the porn section of the family corner store where I sometimes worked. There was nothing about those magazines that was for me.

It was a clean, well lit place for cruising. I was terrified coming out back then. It was 1986 and there was nothing generally acceptable about being attracted romantically or physically to someone of the same-sex.

There was one lesbian bar and a feminist book store that carried ear cuffs, women symbol earrings and cassette tapes full of songs about spilling up and over like a waterfall. I tried all of these. I admit it. But how else were you supposed to meet women or more specifically womyn? How would you know thy were gay?  How did you even know what it was that you felt inside? Until our feelings are mirrored, we aren’t sure it’s ok to have them.

I didn’t like to drink and I wasn’t going to the Michigan Womyns Music Festival (one woman I met gushed about how people there braided their armpit hair). Pages was much more my speed. Dorky and thinky, it was a place where stylish, chunky glasses and footwear prevailed. It had gay stuff but it wasn’t only gay. It was maybe the first space I was even in that had room to be gay and not gay together. I could try it out without having to give myself entirely over to it. At Pages I could stand somewhere and be excited about ideas and cute women.

Richard Nash is right that books are social objects, social glue (as are all artists and our work…especially performances..more on that to come). But bookstores are social spaces. And Pages was a great one. I never did meet anyone in its aisles. But I could have. Just being in there meant a lot to me. There was some place that felt right. Some place I belonged.

Goodbye Pages. Many thanks.

Posted via email from heathergold’s posterous

Sex toys now legal in Texas. Happy Valentines Day

Courtesy of the 5th circuit Federal Appeals Court which relied on a privacy argument.

I still favour a Constitutional Right to Sexual Pleasure, which I spent my third year writing up in law school. I never published it, but it will make an appearance in The Law Project.

The pragmatist in me finds criminalizing sex toys just plain funny in any state that sells vegetables.

Things people say to me when they find out I’m married to a woman.

I’ve decided to start sharing these moments.

“I belong to the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship (while fishing a card for me out of her pocketbook) and we have many gay couples. And they’re very ordinary. They have jobs. I don’t like it when people are half-naked. …When we were having dinner with friends the other day…they’ve been together 25 years, and, well they’re retired now, and they were holding hands. I felt so good inside. Not tolerant you see, I felt good.”

–A Holocaust survivor in the locker room at the YMCA (and I’m not just adding that detail in for irony)

Just Married FAQ

I meant to write this while I was still in the vortex of power and love, but the thing about the vortex of power and love is that it felt so good, I didn’t want to do anything like leave it, and that’s what thinking would do. 

 

Now I am thinking a little.

 

Do you feel any different?

Yes. I feel relentlessly loving toward Stacey. I am not annoyed by anything she does. I have been happy every day. I can now feel the ground beneath my feet. 

 

We were together 5 and a half years and lived together for 3 before marrying. I never did the lesbian UHaul thing because I had thought moving in together would be the only marker of commitment I would have. Years ago, I didn’t think I’d have family support for a marriage and for more years than that I didn’t think I’d find someone to marry. I certainly *never* anticipated the possibility that I could get legally married. Now that it’s all happened I am amazed at how different I feel. 

 

Where are the photos? 

 Our excellent documentary photographer Ian Taylor’s + few from my sister Wendy + Paul Schreiber’s. You are welcome to use Ian’s photos, but you must name the people in the photos, credit him and link to his site: iantaylor.ca 

 

What did it feel like to get married?

Continue reading “Just Married FAQ”

Guide to Lesbian Wedding Etiquette

In honour of our December 29, 2007 legal wedding 1.0.

  1. My mother is obsessed with my wedding. She is obnoxious and annoying. What do I do?

    Congratulations. This means you are finally being treated like everyone else.
  2. I always learned that the parents of the bride pay for the wedding. But there’s two brides?

    Don’t feel guilty. This is the only time the income disparity between gay men and lesbians is reversed.
  3. Which one is the man?

    If you have to ask, neither.
  4. What gift should we buy?

    Something expensive. In America, if you buy them enough stuff, the marriage counts.
  5. How do we deal with our interfaith marriage ceremony?

    Don’t worry about it. You’re already going to hell for being gay.

Iraq war 2.0: Transparency hits forced prostitution

How different is it to be forced to prostitution to survive by economic necessity than by a beating?

The cunning realist blog discovered that all sorts of folks share tips on the Internet and form community, even johns who view women like this:

Heading over there myself in a week or two and am 50 / 50 on local action. Have been defense contracting for years (Egypt / Jordan / Yugo / Germany / Italy / Hungary) … never had an issue finding good quality locals for dirt cheap.

More of this crap here. I’d thought lit theory in college used up any interest I had in naming things misogynist, racist, colonialist etc, but what else do you call this? Most succinctly: dehumanizing.

The commenters on his blog, like this one named Matt Connolly, say things like:

So what’s new? I was in the service in Japan in the early ’60s and it was the thing to do to have a young Japanese woman as a mistress for the 13 month tour and then to return home to the wife in America. It has been forty years plus since then and we seemed to have endured. We also did the same in Vietnam.

What’s new Matt? More media. The Internet. And that means more transparency. And that means more people seeing the reality of the crap we do. Specifically in this case: that men do to women, that moneyed are doing to poor, that America is doing to Iraq, that sexual shooting galleries do to hope of meaningful connection and genuine intimacy.

Tip of the toque to Andrew Sullivan.

A big fat lesbian party

I went to the 30th anniversary party for NCLR (National Center for Lesbian Rights) last Saturday thanks to a friend and donor’s generosity.

There were sexy acrobats hanging from sheets and lesbian hair from every era and to top it off, Martina Navratilova, the first real, out lesbian I ever saw and the best tennis player too.

In the mdst of the festivities they auctioned off a racquet of Martina’s from the 70s. It was used to win a Grand Slam in mixed doubles. It fetched (with a hug), more than $14,000 via live auction.

And the fearless leader let us all know, they’d “raised enough to cut off Antonin Scalia’s left ball.” It was like Eugene Levy stating that the Jewish media conspiracy had finally achieved it’s goal of worldwide domination via rugelach.

It was a room of many ethnicities, races, genders and finances. I’ve never before been at any hoo hah event where the folks with the most money didn’t seem to be treated like they were from a distinctly superior caste.

I wished I had a bank account with a million dollars in it so I too could write a cheque and give it to Kate Kendall to stuff in her shirt with the other spontaneous donations. Like she said, they can’t wait to close the doors on NCLR. But they won’t do it one day before we have full equality.