I Am What I Am

In the first episode of our second season, co-hosts Naomi Bain, leZlie lee kam, Rhoma Spencer have a round table discussion about “lost years” – times in their lives where they haven’t been able to live out and openly as themselves, whether that meant living in the closet, or having your life turned upside down when secrets come out. They’re joined by ballroom artist and educator Tamar Miyake-Mugler for the discussion, which also touches on fraught relationships with families, and the connections we can make with other queers across generations.

Content warning: The discussion refers to suicide/suicidal ideation at 17:00-17:11.

About our guest, Tamar Miyake-Mugler

Dubbed the Ballroom Queen of Canada by the likes of Precious Ebony and Legendary Kevin JZ Prodigy, Tamar Miyake-Mugler has become a household name. Known for being approachable and always frank, it’s impossible for her to step into a room without eyes lighting up. As the epitome of Drags Realness, Tamar joined the Iconic House of Miyake-Mugler nearly three years ago and founded the House of Louboutin Canada in 2018. Off the floor, Tamar is a co-curator of the TKBA x Freedom School program, focusing on gender identity, gender expression, and self-love. She’s also worked with Absolut Canada, Fashion Magazine, CAFA’s Slay the Runway, and many more.

Glossary + additional reading

Here are some of the queer references, and local Toronto terms you’ll come across in the episode, with links to more reading:

  • The Barn: The Barn & Stables was a popular gay bar on Church street just south of Carlton. It closed in 2012 after mroe than twenty years in business.
  • LOOT: The Lesbian Organization of Toronto was a local community hub for lesbians between 1976 and 1980, with a physical presence in a house on Jarvis street. They had a newsletter and a library, and hosted drop-ins and social events. Read more in Rise Up! digital archive, or check out this video from QueerStory.
  • The Rose: The Rose Cafe (previously The Purple Onion, and later Pope Joan’s) was Toronto’s longest-lasting lesbian bar, on Parliament street. Find out more about queer women’s spaces in these articles from section15 (2004) and Xtra (2013), and in this short documentary piece by Toronto filmmaker and DJ Lulu Wei.
  • WCREC: The Women’s Counselling Referral & Education Centre was a Toronto community based organization providing assessment and referrals to screened therapist in private practice and counselling services, with an overall goal to promote the mental and emotional well being of women (from CWHN).
  • Women’s Bathhouse Raid: In 2000 six male police officers raided a women’s bathhouse event at Club Toronto organized by the Toronto Women’s Bathhouse Committee. Over 350 women were in attendance, most of whom were naked at the time of the raid, which was performed under the guise of checking for liquor license infractions. More reading: The ArQuives’ Pussy Palace, a Brief Herstory

Listen, subscribe, and share!

Read the full episode transcript here (coming soon), and find the episode (and subscribe to the podcast) on Apple PodcastsGoogle PodcastsSpotify, and Stitcher.

Intro and outro by leZlie lee kam and Ty Sloane, featuring music by Jessie Tollefsen. Sound editing by Em Lubbers, with support from Maddie Bautista. Podcast logo by Paul Dotey.

The Youth/Elders Podcast features personal stories, lived histories, and candid conversations between queer youth, queer elders, and lots of folks in between – for more information and to sign up for podcast updates, visit the podcast’s homepage.