Dykes Do It Better! Apparently went it comes to orgasms we know what to do…

So I was reading this article. Tell me something I didn’t know already. Of course, as this article points out, there are many scientific and sociological reasons for this:

1. We know our own bodies, therefore odds are we know what other women want.

2. Longer foreplay.

For me, in order to actually let go of all sense of self is the only way I can actually orgasm. This is difficult for me. As a counsellor once recognized about me, I have no less than one million things going on in my head at any given time. This is an annoying trait in intimate moments. There is nothing more frustrating than thinking about your grocery list when a girl is doing her best to get you off, especially when you are doing everything in your power to turn off the grocery brain.

There have only been two individuals in my life that have actually triumphed in the art of giving Dallas an orgasm. They were both women. I was in love with them both. I have not had a long list of sexual triumphs with either men, women, or gender non-conforming folks, but i have had enough to know that only two people is a small number.

The point I am trying to get at in regards to this article is that I believe that lesbians have more orgasms because quite simply, as women, it is hard for us to let go, and we know this. We all have a million things running in our heads. When we engage in intimacy we know this. We take the time to allow our partner to let go. We appreciate the struggle, and the process. We love the time it takes. We get it. We love.

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Dykes Do It Better! Apparently went it comes to orgasms we know what to do…

RIP Hook

Not that I want to dwell on the loss of Robin Williams, but I am trying to make some sense of why I am so personally effected and I think I have figured it out.
1. He was a constant in my life. I could turn on the TV and odds are I would find him. He made me laugh at humanity which really helped me.
2. As a person that has battled depression for as long as I can remember (and hid it for do long) I can appreciate the fact that he was so funny and good when he was faced with so much internal darkness. I have been told on numerous occasions that I am so calm, funny, kind. But what I really think when I am told these things is that you have no idea what I am really like or what goes on inside my head. It is a struggle every single day. And to end his pain the way he did, I was saddened but not surprised. For him to die was a better alternative to being alive. That thought is overwhelming for most, but for the depressed mind it is common. I have tattoo of a lily on my right arm which is symbolic of the word persistence. It keeps me going when I feel I can not. I am so sad that Williams was at that point. he will be missed so much. Please recognize mental health as a valid issue.

RIP Hook

The Cliks

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Lucas Silveira of The Cliks is ready to show his true colours at Pride Calgary tonight. The creator and lead singer of the Canadian band is finally where he was always meant to be.

“I am going through a transition in my life, and my music is reflecting that.”

The Cliks have been around for a while, created by Silveira in 2004. The band has gone through an evolution of sorts, starting as a singer and songwriter with acoustic roots and morphing into a collective of revolving musicians that have complimented and enhanced Lucas’s edgy musical style.

Currently, The Cliks include Silveira, Hill Kourkoutis on Bass, and Patrick Von Ghostwolf on Drums. Throughout the past 7 years, Lucas has been the only constant in the band, with a myriad of musicians helping The Cliks realize its full potential along the way. When asked about this turn style of band members, Silveira responds honestly:

“I think I will always have rotating band members in the Cliks. There are always really keen, young kids who want to go touring all the time. The music industry is a really tough place right now. Unless you made a band early in life and have grown together, it is hard to find people that will commit to a product that isn’t their baby. I made the Cliks and it is my band. That is the way it is, and it is hard for people to be fully committed band members. By remaining with the rotating band members I can hire them and they know what they are there for, that way the roles don’t get confused. It is like a marriage. I am in a serious, non-monogamous and polyamorous relationship with my band.”

This collective of band members has prepared Lucas for his most recent album Mockingbird. “I feel that I have my groove back. I have been able to perform songs that I have always wanted to do and have been recording YouTube covers, and requests from people. I felt that I might as well record an album with all of this.”

This album also marks a more personal transition. Lucas, a transgendered man, through the past few years has been transitioning physically into the man that he has always been.

“I am really proud of the new album. When I finished recording I could honestly say, ‘Yes, that’s me.” Before my transition, I would go to the studio and would like the songs once they were completed, but I hated the way it sounded because I didn’t like the way my voice sounded.”

Tonight The Cliks are headlining the Pride Calgary Dance at The Aratta Opera Centre, followed by a film screening and panel discussion about trans issues on Saturday at Club Sapien. Being transgendered, regardless of its inclusion in the LGBTQA acronym, is not on equal grounds with the gay and lesbian movement. As a trans man, Silveira holds this plight dear to his heart.

“Well, it is generally accepted that most Pride celebrations are populated by predominantly gay males. I have been told numerous times that gays and lesbians don’t want the trans community to ride on the coat tails of the gay community. I believe that there is a gay conservative movement. The  [gay] community has made so much leeway in the [gay rights] movement, it is now the norm, and they believe that the trans community is going to set back the movement.”

Pride Calgary is attempting to combat this exclusion with its mandate for the year “Putting the ‘T’ Back in LGBTQA.” Lucas Silveira and The Cliks are a welcome and necessary addition to the celebration.

Published in The Gaily September 2011

The Cliks

Perils And Pride Of The Dyke March

DykeMarch
 

The Vancouver Dyke March made me lesbian. Well, not really, but it definitely helped me realize that straight life was officially out of the question for me.

As a questioning thirty-something that couldn’t quite figure out why the companionship of men made me want to bury my head in a huge bowl of potato chips, being surrounded by a right-on bevy of butchy beauties made it all make sense.

Unfortunately, this year, the dyke march – my personal catalyst and ode to dyke-dom  – was nearly effaced. If it wasn’t for some quick action by some dyke-loving people to remedy adequate funding and a renewal of board members the sapphic sister-loving haven of topless women with a message that we call the Vancouver Dyke March would never have graced Commercial Drive again.

While dyke marches become a fast-growing tradition in cities accross North America (typically on the day before their Pride parades), one wouldn’t think that funding, nor enticing a line-up of keen eager beaver lezzies, would be an issue. For many cities however, a lack of funding and volunteers are crucial issues that may affect the longevity of the dyke march, in Vancouver specifically but elsewhere too.

The Dyke March is not a Parade.

The Dyke March is actually a tradition that has been around since 1981, originating in Vancouver during the Bi-National Lesbian Conference: a conference full of workshops that strengthened the Canadian lesbian movement. A second Dyke March happened again a couple of months later in Toronto, and so started the tradition.

The Dyke March, regardless of its apparent similarity to the Pride parade is in fact very different. Brianne Langille, Founder of The Calgary Dyke March is determined for everyone to understand the difference. “It’s not a parade,” she says. “It’s not for people to be on the sidelines watching. It’s about people getting involved. It’s about getting friends and family and allies and everybody marching together to raise our visibility and to basically show that we’re together in this.” They are adamant about refusal of corporate sponsorship. In order to keep it as a ‘march’ and to remain grass roots they rely on fundraising, grants, and personal donations.

The Winnipeg Dyke March

The Dyke March on the outside may look like the audience of a Tegan and Sara concert, but it is important to look at what is happening on the inside to understand the importance of the dyke march to and for the lesbian community.

As mentioned, my coming out was in part due to a dyke march. It is a mixed bag of protest, celebration, strength, and camaraderie. It is a women`s march with a twist: an awareness of our double inequality (being a woman and being a lesbian). But, most of all, it is like coming home. It is, to me an organic demonstration of the harmony of sisterhood and solidarity. Yah, I said it.

Money brings the Dykes to the Yard

On April 27th of this year, the Vancouver Dyke March had a town hall meeting to discuss its potential cancellation.  Its financing comes from a myriad of sources (keep in mind, unlike the Pride Parade, there is little to no corporate sponsorship, and it costs nothing to be a part of) including city grants, fundraising events and donations. Sadly, the fundraising events have been poorly attended, and the organization has had to dip into its reserves. They still needed to raise $15,000 for the event to go ahead.

Sam Levy, President of the Vancouver Dyke March explained for what the money is needed. “Our overall costs for the March and Festival are about $15,000 annually. I think it surprises people to hear that… as they likely don’t think about what is involved in organizing and presenting a dyke march. We pay for port-a-potties, permits, police support, insurance, merchandise, advertising, sound equipment, festival grounds equipment, supplies for our annual art banners, etc, etc. It all adds up!”

Thankfully, an insurgence of eager beavers joined the Board, adding some life and new ideas to this grassroots organization. The Vancouver Pride Board also stepped in by helping with some funding.

Money has also been a factor in other major cities’ dyke march events. The Ottawa Dyke March has had similar issues with a lack of funds for the associated municipal costs (they had to come up with $1000 for police presence).

“If they want to have free events, organizations like the Dyke March have to decide whether they want to grow or stay small, says special events Sgt Denis Charbonneau.”[The Dyke March] used to be a sidewalk march. If you grow, you need officers. And it’s grown to the point where they have to hire police officers.”

The Calgary Dyke March

I wonder if the civil rights protestors, anti-war demonstrators, or the gay activists of yore had to pay for police? When did a march become a special event anyways? What does this mean for our freedom to congregate and demonstrate against inequality and prejudice?

We are how the Dyke March can be saved.

So how do we save the Dyke March? The answer is really quite simple. The only way for any non-profit, grassroots demonstration/celebration to survive is money and participation. In an ideal scenario buying the world a Coke and singing in perfect harmony would do the trick. Sadly money does make the world go around, but so does fresh energy, even for a few hundred dykes that may or may not want to march topless down a street shouting: “This is what a lesbian looks like!”

Bottom line? Get involved! Join a board, be a volunteer, donate $10.00, join your local dyke march Facebook page! The Board of Directors for any Dyke March are volunteers. No one is getting paid, and there are only 24 hours in a day. If you love the Dyke March as much as I do, you must put in the work to keep it going.

The Winnipeg Dyke March

 

 

Perils And Pride Of The Dyke March

Gay is Good. Craig Rodwell had a homosexual agenda

 

The season of rainbows is upon us. Millions of U-Haul driving, faux-hawk sporting, Lady Gaga minions will be strutting, prancing, and preening their way to the greatest party of the year! This is the time where we can shout from the top of our lungs: “Gay is Good!” and other select favourites such as: “We’re Here, We’re Queer !“ or my personal favourite: “Closets are for Clothes!”. We come together to celebrate our shared experience and to parade proudly in front of intrigued strangers in our sequined G-strings and our strategically painted breasts to celebrate all that is queer.

Did you ever wonder how we got here? Well if you are like me, you might have until recently assumed that Pride was always a part of society’s celebratory summer culture or just have been ignorant about what launched it into the worldwide festivities we now see each year. While we are sampling the remarkably tasty, watered down beverages in the beer gardens with our favourite drag queen, there is perhaps only a vague notion that Pride originated out of a fight for equality on a very small scale in the rather large city of Manhattan.

In 2007 I became part of the homosexual agenda (my local Pride Board) and quickly learned that where we came from is just as important as where we are going.  Without digging around in a small, out of the way queer bookstore in any other major city other than my own (Calgary has a serious lack of any queer literature) the history of Pride is not always very transparent.

Throughout the summer I intend to lure you into the world of queer heroism with stories of my queer heroes. These are the bread to my butter, the cake to my icing, the homo to my sexual.  These are the individuals that have fought their way through a shit ton of ideological bullshit so that our G-string dancing is possible. With the recent debate over The Grid’s Dawn of the New Gay and the ensuing discussion over Pride, this post is somewhat felicitous.

Craig Rodwell: Bringing the Homo to the Sexual

Craig Rodwell was born in Chicago in 1940 to a broken family (really, who wasn’t). His mother, unable to care for Craig on her own, decided to send him to a church-affiliated school in Chicago for ‘problem boys.’ You are perfectly correct in assuming and envisioning this as a hot-bed of hormones and sexual experimentation. Regardless of ALL THE SEX, he also learned how not to question sexuality.

What made sense to Craig was that he liked boys. He knew no different. Like a hamster in a cage, all he knew was his surroundings. Testosterone-raging boys was all this boy knew.  Not surprisingly, it was when teachers began catching wind of these sexual shenanigans that Craig learned not all boys loved boys. In fact, from what he was told, boy’s hearts were not supposed to skip a beat when another walked in the room.

But Craig’s heart did skip a beat when a boy walked in.

In his late teens, Craig discovered the Mattachine Review, a publication distributed by The Mattachine Society, one of the earliest homophile organizations in the US.  Are you curious about the word “homophile”? Well, it is a word that was used in the days of yore for those that were homosexual as well as those who advocated on behalf of homosexuals, and who were quite politically astute and engaged.  ”Homophile” emphasized the word love rather than sex and has that Greek awesomeness to it. I am secretly hoping that the word has a strong resurgence, like leggings or The Backstreet Boys. Dallas Barnes is a homophile. Try it with your name. It’s fun.

Anyways, with his growing political mindedness and activist mentality buzzing, Craig packed up and moved out to New York under the premise (to appease his mom) of joining ballet school. Despite the hope that The Mattachine gave Craig, the group was in fact not so interested in rocking the boat. Rather than fight for diversity and acceptance, The Mattachine was interested in assimilating with the dominant male centric, heterosexual, 2.5 kids, and white picket fence dream (think Leave it to Beaver) that defined America, and to some extent, still does.

Craig Rodwell, “Gay is Good”

Although The Mattachine afforded Rodwell a chance to make a difference in the fight for human rights, he proved to be too politically eager for this group and he made the members nervous with his demands.  When most members of The Mattachine chose pseudonyms to protect themselves against FBI spies infiltrations, Craig refused. He picketed in front of the draft board, protesting the release of information about sexual orientation to employers of former military. He went out ‘wrecking’ in the streets (a great way to ‘taunt’ close-minded straights by being overly friendly with your choice of same sex partner). I personally like doing this on transit with my girlfriend: I call it holding hands in public, but to certain passengers of the Calgary Transit system it’s “flaunting it in their faces”.

Rodwell’s growing concern for the lack of basic political and personal freedoms motivated him to ask The Mattachine to purchase a bookstore that would act as its headquarters. Not surprisingly, a store was not the kind of visibility they wanted. This was the final straw for Craig, and he quit The Mattachine to open his own bookstore cum community space.

Craig Rodwell at The Oscar Wilde Memorial Bookshop

The Oscar Wilde Memorial Bookshop opened in 1967 on Mercer Street in Manhattan. The name says it all, as Craig was determined to make his shop identifiable as a gay bookstore. He sought to make the store a place where people did not feel intimidated, over-sexualized, manipulated, or used. The book store was a success and was a meeting point for many organizations fighting for human rights.

The Birth of Pride

On June 28, 1969, in what was definitely not the most popular of establishments at the time, The Stonewall Inn, gay history took a quite remarkable turn.

The Stonewall Inn

Like most New York gay bars in the 1960’s The Stonewall Inn was run by the mafia as a ‘legitimate’ business, although lacking in hygiene and regulations. The water was often murky and the watered-down beer was priced extremely high. (If you think this sound like most bars today, well I think you are onto something.)

On this particular night, Craig had been on his way home from playing cards with his friends. He ran into a crowd in front of the Stonewall. The air was tense and the sense of impending revolt was evident (This sounds so hot! It makes me want to throw a pie at Stephen Harper). At 1:20 a.m. the police decided to raid the Stonewall looking for any ‘illegal homosexualism’ (a common ritual amongst the NYPD in all gay spaces).  With the growing dissatisfaction of the mafia controlled gay bars and the consistent NYPD raids, the patrons had had enough and fought back.

Rodwell sat on the steps of a brownstone and watched history unfold. As the protests became more heated, and more people began gathering, Rodwell, a believer in spreading the message, immediately phoned the media and ran home to grab his camera.

Rodwell recognized immediately the momentum and importance of the Stonewall protests. After the excitement had died down at the Stonewall Inn, he immediately set into action.

When it was time for the Annual Reminder (a picket at Independence Hall that Rodwell had created five years earlier), not only were gays there picketing, but heterosexual women and their children were there marching alongside their allies. There were public displays of ‘homosexual affection’ again, hand holding (saucy little vixens!), and a general feeling of relentless activism. In other words people were tired of being oppressed and Rodwell realized that the Annual Reminder could segue into something bigger and better: Pride!

The Christopher Street Liberation Day Parade

The first Pride March was held on Sunday, June 28th 1970. Officially titled the Christopher Street Liberation Day after the street on which Stonewall and other gay bars were located, hundreds of people marched for liberation.  Forty-one years later, we are still marching for liberation and in celebration of our difference and our diversity.

Anecdotally, Rodwell dated Harvey Milk for a short time in the 1960’s when Harvey was a closeted business man, so unlike who he was at the end of his life. Milk resented the outright activism of Rodwell and The Mattachine Society made him nervous, as did being openly gay, as did an association with The Oscar Wilde Memorial Bookshop. Not long after they broke up, Harvey to San Francisco, and, unhappy with the treatment of gays on Castro Street, Harvey began to speak up. He became political, and became a strong advocate for coming out. When Craig Rodwell opened the bookstore he wanted a place that would act as a public service and to be a meeting place for all gay activist groups. In 1972, Castro Camera was bought by Milk and acted as political headquarters for his political campaigns and was a central spot for the San Francisco gay community, quite like The Oscar Wilde Memorial Bookstore, that he had resented.

Craig Rodwell died in 1993 of stomach cancer. His determination, persistence, inspiration, and understanding, have made people aware of their power through activism.

Published in the Gaily June 2011

Gay is Good. Craig Rodwell had a homosexual agenda