All month long, buddies is hosting a blog salon with some our favourite writers and artists responding to one question: How do I connect with my queer heritage? Follow the conversation on our blog, or join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter with the hashtag #GayHeritageProject. Here’s an entry from Reena Katz, in response to an earlier post by Sonja Mills.
In response to Sonja Mills’ lovely homage to Buddies and her mentor, Sky – I would like to echo and piggyback…(two very lesbian things to do, n’est pas?):
1. Echo: I completely relate to feeling old thing – especially in terms of technology. Especially in terms of writing this blog and Internet slang acronyms while it seems like just yesterday we were plunking electric typewriter keys. In fact, I remember when Buddies was a big pink and black warehouse in old Cabbagetown. I saw my first really gay anything there. I was tender, (having taken the bus from Bathurst and Wilson) and totally terrified.
2. Piggyback: I came out a bit later than Sonja. It was the 90s. Body Politic had folded, but was still fresh in people’s minds. I would haunt the Toronto Women’s Bookstore whenever possible. I went to Buddies to dance more often than to experience theatre, but I definitely went to Dyke City. I absorbed local lesbian culture like a sponge. Some of it was sublime. Some of it was grand. Some of it was really awful and damaged me in ways I’m still dealing with the repercussions of avoiding. There was definitely too much spoken word.
I thought I’d do an Alanis style shopping list – a tableau, if you will, of a few of those spaces and moments that haven’t faded into my late 30s internet dementia. So, here goes:
Thank you dancing with Ani Difranco at the Boom Boom Room
Thank you Billie Holliday in Z’s living room
Thank you Jane Doe vs. Toronto Police Force
Thank you chants at IWD like: “we’re here, we’re queer, we’re not going shopping!”
Thank you Jewish Women’s Committee to End the Occupation at every Dyke March
I can remember
Thank you thank you Ruth Ellis at Inside Out
Thank you A who saw horses charging at her during a drug-induced internalized homophobia freak out at the St. Clair reservoir
Thank you Reg Hartt who suggested I ask my lover to suck my toes
in honour of Un chien andalou
Thank you mid-40s lesbian who offered to finger my 16-year-old pussy at Rose Cafe
Thank you Olivia Chow raising $10,000 in 20 minutes at the 519 to support
the Pussy Palace court case
Thank you Lesbian Youth Peer Support for supporting my best friend who in
turned supported me
Thank you thank you Come As You Are 10% discount